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The Bhagavad Gita: A Sublime Hymn of Dialectics Composed by the Antique Sage Bard Vyasa
Author : Nataraja Guru
ISBN : 8124604509
Format : 803 pages, 8.9" X 5.7",Hardcover
Publisher : D.K. Printworld (P) Ltd.
Year of publication: 2008
Book Id : Gita 017
Language : English
 U.S $ 47.95

 


From the Publisher

It was while staying with friends in Madras in August 1954 that the idea of writing a translation with commentary on the Bhagavad Gita seriously presented itself to me. When talking informally to these friends on certain aspects of spiritual or contemplative life, inevitably the Bhagavad Gita came to be quoted or referred to, as it always happens in modern India even as in olden days. Because the view I took seemed to differ strikingly from the conventional and popularly accepted one, I was asked to make myself clear more and more elaborately on many more occasions. As still more friends became tedious. The best way out of the situation was therefore to put down on paper all that I wished to say for the satisfaction primarily of disciples and friends, but without omitting to keep in mind the general reader interested in this great book. That was how it happened that between the autumnal months of 1954 and 1955 (which, by the way coincided with the centennial year of my teacher Narayana Guru) the present work was done.

Besides the immediate promptings of circumstances there was a deeper and remoter stimulus which had brought me to study the Gita. This came from Narayana Guru himself, over thirty years back from the centennial year. It was on a certain sunny afternoon while I resided as a disciple of the Guru at the ashram at Varkala on the southern Malabar coast in 1925 that the Guru put to me gently the unostentatious question: "How could Krishna ask Arjuna to kill?" Finding no ready answer myself, the Guru replied in a low voice, "He would have regretted later." This cryptic response remained treasured in my memory, but I could not see at once the whole implication of what the Guru meant.

Once more after an interval of two years, white again living with the Guru the conversation turned to the Gita. This time it was the disciple who had the idea. He suggested that in the study of the Gita the blemish of the canvas should not be attributed to the picture in the mind of the painter. The canvas hare was the historical setting of the Mahabharata war as described in the epic poem, and the painting was the wisdom teaching that Vyasa wanted to transmit to future generations through this medium. The Guru seemed pleased with this way of looking at the teaching of the Gita. Not only was his approval thus given, but the Guru also added that the view deserved to be made know. Such are the remoter circumstances that have prompted this work.

A number of circumstances have also favoured the launching of the undertaking. My old friend and companion, not to say fellow-pilgrim in the path of brahma-vidya (Wisdom of the absolute), John Spiers, was again ready to help me. We sat together in crowded mail and express trains between Bombay, Poona, Mangalore, Cannanore, Trivandrum, Varkala and Madras, in over-freighted launches on the lagoons of Malabar, and Moved among the thickly-forested hills of Coorg and the Nilgiris, spending days in strange bungalows in remote places, or in the interior regions of the palm-beach country. John would be scribbling away while I dictated. We carried all the reference books we wanted, wherever we went. The first typescript was accomplished by John, by encroaching often far into the region of night-time, by the end of the year. By some strange irony we lacked only those two conditions which are believed to be favourable for writing ? quiet and seclusion, Still, books for reference have come to us by strange chance, and forces conspired to get the work more or less finished by August 1955.

Let this task be our common dedication to the memory of Narayana Guru, and also mark the thirty years of thought given to the Gita by the present commentator from his thirtieth though small coincidences in regard to this work, which is intended to serve the requirements of the disciples of the Gurukula and the general public for many years to come.

Besides John Spiers, whose help I have greatly relied on in being able to bring this to light, he acting most effectively as a representative and modern-minded Western purva pakshin (anterior questioner) to stimulate my own power to express myself more precisely than I would have done if left to myself, I am indebted to one or two friends with whom I have discussed problems in Sanskrit grammar, among whom I must mention the name of Sali Ramachandra Rao of Belgaum. My friend Nitya Chaitanya Yati, who has come to be an inmate of the Gurukula fresh from his philosophical studies after lecturing in the Universities of Travancore and Madras, has also helped me by reading the comments and pointing out those passages which are too involved and not likely to be explicit to the average reader, to help me eliminate at least some if not of them.

My thanks are also due to my good friend T.P. Santhanakrishna, formerly Principal, Teachers' College, Saidapet, Madras University for the great patience and pains he has taken in going through proofs involving details of diacritical marks, the well known headache of the orientalist publisher.

The reader will be able to discern stray cases of error here and there. Inasmuch as they are not so serious as to mislead the student and amenable to self-correction by correct repetition of over as too late to rectify in this first edition itself.

To these friends and others who have showered on me their best wishes and encouragement, I hereby record my thanks.


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