The Bhagavad-Gita has the original Sanskrit text with Roman transliteration, and a lucid English rendition. Concise and to the point commentaries of two hundred twenty seven (227) selected key verses are provided. One hundred thirty three (133) verses are printed in red to enable the first-time readers to study these verses before delving deep into the vast ocean of transcendental knowledge. The teachings of saints and sages of major religious denominations as well as world leaders and scholars have been included. Quotations from the Vedas, Puranas, Upanisads, Smrtis, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhakti-sutras, Brahma-sutra, Yoga-surra, as well as other major scriptures of the world such as the Bible, Dhammapad and Koran have been incorporated to underline the basic unity of all religious thoughts and to promote the universal brotherhood of mankind. Epilogue, references, Sanskrit transliteration and pronunciation guide, glossary and index are provided. A guide to meditation, beautiful pictures and Gita Calisa are included for daily Sadhana.
Dr. Ramananda prasad, Engineering Graduate, IIT, Kharagur India; M.S., University of Toronto; Ph.D., University of Illinois, has published several papers in the Journals of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Dr. Prasad founded the American Gita Society, with an aim to serve the humanity through the teachings of the Bhagavad- Gita and other scriptures, and to establish harmony between all cultures, races, religions and faiths of the world through the immortal teachings of all great masters, and major scriptuees.
The Gita is a doctrine of universal truth, the Sanatana dharma, commonly knoum as Hinduism. It has the capacity to come down to the level of the reader and raise him to peace of mind.
The originality of the author/compiler lies in providing a suitable gloss all the important stanzas. While doing this, he has drawn upon authentic sources of Indian philosophy and history, and has juxtaposed quotes from the teachings of other religions.
The Gita is a song - not just any song, but a very special song, the song of God - sung by the Divine Being of Infinite Consciousness to His most beloved devotee, Arjuna. Arjuna in Sarnskrt means clear white light, the brightness and clarity, the name of the man who manifested the clarity of pure devotion by which the Lord's wisdom may be heard, and by which the Universal Form may be perceived. And what a song it is! A symphony of soul's longing for divinity, of the search for clarity, the explanations of yoga - what constitutes divine union, and how one gets there. No subject of spiritual evolution remains neglected by the Gita.
It is said that if one reads Gita over and over again and applies its teachings in daily life, one becomes Tyagi. A Tyagi is the one who has renounced or abandoned all attachment, one who is free in the highest metaphysical sense, the great yogi of the ultimate wisdom. The Gita is timeless. It is an important work, worthy of study by every individual in the society who longs for spiritual life.
The Gita describes the activities of a person at peace, the thoughts of a person of wisdom, the yearning of a soul in love. Anyone whose soul has ever cried out for perfection or realization will find the Gita the handbook that expresses the fulfillment of all aspirations.
The Gita has been translated into more languages than any other literary work. In English alone there are more renditions than can be counted. Each one has its own character, each one a slightly different analysis. Some are poetic, some philosophical, some dog-matic, some universal. This translation by Dr. Prasad is just beautiful - so simple and clear. He uses just enough Sarnskrt to convey the majesty and beauty of the language and the intensity of the dialogue, and yet does not leave the reader dumbfounded in an unintelligible maze of vocabulary.
The second edition has been substantially revised and enlarged with a view to underline the harmony and unity between major teachings of the great religions of the world. All scriptures draw the water of truth from the same ocean. The teachings of Gila are non-sectarian and do not belong to any particular creed, cult, or country. They are meant for the people of the whole world. In this edition similar verses and teachings of major Hindu as well as non- Hindu scriptures of the world such as the Vedas, the Upanisads, the Puranas, the Mahabhltrata, the Bhakti Slitras, Yoga Sutra, Brahma Sutra, Manu Smrti, and Ramayanas, as well as the Dhammapada, the Bible, and the Koran have been added. Short commentaries of selected verses as well as the teachings of saints and sages have also been included to facilitate the understanding of difficult verses.
The writer wishes to offer adoration to saints and sages of all religions, and the commentators on Gila through whose grace and blessings alone I was able to write this commentary. I also wish to acknowledge the immeasurable contributions made to my spiritual life by my gurus under whose guidance I had an opportunity and privilege to start the study of the Gila, and Kriya- yoga. They are: Swami Prabhupada, Swami Chinmayananda, Swami Dayananda, Swami Harihar, Swami Divyananda, and Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji. I also wish to express my heartfelt appreciation and acknowledgment to Robert Bowles, Michael Beloved, Mumtaz Ali, Sayeed Chaudhury, Shankerprasad Bhatt, Laxmi Trivedi, Lal Bihari, Tej Singh, Praveen Kumar, and my brother Dayanand, wife Sadhana, ,daughter Reeta, and son Sanjay, for providing valuable suggestions, moral support, and encouragement during the development and preparation of the manuscript.
The Gita is a doctrine of universal truth. Its message is universal, sublime, and non-sectarian although it is a part of the scriptural trinity of Sanataria Dharma, commonly known as Hinduism. The Gita is very easy to understand in any language for a mature mind. A repeated reading with faith will reveal all the sublime ideas contained in it. A few abstruse statements are interspersed here and there but they have no direct bearing on practical issues or the central theme of Gita. The Gita deals with the most sacred metaphysical science. It imparts the knowledge of the Self and answers two universal questions: Who am I, and how can I lead a happy and peaceful life in this world of dualities. It is a book of yoga, the moral and spiritual growth, for mankind based on the cardinal principles of Hindu religion.
