Most of us are familiar with the Bhagavad Gita as an insightful dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Arjuna, the valiant and noble warrior faces immense conflict internally as he heads off to battle his Kaurava relatives. It is right then that Lord Krishna guides him, and shows him the purpose of his Dharma Yuddha while revealing to him the ultimate truth of life. However the depth and sheer complexity of the text have not made its teachings readily apparent to everyone. The Gitamritam camp intends to address this issue and a variety of other questions that arise as one goes over the 700 verses. It is spread over seven days, wherein participants learn by example one entire chapter. If the experiences of some of the camp regulars are anything to go by, attending the camp may indeed turn out to be the defining step in the right direction. We met some of those Gitamritam participants during Amritavarsham 63 at the Gitamritam stall.
Naveen, a final year student of B. Tech (EIE) from Amrita University Bangalore always sought the answer to the deceptively simple question, “Who am I?” Amma’s teachings provided an impetus in that direction, but it was indeed the Gitamritam camp which accelerated the process. It is indeed the Gita which provided him with answers to the difficult questions of life and managed to completely turn his life around. He recalls his first meeting with Amma, wherein he managed to pinch her cheeks and got a disarming smile from Amma in turn. It is the Gita which made him realise that the innocence of such a smile was true only for newborn babies, and for the one who has realized all of life’s truths (“Mahatma” in his words) referring to Amma.
Devanand, a second year student of B. Tech (Mechanical) hails from a spiritual family and had been aware of the Gita as a holy book, or one which contained the guidelines for living right. Attending the Gitamritam camp enabled him to think deeper about life, and spurred him to set clear goals. The experiential nature of the camp is indeed what sets it apart from a satsang on the Bhagavad Gita. He narrated his experience of modelling with clay to make beautiful figurines, only to destroy them once made. This exercise aimed at teaching the concept of letting go of all attachment.
Krishnasree Sudhan, pursuing her M. Sc. In Biotechnology from Calicut University is all praise for the camp. She beams with new-found confidence in her ability to hold a conversation with any stranger, and her ability to sing. Krishnasree had learnt slokas of the Gita as a first-grader in Amrita Vidyalayam, even as she first came face-to-face with the greatness that is Amma. Back then, she was proud of her grasp of the slokas as well as ability to recite any sloka at moment’s notice. But as years passed and time tested her ability to withstand the harsh realities of life, she believes it is nothing but Amma’s grace and divine intervention that got her to attend the camp. Her initial apprehensions about the idea of a seven-day camp making any sort of change in her life were allayed. She declares that she now takes any decision considering both Amma’s teachings as well as those laid out by the Bhagavad Gita.
Pavithra, a 11th grader with Amrita Vidyalayam too has an intimate bond with Amma which was strengthened by the camp. Amma’s guidance helped her find a way out of it and enabled her to face all her inhibitions – be it her restlessness, or her inability to articulate her ideas; she was able to face them head-on once she attended the camp.
For Tarun, a final year CSE student at Amrita Bangalore, Amma had always been his spiritual guru and the biggest takeway for him is the balance in his mindset and behaviour. He emphasises on the role of the Gita in recognising that true happiness stands to be gained from a detachment to the material pleasures of life.
-Anagha and Megha, during Amritavarsham 63, Sep 2016