“The Blessed Lord said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikshvaku.” (Bhagavad-gita, 4.1)
Friend2: I like how there’s no dogmatic insistence. Even though you have this blue God from the Hindu tradition teaching this stuff, the words appeal to logic and reason.
Friend1: Right. It’s not like you say, “Hey, in my religion we believe there is a difference between matter and spirit and that matter keeps changing, while spirit remains the same.”
Friend2: That truth is there for everything, not just a specific religion. It’s like you wouldn’t say that you believe in gravity. Gravity applies to everything, whether you believe in it or not.
Friend1: We’re just talking about the introduction here. There is so much more that Krishna explains. I have an interesting question for you.
Friend1: Krishna spoke the Gita to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra some five thousand years ago, correct?
Friend2: Yeah, roughly that long ago.
Friend1: Okay, so what did people do before that?
Friend2: What do you mean?
Friend1: Were they doomed? Did they just follow religion blindly?
Friend2: I’m not sure what you’re asking.
Friend1: Today we are talking about the Bhagavad-gita. It is the main source of our discussions. What did people talk about back then? What about before Krishna appeared on this earth? What was their source material?
Friend2: The Vedas
Friend1: Oh. Do they teach the same things?
Friend2: For sure. The Vedas are identical with Krishna. Now, they may not present the philosophical truths in the exact same way. There are the Vedic hymns, which are songs in praise of God the person and His many assistants. Then there are the Puranas, which are ancient stories. The Puranas basically teach the Vedas through history.
Friend1: It seems like the Bhagavad-gita is superior to these works.
Friend2: Maybe in terms of succinctness and presentation, but actually just by reading something like the Ramayana a person can attain perfection. Shri Hanuman reads it every day. He is an eternally liberated soul. You can still connect with God without reading the Bhagavad-gita, if that’s what you are asking.
Friend1: Oh okay. Yeah, that’s what I was sort of wondering about.
Friend2: You should also know that the Gita did not originate on that day five thousand years ago. Shri Krishna Himself says that He originally spoke the same truths to the sun-god at the beginning of time. This means that the Bhagavad-gita is just as eternal as the Vedas. The confidential truths get passed down in a chain of disciplic succession. When the chain gets broken and the knowledge appears to be lost, Krishna finds a way to reinstitute it.
Friend1: Arjuna was something like the next person in line, to keep the succession going.
Friend2: Exactly. That conversation became famous afterwards. We should never make the mistake of assuming that time has more importance than it does. One moment in time does not make or break something. Krishna is time itself. So there is always hope before a specific moment in time and afterwards. Even in the future, if somehow the knowledge of the Vedas becomes lost, there will be a way for people to become liberated. The knowledge will emerge again through the Divine will. Just be fortunate that you don’t have to worry about that now. Thanks to fearless saints like His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Gita-prachara, as it is, has taken off.
Profound wisdom, sacred verses to adore,
But what hope for people before?
Bhagavad-gita not famous in time when,
Where the lost and inquisitive to go then?
Eternal wisdom, time to transcend,
From parampara highest wisdom to descend.
Puranas, Vedas, or Ramayana to read,
Supreme Lord with message suited to need.