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Life's Pilgrimage Through The Gita

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Item Code: NAW097
Author: Swami Muni Narayana Prasad
Publisher: D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 8124603103
Pages: 592
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 1.01 kg
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Book Description
About the Book

The Bhagavad Gita, in this commentary is realized as a philosophical treatise of universal significance, having a bearing on the personal existence of each of us, as it is inseparably one with the existence of the whole

. Taking cognizance of the overall development of the thought in the text, it enunciates the first half as a visualization of the oneness of the total system of existence and life with one Absolute Reality; with the second half insightfully proclaiming the unity of every individual, while maintaining one's characteristics, with the Cosmic Form, the concrete version of the Absolute or Bhagavan. It elaborates how each of its chapters and even verses leads to the next one, all in line with the overall scheme of thought. Acknowledging Gita as a yoga-sastra (science of dialectics), it explicates how this methodological device strings together all the seemingly contradictory statements; revealing an ineffably uniting experience, befitting a scientifically and practically conceived non-dualism or advaita.

Though written as a short of varttika to Nataraja Guru's famous commentary on the Gita, this one is appreciable as an independent book, since it delves into the depth of each verse directly in the view of the core philosophical vision the Gita intends to communicate.

About the Author

Swami Muni Narayana Prasad is the Guru and the Head of Narayana Gurukula, a guru-disciple foundation to all, irrespective of caste, gender, religion or nation, aimed at promoting the Science of the Absolute as restated by Narayana Guru. A disciple of Nataraja Guru and Guru Nitya Chaitanya Yati, he has travelled widely teaching Indian Philosophy.


IT might appear odd if the founder of a spiritual movement and two of his immediate successors wrote separate commentaries on the same Vedantic text, as has happened in the Narayana Gurukula.

Nataraja Guru, our founder, wrote his famous Gita commentary, which was first published in 1961. Here the parallels of ideas were mainly from the West.

Guru Nitya Chaitanya Yati, his Successor, wrote a condensed commentary in English and an elaborate one in Malayalam. While following the line of thought of his Guru, the parallels used by Guru Nitya, were from the East.

The present commentary written by Guru Nitya's successor, rather than going into parallel streams of thought, prefers to try and explore what is directly evident in the verses and chapters of the text.

Way back in 1951, while I was seventeen years old, I happened to participate in a thirtytwo-day-long discourse on the Gita by a renowned scholar. Though at that time I understood little, then, it aroused in me an enthusiasm to undertake the learning of the Gita. Afterwards, when I became a disciple of Nataraja Guru, his commentary 'on the Gita, along with the philosophy of Narayana Guru, marked the guidelines of my disciplehood. During all these years and for almost two decades the longing to arrive at a clear understanding of the Gita constantly welled up in my being.

It was only after the samadhi of Nataraja Guru, that I felt fully satisfied in this regard. Nataraja Guru himself had nudged me towards the core of the Gita not only through direct teaching, but also by asking penetrating questions. These questions, which he himself never answered, required long contemplation (in my case, two decades!) to finally get answered. I also had the opportunity to take down more than half of Guru Nitya Chaitanya Yati's commentary in Malayalam. The Gita contains a number of apparently paradoxical positions that require solution before all the several details can be put together into a coherant philosophical vision, and this was made easier with the help of hints in Guru Nitya's commentary.

Thus I was aided in many ways in my attempt to understand the Gita, and by way of further preparing myself to gain an overall perspective, I gave a series of discourses on the Gita at different places. Whenever I felt a lack of clarity or became unsure how to proceed, the philosophy of Narayana Guru came to my rescue. The present book is thus an outcome of the efforts I have described earlier.

It may be recalled here that Adi Sankara's immediate succeessors had made further commentaries on those of their Guru. Such successive commentaries are known as uarttikas (explanatory supplements) and tikas (glosses), and the present commentary can be treated as a uartika, though it can be read and understood independently also.

The commentary for each verse was written after discussions with a group of senior research students of the.Narayana Gurukula, who also took down the commentry. This dictation was given in Malayalam, while I prepared the English version myself. The Malayalam version was published in 2000 and was well received by readers, and well reviewed by the press. Mrs. Kala of Bangalore helped me with the editing of the book.

