The Bhagavadgita is one phase of the Tripod of Indian philosophy and culture, the other two phases being the Upanishads and the Brahmasutras. While the Upanishads lay the foundation of the loftiest reach possible for humanity and the Brahmasutras logically elucidate the intricate issues involved in the Upanishads, the Bhagavadgita blends together the Transcendent and the Immanent features of the Ultimate Reality, bringing together into an integrated whole knowledge and action, the inner and the outer, the individual and the society, man and God, all which are portrayed as facets of a Universal Operation, presenting entire life and all life as a perfectly complete organic wholeness, leaving nothing unsaid and attempting to solve every problems of life.
Scanning of colour illustrations and jacket cover design, and the negative films of this book are by courtesy of Sri S.P. Jain, M/s J. Samanta.
Born on the 8th September, 1887, in the illustrious family of Sage Appayya Dikshita and several other renowned saints and savants, Sri Swami Sivananda had a natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of Vedanta. Added to this was an inborn eagerness to serve all and an innate feeling of unity with all mankind.
His passion for service drew him to the medical career; and soon he gravitated to where he thought that his service was most needed. Malaya claimed him. He had earlier been editing a Health Journal and wrote extensively on health problems. He discovered that people needed right knowledge most of all; dissemination of that knowledge he espoused as his own mission.
The Bhagavad Gita has been acclaimed to be a gospel of life. It has been translated into almost all the languages and has drawn the attention of scholars, saints and mystics, the world over. The importance of the Bhagavad Gita is in its offering satisfactory solutions to the problems that beset mankind of all times. His Holiness Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj is one of the great exponents of the philosophy, religion and the technique of the Bhagavad Gita system, and his commentary is regarded as one of the most authoritative expositions available.
This work originally appeared, in the early days of the Divine Life Society, as a series in six parts, published separately, which later on, was combined into a single volume and released for the benefit of the students of Yoga. Having passed through several editions, it is now once again being made available to the public, after it ran out of print some time ago. It has been our endeavour to bring out this edition in as neat a form as possible, which, we are confident, will meet the demands of students as well as the public in general, in an appreciable manner.
It was divine dispensation and the blessing of God upon mankind that the doctor of body and mind renounced his career and took to a life of renunciation to qualify himself for ministering to the soul of man. He settled down at Rishikesh in 1924, practiced intense austerities and shone as a great Yogi, saint, sage and Jivanmukta.
In 1932 he started the Sivanandashram. In 1936 was born The Divine Life Society. In 1948 the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy was organized. Dissemination of spiritual knowledge and training of people in Yoga and Vedanta were their aim and object. In 1950 he undertook a lightning tour of India and Ceylon. In 1953 he convened a 'World Parliament of Religions'. He is the author of over 300 volumes and has disciples all over the world, belonging to all nationalities, religions and creeds. To read his works is to drink at the Fountain of Wisdom Supreme. On 14th July, 1963 he entered Mahasamadhi.
The Bhagavad Gita is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, narrated in the Bhishma-Parva of the Mahabharata. It comprises eighteen chapters of a total of 700 Sanskrit verses. Considerable matter has been condensed and compressed within these verses. On the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna, during the course of His most interesting and instructive talk with Arjuna, revealed the profound, sublime and soul-stirring spiritual truths, and expounded to him the rare secrets of Yoga, Vedanta, Bhakti and Karma. All the teaching of Lord Krishna were subsequently recorded as the Song Celestial or the Bhagavad Gita by Sri Bhagavan Vyasa for the benefit of humanity at large. The world is under great debt of gratitude to Sri Vyasa who has presented this Celestial Song to humanity for their daily conduct in life, spiritual uplift and Self-realisation. Only those who are self-controlled and are endowed with faith can reap the full benefit of the Gita, which is the Science of the Soul.
The Gita Jayanti day or the birthday of the Bhagavad Gita is celebrated throughout India by all the admirers and lovers of this unique book on the 11th day (Ekadasi) of the bright half of the Margasirsha month according to the Hindu almanac. It was the day on which this scripture was revealed to the world by Sanjay.
In the whole world-literature there is no book so elevating and so inspiring as the Gita. The Gita expounds very lucidly the cardinal principles or the fundamentals of the Hindu religion and the Hindu Dharma. It is source of all wisdom. It is your great guide. It is your supreme teacher. It is an inexhaustible spiritual treasure. It is a fountain of bliss. It is an ocean of Knowledge. It is full of divine splendour and grandeur.
The Gita is the cream of the Vedas. It is the essence of the Upanishads. It is the universal scripture for all people of all temperaments and for all times. It is a wonderful book with sublime thoughts and practical instructions on Yoga, devotion, Vedanta and action. It is a marvellous book, profound in thoughts and sublime in heights of vision. It gives peace and solace to the souls who are afflicted by the three fires (Taapas) of this mortal world (Samsara), viz., Adhyatmika (afflictions caused by one's own body), Adhibhautika (those caused by beings around one), and Adhidaivika (those caused by the gods).
