Gītā Jayantī Mahotsava
Advent of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā
Gītā Jayantī is the advent of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, the sacred text of the Vaiṣṇavas. It is celebrated on the 11th day of the waxing moon of Mārgaśīrṣa month (November-December) in the Vedic Almanac. It is generally observed by en-masse recitation of all 700 verses of the Gītā chanted throughout the day. Devotees also fast on this day since it is an Ekādaśī day (Ekādaśī is the eleventh day of the waxing moon and waning moon – it occurs twice every lunar month and is observed by fasting from grains and lentils – peas, beans, dhals) by those who seek to progress spiritually.
The Bhagavad-gītā was spoken to Arjuna by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa himself in the battlefield of Kurukṣetra, a little over 5000 years ago. The text is written in third person, narrated by Sañjaya to King Dhṛtarāṣṭra as it transpired between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna. Sañjaya, the secretary of the blind King Dhṛtarāṣṭra, had been blessed by his Guru, Vyasadev, with the power to view the events taking place on the battlefield as they transpired. As explained in the Bhagavad-gītā:vyāsa-prasādāc chrutavān etad guhyam ahaṁ param yogaṁ yogeśvarāt kṛṣṇāt sākṣāt kathayataḥ svayam
“By the mercy of Vyāsa, I have heard these most confidential talks directly from the master of all mysticism, Kṛṣṇa, who was speaking personally to Arjuna.” (18.75 Bhagavad-gītā)
PURPORT BY ŚRĪLA PRABHUPĀDA
Vyāsa was the spiritual master of Sañjaya, and Sañjaya admits that it was by Vyāsa’s mercy that he could understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This means that one has to understand Kṛṣṇa not directly but through the medium of the spiritual master. The spiritual master is the transparent medium, although it is true that the experience is still direct. This is the mystery of the disciplic succession. When the spiritual master is bona fide, then one can hear Bhagavad-gītā directly, as Arjuna heard it. There are many mystics and yogīs all over the world, but Kṛṣṇa is the master of all yoga systems. Kṛṣṇa’s instruction is explicitly stated in Bhagavad-gītā -surrender unto Kṛṣṇa. One who does so is the topmost yogī. This is confirmed in the last verse of the Sixth Chapter. Yoginām api sarveṣām.
Nārada is the direct disciple of Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master of Vyāsa. Therefore Vyāsa is as bona fide as Arjuna because he comes in the disciplic succession, and Sañjaya is the direct disciple of Vyāsa. Therefore by the grace of Vyāsa, Sañjaya’s senses were purified, and he could see and hear Kṛṣṇa directly. One who directly hears Kṛṣṇa can understand this confidential knowledge. If one does not come to the disciplic succession, he cannot hear Kṛṣṇa; therefore his knowledge is always imperfect, at least as far as understanding Bhagavad-gītā is concerned.
In Bhagavad-gītā, all the yoga systems—karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga and bhakti-yoga—are explained. Kṛṣṇa is the master of all such mysticism. It is to be understood, however, that as Arjuna was fortunate enough to understand Kṛṣṇa directly, so, by the grace of Vyāsa, Sañjaya was also able to hear Kṛṣṇa directly. Actually there is no difference between hearing directly from Kṛṣṇa and hearing directly from Kṛṣṇa via a bona fide spiritual master like Vyāsa. The spiritual master is the representative of Vyāsadeva also. Therefore, according to the Vedic system, on the birthday of the spiritual master the disciples conduct the ceremony called Vyāsa-pūjā. (18.75 Bhagavad-gītā purport)