Leadership Lessons from the Bhagavad Gita 14 – Repetition

Chapter 2 Verses 24-28

अच्छेद्योऽयमदाह्योऽयमक्लेद्योऽशोष्य एव च |
नित्य: सर्वगत: स्थाणुरचलोऽयं सनातन: || 24||

achchhedyo ’yam adāhyo ’yam akledyo ’śhoṣhya eva cha
nityaḥ sarva-gataḥ sthāṇur achalo ’yaṁ sanātanaḥ

The soul is unbreakable and incombustible; it can neither be dampened nor dried. It is everlasting, in all places, unalterable, immutable, and primordial.

अव्यक्तोऽयमचिन्त्योऽयमविकार्योऽयमुच्यते |
तस्मादेवं विदित्वैनं नानुशोचितुमर्हसि || 25||

avyakto ’yam achintyo ’yam avikāryo ’yam uchyate
tasmādevaṁ viditvainaṁ nānuśhochitum arhasi

The soul is spoken of as invisible, inconceivable, and unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body.

अथ चैनं नित्यजातं नित्यं वा मन्यसे मृतम् |
तथापि त्वं महाबाहो नैवं शोचितुमर्हसि || 26||

atha chainaṁ nitya-jātaṁ nityaṁ vā manyase mṛitam
tathāpi tvaṁ mahā-bāho naivaṁ śhochitum arhasi

If, however, you think that the self is subject to constant birth and death, O mighty-armed Arjun, even then you should not grieve like this.

जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च |
तस्मादपरिहार्येऽर्थे न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि || 27||

jātasya hi dhruvo mṛityur dhruvaṁ janma mṛitasya cha
tasmād aparihārye ’rthe na tvaṁ śhochitum arhasi

Death is certain for one who has been born, and rebirth is inevitable for one who has died. Therefore, you should not lament over the inevitable.

अव्यक्तादीनि भूतानि व्यक्तमध्यानि भारत |
अव्यक्तनिधनान्येव तत्र का परिदेवना || 28||

avyaktādīni bhūtāni vyakta-madhyāni bhārata
avyakta-nidhanānyeva tatra kā paridevanā

O scion of Bharat, all created beings are unmanifest before birth, manifest in life, and again unmanifest on death. So why grieve?
The link to the page where these verses can be found is – https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/2/verse/24
So far I have written 13 blogs on the verses from Chapter 2 of the Bhagvad Gita with my own interpretation, largely focussed on the corporate world. When I started reading verse 24 to 28, I realised that they are actually repetitions of the same concept. Why was Krishna repeatedly saying the same thing in different ways and how is it relevant to us ?
Often times we assume we don’t like to repeat things but on average everyday we have nearly 60,000 thoughts and most of them are repeated from the previous day. Osho goes as far as to say, that for the un-enlightened beings like most of us “truth is a lie often repeated” !! Remember repetition is the method of hypnosis. Affirmations are basically repetitions and they come true. If you keep repeating to yourself that you are miserable, sure enough, you will feel miserable. The (late) Louise Hay, an amazing woman, cured herself of cancer just by doing affirmations. That’s how powerful repetitions are.
It does appear that the difference between success and failure is just a thought that you repeat to yourself over and over again – if you think you are a failure, then you repeat that ad nauseam till it comes true. Likewise if you think you are success, and repeat it over and over again, that too will come true. But its easier for us to think negative thoughts, just as its easier to eat junk knowing fully well that our health will be spoilt.
Here on the battlefield, Arjuna has convinced himself that he will be doing a grave sin by killing his cousins and uncles to win the Kingdom. Krishna had no other choice but to convince Arjuna that he was really “not” killing anyone, but merely fulfilling his role as a great warrior. I do expect that Krishna will repeat messages right through the Bhagvad Gita – probably he was hypnotising Arjuna and for positive reasons :):). Anyway Krishna is supposed to be hynoptic and so charming that it would have been impossible for anyone to not fall under his spell.
What does all this have to do with your work ? Well, what are you repeating today? Positive thoughts or negative affirmations ? What are the things that you tell your people repeatedly – are these energising thoughts or do they bring the morale down? And remember to repeat positive messages several times. Its important for the message to sink in. The only people who seem to follow Krishna’s subtle message on repetition are the folks in the advertising world. Look at how many times the ads keep repeating and even if you hate a certain advert, you have noticed it !! How many times have you ordered Dominos Pizza as soon as you saw the advert on TV? How many times have you ordered that God forsaken pager like tummy trimmer in the hope that you will look like the model in the advert – its all due to the power of repetition. Imagine if a stranger stopped you on your way to work and told you that those tyres around your mid-section would be melted by attaching a tiny pager like thing and letting it vibrate for just 10 minutes a day… will you buy it? Your logic will kick in and hopefully your warm heart will stop you from kicking a fellow human being for peddling nonsense. But there are people who have bought that pager like thing. I know which friend of mine is smiling as she is reading this !
So watch what you are repeating in your head, and what you are reading/seeing/doing/saying repeatedly. Its important to reinforce the positive and good messages, while pushing away the negative and demoralising ones.
Enough of repeating for now – guess you all got it.
Happy Tuesday folks !

3 thoughts on “Leadership Lessons from the Bhagavad Gita 14 – Repetition”

  1. Really enjoying this series. I’ve not read the Bhagavad Gita so most of this is very unfamiliar to me but the applications and interpretations in daily life are excellent and spot on. Thanks!


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