Recently I have been re-reading the Bhagavad Gita. If you are unfamilar with this text, it is an epic read and often a required book in most yoga teacher trainings. On the surface, The Gita is the story of a historical battle between good and evil armies. The Pandus had been ruling virtuously over the land until the evil King Duryodhana slyly takes away their kingdom. The story begins right on the battlefield and the reader is taken through the entire episode of war. But upon deeper analysis the story of the Bhagavad Gita is actually not a literal story of war but rather a metaphor for the daily battle within our own minds.
Once taken into consideration that this story isn't about good and evil kings, but rather a war on conciousness between our supreme self and our temporal self, we can see why this book makes it to the reading list in most yoga teacher trainings. We each have a personal kingdom to rule over. Our own body, mind, and spirit are our kingdoms. The rightful owner of our own Kingdom is our highest-self, our eternal soul, which is rightous by design. It naturally chooses love, kindness, patience, and compassion in thought, word, and action. It fears nothing and knows always that it is beyond the challenges of the material world. But if we are not careful our body, mind, and spitit could be invaded by king ego and it's fearful, worried, selfish, or greedy tendancies. It is up to us to protect ourselves from invasion. We can live liberated and free from the stresses of the world by remembering our divine nature.
The Gita within the first verse of Chapter 1 encourges the reader to reflect daily on who is winning the battle of their own kingdom. As yogis taking the journey toward Self-Realization, we can ask ourselves nightly, before we retire, whether our inclinations for the day were won by our divine self or temporal self. Were we ruled by selfishness or selflessness, forgivness or anger, joy or regret, kindness or revengefulness, humility or pride, faith or doubt? What did the opposing forces do today?
"On the holy plain of Kurukshetra, where my offspring have gathered for battle, what did they do, O Sanjaya?" -Verse 1, Chapter 1