October 21, 2020


Gita Acharan – Space and time in Gita

Mr. K. Siva Prasad

(The writer is a senior IAS officer in the Punjab Government. This column on spirituality appears every Sunday). The Gita is about what we are. It is like being truthful apart from knowing the truth and that happens when we are centered (space) in the present moment (time).

The underlying dilemma of Arjuna is what would happen to his image, in the eyes of world, if he kills his friends, relatives, elders and teachers for the sake of kingdom. This appears very logical and this is the first barrier to be crossed, if one has to live the Gita life.

The real dilemma of Arjuna is about his future, whereas Krishna says that we have the right to do karma but no right to the karmaphal. Why? Because karma happens in the present and karmaphal is something that comes up in the future.

Like Arjuna, our tendency is to strive for outcome- oriented actions. Sometimes, modern life gives us an impression that future outcomes can be controlled. But in reality, the future is a combination of so many possibilities over which we do not have any control.

Once again it’s our ahankaar, feeding on our past and projecting future on the present, creates dilemmas.

Coming to space, the entire universe, consisting of galaxies, stars and planets, is characterized by rotation, which is primarily a stationary axis/hub and a rotating structure. The hub never moves and without this hub no rotation of a wheel is possible. Every storm has a calm centre — without it, no storm can sustain momentum. The farther away from the centre, the greater would be turbulence.

We, too, have a calm centre which is nothing but our inner self and the turbulent life, with its many attributes, revolves around it. Arjuna’s dilemma is about one of such attributes — his image. Like him, we form images about ourselves by looking into the eyes of others rather than looking into our inner self. Gita says that the time to be is the Present and space to be is inner self. 

— The writer is a senior IAS officer in the Punjab Government