Many Hindus have been reciting the Gita slokas each day as a tradition across generations. But, is there a way that we can put these Gita teachings to practice especially in a modern context?
So far as we are concerned, we have to approach this study in this modern period from a point of view different from our traditional way. In the past, people mostly read the Gita as a pious act, and for a little peace of mind. We never realized that this is a book of intense practicality, that this is the greatest book of practical Vedanta capable of helping us to create a society of fully developed human beings.
We never understood the practical application of the Gita teachings. If we had done so, we would not have had the thousand years of foreign invasions, internal caste conflicts, feudal oppressions, and mass poverty. We never took the Gita seriously; but now we have to. We need a philosophy that can help us to build a new welfare society, based on human dignity, freedom, and equality. That is what we have set before ourselves in modern India, and that is also what is inspiring all the people of the world; and here in the Gita is a philosophy that will train people's minds and hearts in that direction. This orientation, a practical orientation, was given to the Gita for the first time in the modern age by Swami Vivekananda. Sri Krishna gave it several thousand years ago as a practical philosophy, but we converted it into a mere book of piety.
When we read the Gita Dhyana Slokas—those remarkable verses on "The Meditation Verses on the Gita", we will find this idea there. The Gita is compared to the milk taken out of the cow, meaning the Vedas, by Sri Krishna, the milkman. What is the milk for? It is not meant for worship, but it is meant to be drunk for our nourishment. Then alone can one get strength. But all these hundreds of years, we took that glass of milk, worshipped it with flowers, and saluted it, but never drank it. That is why we are feeble, physically, mentally, and socially. That will change if we now start drinking this milk and assimilate it. That will help us to develop character strength, work efficiency, and a spirit of service, and to forge a new national destiny.
Reference: Universal Message of the Bhagavad Gita Vol. 1 by Swami Ranganathananda (p.9,10)