There is one kind of teaching that propagates a dogma, cult or creed. There is another kind of teaching that propagates ideals and life principles that are supremely above all cults and creeds. Scholars who regard the Gita as the fruit of some particular religious system do injustice to the universality of its message. The ideas it presents are not the speculations of a philosophic intellect, rather they are the enduring truths of spiritual realities that are verifiable in our own existence and sojourn through life. Thus, when the first English edition of the Gita was published, Warren Hastings, the then Governor General of India, wrote in his foreword: “These (writings of the inhabitants of India) will survive when the British dominion of India shall have long ceased to exist, and when the sources which it yielded of wealth and power are lost to remembrance.”
Our approach in studying the Gita must therefore not be a scholastic or academic scrutiny of its message, nor an effort to place its philosophy in the context of contending schools of thought. The Gita is not a treatise of metaphysical philosophy, despite the profusion of metaphysical ideas that arise from its pages. Instead, it seeks the highest truth for the highest practical utility, not for intellectual or even spiritual satisfaction, but as the truth that saves and opens to us the passage from our present mortal imperfection to an immortal perfection. We must therefore approach it for help and light in receiving the living message that can benefit human beings attain the highest welfare and spiritual perfection.