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Gita Jayanti 2018 Special - The Significance of Bhagavad Gita, the Song of God - Swami Mukundananda

Published by Penguin Publishing Group. Just then, a Hare Krishna devotee—resplendent in dayglow orange—approached, standing right next to me. He was asking for donations, and he was selling, of all things, the Bhagavad Gita. In fact, I had misgivings about this edition myself, as only the first six chapters were translated.

Why would the translator leave out the remaining twelve?

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Agreeing with the devotee that something was amiss, I accepted a copy of Bhagavad Gita As It Is, which he gave me without charge. Other translators and commentators seemed to miss this fundamental point. In terms of Sanskrit or literal accuracy—there are dozens of valuable renditions worldwide. And yet, Prabhupada seemed to capture something essential—he gives the devotional component of the Gita, which, of course, is its very heart.

But back then, I wanted to be certain. And after I enrolled in Queens College that fall to take a course in Sanskrit, I would be able to compare translations for myself, which I did. I learned that while some scholars view his Gita as idiosyncratic, in the sense that it emphasizes bhakti, or devotion to Krishna, as the ultimate goal of life, most nonetheless admit that it accurately represents the Vaishnava point of view, which speaks for the majority of Hindus today.

Some scholars even praised his work as a definitive edition, for it is read and accepted by practitioners as a legitimate reading of the text. Words fail to express my joy and appreciation for these excellent editions. Samuel D. It is a most valuable work for the scholar as well as the layman and of great utility as a reference book as well as a textbook.

In the prior verse, Krishna says that the Gita can be understood only by those who adhere to one of several authorized lineages; such adherence is known as parampara, or disciplic succession. Of the four well-known successions recognized by the Vaishnava tradition, the line associated with Lord Brahma and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu — is flourishing, with Prabhupada as the thirty-second teacher in that line; his students are carrying on the message even today.

According to the Bhagavad Gita, spiritual truths reach the most sincere students by a descending process, from the scriptures themselves, the great sages, and through a genuine and qualified spiritual teacher, who acts as a guide on the path of devotion. Thus, the real import of the text is not to be had through learning Sanskrit, or realized by incessant philosophical wrangling. Nor is it to be captured by a dazzling display of sophisticated hermeneutics.

Rather, its mysteries are revealed by offering a loving heart to Krishna and His purest representatives in disciplic succession. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me.


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Thus you will come to Me without fail. In this way, by , I had found what, for me, was to become the definitive Bhagavad Gita, and I was convinced that Srila Prabhupada, both personally and through his books, would guide me to unravel the mystery of the text once and P1: GGBDFM. NOTES 1. Human life is meant for more than merely eating, sleeping, mating, and defending—the basic animalistic propensities with which we are all too familiar. Most people will admit that.

We, as humans, are distinguished from other species—animals, birds, aquatics, insects, and so on—by our intellect, by our ability to reason. Actually, in Sanskrit, the ancient language of the Vedas, there are two words that make the distinction between animal and human quite clear.

Bhagavad Gita: The Song of God by Christopher Isherwood

First, the Sanskrit word for animal is pashu, which is derived from the concept, pashyati iti pashuh, indicating the limited ability to see only superficially, to see externally, and to only be aware of face value. And this is, in fact, how animals view the world; for them, if it is not edible, they are not interested. According to the Gita, human beings should realize that life is not meant for petty enjoyments, for brief distractions. The human form is meant for getting to the root of what existence is all about.

We should not be content to just see an object on the physical platform, but we should know the truth behind it.

Bhagavad-Gita : The Song of God (1954, Paperback)

The purpose of human life, therefore, is not for enjoyment alone; it is for knowing the Truth. Because, as the Bhagavad Gita 2. And, as humans, only by acting in our natural capacity can we become truly happy. As Krishna says in the Gita 2. From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one tends to plummet into the material whirlpool. But why should we care? This is, after all, the way most people seem to spend their time. And how can there be any happiness without peace?

These are words that are intimately related to manushya, mentioned earlier. The idea is simple: Man is meant to be thoughtful, as already stated.

go here We are truly human only when we use our body and mind to pursue the spiritual element, to see in a deeper way. This, again, is what distinguishes humankind from the animals. Now, there is a spiritual process whose terminology is also etymologically linked to the manushya concept.

The Spirit of Bhagavad Gita

And the best way to do that is with mantras mind-release. Mantras, or sacred sounds, are used to pierce through sensual, mental, and intellectual levels of existence—all lower strata of consciousness—for the purpose of purification and spiritual enlightenment. The sounds of different letters, particularly Sanskrit letters, have been shown to affect the mind, intellect, and auditory nerves of those who chant and hear them.


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The seven energy centers chakras of the spinal column, as well as the ida, pingala, and sushumna nadis, or the three pranic channels of the subtle body, all respond to mantras, bringing practitioners to elevated levels of awareness. It puts one into direct contact with God, for Krishna and His name are nondifferent.

Statements to this effect can be found in many Vedic and post-Vedic texts. Please engage me in Your service. This is the overall teaching of the Gita. In other words, it explains how to put an end to material suffering. The Gita thus includes elaborate analyses about the human condition, but, on an esoteric level, its ultimate conclusion involves the yoga of chanting, kirtan, and the glorification of God, for this is the recommended process of God-realization in the current epoch of world history.

The great masters of this yogic science tell us that this surrendering process is largely affected by chanting in a prayerful state of mind. Krishna Himself specifically says that the great souls are always chanting His glories with great devotion 9. The Gita assumes a certain metaphysical understanding of reality. Arjuna is quickly made privy to a conception of the self that transcends bodily identification. In India, even today, this transcendental worldview is not uncommon.

In the West, things are a little different.

The Bhagavad-Gita: The Song of God

When asked who they are, they respond with a name, a profession, and a description of their religion i. And at first it seems appropriate to define oneself using such words and concepts, at least in a practical, everyday sense. But do we cease to exist if we change our names? Or if we lose our jobs? Or if we convert to another religion? Or if our sense of morals or ethics become compromised?

In fact, if all the above traits disappear, do we transform into a nonentity? The question remains: Who are we beyond these changeable, material designations?