Messrs D.K. Printworld of New Delhi are rendering great services to the cause of promoting the wisdom heritage of India. They had always shown willingness to publish such commentaries by including them in their series, "Rediscovering Indian Literary Classics." Those who love wisdom will remain grateful to D.K. Printworld.

I offer this Life's Pilgrimage Through the Gita, as a guide to spiritual aspirants who look for guidance in the Gita.

Prostrations at the feet of my two direct gurus, and the long line of previous gurus!


INDIA has always been glorified for her wisdom tradition. The Sanskrit name of India, 'Bharata,' itself means "one who delights in effulgence" (bha meaning effulgence, and rata, the one who delights in). What is the essential content of this wisdom? It is necessary to know that which is essentially real in one's being; only then will one be able to lead a happy life. One should know that one's existence is inseparable from the existence of the whole, and one's life is inseparable from the life of the whole. This awareness makes life meaningful and free of fetters. This is the essential content of wisdom, and the ultimate goal of life.

The Bhagavad-Gita

This wisdom, more a vision than a systematized philosophy, first found expression in the Upanisads, The gems of this vision, scattered all through the various Upanisads, were collected, collated and systematized as a critically, appreciable school of thought by Badarayana in his Vedanta-Sutras. also known as Brahma-Sutras, Uttara-Mimamsa-Sutras or Sariraka-Mimamsa-Sutras. Badarayana's goal was to ensure logical plausibility to the philosophical problems, directly and indirectly resolved in the Upanisads. The Bhagavad- Glla, on the other hand, re-presents the same philosophy of life - the Advaita Philosophy - as the one and final absolute solution to all conflicting life situations. One's own life, its peculiarities, and dilemmas are all perceived as part of the overall wheel of life - prakrti or nature - which rolls on moving by its inherent creative urge. This perception brings about a peaceful life, and gives one the boldness to face dilemmas with undeterred firmness, and-an absolute sense ,of freedom and detachment. The Gita, in enabling its student to transform a non-dual vision of Reality into this kind of life, gives an experience far different from any kind of certainty through intellectual acumen.

Universal Appeal

The Gita fulfils the need for universality. National, religious and other barriers are rendered irrelevant under the force of its vision, and this has gained the Gita universal acceptance. It cuts across all boundaries, even as the Hindus continue to treat it as their most sacred scripture.

The Gita has been translated into almost all the world languages, sometimes many translations appearing in the same language. Each new translation hopes to be closer to the original. Countless commentaries on the Gita have appeared through the ages. Though not much is known about the commentaries prior to Sankara, a large collection of varying nature, emerging after Sankara, is now available. However, often, though the insights are profound, the feeling still continues that something more remains hidden, and this is what urges people into creating new commentaries. Some of these commentaries appeared to support particular ideologies or ideals, with proponents of certain schools of thought choosing to interpret it in ways that supported their philosophy. What the commentators often find difficult or even forget, is being true to the vision and intention of the original author, Vyasa. This point was underscored by Nataraja Guru in his commentary on the Gita

. Dialectics

Nataraja Guru's guiding principle in his work was to be fully true to the spirit of Vyasa's intentions. He kept as a central point the fact that the Gita calls itself a yoga satsra (the science of yoga). Krsna himself off and on points out that he relies on yoga-buddhi (the method of yoga). Yogi, yukta, yogarudha, yogayukta, yogayuktatma are some of the terms he uses to identify those who understand his teaching. Nataraja Guru pointed out that this yoga-buddhi is, in essence, not different from the "dialectics" of Western thought, used from the time of Socrates. Plato characterized "dialectics" as the coping stone of wisdom. The Gita, in the same tone, declares that its ultimate teaching is "that wisdom, attaining which, nothing more remains to be known."

The characteristic of having opposing facets is, in general, present in all life situations, e.g., pain and pleasure, heat and cold, success and failure, gain and loss. It is comparable to the two poles of a magnet, one defining the other. Like a magnet, life situations too have their own polar opposites. In real life, this creates a number of dilemmas; the way out is realizing the one Reality underlying such opposites. This has the advantage that the opposite poles became means to know the one neutral Reality. Not only do we then discover what Reality is, but we also become aware that the dilemma was, in the first place, caused by our wrongly judging apparent facets for reality. Moreover, this intuitive awareness enables us to face all conflicting situations with a firmness hitherto unknown. This is the vision that the Isa Upanisad is pointing to., when it says,

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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