1) What is the significance of Chapter V of the Bhagavad Gita? Chapter 5 of the Bhagavad Gita is entitled ‘Karma Sannyasa Yoga’, ‘The Yoga of Renunciation of Action’. Renunciation and relinquishment have often been misconstrued and misunderstood. The biggest lesson from this chapter is that renunciation does not mean escapism or giving up action. In fact, action is the insignia of life. One needs to plough through action to reach renunciation. Action performed in a spirit of service and sacrifice brings about dispassion. Renunciation is a mental attitude. It marks one’s inner growth and maturity. Moreover, renunciation is an essential prerequisite for practising meditation. Chapter 5 elucidates this stage of human evolution preliminary to meditation and realisation. 2) How would you describe the relevance of the Bhagavad Gita to the modern man? The Bhagavad Gita has a universal message for mankind and establishes the existence of the highest Truth and prescribes different techniques to recognise it. With this knowledge one is able to live a life of dynamism and peace. When people become helpless victims to challenges of the world, incapable of dealing with situations, succumbing to external pressures and stress, the knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita fortifies the human intellect with knowledge and prepares them to face and overcome any challenge leading them to a stress-free and successful life. 3) What other issues do you plan to discuss during your lecture series? Another valuable lesson to learn from this chapter pertains to the art of right contact. Human beings are drawn to sense objects of the world for pleasure and happiness. However, they indulge in external contacts and lose the enjoyment. Sensual pleasures arising out of external contacts have a diminishing value and ultimately culminate in sorrow. This chapter teaches you how to contact the world without losing the enjoyment. 4) There is so much of hatred and disharmony in our country in the name of religion. What is your view as a commentator on the ancient Indian philosophy of Vedanta? Hatred and disharmony are generated due to one’s attachment to religion. Not religion per se. Attachment is an indiscriminate thought flow. It is mental bondage that produces sorrow and misery. Human mind can get attached to virtually anything it alights on: objects and beings, ideas and ideologies, doctrines and dogmas. As attachment intensifies, one becomes possessive, even fanatic. The antidote to attachment is the development of the human intellect.