On the 9th of December, Moscow Hare Krishna followers celebrated the festival of Gita Jayanti, or the birthday of the Bhagavad Gita.
The Gita Jayanti is celebrated all over India and other parts of the world on Ekadasi, the eleventh day of the lunar month of Margaseersha (December-January). It was on this day over 5000 years ago that Vedic King Dhritarastra heard the Bhagavad Gita as narrated by his secretary Sanjaya.
The blind King Dhritarastra wanted to know what was going on on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, a center of a political drama and a devastating fratricidal war.
The discourse of the Bhagavad Gita took place in the middle of the war. Out of friendship and love for His devotee Arjuna, the Supreme Lord Krishna became Arjuna's charioteer. Arjuna then asked Krishna to drive his chariot between the two armies to the middle of the battlefield. The discussion that followed - on the nature of the soul, the duty of the human being and the pure unconditional service to the Lord became known as the Bhagavad Gita, or the song of God.
It would be wrong to assume though that the Bhagavad Gita is 5000 years old. As Krishna Himself confirms, the sacred teaching of divine origin is much older than mankind.
The Bhagavad Gita is one of the most popular scriptures of the Hindu, and a commentary on it is a must for establishing the authority of any philosophical school in India.
The Gita Jayanti is celebrated by lighting a sacred fire and reciting the 700 verses of the Gita. In Moscow, the tradition has been observed for 20 years, since 1988. This time Moscow Vaisnavas also paid homage to the former head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Aleksi II who passed away on the 5th of December.
As www.krishna.ru reports, the Bhagavad Gita first appeared in Russia in the beginning of the 17th century, when a group of Indian merchants settled in the Southern city of Astrakhan. The first Russian printed edition of the Gita is dated 1788.
2009 has been declared The Year of India in Russia, which gives Hare Krishna followers a hope for deeper intercultural and interfaith dialogue as well as polularization of the non-sectarian teaching of the Bhagavad Gita.
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