The history and celebration of Gita Jayanti

Gita Jayanti is a Hindu festival celebrating the birth of the Bhagavad Gita which is considered to be one of the greatest Hindu scriptures. The festivity is scheduled every 11th day of the Shukla Paksha of the Hindu month of Margashirsha. This year, the date falls on December 10. Gita Jayanti is widely observed in India and neighboring countries including all other countries where Hindu communities exist.

Background on the Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita is an ancient scripture narrating the conversation that took place between Prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna right before the battle of Kurukshetra began. The scripture which is comprised of 18 chapters and 700 verses is part of the Mahabharata epic, the foundation of the Hindu faith. Bhagavad Gita was narrated by Sanjaya Gavalgani, the secretary of the blind King Dhritarashta who was believed to have the power of viewing events during the battle even at a distance. The Gita is believed to have been born in the city of Kurukshetra, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Religious and life significance of the Bhagavad Gita

The primary reason the Gita is considered the greatest scripture in Hinduism is its application and significance from the time it was written and even during these modern times. The Gita contains much of the life and religious lessons bestowed by Lord Krishna to his friend and devote follower Arjuna. For Hindu scholars, the Gita compels an individual to think, to make right and fair decisions, to view life matters in a new or different perspective without that risk of losing one’s individuality. The scripture provides an indispensible guide to improve the conduct of life, business and communication as well as provide potential solutions to the long enduring problems in the society.

Celebrations and activities during Gita Jayanti

Specific pujas or rituals differ according to the area where the holiday is celebrated but the major activity during this day is the mass recitation or chanting of the entire scripture throughout the day. In some states, the texts are read as is. In others places, it is recited as a poem or chanted as a song. In Singapore where there also exists a considerable population of Hindus, the Gita is chanted and simplified like a nursery rhyme.

Children and teens take active part in the recitation and chanting of the scriptures. This allows them to learn and created that interest to the Gita early on. Some communities even hold recitation contests for children all about the sacred scripture.

The festivity coincides with the Ekadashi day or waxing and waning of the moon essentially requiring Hindus to perform fasting at least from grains and lentils. The fasting is ended by a bathing ritual and observing the Krishna puja the next day. Other activities include holding fairs and stage plays of the Gita narration. 

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