This book grew out of a course of lectures I have delivered at Gaudiya Mutt. As a lay preacher I delivered lectures in Gaudiya Mutt, Royapettah, Madras, every Friday for a few years. I also wrote a series of articles on the Gita every month in Gaudiya Monthly Religious Journal of which Sri Yati Maharaj is the Chief Editor and I am one of the associate editors. The series covered the whole of the Gita.
This book presumes familiarity with the orthodox Hindu systems of philosophy such as Dvaita, Advaita, Visishta-advaita, AchintyaVeda-aveda, and Vedaveda concepts, There is special emphasis on Visishtadvaita of Sri Ramanuja and AchintyaVeda-aveda of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
The main point of the book is a devotion-oriented stance to God here and hereafter. Devotion dominates the Gita.
I write about the Gita as a humble devotee, not as a scholar.
My purpose in writing the book is to demonstrate, that "Truth" is the last end of the entire universe and the "contemplation of truth is the chief occupation of wisdom." Sri Ramanuja's Semushi Bhakti Rupa, knowledge oriented action culminating in God Love, is the Summum bonum taught-in the Gita.
The question may be asked where is the need for this book on Gita when there are already innumerable translations and commentaries on it throughout the world. The following are the special reasons for bringing out this book: (I) while commenting on sloka 54 of chapter 18 of the Gita, writers like Sankara, B.G. Tilak and others concluded Brahma Bhuta as the soul merged in Brahman. But the second line of the same sloka mentions samah sarvesu bhutesu mat bhaktir labhate param: treating (the whole of humanity) all human beings alike, he attains bhakti to Bhagavan. Next sloka 55 goes on to say the Bhakta understands Krishna by devotion and enters into the city of Vaikuntha. This establishes that there is reality of the individual soul as distinct from the Supreme even in the event of freedom and illuminations. Gita chapter 12 sloka 8 Atha urdvam na samshaya is understood to mean that when the jiva rises above the limitations he is not dissolved in the super-personal Absolute but lives in the Supreme and lives with God in His service.
Katha Upanished 6-4 seems to stress a similar view about a released soul's future. "If one has been asked to perceive Him here on earth before the dissolution of the body according to that knowledge-he becomes fitted for embodiment in world creations. At least the stanza contradicts the general theory that the perception of the Atman products release from reincarnation immediately after death."(Thirteen principal Upanishads by Robert Earnest Hume, Oxford University Press, second edition). This pertains to soul's release after the body perishes after having obtained grace through Bhakti.
Secondly Gita chapter I is catalogue chapter Gita metaphysics starts from chapter II sloka 12. "It is not indeed that I did not exist at any time nor: you, nor these kings, nor that we shall cease to exist hereafter." The plural we is used according to Sri Ramanuja (who according to impartial critics comes nearest to the mind of the author) to mean a plurality of souls. B.G. Tilak in his Gita Rahasya states that Ramanuja's interpretation is far fetched and Ramanuja makes jiva souls independent of Brahman. This is due to mis-interpretation. Ramanuja treated jiva souls as servitors of Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is Shesha-Seshi's Bhava. This is like Chaitanya's concept of maya vasya jiva soul Mayadheesa Supreme Lord. All the Vaisnava Acharyas, Madhvacharya, Vishnuswami, Nimbarka, Vallabha and Lord Sri Chaitanya took a similar view. Sri Chaitanya called the relationship of jiva soul with Bhagavan as Sambanda eternal servitor with eternal Godhead. Thus it is clear that Ramanuja and other Vaishnava Acharyas did not treat individual souls as independent of God but they are eternal servitors of Supreme Godhead.
Thirdly the main thrust of the Gita is Monotheism. Gita 18.66 Mamekam saranam vraja exclusive Devotion to a single personal God Bhajathemam ananya bagh worship Me not another, a significant exposition of (Rajaji) C. Rajagopalachari in his book Hinduism, Devotion and Way of life (B.V. Bhavan book). "When coming down to how we should live all faiths become dwaita faiths. Man is under God's command as subjects are under a sovereign monarch".
From an unbiased reading it is found that Gita upholds Bhakti, giving also a relative importance to karma, jnana and yoga. The jnana of the Gita is not of the pantheistic school. For the pantheistic school the phenomenal world is illusive, unreal and jivas are caused by Brahman himself being under Avidya.
I feel how impossible it is in the space of an article to exemplify the features of a work, (constituting its excellence) every verse of which has nearly as great a claim to citation as any other. The verses of the Gita do not float upon a sea of words, none of its propositions are unmeaning, none of its meanings superfluous, no verse could have been omitted without diminishing the value of the work.
Envy, hatred, malice and uncharitableness are deprecated in chapters 16 and 17. There is universalism and impartiality towards tthriyo vaisyah tatha sudras in (9th chapter 32 sloka) tepi yanti Param Gatim. For those who take refuge in Me Partha, though they are lowly born women, vaisyas as well as 'sudras, they also attain to highest goal, (8-54) Sama Sarva bhutesu madbhaktim labhate Param. Regarding all beings alike he attains supreme devotion to Me.
