Understanding, is the brain consciously recognizing and being able to recollect information. But, knowing, is where inherently the being knows without having to translate to recognizable words by the external world. The Bhagavad Gita has to be known and it has to be lived and experienced to know.
For eg., the verse 2-62, 63 in the Bhagavad Gita says
dhyÀyato vishayÀn pumsah sangas tesupajÀyate | sangÀt samjÀyate kÀmah kÀmÀt krodhobhijÀyate ||2-62|| krodhÀd bhavati sammohah sammohÀt smrtivibhramah | smrtibhramshÀd buddhinÀsho buddhinÀshÀt pranashyati ||2-63||
Which translates to:
By focussing on a specific object, you start getting attached to it By attachment comes action, by action comes anger By anger comes illusion, from illusion comes loss of understanding From loss of understanding comes destruction of knowledge By destruction of knowledge everything falls away
On the face of it, the understanding of these verses is very simple. I am sure in this case atleast, a number of us can look back and think and relate to a number of episodes that have happened in our lives. We want a specific sofa in our living room, a promotion, want to come first in an exam, get admitted into a specific college and so on does not matter. We start focussing all our energies into getting it. For whatever reason it does not happen in the exact same way as we want it, what happens we get angry at the shopkeeper, the examiner, anyone, possible. They can be related to the non-occurrence of the event or related, but anger comes and once it does how many of us have had to admit defeat and possible we have lost a lot of other things such as friendship, cordiality with neighbours. Simple things, but definitely destroyed comforts.
Yet, when it is occurring, how many of us can realize what is happening, and break it from going all the way to becoming worse? How many of us can stop at the root and not even get attached to what is happening?
Does that not require us to consciously view our actions as a third person, uninvolved, unaffected and totally disconnected from ourselves, emotionally and logically detached so that we can take an objective decision and stick to it.
This is exactly what I find is said in this just previous verses to the 2-62:
prajahÀti yadÀ kÀmÀn sarvÀn pÀrtha manogatÀn | Àtmany evÀtmanÀ tushtah sthitaprajnas tadocyate ||2-55|| duhkheshu anudvignamanÀh sukheshu vigataspÃhah | vitarÀgabhayakrodhah sthitadhÁr munir ucyate ||2-56|| yah sarvatrÀnabhisnehas tat tat prÀpya shubhÀshubham | nÀbhinandati na dveshyai tasya prajnÀ pratishthitÀ ||2-57|| yadÀ samharate cÀyam kurmo 'ngÀniva sarvathah | indriyanindriyÀrthebhyas tasya prajnÀ pratishthitÀ ||2-58||
if a person becomes quiet from all actions arising out of the manas and the atma that person is said to have a steady awareness A person without getting agitated by sadness or carried away by happiness A person without getting diffused by taste, fear, anger is called a steady seer He who has no love towards attainment, to the beautiful or welfare Is neither rejoicing nor hating keeps his awareness steadily fixed Just as how a turtle pulls itself into a shell, if a person can keep all his senses pulled away steadily
Strangely we all want to give it a connotation of renunciation. I do not find anywhere in the Gita anything told about renunciation, about God or any commandments to follow. All it has talked about is life and each and every paragraph has to be lived to be known.
Another eg., this relates to the reason Krishna gives to Arjuna as to why he needs to fight:
svadharmam api cÀvekshya na vikampitum arhasi | dharmyÀd dhi yuddhac chreyo 'nyat kshatriyasya na vidyate ||2-31|| yadÃcchayÀ copapannam svargadvÀram apÀvrtam | sukhinah kshatriyÀh pÀrtha labhante yuddham Ádrsham ||2-32|| atha cet tvam imam dharmyam sangrÀmah na karishyasi | tatah svadharmam kÁrtim ca hitvÀ pÀpam avÀpsyasi ||2-33|| akÁrtim chapi bhÂtÀni kathayinyanti te 'vyayÀm | sambhÀvitasya cÀkÁrtir maranÀd atiricyate ||2-34|| bhayÀd ranÀd uparatam mamsyante tvÀm mahÀrathÀh | yesham ca tvam bahumato bhutvÀ yÀsyasi lÀghavam ||2-35|| avÀcyavÀdÀmsh ca bahÂn vadisyanti tavÀhitÀm | nindantas tava sÀmarthyam tato duhkhataram nu kim ||2-36|| hato vÀ prÀpsyasi svargam jitvÀ vÀ bhokÍyase mahÁm | tasmÀd uttistha kaunteya yuddhÀya kÃtanishcayah ||2-37||
Don't worry about what is my dharma, other than ware for a kshatriya, there is nothing else if you fight and win the war, there is a heavenly door open to you and a kshatriya who has got a chance to fight has to be happy hence in don't debate on the validness of war because when you do that only more negative thoughts will occur when you debate and not fight, the only thing that will occur is that people will start commenting and say that you ran away for fear of fighting When people talk in this manner, it is definitely going to affect you The only thing that can happen because of this is regret better than all this is to fight and earn a name hence definitely fight the way
The point very simply here is that we live in a society. We can be people who want to give up, keep our awareness steady and try to become a seer. But, society has a certain reaction. They tend to talk, and even if they do not talk, our brains believe in society and tend to visualize people talking bad about us. When such a thing occurs, the brain cannot anymore hold the steady state for anything. It goes into a loop of thoughts and more thoughts. Hence it does not matter what, if a situation occurs and we need to do something, like or not, it is better to just get it done with and move forward. It is said, “I am not what I think I am, I am not what you think I am, I am what I think you think I am” and that makes all the difference between acting and not acting.
How many times has this occurred to us? Mistakes are made, we try to apologize, we start interpreting body language, we start interpreting un-said words, thoughts that are formed within us with no confirmation as to whether the other person is even thinking that, but that tends to keep us looped in that we do not think clearly and everything we have achieved is lost because of it.
Yes, the Gita has to be lived to be understood. While it seems very simple on the face of it, it takes a lifetime to live and know a lot of the verses in the Gita.