The Bhagavad Gita (literally meaning Song of Life) is a 700-verse Hindu scripture which is part of the epic Mahabharata that tells the dialogue between the Pandava prince Arjuna and his charioteer guide Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Amongst all Hindu texts, it is considered the most influential and revered because it covers topics that embodies the totality of what it foundationally means to be a Hindu, yet also teaches lessons that extend universally to anyone.
At the start of the Kurukshetra War between cousin groups the Pandavas and the Kauravas, Arjuna rides his chariot to the middle of the battlefield and sees many of his kin on both sides. He is struck with despair with the knowledge of the suffering the war will cause. He seeks Krishna's counsel and the questions asked regarding the moral dilemmas and Krishna's revelations constitute the essence of the Bhagavad Gita. After a deep and long conversation, Arjuna finally understands the wisdom patiently delivered by Krishna and goes on to lead the army to a costly but eventual victory.
Despite intially seeming like just an allegory of war, the dialogue between Arjuna and Krishna touches on other ethical human dilemmas, philosophical issues, and life choices. It wrestles with questions of 'who we are', 'how should we live our lives', and 'how should we act in this world' - thus remaining relevant since 500-200 BCE and being a crucial part of 19th century Hindu renaissance. Another major marvel of the text is the restraint from insisting on any one right path (marga) to spirituality and the inclusive acceptance of multiple ways of life.
It discusses the three dominant paths commonly taken to attain spiritual liberation and release from the cycles of rebirth (moksha): enlightenment-based renunciation (like monks giving up on their attachments to the world), dharma-based householder life (like regular people doing good deeds in life), and devotion-based theism (understanding and full surrender to their deity). The Bhagavad Gita's synthesis is that one must resist the 'either-or' view and consider the 'both-and' view - that different contradictory paths or combined paths can be valid and still lead to spiritual enlightenment, and that none are intrisically inferior or superior than the other.
Arjuna and Krishna are often depicted in paintings and sculptures on their chariot and in conversation because that represents the entirety of the Bhagavad Gita. There is also symbolism in the imagery:
- the chariot represents the physical body
- the 4 horses represent our senses
- the reins represent the mind
- the charioteer represents intellect
- the passenger represents the soul
- Krishna represents the inner witness
- Pandavas represent divine nature
- Kauravas represent demonic nature
- The battlefield of Kurukshetra represents the inner battle
The symbolism demonstrates the human journey of using our mind and intellect to defeat our inner demons and take the body and soul safely to the final destination of understanding life and attaining enlightenment. The backdrop of the war is a powerful metaphor of the batleground of life that everyone faces. Gita Saar literally translates into the essence of life and represents the powerful message passed on to Arjuna by Krishna - and by extension, readers and devotees.
Lladró's Gita Saar Sculpture Limited Edition of 299 numbered units is for those who wish to immortalise this moment in high quality porcelain sculptural form with the most exquisite of detailing.
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