DO AS YOU LIKE (Yathecchasi Thatha Kuru)

The following short article on stanza 18.63 of Bhagavadgita has been published as a Blog I have posted seven Blogs so far at this spiritual site of Times Group. M G Warrier Yathecchasi Thathaa Kuru (Do As You Like) M G Warrier Iti te gyanamaakhyanam guhyaadguhyataram mayaa Vimrsytadaseshena yathecchasi thathaa kuru(Bhagavadgita, 18.63) (Thus, has this wisdom, the most profound secret of all secret knowledge, been imparted to you by Me, deeply pondering over it, now do as you like) Post-International Yoga Day, Barrack Obama must have picked up the copy of Bhagavadgita lovingly gifted to him by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to go deeper into the meaning of Yoga, so that he can use some quotes as 2016 Elections are not far off. By now, President must be having a fair idea of the measure of brand value to India added by Yoga! Myself, now in my seventies, picked up my first copy of Bhagavadgita in 1963 when I was yet in my teens. The price I paid for the subsidised paper-back pocket edition brought out by Gita Press, Gorakhpur was twenty-five paise(The price printed on the book was 12P, corrected in ink as 25 Paise)…The book is still with Govind’s mother Smita, my daughter-in-law. Gita Press is now selling bound edition of the same Bhagavadgita @Rs15/- (Thirty-ninth Reprint 2013 15000 copies…Total 9,62,625 copies till 2013). This much intro to establish my right to dwell on the content of the book. After Bible, Gita must be the highest quoted scripture. This has brought to the book enough popularity and made it controversial in several respects, mostly for reasons of misquoting or misinterpretation. We will leave the controversies aside for now, but go little deeper into the content of the text. While on misquoting and misrepresentation, only yesterday(June 24, 2015), a comment on weather in India, made by RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan while in Stockholm attending Riksbank Macroprudential Conference (he said: “Monsoon in India thus far has been quite strong”) was interpreted as indicative of his intention to reduce base interest rates, once he returns home! The Gita stanza quoted at the beginning here is not an oft quoted one. I picked it up because I thought that is the best guidance a teacher can give his best student, in normal circumstances. The problem arises when the student accepts the last three words, “Yathecchasi thathaa kuru”(Do as you like) ignoring the whole prefix, “Thus, has this wisdom, the most profound secret of all secret knowledge, been imparted to you by Me, deeply pondering over it, now…” To be honest to the text of Bhagavadgita, one should also remember and give credit to the nine stanzas that followed 18.63. These begin with the advice, “Hear, again, My supremely profound words, the most esoteric of all truths; as you are extremely dear to Me, therefore, I shall give you this salutary advice for your own good.” And conclude with a genuine concern of the teacher, “Have you, O Arjuna, heard this Gospel of the Gita attentively? And has your delusion born of ignorance been destroyed, O Dhananjaya, conqueror of riches?” Krishna gets an affirmation from Arjuna in these words: “Krishna, by your grace my delusion has been destroyed and I have gained wisdom. I am free of all doubt. I will do your bidding.” One wishes, if those in charge of governance and policy, even while being democratic in allowing people the choice of “yathecchasi thathaa kuru”(Do as you like), prefixed the guidance with abundant caution as Krishna did here, and had the wisdom to insist on ensuring implicit compliance by being transparent and convincing while issuing regulatory and supervisory instructions. Legislative regulation to self-regulation is a long way. &&&&&&&&&&&&&&& (Writer is author of 2014 book “Banking, Reforms & Corruption: Development Issues in 21st Century India” and can be reached at


Unknown said…
Do as you like may be one the interpretations .But a more practical approach may be to interpret the words as "take an informed decision". "Do as you like" may mean washing the advisor's hands off the decision.This does not appear to be the case.Bhagawan wants Arjuna to weigh the repurcussions and take an appropriate decion. This is how I as a layman look at it.
Thank you, Sivaraman Sir. I agree. My quarrel is also about quoting scriptures in bits and pieces. I thought, the freedom to 'do as you like' will attract people to read some stanzas of Gita which is very relevant today as it was at any point of time. Happy to know that I am still being watched by my 'teachers'!

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