Friday, January 4, 2013


TAKES OATH ON BHAGAVAD GITA - Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), the first Hindu elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, was sworn in yesterday. Gabbard took her oath on the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Hindu text, as she joined the 113th Congressional class. The oath was administrated by House Speaker John Boehner, who held the Gita for Gabbard. Gabbard said the copy she chose for her swearing in ceremony was one which she read nearly every day while serving as an officer in the Hawaii National Guard during the Iraq War as well as during her tenure as a State Representative and Honolulu City Councilwoman. 
“I chose to take the oath of office with my personal copy of the Bhagavad-Gita because its teachings have inspired me to strive to be a servant-leader, dedicating my life in the service of others and to my country. My Gita has been a tremendous source of inner peace and strength through many tough challenges in life, including being in the midst of death and turmoil while serving our country in the Middle East,” explains Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. 

Although Hinduism has many sacred texts, the Bhagavad Gita is amongst its most well-known and widely read. Framed as a dialog between Lord Krishna, an incarnation of God, and the warrior prince Arjuna, the Gita is a 700 verse treatise on the nature of both the Divine and man, selfless service, and duty. Over the course of 18 chapters, Lord Krishna expounds the concepts of dharma (righteousness), moksha (liberation), and the four yogas, or paths to spiritual life and liberation, including karma yoga (righteous action), jnana yoga (knowledge), raja yoga (meditation and austerity), and bhakti yoga (loving devotion to God).
The Bhagavad Gita is part of a larger Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, which at over 100,000 slokas, or verses, is about ten times the length of the Iliad and Odyssey combined, according to some counts. “It’s exciting that this session we will have the opportunity to work with the first and only Hindu in Congress,” said Jay Kansara, HAF (Hindu American Foundation) Associate Director of Government Affairs.

Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu ever elected to the US Congress, took her oath of office on the Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita. “I asked Gabbard how this teaching might apply to politics. She replied that the Gita teaches her to try ‘to maintain my equilibrium in either success or failure’,” says Stephen Prothero, professor in Boston University’s religion department. “She then turned to Mahatma Gandhi: ‘The world’s most famous Hindu, Mahatma Gandhi ... worked tirelessly for the welfare of his country and all of humanity without any thought of personal gain, leaving his ultimate success or failure in God’s hands.’ She said that the central topics of the Gita are enlightenment, love for God, selfless service, and how each of us can succeed in our struggle on the ‘battlefields’ of life,” explains professor Prothero. The Mahabharata is one of the world’s great epics and the Bhagavad-gita is one of its chapters.

The Bhagavad-gita, which means the song of Bhagavan, or God, is a part of the Mahabharata, appearing in the middle of it. Many consider the Bhagavad-gita as the most important of the Vedic scriptures and the essence of the Upanishads and Vedic knowledge. Anyone interested in the most important of the Eastern philosophy should read the Bhagavad-gita. If all the Upanishads can be considered as cows, then the Bhagavad-gita can be considered as milk. ... The Gita has an answer to every problem a man may face in his life. It never commands anyone what to do. Instead it discusses pros and cons of every action and thought. Throughout the Gita you will not come across any line starting or ending with “Thou Shalt Not”. That is the reason why the Gita is the darling of millions of seekers of truth throughout the world.

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Vedic Culture
Hinduism: A Short Introduction”  -

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

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