FaithTech Series: Bhagavad Gita lessons through a virtual lens

FaithTech Series: Bhagavad Gita lessons through a virtual lens

An international mergers and acquisitions lawyer with global law firm Gowling WLG, Dhruv Chhatralia, is the founder of Shyam Bhagavad Gita classes. He has authored of over 21 books on Hinduism, has given more than 325 public talks on spirituality, totalling over 350 hours.

A regular speaker on the benefits of yoga and mental health, ‘iGlobal’ caught up with Chhatralia for our regular FaithTech Series, which explores the use of technology to spread the message of faith, especially to surmount the constraints of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

Spiritual journey

Inspired by his spiritual journey, Chhatralia set off to travel the world in 2008 – reading various religious literature from across the world but it was the ‘Bhagavad Gita’ that would have the most profound impact on him.

“I began learning from various teachers and gurus and ended up writing the commentary on the ‘Bhagavad Gita’, ‘Hanuman Chalisa’, and ‘Srimad Bhagavatam’. It has been nine years since I decided to start teaching in 2011 and since then we have gone on to speak at the Parliament regularly and to the British Army.”

He aims to establish a system of education that will make people feel richer within and is inspired to understand spirituality in its universal perspective, without religious or sectarian boundaries.

“Because my spiritual questions were answered, they empowered me a lot and I wanted to go out and empower other people. I think a lot of young people in the UK, in the West and India, have lost connection with their roots, and without our identity we are nothing. Identity is very important, and I want to kind of revive the identity of who we are, and the teachings of our talks cover all different religions.”

Free classes

The classes are run free of charge and when Chattrilia is not busy working on cases he can be found training others (34 people so far) to go out and speak the universal wisdom of ancient Hindu scriptures.

"It's been a beautiful and demanding journey because I work as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer and do this in my free time," he said.

The ‘Gita’ is one of the most influential ancient texts in Eastern philosophy, centered around a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Prince Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, within the ancient Indian epic of ‘Mahabharata’. Consisting of 140 classes studying each of the 18 chapters of the ancient spiritual text, the online study course covers and analyses every single verse, shlokas, and syllable.

Covid effect

There has been a skyrocketing in the numbers of people joining since the Covid-19 quarantine rules came into force.

“It is very comprehensive and all encompassing, there is a lot which can be learned from the beauty of the Sanskrit language. It’s a very in-depth study of the ‘Gita’ because it’s the longest commentary in history and a study which answers people’s questions.”

Participants from 160 different countries across the globe have been tuning into the sessions which are run via Zoom and are then uploaded onto YouTube.

“The key is to make the wisdom of the scriptures universally available because it can be a struggle for people to access them. Whether that be because of geography, time, and expenses – our classes are all online, free, and in English.”

More about the teacher:

*Successfully completed 154 weeks and 225 hours of continuous 140 weekly talks on the ‘Bhagavad Gita; at a City law firm in London over the course of three years.

* On 10 July 2017, Chhatralia became the first person in history to recite the entire ‘Ramayana’ at the British Parliament

*On 11 December 2017, he became the first person in history to recite the ‘Bhagavad Gita’ at an event in the House of Lords hosted by British Indian peers Lord Dolar Popat and Lord Jitesh Gadhia.

by Preeti Bali

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