About the Book:
The Bhagavad Gita is one of the most important basic texts for the study of Hinduism, and has attracted the attention and admiration of thinkers throughout the world. The first edition of this great world scripture with the English translation and notes by Annie Besant and Bhagavan Das was Published in 1905; since then many other excellent editions and expositions of the text have come out; still the Bhagavad Gita by Annie Besant and Bhagavan Das hold a unique place.
The Bhagwad Gira is one of the most important basic texts for the study of Hinduism, and has attracted the attention and admiration of thinkers throughout the world. The first edition of this great world scripture with the English translation and notes by Annie Besant and Bhagavan Das was published in 1905; since then many other excellent editions and expositions of the text have come out; still the Bhagaved Gita by Annie Besant and Bhagavan Das holds a unique place.
The English translation combines accuracy and clarity, and preserves to a remarkable degree the emotional content of the original. The section dealing with the Grand Vision is rendered in verse form. The words in each verse are taken one by one in the prose order, and their literal meaning explained, pointing out the derivation of all difficult world and compounds. The major variations in the text are given in footnotes and Appendix I discusses the relative importance of the different readings. Some parallel passages from other world scriptures are pointed out in Appendix II Which also contains some expository notes and references for further study of the problems raised. The Introduction gives a brief outline of grammar of the Samskrt language. The detailed 'Table of Contents' sets forth succinctly the argument of the Gita, pointing out the connection and appropriateness of the aphorisms. At the end there is a complete word-index. Thus this edition carries within itself practically all the help needed for a preliminary 'literary' study of the text.
In this fifth edition we have adopted the system of transliteration that is now being followed universally. Some minor changes have also been made in the punctuation of the Samskrt Portion, to bring it in line with current practice. We are thankful to Dr. K. Kunjunni Raja for making the necessary revision.
THIS edition of Bhagavad Gita, the Lord's Song, has been prepared for use of those who, while studying this Indian scripture mainly for sake of its priceless teach- ings, wish, being a little acquainted with Samskrit, to utilise the text, thus gaining a fuller insight into the meaning than can be gained through a translation, and incidentally acquiring a better knowledge of that langu- age also. A brief note on the grammar of Samskrt, putting before the reader a few salient features thereof, is therefore added here. It tries to give a bird's-eye view of the subject and thus some idea of how one part is connected with another. Details, if desired, should be looked up in a regular work on Samskrt grammar. A complete Index-Glossary of all words used in the work is given at the end, which constitutes a dictionary of some 3000 words.
I. Alphabet: A complete alphabet would comprise hundreds, perhaps thousands, of single sounds. Out of these, each human race or sub-race uses a comparatively small number, selected in accordance with the constitu- tion of its vocal organs and of other aspects of its physi- cal and superphysical being. There is correspondence between all parts of an organism; and the means and instruments of manifestation possessed by a race or nation, as by an individual, are, generally speaking, in correspondence with the 'ruling passion,' the ' main idea,' which that race or nation embodies and has to express. These' ideas,' , passions,' , emotions,' , glories, ' , aspects,' , modifications,' of the Universal Self, Spirit, or Consciousness, are infinite; the World-Process which endeavours to express them is infinite. One main idea (others being subordinate) is expressed by one individ- ual, or one race, in anyone time and space. One stands for 'beauty,' another represents' strength,' a third is an exponent of' harmony' and' peace,' a fourth re- presents' war,' another embodies' science,' or' law,' or ., duty,' 'right,' 'pity,' or 'devotion,' and so on. The various members of a race, which is the embodiment and exponent of anyone such main idea, have to use means of communication with each other to intensify that exposition, to make their lives fuller and deeper. This means, during the present cycle of evolution, is mainly sound-language. In other cycles it may be sight-language, or touch-language, or smell-language, etc.; as even among us to-day, ants have touch-language through antennae, moths and dogs have smell-language through nose, birds, rabbits, deer have sign-language through colours and lifts up-and-down of tail, wing, etc.; while all have sound-language as well, of course. This sound-language is made up of single sounds, which, as said before, are in accordance with the' body,' physical constitution, of the race, which, again, is in accordance with its 'spirit,' its ruling idea. A race embodying sweetness and gentleness would unconsciously select soft and sweet sounds for its language; another manifesting martial strength and spirit, harsher and more definite ones.
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