Erwin Schrödinger saw Bhagavad Gita as the most beautiful philosophical song.
Robert Oppenheimer believed that access to Vedic knowledge is the greatest privilege for mankind.
Carl Sagan and Nikola Tesla found the essence of the cosmos in the Vedic literature.
…And the list goes on.
The life lessons from the Bhagavad Gita have remained a timeless inspiration. For leaders, inventors, philosophers, entrepreneurs, students, and people from all walks of life.
But because of its immensity, it’s not readily possible to pinpoint a handful of lessons that can be applied to almost everyone. That the essence of Vedas and life itself can be understood in a nutshell.
Therefore, this article is a compilation of the core ideas of the Bhagavad Gita. Simplified and broken down in the easiest way possible.
As we walk you through the article, you’ll get to understand 20 life lessons from the Bhagavad Gita with the help of examples. That may help you in your personal and professional lives.
1. Money and Meditation
Can you really achieve mindfulness by thinking about making money all day long?
Ask someone who donated all their wealth to seek the spiritual path. By the way, money in the Himalayan Caves has no more value than the stones.
So assuming not each one of you would end up in the cave, here’s what Bhagavad Gita says.
Earning handsome money isn’t a sin. It makes life better and helps us thrive in the socio-economic space.
But when employees pay too much attention to a bonus, for example, greed engulfs them.
This makes money the driving force which may tempt you to sacrifice things that matter to you. Like quality time with yourself, your family, and friends.
Many people develop unnatural work habits. They start spending most of their time chasing money. But they don’t get the fact that money can’t buy happiness.
You can’t really enjoy the money.
But when you’re spiritually oriented, you can not only generate good wealth but also have emotional well-being. You’ll then know where to best spend your money and where not.
For many money-minded people, however, life becomes a dirty business. Unwanted and unhealthy desires pop up. And they disregard the balance between self and wealth.
Henry Ford once said, “Money doesn’t change men, it merely unmasks them”.
2. Your talent is a priceless gift
Each one of us is born with a talent. For most people, it remains a lifelong mystery. A gift that is left unopened.
But the moment you figure out your abilities, you get a feeling of self-worth.
Bhagavad Gita states that your ability is like a river. It manifests within us from the divine source. And flows through us.
Some of us are gifted with artistic talents. Some may have an athletic physique. But most of us fail to sense such a presence.
For example, a person is born with a silver spoon. What they inherit is just a materialistic possession. While they enjoy hereditary treasures, their inner treasure remains undervalued.
Regardless of where we’re born, when we introspect and recognize our talents, we feel valued and directed in the temporariness of this world.
It may come to you as an appreciation. Or a gut feeling. To some people, it may show up unexpectedly during the tragedy.
But whenever it shows up, you should accept it as a gift. It gives you meaning in your life. It saves you from regret. And helps you attain spiritual fulfillment by serving others.
This means you’ll start to see things beyond competition and value contributions.
3. What Bhagavad Gita says about leadership?
Leadership is all about leading, not dominating. Bhagavad Gita’s chapter 18 gives you the core idea of what modern management lessons ramble on about.
Being in the shoes of a leader is not easy. Because it’s not just about having a qualification or experience. It’s about managing your team through thick and thin.
It’s also about how you speak and maintain your composure. No matter how big or small the challenges are.
But what is leadership not really about?
Few men and women in leadership positions show the demeanor of controlling others. You might have noticed how arrogant bosses impose a burden on the employees for the sake of productivity.
They may find an opportunity to profit by exploiting others. But in the long run, they’re hurting themselves spiritually.
Not just in the corporate field. But it also applies to the manufacturing sectors, government offices, the film industry, and many more.
Some people are naturally inclined to lead. However, when a person self-renounces that inclination, society is left vulnerable in the hands of a materialistic leader.
Now, what if you believe you can undertake a leadership position with utmost responsibility?
Stop lamenting about it!
Instead, you should take full responsibility for your current position. And lead yourself rightfully.
In time, when you learn the way of a leader, you’ll be granted a leadership position by the divine source – as a consequence of your honest actions.
4. Mind – an irresponsible being
Ever had friends who pushed you in doing things their way?
If you’re led by your colleague who doesn’t really know what they’re up to, it’s bad for you. However, it’s even worse when they don’t take responsibility or blame you for any problems.
Our mind has the same nature. It takes charge of your decisions. But takes no responsibility when things go south.
Our mind is so driven by emotional impulses whenever we encounter any situation.
