The Bhagavad Gita has influenced India through the centuries. In our own days, the Gita is a growing influence in Europe and America. I look forward to the day when a Gita university will be established. Will it be at Kasi or Kurukshetra or in the South where Sri Shankaracharya taught, centuries ago?
In the South, too, lived a saint known as Tiruvalluvar—the author of the book named the “Kural”. It is regarded as the “Fifth Veda”.
Tiruvalluvar was, like Kabir, a weaver by profession. He came under the influence of the thought and wisdom enshrined in the Gita and became a teacher of spiritual life. In the “Kural” he calls upon all to do their duty, renouncing all desire for fruits of action. “Be like a cloud,” he says, “that pours water but asks for nothing in return.”
There is the secret of true religion. The teacher of the “Kural” asks us to strive for inner freedom from the world. In addition to this ethic of inwardness, the Kural, like the Gita, sounds the note of the ethic of love—the note of bhakti. Life is not meant to be hoarded: life is meant to be given away, given freely to all, given in love and in the spirit of joy. “The man full of love,” says the Kural, “gives his very bones to others.”
So, in the Mahayana, the great saviour named Avalokites-vara is represented as a “winged steed” and is named “Cloud” (Valahala), who carries to the “Other Shore”, the far-off bank of enlightenment or freedom—all who wish to go there.