Saturday, December 1, 2012


WILL SWEAR IN ON BHAGAVAD GITA - When Tulsi Gabbard, 31, a Hawaii resident who made history last month as the first Hindu elected to the US Congress, attends her swearing in ceremony in January, she's poised to mark another first in American politics: Gabbard will take her oath over the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Hindu text. 
While no religious ceremony is legally required for those elected to Congress and the Senate, many choose to take oaths of office over Christian and Jewish texts, and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, a Muslim, took his oath over a Quran. But Gabbard's use of a non-Abrahamic text will be unique and is symbolic of the growing religious diversity of Congress. 
“For the Hindu Americans it is a historic moment ... It is a matter of pride that finally someone not only from our own faith, but someone who is a practicing Hindu, will be sworn in the Congress on one of our most sacred books,” said Anju Bhargava, founder of Hindu American Seva Charities and a former member of the White House's Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. 

“It is my hope is that this swearing in will be another learning opportunity for our country about Hindus and Gita. Another step towards bringing the knowledge and values of Gita even more prominently to the American political landscape so that it becomes part of the everyday vocabulary in applying the moral principles in our political arena,” said Bhargava, whose organization works to promote Hindu participation in civic life. 
In interviews, Gabbard has pointed to two verses of the Gita as being particularly important to her. Both are from chapter two, which is called “Sankhya yoga,” and which discusses the soul. The chapter is often seen as a summary of the Gita's spiritual instruction. 
Gabbard's first favourite part, from verse 17, defines the soul as “that which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul.” The other, from verse 23, expands on the idea: “The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.”

Tulsi Gabbard has been a practicing Hindu since her teens. “She is a Vaishnava, who follows the path of Bhakti yoga, or loving devotion to God. She is a student of Sidhasvarupananda, who was himself initiated into the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya by ISKCON Founder A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,” explains Madhava Smullen for ISKCON News. “It is also important for the USA that it will eventually have the representation from all the religions, and Tulsi taking the oath on the Gita is another step in that direction,” said Siva Subramanian, member of the Council on Hindu Temples of the USA.

The Lord left behind Him the instructions of the Bhagavad-gītā not for the benefit of Arjuna alone, but also for all time and in all lands. The Bhagavad-gītā, being spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the essence of all Vedic wisdom. It is nicely presented by the Lord Himself for all who have very little time to go through the vast Vedic literatures like the Upaniṣads, Purāṇas and Vedānta-sūtras. ... The faithful human being who is desirous of being liberated from the clutches of material existence can very easily take advantage of the Bhagavad-gītā, and with this in view, the Lord instructed Arjuna as if Arjuna were in need of it. In the Bhagavad-gītā, five important factors of knowledge have been delineated pertaining to (1) the Supreme Lord, (2) the living being, (3) nature, (4) time and space and (5) the process of activity.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) SB 1.15.27
Canto 1: “Creation” - Chapter 15: “The Pāṇḍavas Retire Timely”
Verse 27 - Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

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