If things seem good, it boldly manifests confidence. If bad, it acts outrageously. But in either case, the mind doesn’t bother about what’s behind the scenes.
Consequently, we take actions out of impulses. And only then, do we feel marooned. It shrugs off the responsibility while trying to shift our attention to random thoughts.
But when we find ourselves in a mess and look upon how involuntarily we were impelled into vague choices, our mind plays the blame game with us. Fills us with regret, anger, and self-sabotaging thoughts.
Bhagavad Gita (6.26) beautifully summarizes that the mind isn’t our master. It can never be a good leader.
We should rather stop letting our minds assume things. And use its abilities consciously to act upon any situation.
5. Change – the unchangeable rule of the Universe
What if time freezes for a moment?
Sounds quite fictional. But theoretically speaking, there will be no motion. So will the Universe and life.
Everything will remain constant.
In reality, however, the only thing that remains constant is the change. And with change comes uncertainty, randomness, and chaos.
Science associates this phenomenon with entropy where particles constantly move radically differently from earlier. There are no attachments.
The entire evolution of life is based on change. Yet we are easily startled by anything that separates us from our comfort zone.
Once attached to a place, person, or thing for a prolonged time, many people develop an ego. But are also ruled by the fear of change.
Our mind welcomes anything driven by senses with open arms. While ignoring anything that fails to please the ego.
Even when you falsely anticipate the changing nature of predictions.
How many times were you absolutely wrong with your predictions that left you completely disappointed?
You felt emotionally drained and lost, right?
There is no way to gain control over predictions. So instead of railing against the change, Bhagavad Gita says to surrender to the flow of change.
No matter what the results are, it’s important to keep yourself moving. You can do so when you free yourself from the senses and materialistic attachments. While becoming less reactive to external influences.
6. The uncontrollable nature of lust
Lust is a strong driving force of nature. Probably the strongest. Even the men of noble rank aren’t spared.
No matter how hard you endeavor to control it. Lust always finds ways to carry your mind away. Enslave you. And force you to commit things even if you don’t want to.
But the reward?
Instant gratification. This means getting sensory pleasure on an immediate basis. The more powerful impulses are, the more you want to satisfy your cravings.
For example, the values we exhibit in our private life should be different from the professional life. There should always be a balance.
Yet some people disregard personal-professional boundaries.
Lust isn’t a button that can be switched on or off. Neither it sees whether you’re in a professional or personal space. Nor does it care about your reputation, relationship, or career.
So if you entertain lust in your mind, it will dominate you. And force you until you achieve instant gratification.
If this is something you’re struggling with, here’s what Bhagavad Gita says.
Lust is like an endless raging fire. No amount of water can extinguish it.
But when you engage in something that fosters spiritual growth, you’ll learn to contain such forces.
Deep within your consciousness, you’ll sense what’s important in the long run. And also be wary of the consequences of short-term pleasures.
7. Focus more on the work, the results will follow up
When an archer aims, he/she uses all the training to hit the target board. As an arrow leaves the bow, the archer can only wish it to hit the high-scoring areas.
What if the arrow misses the target?
The next time, he/she would instinctively be worried and anxious.
The sense of failure, embarrassment, or humiliation will take a toll on the focus. And will become more concerned about the outcome. Attached to the results and detached from the abilities.
Bhagavad Gita, however, talks about creating values. It talks about focusing on your process. Thinking too much about the result draws energy from you.
When you selflessly commit to the process, you’ll have a sense of fulfillment. That you left no stone unturned.
You’ll then be able to eliminate the noises in your head. You’ll set yourself free from unwanted pressure and expectations.
I believe most of you have been taught that the results are the only way to secure your future. However, such preconceived notions will only overwhelm you. And negatively affect your performance.
Nobody has control over the results. However, you can always control your focus.
8. Emotional intelligence
Emotions define us. Anything you do or think of is driven by emotions. Your destiny is not shaped by mere actions, but also by thoughts.
Most people surrender their senses to their thoughts. However, they fail to understand where the impulses are leading them to.
Much research has been conducted to understand the role of emotions in all walks of our life.
While IQ (Intelligence Quotient) remains the most discussed psychological construct among the new generation. Research, however, suggests that for the most part, emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in containing your feelings.
Successful professionals admit that no matter how good you are in academics or at work, your intelligence doesn’t help you a lot after a point in life.
Bhagavad Gita describes it as a means to achieve immortality. When you’re not provoked by emotional upheavals, you learn to stay calm in both pleasure and pain.
