The Bhagavad-Gita ? For students and sportspersons? Isn’t there something wrong? Wasn’t it meant for retired people and as a solace for the aged? Who has the time anyway with all the pressures of student life and competition in the sports arena?Student life is characterized by boundless energy, zest, optimism, vigor. The spirit of adventure and thirst for new horizons. Yet today students seem to be bored, trapped in drudgery, in spite of so many avenues for enjoyment. It is like eating different types of exotic food but without salt! Just a dash of salt is all you need and the simplest fare becomes delicious. So is it with life. The Bhagavad-Gita is like salt in food. Just a sprinkling is enough to bring back the excitement, joy, thrill in life. Not only in youth but right through life. So you can look forward to being the life of the party at 80!
In this age of intellectual capital you are investing heaps of time, effort and money in acquiring the latest skills and expertise in the belief that it will guarantee success. But success comes only when you put the knowledge to use. For example you need the knowledge during exam time. But you get so nervous that it is not available to you when you need it most. You blank out in the exam hall.
The Bhagavad-Gita introduces you to your inner personality. The intellect which reasons, judges, discriminates and the mind which is the centre of emotions, impulses, likes and dislikes. The mind is like a virus in a computer. The intellect like anti-virus software. The former corrupts your database, the latter protects it.
Therefore it is only when the intellect is in command of your personality that you can access the knowledge that you have so painstakingly acquired. When the mind is playing up ‘ACCESS DENIED’ flashes on your screen. So alongside academic education you need to invest a little time and effort in developing the intellect to achieve success.
You are born to excel. You condition yourself into mediocrity. Born to win, condition yourself to lose. Born immortal. Condition yourself into mortality. And you cannot perform beyond the boundaries of your self-imposed limitations. Most people live without so much as a glimpse of who they are and what it is they bring to the world. The Bhagavad-Gita helps remove the conditioning. Puts you in a positive frame of mind.
In 1960 it was technologically impossible for man to travel into space. Within ten years the first man stepped on the moon. The Bhagavad-Gita spells out the Rx for tapping the inner potential that lies dormant within each person and puts you in the miracle mindset.
It is not your position in life that matters but your disposition. Disposition determines whether you will be victor or victim, whether you will succeed or succumb to life’s challenges. As Helen Keller said “Keep your face to the sun always. You will never see the shadow.”
You want to have fun, enjoy. So you go all out indulging in avenues of enjoyment. Ironically the more you indulge the less you enjoy. Every fulfillment only fans the fire of a new desire. None satisfies wholly and all perish with time. Experiences that thrill on the first encounter pall with the tenth. The Bhagavad-Gita restores the joy in life with its uncanny formula. Regulated, balanced contact with objects of enjoyment. So that you retain the freshness of every enjoyment till the last day of your life.
Vedanta exhorts you to first identify your own unique calling in life. Yoursvadharma – own nature. Don’t choose a field just because it appears lucrative. When you invest your energy, resources and time in a field of your core competence you become a star performer. A field alien to your nature is difficult to excel in. And detrimental in the end.
Thus fix a goal in the area of yoursvadharma. One that transcends narrow, personal interests and accommodates the welfare of others as well. You must be driven not by passion but by a vision, not by the desire to arrogate but to abnegate. A lofty ideal keeps the mind from devolving into chaos and poor work. When you rally your thoughts around a goal you are less likely to drift to negative thinking. The ideal is the vitamin that fuels performance.
There must be a larger purpose to justify the staggering amount of energy you pour into your work. Go beyond mere feeding and clothing to satisfy your own deeper, more meaningful aspirations.
When you focus on the higher the results add up for everyone. Don’t work to make money. Make money work for you. Prosperity is the collateral benefit which comes to you as a result of working for a nobler cause. Profit is the result, the by-product of inspired, dedicated work. Profit should not be the objective.
Physics tells us that an object is red in color because it absorbs all other colors except red – which it reflects. Amazingly, what it gives it retains. What it takes, it loses. So it is with life. The more you give the more you get. Dedicate yourself to a higher goal. And see the phenomenal results.
You want happy, meaningful relationships. Invariably whenever you come in contact with another person it only results in friction. Sparks fly. The Bhagavad-Gita helps attain harmony in all contacts. You move from isolation to communication and connectivity. So that you give happiness wherever you go, instead of whenever you go! Look at things from others’ perspective. Align with their goals and agendas. And they will return the courtesy.
Just as there are laws governing the world outside, laws operate in the realm of the mind. Ignorance of the law does not exempt you from its effect. So you would do well to understand how they function. Otherwise it would be like the early airmen who took off from cliffs in contraptions without understanding the laws of aerodynamics. They were doomed to disaster, but for a few tantalizing moments they thought they were in flight. Tragically they were actually in free fall. Ensure you are in flight and not free fall in the journey of life
Science and medicine have helped sportspersons reach the pinnacle of physical performance. Now they are acknowledging the role of the mind in enhancing performance. Something the Bhagavad-Gita said 5000 years back!
Boris Becker said – The difference between the no. 1 and no. 100 is minimal. About 95% is in the head. Baseball legend Yogi Berra said – ninety percent of the game is mental.
What is the driving force behind your action? Is it merely prized money, personal landmarks and records? If so, you will soon get bored with the game and lose.
If a sportsperson has a powerful emotional motivation propelling him to act he outperforms his own standard. A shining example is Sachin Tendulkar’s performance against Kenya in the 1999 World Cup. He overcame jet lag, the physical strain of flying to Bombay and back and, more importantly, the emotional trauma of his father’s demise to put in a magnificent 140!
If you are dedicated to an intellectual ideal, you have access to far greater reserves of energy. Ian Thorpe nicknamed ‘Torpedo” because of his awesome 7 Olympic Golds had earlier reached a stalemate in his career. When his friend developed cancer he pledged his earnings to help in the treatment of not only his friend but other children like him. These unleashed hitherto untapped sources of vitality. In his own words his focus shifted from greed to gratitude. If you rise still higher to offer your sports talent as an act of worship to that Divine Power that bestowed it upon you in the first place there is no stopping you. You can make the impossible happen.
Professional sportspersons know that they work at peak efficiency when they are relaxed. The question is how to be relaxed in the face of thousands of spectators, a lot of noise around, and the pressure from your committee to produce results. And your own anxiety and desire for the trophy? This requires self management. The management of your mind with your own intellect. The Bhagavad-Gita spells out the technique for maintaining a tranquil mind in the midst of chaos and confusion outside.
In a team event it is important to attune yourself with team members so that there is perfect understanding among all the members. You may be individually brilliant but your team may still lose if there is no co ordination. The Bhagavad-Gita helps convert a team of all stars into an all-star team. Everyone has admirable qualities but to reach the top, individuals must align into constellations with a common goal.
So connect with the Bhagavad-Gita. Embark on a journey to transform your life from one of mediocrity to that of excellence.