Why read the Gita?

An old farmer lived on a farm in the mountains with his young grandson. Each morning Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading his Bhagavad-gita. His grandson wanted to be just like him and tried to imitate him in every way he could.

One day the grandson asked, “Grandpa! I try to read the Bhagavad-gita just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bhagavad-gita do?”

The grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and replied, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring me back a basket of water.”

The boy did as he was told, but all the water leaked out before he got back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, “You’ll have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again. This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get a bucket instead. The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You’re just not trying hard enough,” and he went outside to watch the boy try again.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got back to the house.

The boy again dipped the basket into the river and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, “See Grandpa, it’s useless!”

“So you think it is useless?” The old man said, “Look at the basket.” The boy looked at the basket and for the first time realized that the basket was different. It had been transformed from a dirty old coal basket and was now clean, inside and out.

“Son, that’s what happens when you read the Bhagavad-gita. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, you will be changed, inside and out. That is the work of Lord Krishna in our lives.”

Srila Prabhupada instructs:images

“There are nine different processes for associating with God, and the first method of association is shravanam—hearing. By reading Bhagavad-gita we hear the speeches of Sri Krishna, which means that we are actually associating with Krishna or God. In as much as we associate with God and as we go on hearing the words of Krishna and His names, the contamination of material nature is reduced. In understanding that Krishna is sound, illumination, water, and so many other things, it becomes impossible to avoid Krishna. If we can remember Krishna in this way, our association with Him is permanent. Association with Krishna is like association with sunshine. Where there is sunshine, there is no contamination. If we associate with Krishna in Krishna consciousness, our maladies are cured. By chanting Hare Krishna we can associate with Krishna, and we can see the water as Krishna, the sun and the moon as Krishna, and we can hear Krishna in sound and taste Him in water. Unfortunately, in our present condition we have forgotten Krishna. But now we have to revive our spiritual life by remembering Him.”