You’ll be an observer rather than being carried away by your senses. The higher the emotional quotient, the better leader and problem solver you become.
9. Your inner GPS
Say you’re driving a car. Its GPS helps you venture into remote places. It keeps guiding you throughout the unknown.
You remain curious but never feel lost as long as you have it.
But what if your device gets disconnected for a moment due to bad weather?
Won’t you feel agitated?
As you’re all by yourself, you may take some wrong turns. Or you may make it even worse as clouds of negative emotions engulf you.
When you regain your connectivity, you may feel annoyed by your actions. But won’t let your emotions trigger you into smashing your device. Would you?
This is where you should look for an inner GPS – Gratitude Positioning System.
In life, you may stumble upon some adversities. Like all storms, those adversities are also temporary. But during tough times, your inner GPS can help you stay on track and find opportunities in adversities. Not your excuses.
Having a heart full of gratitude means being kind to yourself and others.
Bhagavad Gita reminds us of the value of gratitude. It gives reasons to feel grateful for what we are and what we have.
Without it, a person has nothing but a heart full of attitude. Such a person can neither find potential opportunities. Nor break away from their self-sabotaging behaviors.
10. Destiny and Karma
Ever played cards?
Even if you haven’t, we all know how a deck of cards is shuffled and distributed.
Players can’t deny whichever cards they’ve got. Doesn’t matter if you didn’t receive an Ace of Spades. You have to deal with the cards on your side.
So apparently, those cards were destined for you. You’ve no control over it. But the way you could play isn’t destined.
That means you’ll have control over your choices. Your free will.
Destiny is the situation. It comes to you whether you like it or not. You can’t do anything about someone insulting you.
But the way you handle such a situation is definitely your call. It determines your future destiny.
This means karma will follow you up based on your present choices. And it’s not destiny.
Now, the million-dollar question. Is your destiny sealed?
Bhagavad Gita goes really deep into explaining this philosophical aspect of life. So in short, destiny has a substantial role in determining the trajectory of your life. But it’s not final.
What’s supposed to happen will happen. But it doesn’t take away the power of free will from you.
From the moment of birth, the kind of life we’re living today is nothing but the repercussions of the past. Newton’s laws of motion also draw a parallel with the law of karma.
But can destiny affect the ways we make decisions?
Due to some mishappenings, our behavior may change. Our perception of free will and destiny may change.
Even if someone with a pessimistic attitude tries to convey to you that your fate is sealed. And worse if you accept it or refrain from your right to free will.
However, when you choose to believe in yourself, you can develop positive patterns of behavior. With healthy behavior, you take productive actions. And with better action, you attract good karma.
11. Making difficult decisions
We make decisions as we breathe. Both consciously and unconsciously.
What to eat, what to cook. Whom to spend your time with or whom to avoid?
Some decisions are trivial and some of them are life-defining. Some decisions remain confined within a family or may impact a social circle.
However, the more responsible your position is, the more people come under your umbrella.
For example, we all have experienced how the decisions of political leaders affected the livelihoods of people during the pandemic. Not in thousands, but in millions.
So what if you’re stuck in a relatively similar situation where a wrong decision may pose a risk to many?
Although Bhagavad Gita didn’t focus on any external situation. It does help you in consciously contemplating your inner thoughts. This means to consider your inner motivation.
And as Gita points out, ask yourself some questions before you go on making any difficult decision:
Is your decision based on emotional triggers?
Are there any extreme feelings or attachments?
If something’s good for you, it’s good for society as well. So is your goal higher than what an average person makes?
Is your decision only focused on the results?
Faith can move mountains. Do you have faith in yourself?
Never leave room for doubt before making a decision. Never be biased.
However, if you’re still not sure, seek counseling from the right person.
12. How can you develop better relationships?
If I ask you about the one person you should build the strongest relationship with, who do you think is?
Is that your parents, siblings, friends, spouse, or colleagues?
It’s rather you.
Bhagavad Gita says to treat others as you treat yourself.
Gita also talks about relationships on two levels – horizontal and vertical.
We don’t exist in just a physical body. But with an ethereal body residing within.
So when you say horizontal relationship, that means the relationship you maintain with people around you.
Whereas a vertical relationship means the connection with the divine consciousness. Your relationship with God.
Within the horizontal relationship, we share happiness. We receive appreciation from some.
However, sometimes people belittle us and hurt us. Some disappoint us. But more than that, we become disappointed with the self.
