Swami Bhoornananda Tirtha, a knower of the Supreme Truth, has guided numerous seekers towards the invaluable goal of Self-realization, transforming their lives into one of joy and contentment. Swamiji' interpretation of Bhagavadgita. Sreemad Bhagavatarn, Upanishads and other spiritual texts, coming from his experiential depth and mastery of Self-realization, inspires seekers with the liberating touch of the transcendental knowledge.
Receiving diksa (spiritual initiation) from Baba Gangadhara Paramaharnsa of Dakshinkhanda, West Bengal, Swamiji embraced sannyasa at the age of 23. Dedicating his life for the welfare of mankind, he has been relentlessly disseminating spiritual wisdom of Vedanta for over 50 years, with rare clarity, practicality and openness, to seekers all over the world.
During the past four decades, I have been giving discourses on Bhagavadgita, the matchless dialogue that transpired between Krishna and Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. The fact that such a profound spiritual dialogue had to take place between two great rulers in a battlefield just before the discharge of arrows was to begin, speak volumes even today.
The great spiritual wisdom of the land would not have shown in its full luster, if it had just remained in hermitages, to be imparted solely by ascetic Sages to the few selected dispassionate seekers. Krishna in a masterly way taught in the battlefield what the ascetics used to impart in seclusion. By this, the great Upanishadic message began to shine with its full relevance and application to the complex human life. Ever since, people in all walks of life have found in this unique gospel endless inspiration and guidance.
It was a long felt desire of our listeners and readers that I should write a commentary on Bhagavadgita explaining its unique and intricate message. But, because many commentaries, including the modern ones in English, are already there, I did not feel like adding one more. Later on, Swami Nirvisesananda Tirtha, a disciple living with me, suggested that, instead of a full commentary, I write on some of the essential concepts presented in Bhagavadgita, clarifying one concept at a time and emphasizing where exactly the focus of the seekers should be.
Thus began the serial "Essential Concepts in Bhagavadgita" in the Ashram's journal "Vicharasetu - The Path of Introspection". The serial, still in progress, will take its own time for completion. Meanwhile it was decided to integrate and publish the articles in the form of a book for the benefit of all. This volume discusses mainly the concepts appearing in Chapter I and II of the gospel.
To read and recite Bhagavadgita is itself a great sadhana. Such involvement will inevitably lead the seeker to reflect over the concepts and revelations. This process is bound to take him to deeper and more enduring introspection and enquiry. Intense manana (reflection) cannot then be avoided, which before long will culminate in the much desired meditation and absorption, leading to the sthita-prajna state. The sthita- prajna will necessarily grow into a sthita-dhi (a stable minded person). The distinguished life of abiding harmony, ceaseless integration, lasting peace and ecstasy together with continuing expansion will be the crowning fulfillment to follow.
May the readers be led irresistibly from stage to stage, involving their minds and intelligence in endearing and sustaining sadhana
The serial "Essential Concepts in Bhagavadgita" has been appearing in our monthly journal "Vicharasetu" for the past twelve years, since June 1996. The last article of the series, i.e. the 120th, has just been published this month. The first volume of the book "Essential Concepts in Bhagavadgfta, containing the first twenty articles published in Vicharasetu, arranged in twelve chapters, was published in November 1999. Almost nine years have passed since then. It is not at all creditable that we are able to bring out the second volume, containing the next 19 articles, only now. We have still a long way to go; the complete set may consist of four more volumes.
When Poojya Swarniji started writing these articles, it was thought that the chapters would be divided according to the important concepts analyzed. An article on a particular concept may rest on relevant slokas from anywhere in Bhagavadgita, and the usual chapter-wise commentary style would not be followed. But as the writing progressed, although the focus remained on the essential concepts, the articles naturally took to the sequence of the slokas in Bhagavadgita. That is how the first volume was based primarily on the first two chapters of the Text.
The present volume (Volume 2) deals with the concepts presented in the 3rd and the 4th chapter of Bhagavadgita. The subject matter therefore is Karma-yoga and how karma verily becomes yoga through knowledge and understanding. A Swamiji point out that performance of an action (karma) does not make it karma-yoga; it is the yoga attitude of the mind of the performer that makes the performance a karma-yoga. And this yoga attitude is cultivated through a comprehensive understanding of our life and activities as a" part of the Universal Wheel of incessant activities going on in Nature.
Performed in this attitude, all actions become yajna, where the concept of yajna, from its usual ritualistic definition, assumes an altogether new universal dimension. An action performed without possessiveness or improper clinging to personal gain becomes yajna - a contribution to the Universal Karma-yajna of Nature. Instead of causing bondage to the performer, it becomes liberating.
The manner in which Swamiji deals with the truths and messages contained in the Text has the unique impact of his personal direct realization of the Truth and rare clarity in understanding and exposing it. Swamiji often remarks that as many people as possible should be given to the propagation of Bhagavadgita, to however small degree it may be. Towards this end, these volumes may become a great help for conducting study-classes and understanding the verses in their deeper import and practical relevance. Seekers may invite their friends and like-minded people, and read, discuss and ruminate over the expositions regularly. This is the best way the Geeta knowledge and culture can be reached to more and more people. That would be a great, lasting service to humanity.
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