The whole book that is offered to the public has been written under the influence of a religious' feeling and produced in the author's mind. An irresistible religious reverence to Gita has advanced for centuries in spite of obstacles which are still advancing in the form of Nihilism and atheism.
Alexis De Tocqueville points out that it is not necessary that God Himself should speak in order that we may discover the unquestionable signs of His will. It is enough to ascertain what is the habitual course of nature and the constant tendency of events. The case of the Gita is just the opposite, that is, God Narayana speaks to (Nara) Arjuna.
We cannot indeed recall another work at all similar to this in which there is no narrative (of which there is plenty in Mahabharata, Ramayana and the Puranas) nor any other enlivening circumstance to give it animation and yet in which the interest is sustained from beginning to end without even once flagging. So much so that the Gita has taken its rank among the most remarkable productions of Hindu Religion.
Arjuna is dejected in the beginning to think of killing near relations, teachers, elders, and celebrities. in war. By explaining the transient nature of the human body and the eternal nature of the soul Lord Krishna tries to persuade Arjuna to exercise his better judgement and fight. In the 7th chapter where Bhakti Yoga teaching starts (and continues till the end of the 12th chapter) Lord Krishna puts forward the ideal great man who should be copied by Arjuna.
'At the end of many lives the man of wisdom resorts to Me knowing that Vasudeva the Supreme is all that is. Such a great Mahatma is very difficult to find'.
A Vaishnava Philosopher who preceded Ramanuja, Yamunacharya, expresses this truth beautifully in his stotraratna thus:
i.e. 'O Lord, the great souls are those who have with disdain discarded all joys both of earth and heaven, in order that they may have but a glimpse of Thy Beauty, of such superior value are these to Thee, that the slightest separation from Thee is intolerable. My solicitation to Thee is not for union or communion with Thee, but with those godly souls who are Thine. so dearly owned by Thyself as Thine and Thy self, Thy very self'.
The godly Mahatmas may be defined to be those who have by constant practice and meditation and spiritual endeavour (Sadhana) and moral purity (Sadacara) arrived at the stage of seeing no differences (ekatvamanupasyatah). The godly are those who feel the presence of God everywhere, thole who are reminded of God wherever they direct their thoughts. (Vasudevah sarvamiti) is emphasised. The godly person (jnani or Mahatma) is he who is eternally conscious of the fact that he has, and can possibly have, no existence entirely cut off or isolated from the universal soul, in which he factually has his being.
Burden of the Song of Geeta
9-22: Those who worship Me with single minded devotion-the attainment of the decideratum and maintenance of welfare, I Myself look after.
9.26: I accept a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water offered by a pure minded devotee.
Worship with flower, fruit, water is a part of Archana which is at the core of Hinduism. Archana daily is done by followers of HinduismVaishnavites, Saivites, Sakthas and Smarthas with shodasopachara. Christians also have adopted this partially.
39 : An example of nyasa in Christian worship is the making of the sign of the cross, touching first the forehead ("in the name of the Father"), then the breast ("and of the son"), the left shoulder ("and of the Holy"), right shoulder ("Ghost"), and finally bringing the palms together in the position of salutation known to the Hindus as anjali, which is the classic Christian mudra of prayer ("Amen").
The authors of The Principles of Tantra (edited by Arthur Avalon, 2 vols., 'London, 1914-1916), have aptly cited (pp. lxxi-lxxii) the following statement from the Council of Trent: "The Catholic Church, rich with the experience of the ages and clothed with their splendor, has introduced mystic benediction (mantra), incense (dhupa), water (acarnana, padya, etc.), lights (dipa), bells, (ghanta) flowers (pushpa), vestments, and all the magnificeace of its ceremonies in order to excite the spirit of religion to the contemplation of the profound mysteries (which they reveal )." -Zimmer's Philosophies of India.
Among the Hindus the materials used and things done in Archana are called upacara (from upacar, "to approach)," to approach with the intention of serving. The common number of these is sixteen:
I. Asana 2. Svagata 3. Padya 4. Arghya presented in 5. the vessel, 6. Acamana 7. Madhuparka (honey, ghee, milk and curd), 8. Snana 9. Vasana (cloth for a garment), 10. Abha, ran a, 11. Gandha 12. Pushpa 13. Dhupa 14. Dipa 15. Naivedya (food), and 16. Vandana or Namaskriya (prayer).
Despondency of Arjuna
The Way of Knowledge
Sanyasa Yoga Way of Renunciation
Vision of God in the Godly
Akshra Brahma Yoga
Yoga of Kingly science and secret
Vision of Cosmic Form
Way to Higher Wisdom
Daiva Asura Sampath Vibaga Yoga
Three Fold Faith
Moksha Sanyasa Yoga
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