We become insecure as we treat ourselves harshly. Why did I befriend that person? Why did I trust him/her? Why does my life suck? I shouldn’t have acted like that.
That’s why a vertical relationship exists that brings back our inner security. It doesn’t discriminate against or abuse us. Rather it heals us. Motivates us.
Yet many people don’t believe in the existence of such a relationship.
Because we’re so obsessed with proving ourselves to others. Or fulfilling the expectations of others.
They become the center of our life. Completely detaching us from ourselves. From the vertical relationship.
Therefore, Bhagavad Gita teaches you that relationships are not just about attachments. But detachments as well.
With sufficient detachment, you can set yourself free. It doesn’t mean to stop caring.
Rather, you’ll no longer need to prove to anyone. You’ll not only grow spiritually but also have a healthy relationship with the people around you.
13. Developing a healthy relationship with our mind
Say you’re riding a horse. Your horse suddenly catches sight of a heap of dumped fruits and vegetables nearby. And you don’t want it to get distracted and lose momentum.
Our mind is mercurial like the horse. A weak mind feels like it’s deprived of some stimuli. And when it catches sight of something attractive, it starts to induce urges.
Bhagavad Gita, therefore, reminds us that it’s easier to control what goes into the mind than what it made you do.
So the way professional riders control their horse is by attaching blinkers to its bridle – to narrow the vision.
However, there are no such physical blinkers for our minds. But with a strong purpose in life, you can narrow your vision and focus on what matters the most.
Don’t be enslaved by the temptations of your mind. However, you can’t make it your slave either.
Doing so will only make it worse. Your mind will oppose anything too harsh. Rather, you can come to a mutual agreement with your mind.
You may not realize. But when you observe close enough, you’ll realize that your mind has some productive interests that quite resonate with your nature.
So when you allow yourself to make the most out of any opportunities that cultivate interest, your mind won’t feel any friction.
It will find things reasonable.
14. If we can worry, we can choose to meditate as well
Regular meditation heals you mentally and physically. And it’s as simple as breathing. Yet a lot of us avoid it.
Some of us think that meditation requires monk-like abilities that we could never possess. Others expect early results rather than understanding consistency and discipline. A few of us may have completely different reasons.
But all of us have a common trait – to worry.
And the sad part, we do nothing about it.
Moreover, worrying is not an obligation. It’s a conscious choice.
You don’t make any effort to worry. It’s always around you. Ready to take your thoughts away from your present state?
This is where meditation can help you to redirect your mind from worldly situations. And bring you to a state of nothingness.
Meditation is, however, not about forcefully avoiding the thoughts popping up. You don’t endure such a default nature of mind.
Rather, you rise above everything and observe what’s going on within your mind without reacting to it.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever worry in life. Makes sense if you’re a monk. But it’s important to show concern for your personal and professional responsibilities.
Therefore, the whole point is to control your mind’s natural tendency to be obsessed about something uncontrollable. And not let your worries affect your present circumstances.
15. Materialism and social mirror
With the rise of information technology, a large part of youth adopted a subculture of online fads. A weird fad of mirroring each other. Everything beyond that looks deserted to them.
We see how social media propaganda impels them to be part of the latest trends.
This phenomenon of the social mirror, however, is making a fool out of them. It misleads them by glamorizing their hopes of being accepted in the social space.
People then go on a shopping spree with a sense of FOMO. No matter how unaffordable or unnecessary it is. Without ever realizing how vague or rare the journey from social media reels to real-life experience is.
So if you’re living up to the promise of materialistic pleasures, there is no doubt you’ll end up disappointed.
Bhagavad Gita, however, shows you what can be real. It helps you understand the spiritual mirror.
As it reflects your real identity, it reminds you of the most valuable aspects of life. Such as your talent.
Not assets like fancy gadgets. Not someone’s opinion of how you look in society’s eyes. But the real you.
16. The power of loving without expectations
Hatred hurts. It’s like carrying red hot coal in your heart. By doing so, it hurts us way more than those who brought us pain.
Many of you may find this justified to throw this coal at your offender. You just wait for the right time. Don’t you?
However, when hatred becomes the driving impulse, you leave no space for love in your heart.
You become a slave to your ego.
And this is commonly seen in the modern culture where youths live by obsessive individualism.
It’s now all about our own feelings. It’s unidirectional. Folks now measure the flow of love as how people make them feel good.
This has drastically changed the concept of love. And its purity.
But what do we do in return?
