Mataji began by explaining that the Bhagavad Gita is a part of the Mahabharatha, one of the world's first recorded historic epics. Much of the Gita revolves around the teachings of Krishna to his cousin and first disciple, Arjuna. The lessons were presented as Arjuna struggled with his duty to take care of his subjects and debates going into battle or surrendering. While Arjuna was swaying from his duty to go to the battlefield, Krishna overpowers him by his teachings.
"Your attitude is what matters most," explained Mataji, relating the ancient texts and presenting their wisdom for today's realities. "Expect the best, prepare for the worst, work hard and don't worry about the results."
She spent the next several days further explaining these thoughts and breaking them down as such - when you expect the best, you have to apply yourself and work hard to get to your destination. If you are prepared for the worst, you have nothing to lose.
"Being prepared for the worst is what empowers you," said Mataji. "It's especially important in trying situations. It is easier if you are prepared. You need to balance yourself in life - that is yoga, not balancing on your head," she continued. Yoga is about choosing right over wrong, and maintaining balance. And as she further noted, making the right choices, as Arjuna had to do, is a great responsibility that lies within each of us.
We have to realize that results are not in our hands - results will take care of themselves. "You are the author of your actions, but not their results," she said. We discussed acceptance of results with gladness and a cheerful disposition - and the difficulty of doing that.
I thought about how many times I've worked so hard to plan events at work, and fretted if they didn't turn out perfectly despite hours of preparation. Once, a rainstorm severely impacted the attendance for a university event we'd been planning half a year. Who would've ever dreamed of a storm at the end of May? Looking back, I realize that all of my lamenting didn't really serve a purpose - in the end, those who came had a great time and enjoyed the event. And my team members and I did our very best in terms of planning and controlling what we could.
As Mataji explained, you can't necessarily change the circumstances of the outside world (rain in my case) but you can change your attitude toward events and their outcomes. I see parallels in relations with others as well - be it at the workplace or at home in our families. We live in such a results-oriented atmosphere, and often purpose and intent are overshadowed by a superior's desire for cold, hard results or numbers. It's important to remember that balance and attitude are key for wherever we chose to focus our energy and efforts!
I appreciated Mataji's candor and straightforward attitude with us. The 'Yoga in the Bhagavad Gita / Yoga Sutras of Patanjali' classes were among my favorite part of our two week yoga course. She taught us through the Bhagavad Gita and the yoga sutras how yoga can assist us to live better, more ethical and honest lives. Her deep reverence for and knowledge of the spiritual texts was evident, as was her conviction that, as she stated, "everything is God and God is everything." And regardless of countries of origin, professions, age, or countless other factors, it was apparent that everyone present appreciated the gems of advice from Mataji's philosophy lessons.