Sunday, December 11, 2005

Happy Gita Jayanthi!

From the preface of The Bhagavadgita by S.Radhakrishnan.

aum parthaya pratibodhitam bhagavata narayanena swayam
vyasena gradhitam purana muninam madhye mahabharatam
advaitaamrithavarshinim bhagavatim astadasadhyayinim
amba twam anusandhaninim bhagavadgite bhavadveshinim

Taught by the blessed Narayana Himself to Arjuna, compiled by Vyasa, the ancient seer, in the middle of the Mahabharatha, I meditate on thee, O Mother, O Bhagavadgita, the blessed, of eighteen chapters, the bestower of nectar of non-dualistic wisdom, the destroyer of rebirth.

samasta vedartha sarasangraha bhutam samasta purushartha siddim

This famous Gitasastra is an epitome of the essential of the whole Vedic teaching. A knowledge of its teaching leads to the realization of all human aspirations.

I find solace in the Bhagavadgita that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount. When disappointment stares me in the face and all alone I see not one ray of light, I go back to Bhagavadgita. I find even a verse here and a verse there and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming tragedies -- and my life has been full of external tragedies -- and if they have left no visible, no indelible scar on me, I owe it all to the teachings of the Bhagavadgita: M.K.Gandhi, Young India (1925)

My personal copies of Bhagavadgita (in no particular order):

  • The one by Eknath Easwaran: simple just like the other writings of Eknath Easwaran.

  • The extended three volume edition of the above by Eknath Easwaran: Vol. 1: The End of Sorrow, Vol.2: Like a Thousand Suns and Vol.3: To Love Is to Know Me .

  • Bhagavad-Gita as it is by Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada, the originator of ISKCON: More emphasis on the Love of Krishna as a way to Peace. The book has very nice pictures.

  • God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda : a very scholarly translation, I think the translation is in the Yogic tradition prescribed by the school of Shri. Yogananda. The book has very nice pictures. The introduction to this book has a Yogic interpretation of the story and characters from MahaBharatha war.

  • Bhagavad-Gita: The Song of God by Swami Prabhavananda of the Ramakrishna order and founder of Vedanta society of Southern California. Very simple, very beautiful. A free translation. Has the NeoVedantic-Advaitic theory (this is a term Prof. Grimes and a couple of Philosphers use for the the school of Shri Ramakrishna Math) propounded by the Ramakrishna order.

  • Bhagavad-gita by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. Very scholarly. One of my own first copies.

  • Gita Makarandam by Shri Vidya Prakasananda Swami. I own a copy in Telugu. Very refreshing with both Advaitic and Bhakti overtones and is both quite scholarly and simplistic at the same time.

  • The Gospel of Selfless Action or the Gita According to Gandhi by Mahadev Desai. Mahadev Desai, incidentally was described by Gandhi as his Lakshman. I read parts of it long time back.

  • The Song Celestial by Edwin Arnold. A free poetic translation into English. Also said to be one of the first translations of Gita into English. Very simple ala the one by Swami Prabhavananda.

  • The Song Celestial by Ramana Maharishi. Contains a subset of the verses, selected by Shri. Ramana Maharishi himself.

  • The Bhagavad Gita, pocket edition by Swami Nikhilananda.

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