The message of Gita came to humanity because of Arjuna's unwillingness to do his duty as a warrior, because fighting involved destruction and killing. Nonviolence or Ahimsa is one of the most fundamental tenets of Hinduism. All lives, human or non-human, are sacred. This immortal discourse between the Supreme Lord, Krsna, and His devotee-friend, Arjuna, occurs not in a temple, a secluded forest, or on a mountain top but on a battle-field on the eve of a war and is recorded in the great epic, Mahabharata. In Gita Lord Krisna advises Arjuna to get up and fight. This may create a misunderstanding of the principles of Ahimsa if the background of the war of Mahabharata is not kept in mind. Therefore, a brief historical description is in order.
In ancient times there was a king who had two sons, Dhrtarastra and Pandu. The former was born blind, therefore, Pandu inherited the kingdom. Pandu had five sons. They were called the Pandavas. Dhrtarastra had one hundred sons. They were called the Kauravas. Duryodhana was the eldest of the Kauravas.
After the death of king Pandu the Pandavas became the lawful king. Duryodhana was a very jealous person. He also wanted the kingdom. The kingdom was divided into two halves between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Duryodhana was not satisfied with his share of the kingdom. He wanted the en ire kingdom for himself. He unsuccessfully planned several foul plays to kill the Pandavas and take away their kingdom. He unlawfully took possession of the entire kingdom of the Pandavas and refused to give back even an acre of land without a war. All mediation by Lord Krsna and others failed. The big war of Mahabharata was thus inevitable. The Pandavas were unwilling participants. They had only two choices: Fight for their right as a matter of duty or run away from war and accept defeat in the name of peace and nonviolence. Arjuna, one of the five Pandava brothers, faced the dilemma in the battle-field whether to fight or run away from war for the sake of peace.
Arjuna's dilemma is, in reality, the universal dilemma. Every human being faces dilemmas, big and small, in their everyday life when performing their duties. Arjuna's dilemma was the biggest of all. He had to make a choice between fighting the war and killing his most revered guru, very dear friends, close relatives, and many innocent warriors or running away from the battle-field for the sake of preserving the peace and nonviolence. The entire seven hundred verses of the Gita is a discourse between Lord Krsna and the confused Arjuna on the battle-field of Kuruksetra near New Delhi, India, about 5,000 years ago. This discourse was narrated to the blind king, Dhrtarastra, by his charioteer, Samjaya, as an eye witness war report.
The central teaching of the Gita is the attainment of freedom or happiness from the bondage of life by doing one's duty. Always remember the glory and greatness of the creator and do your duty efficiently without being attached to or affected by the results even if that duty may at times demand unavoidable violence. Some people neglect or give up their duty in life for the sake of a spiritual life while others excuse themselves from spiritual practices because they believe that they have no time. The Lord's message is to sanctify the entire living process itself. Whatever a person does or thinks ought to be done for the glory and satisfaction of the Maker. No effort or cost is necessary for this process. Do your duty as a service to the Lord and humanity and see God alone in everything in a spiritual frame of mind. In order to gain such a spiritual frame of mind, personal discipline, austerity, penance, good conduct, selfless service, yogic practices, meditation, worship, prayer, rituals, and study of scriptures, as well as the company of holy persons, pilgrimage, chanting of the holy names of God, and Self-inquiry are needed to purify the body, mind, and intellect. One must learn to give up lust, anger, greed, and establish mastery over the six senses (hearing, touch, sight, taste, smell, and mind) by the purified intellect. One should always remember that all works are done by the energy of nature and that he or she is not the doer but only an instrument. One must strive for excellence in all undertakings but maintain equanimity in success and failure, gain and loss, and pain and pleasure.
The ignorance of metaphysical knowledge is humanity's greatest predicament. A scripture, being the voice of transcendence, cannot be translated. Language is incapable and translations are defective to clearly impart the knowledge of the Absolute. In this rendering, an attempt has been made to keep the style as close as possible to the original Samskrt poetry and yet make it easy to read . and understand. An attempt has been made to improve the clarity by adding words or phrases, within parenthesis, in the English translation of the verses. A glossary and index have been included. One hundred and thirty-three (l33) key verses are printed in red color for the convenience of beginners. We suggest all our readers to ponder, contemplate, and act upon these verses. The beginners and the busy executives should first read and understand the meaning of these key verses before delving deep into the bottomless ocean of transcendental knowledge of the Gita.
According to Varaha Purana no sin, however heinous, can affect the one who reads, ponders, and practices the teachings of Gita any more than water affects the lotus leaf. The Lord Himself resides where Gita is kept, read, chanted, or taught. The Gita is the knowledge Supreme and the sound embodiment of the Absolute and the Eternal. The one who reads, ponders, and practices the teachings of Gila with faith and devotion will attain Moksa (or nirvana) by the grace of God.
This book is dedicated to my Sad guru, His Holiness Paramahamsa Hariharanandaji Maharaja and all other gurus whose blessings, grace, and teachings have been invaluable. It is offered to the greatest guru, Lord Krsna, with love and devotion. May the Lord accept it, and bless those who repeatedly read this with peace, happiness, and the true knowledge of the Self.
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