What do 64 year old Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India and Tulsi Gabbard, 33 year old Congresswoman from Hawaii have in common? As it turns out, quite a lot, actually. Tulsi Gabbard, the first American/Hindu member of congress, and Modi, India’s powerhouse political leader both lead a life of public service inspired by the teachings of Bhagavan Sri Krishna, the guru or spiritual master of Arjuna, in The Bhagavad Gita.
Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran who took her oath of office with her hand on the Bhagavad Gita, credits the message of the Gita with her approach to public service and as “a source of courage and comfort”. At their recent meeting in New York, in a thoughtful and personal gesture, Tulsi gifted her own spiritual scripture the Bhagavad Gita to the Indian Prime Minister. Meanwhile, Mr Modi regularly presents the Bhagavad Gita to public figures and world leaders including the Emperor of Japan and President Obama of the United States. According to Mr Modi, “I have nothing more valuable to give and the world has nothing more valuable to get.”
Indeed, the Bhagavad Gita has been a rich source of inspiration not only to public leaders but to humanitarians, saints, gurus and spiritual masters, scientists and philosophers for millennia. In the Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavan Sri Krishna becomes the guru or spiritual master to the inquiring student and warrior prince, Arjuna. Sri Krishna teaches a universal message of selfless service and the interconnectedness of all beings. Spoken around 5000 years ago on the eve of a great war, the teachings still seem incredibly relevant to us in modern times. According to the teachings of karma yoga, we reach our fullest potential by acting with love in the spirit of devotion, sacrifice and selfless service for Bhagavan.
Mahatma Gandhi famously credited the Bhagavad Gita as being his “spiritual dictionary” the prime source of motivation for his life dedicated to selfless public service, saying, “Those who meditate on the Gita will derive fresh joy and new meanings from it every day.” The Gita was the Mahatma’s source of strength and comfort in the face of doubts and disappointments, at a time of intense political and social upheaval in the history of India. He described how through meditation upon the Gita he was able to find joy and meaning in times of intense sorrow and advised people to meditate upon it daily. Albert Einstein, the world’s most famous scientist, also found inspiration in the words of Sri Krishna as did Albert Schweitzer, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emmerson and many others.
Meanwhile, after her generous gift to Mr Modi, Tulsi may be in need of a new copy of the Gita. Perhaps it will be her turn to receive one from Mr Modi himself when next she meets India’s Gita bearing Prime Minister.These kind of self less leaders are a necessity & boon for a better planet which is troubled by so many social and natural problems.