The Bhagavad Gita contains the divine nectar. It is the Chintamani, Kalpataru and Kamadhenu (wish-fulfilling gem, tree and cow respectively). You can milk out anything from it. It is a book of eternity. It is not a catch-penny book which has a life like that of a mushroom. The Gita has been my constant companion of life. It is a vade mecum for all. Peace, Bliss Ananda, Happiness, wisdom, Atman, Brahman, Purusha, Dhama, Nirvana, Param Padam, Gita are all only synonymous terms.
The Gita is boundless ocean of nectar. It is an immortal celestial fruit of the tree of the Upanishads. In this unique book, you will find an unbiased exposition of the philosophy of action, devotion and Knowledge, and a wonderful synthesis. The Bhagavad Gita is a rare and splendid flower that waft its sweet aroma throughout the world. All the Upanishads represent the cows. Sri Krishna is the milker of the Upanishad-cows; Partha (Arjuna) is the calf who first tasted that milk of wisdom of self, which was milked by the Divine Cowherd, Sri Krishna, for the benefit of Arjuna and all humanity, as the Bhagavad Gita. It helps to solve not only Arjuna's problems and doubts, but also the world problems and the problems and doubts of every individual. Glory of Lord Krishna, the Friend of the cowherds of Gokula, the Joy of Devaki! He who drinks the nectar of the Gita through purification of the heart and meditation, attains immortality, eternal bliss, everlasting peace and perennial joy.
Just as the dark, unfathomed depths of the ocean contain most precious pearls, so also the Gita contains spiritual gems of incalculable value. You will have to dive deep into the depths of the ocean of the Gita with sincere attitude of reverence and faith. Only then will you be able to collect the spiritual pearls of the Gita. Only then will you be able to comprehend the profound and subtle teaching of the Gita.
The Gita is a unique book for all ages. It is a book that comes under the category of Prasthanatrya, the authoritative books of the Hindu religion. The Gita is the Immortal Song of the Soul, which bespeaks of the glory of life. The instructions that inculcated by Lord Krishna are for the whole world. It is a standard book on Yoga for all. The language is as simple as it could be. Even a man who has an elementary knowledge of Sanskrit can go through the book. It deals with the four Yogas, viz., Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga.
There are countless commentaries on the Gita at the present day. A volume can be written on each verse. A busy man with Karmic tendencies will be benefited by the commentary of Sri Bala Gangadhara Tilak (Gita Rahasya), a man of devotion by studying Sridhara's commentary, and a man of reason by Sri Sankara's commentary.
There are now hundreds of commentaries on this wonderful book. The Gita is like an ocean. Sri Sankara, Sri Ramanuja and Sri Madhva have given their own interpretations of the Gita and established their own philosophy. Anyone can dive deep into this ocean of the Gita, bring out the most precious pearls of divine knowledge and give his own interpretation. Glory to the Gita! Glory to the Lord of the Gita!
The teachings of the Gita are broad, universal and sublime. Its teachings do not belong to any cult, sect, creed, particular age, place or country. They are meant for the people of the whole world at large. The teachings are based on the Upanishads, the ancient wisdom of the seers (Rishis) and sages. It teaches a method which is within the reach of all. It has a message for the solace, peace, freedom, salvation and perfection of all human beings.
The Gita is like the lake Manasasarovara for the Pararna- hamsas (monks and renunciates) and thirsting aspirants to sport in. It is the ocean of bliss in which the seekers of Truth swim with joy and ecstasy. If the philosopher's stone touches a piece of iron even at one point, the whole of it is transformed into gold. Even so, if you live in the spirit of even one verse, you will doubtless be transmuted into divinity.
Study of the Gita alone is sufficient for the purpose of daily Svadhyaya (scriptural study). You will find a solution here for all your doubts. The more you study with devotion and faith, the more you will get deeper knowledge, penetrative insight and clear right thinking. Even if you live in the spirit of one verse of the Gita, all your miseries will come to an end and you will attain the goal of life-Immortality and Eternal Peace.
The Gita is a gospel for the whole world. It is meant for the generality of mankind. It was given over five thousand years ago on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, by Lord Krishna to Arjuna.
None but the Lord can bring out such an unprecedented and marvellous book which gives peace to the readers, which helps and guides them in the attainment of Supreme Bliss, which has survived up to this time. This itself, proves clearly that God exists, that God is an embodiment of knowledge and that one can attain perfection or liberation by realising God alone.
The whole world is a big battlefield. The real Kurukshetra is within you. The battle of Mahabharata is still raging within you. Ignorance (Avidya) is Dhritarashtra. The individual soul is Arjuna. The Indweller Who dwells in your heart is Lord Krishna, the charioteer. The body is your chariot. The senses (lndriyas) are the horses. The mind, egoism, senses, Samskaras (mental impressions), Vasanas (latent tendencies), cravings, Raga-Dvesha (likes and dislikes), lust, jealousy, greed, pride and hypocrisy are your dire enemies.
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