We limit our love for others. We question a lot that we won’t get back the same attention and amount of love we have for them. Or we may even face rejection. Which would be unbearable.
However, Bhagavad Gita says that our ability to love in both happiness and distress is what keeps our ego at bay.
Loving others without keeping expectations is the most powerful service to the divine. And when you keep up with it, you’ll find that real people will join you. And empathize with you.
17. How forgiveness protects you from damage?
We now know how loving others unconditionally helps us grow spiritually. Forgiveness is yet another aspect of life that helps us move on.
The deeper we get hurt, the more we feel the urge to take revenge. To throw burning coal. In the right time and right place.
This is the same hatred you nurture in your heart. As a result, even good people commit the unthinkable.
What if you finally get even with him/ her?
Even if you succeed, you may feel satisfaction. You may feel the relief of hurting your offender. Just like in the movies.
But that feeling is short-lived. The grudge and the vengefulness fill you up. Leaving no sign of kindness and empathy in your heart.
And as you keep up with this habit, you’ll spiritually decay. You’ll be trapped by mental toxicity. Which leads you to commit serious crimes for a short burst of satisfaction.
However, forgiveness is the only way out. It puts an end to your emotional turbulence.
Because sometimes, holding on to something does more damage. The only way is to let that go.
18. Never underestimate the power of words!
Many of us overlook the sensitivity of words. Not everyone takes the think-before-you-speak proposition seriously.
Words are as powerful as electricity. But because of its ubiquity and commonness, we tend to forget its magnitude until a power outage hits your home.
Similarly, we realize the value of words when we forget lines and try to improvise in the middle of a speech.
You can bring warmth to the conversation. Or get into verbal fights. You can inspire and make people laugh. Or spoil their mood.
However, carelessly handling the electricity may kill you or bring disaster.
And so is the danger of words.
In the era of globalization, who can tell you the importance of words better than diplomats?
Any negligence would simply result in cold or hot wars.
But as you go through Bhagavad Gita, you’ll realize that words are mere reflections of thoughts. Our thoughts are merely a reflection of our attitude. And the attitude is a reflection of our nature and everything we’re influenced by.
19. Timeless nature of time
Time is a good teacher. It’s like a fire.
You can harness it and learn. Or be reckless, it may give you a burn.
Time doesn’t run differently on everybody’s clock. It’s the same for 24 hours. Yet most of them fail to catch up.
You might have observed how time gives an illusionary feeling. Especially when you have a lot of time in hand. But all of sudden, it seems you’ve time traveled. And don’t have much time left.
We all exist for a finite amount of time. Yet a lot of us forget about mortality. Particularly youths obsessed with worldly pleasures.
But in an actual sense, time isn’t a means to remind you of death. Rather, it can help you realize what really matters. And things you should avoid in this finiteness and uncertainty.
Time shows no mercy. It doesn’t discriminate.
Those who voluntarily failed to keep up with time are living a crude life. However, those who learned to keep up with priorities are spiritually evolved.
They don’t sense any fear. Rather they feel self-conscious.
20. Is death a destruction or a definition of life?
Any idea of death makes us feel insecure. We see it as destruction. It can be momentarily delayed though. But in the end, it’s inescapable.
Time is close kin to death.
People often see life as a ticking time bomb. Which inevitably explodes. But don’t know when.
However, in Bhagavad Gita, death isn’t a negative aspect of life.
Rather, a means to spiritual wisdom. A means to transcend beyond materialistic life. To escape the birth-death illusion.
Not the life where people remain within the confines of worldly pleasures. To them, death seems dreadful and unjustified.
But for the self-conscious, death restores life.
It’s a consistent reminder to value the things that matter the most. And to avoid superficial things that add no meaning to life.
Bhagavad Gita also gives you the realization of your spiritual existence. The existence where most people never think about their real nature.
They never realize that the entry and exit into this very existence were predetermined by their spiritual self. However, when it comes to death, they become so concerned about losing their existence.
Bhagavad Gita is a way of life, not just a holy scripture. You won’t necessarily need to be a monk to understand it.
Was it hard for you to follow through with these 20 life lessons from the Bhagavad Gita?
It’s a way to remind you that your life is a blessing. Not a misery you’ve been complaining about.
You may not realize it. You may not believe it. But deep within your consciousness lies all the answers you’ve been asking for.
Those answers are waiting for you to be heard.
And to make that happen, Bhagavad Gita can help you follow the trails that have already been traced for you. Which then leads you toward spiritual awakening.
So that together, we can play our part in making the world a better place.