Bhagavad Gita – the song of spirit or the divine song is one of the greatest contributions India has made to the world, and is ranked as one of the greatest repository of wisdom since ages. There have been numerous interpretations, commentaries and expositions on the verses of the Gita. Still most people see it in a literal sense, because they believe that the conquest of evil was achieved by a bloody war between two armies and the good men won because they were fighting for dharma or righteousness and because God was supporting them.
However, there are clear references in the Gita towards another kind of war. In the Gita God tells Arjuna that by means of this war, gates of heaven will open and that if anyone dies fighting this war he will go to the heaven. It is further clarified in the Gita who is entitled to go to heaven. When the righteousness in man gets to the highest limits of perfection, it is only then that man attains the highest and purest heaven. Hence, the war is symbolic of the spiritual endeavour to conquer all vices and make oneself pure.
Today, human souls are sleeping in a deep slumber of spiritual ignorance and even though they are living in subjugation of vices, they continue to be indolent and carry on their passive existence. Thus, when we realise that we are in a battlefield and are at war, we cannot be apathetic and careless in our thoughts, decisions and actions and we cannot go on ignorantly indulging in vices, because in a battlefield one has to be constantly attentive, alert and active. Hence, the realisation that vices are the soul’s enemies and have to be conquered will bring out the qualities of courage and will power to fight this war within our mind.
The Gita espouses the path of karmayoga — which entails living in the world and yet transcending its vices. Hence, by practising true spiritual knowledge, being in yoga with the Supreme and by imbibing divine virtues, a karmayogi is able to manifest the highest level of perfection and gain victory over all vices. Hence, the war against vices is described as the great war of Mahabharata. It is at this time that Supreme Himself is awakening humans from their deep ignorance and empowering them through knowledge and yoga to gain victory over vicious tendencies. In this way HE is preparing humans to open the gates of heaven.