This is the anniversary day commemorating the day that Srimad Bhagavad Gita was spoken by Lord Sri Krishna to His most dear devotee Arjuna at the place now known as Jyotisar Tirtha amid the waring families of the Kurus and the Pandavas at Kurukshetra. If one wishes one can still go and visit that place and see the monument erected there with Krishna as Parthasarati (the chariot driver) and Arjuna the warrior on their chariot. It is claimed by the ashram who maintain the shrine that the tree that is next to Them is a continuum growth of the original tree witness that was there at the actual day of speaking.
ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.
kathayantaś ca māṁ nityaṁ
tuṣyanti ca ramanti ca
The thoughts of my pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me.
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ
yena mām upayānti te
To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.
aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ
To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.
Traditionally devotees come to Kurukshetra (Dharmakshetra) and recite Bhagavad Gita from early morning until the next morning, perform arati to Bhagavad Gita and to Krishna and Arjuna upon the chariot, offer lamps ‘deep daan’ at Brahma Sarovar, shloka recitals, shobha yatras and seminars on the significance of the Gita today.
Devotees who cannot get to Jyotisar Tirtha remember the blessed event by reciting Bhagavad Gita, performing Bhagavad Gita ahuti of each verse or selected chapters into the sacred fire, and discussing the subject matter of Bhagavad Gita in the association of devotees. Distribution of Bhagavad Gitas’ on this day is also a very auspicious activity to perform.
In present days, the word “Jayanti” is loosely used for someone’s birthday. However, this word is not meant for mortal beings. What most people don’t know about Gita Jayanti is, when Lord Krishna spoke the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna, it was not the first time that He spoke it. Gita Jayanti is not the birthday of Bhagavad Gita. It is the day when Bhagavad Gita was spoken the first time on this planet during this particular yuga cycle.
This is clearly mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita itself when Lord Krishna says:
imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam
vivasvan manave praha manur iksvakave ‘bravit
The Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvān, and Vivasvān instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikṣvāku. (BG 4.1)
In the very next verse Lord Krishna says that the knowledge he imparted to King Ikshvaku through parampara, or disciplic succession, got gradually lost. “This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it appears to be lost.” (B.G. 4.2)
This shows the message of Bhagavad Gita is eternally present and Lord Krishna delivers it in its original form as and when it needs to be revived.
In recent days, after the revolutionary preaching on the teachings of Bhagavad Gita by ISKCON’s founder-acharya Srila Prabhupada, Gita Jayanti has become one of the most important festivals across the world.
Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, which is Srila Prabhupada’s translation of the original Sanskrit text along with purports, has been translated in practically every language of the world and millions of copies have been distributed.
On Gita Jayanti day, especially in India, people spare a few hours to read all 18 chapters of Bhagavad Gita. Devotees also offer oblations in fire sacrifices (yajna) and distribute prasad to devotees.
There are some mental speculators who try to define Gita in their own ways by comparing it with human body saying the battlefield of Kurukshetra actually refers to our body, five Pandavas are five senses of the body, and so on. This less intelligent people forget that the place where Lord Sri Krishna spoke the Bhagavad Gita to His dear devotee Arjuna, Kurukshetra, is still present in North India and millions of people visit this holy place in memory of that historical event and offer their homages.