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Srimad Bhagavad Gita (The Scripture of Mankind): Sanskrit Text, Transliteration, ord-to-Word Meaning, Translation and Detailed Notes
Author : Swami Tapasyananda
ISBN : 8178230968
Format : 515 pages, 8.1" X 5.3",Paperback
Publisher : Sri Ramakrishna Math
Year of publication: 2005 
Book Id : Gita 019
Language : English
 U.S $ 15.95


From the Publisher

Ever since Sri Sankaracharya's time, the Bhagavad Gita has been recognized as one of the three authoritative and basic source books (prasthana-traya) of Vedic religion. Though Sri Sankara's Introduction to his commentary on the Gita bemoans the misinterpretation of this Text by others, we have no extant commentary or any kind of writing on the Gita that precedes him. So it is reasonable to surmise that it was Sri Sankara who for the first time lifted it up from the vast ocean of Mahabharata literature, and fixing its verse-contents at seven hundred, wrote an authoritative commentary on it, which is still studied with respect even by those who do not subscribe to hs interpretation of it. We may also surmise that it must be he who gave recognition to it as an Upanisad and as Brahma Vidya - a scripture that shatters ignorance and gives the knowledge of Brahman - as it calls itself in the colophon.

It is customary to discuss the date and authorship of Hindu texts in their modern publications. We are not doing so here, as it is a futile exercise - a veritable counting of the leaves in place of eating mangoes after entering a mango garden, discussing all the numerous modern views on these questions, Robert N. Minor, a learned and impartial modern exegetical commentator on the Gita, concludes: "In summary, then, in the current state of Gita studies there is no solid evidence to show that the Gita is other than a basic unity. On the other hand, as many such as Edgerton and Zaehner have shown, the Gita when understood in its own terms, is quite consistent and its parts on further study are interrelated. However, it is also not possible to identify the Gita's author with any probability, and then another question in the introductory matter remains unsolved." And regarding the date of the Gita from the modern point of view, he concludes after taking into account all existing speculative theories: "We must tentatively date the Gita to 150 B.C. without much evidence." Under the circumstances, the Indian tradition of these subjects remains intact, and it consists in this: the Gita is a revelation given by Sri Krsna, the purnavatara, to humanity through his friend and disciple Arjuna at a critical moment of his life, and it has been put into its present form by Krsna Dvaipayana Vyasa. As the well-known Sanskrit couplet says: "The Gita is the most excellent nectarine milk, drawn by the cowherd's son Krsna as its milker, from the cow of the Upanisads, using Arjuna as the calf. Al men of purified intellect are the consumers of that milk."

Presenting as it does a credible world-view and a faith that is both broad and inspiring its appeal is to the conscience of spiritually sensitive sections of humanity everywhere, irrespective of their religious affiliations. We have therefore described it as the scripture of Mankind. It is for this reason that it has become one of the most oft-translated works, English itself having more that fifty translations, besides other in all the Indian languages and in some of the other foreign languages as well. A recognition of this universality of the Gita is made in a slightly garbled form by Farquhar, the well-known Christian missionary scholar of conservative views, when he says that 'Jesus is the reality of which the Gita would have been a Christian, had he known Jesus. Far more correct it would have been to say that had the author of the Gita and the deliverer of the Sermon on the Mount met, they would have recognized in each other a kindred spirit teaching an identical message, only with modifications as necessitated by variations in time and place.

The Gita teaches man the goal to be attained by him and the means for attaining it. The goal is the Supreme Personal-Impersonal Brahman and the means, the paths of knowledge, work, psychic control and devotion. Differences in the interpretations of the Gita among the Acaryas, both ancient and modern have arisen due to their varying perceptions on the relations between Brahman and the Jiva and on the relative importance of the four paths.

Critics may find in this a vein of inconsistency and unreliability that stands in the way of recognizing the value of the Gita as a guide to man and as a universal scripture. It is, however, forgotten by such critics that a universal scripture must contain in it several strands of teachings suited to men of different stages of development. These varying strands are not mutually contradictory or incompatible. They are the visions of the same Reality from the points of view of Jivas at different stages of development, dominated by different dispositions. The presence of this feature, in place of being a disqualification, is a proof of the genuineness of the inspiration behind this Text. For, God's gifts are not for a few only but for all who have need of them, and everyone can understand something from them provided one has spiritual sensitivity. That is why the Gita has several interpretations coming from Acaryas representing different spiritual traditions. In spite of their differences, they have to be accepted as embodying the varied views included in the inspired literature that is the Gita.

In the annotations given in the present volume, comments have been confined to technically important verses for limiting the size of the volume. The comments have got only the Text as such in view, without identification with any particular school of thought. But help has been sought from classical interpretations as well as from the modern exegetical commentators like Zaehner and Minor. The overall point of view adopted is what is contained in Swami Vivekananda's famous restatement of the Vedanta in the following aphoristic dictum:

Every soul is potentially Divine.

The goal of life is to manifest this Divine within by controlling Nature, external and internal.

Do this either by work, or worship, or by psychic control, or philosophy, by one or more or all of these- and be free.

This is the whole of Religion. Doctrines or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms are but secondary details.

Amidst the numerous extant translations of the Gita, a new edition of it like the present one may not in any way look very significant. It has, however, this much significance: it provides an economy edition of the Text, with all facilities for serious students to study the verses - these facilities being introductory summary of each chapter, the Text in Devangari, its transliteration into Roman script, the prose order with word for word meaning in Roman script, running translation and annotations wherever necessary. It is hoped that this edition will meet the need of a large cross section of spiritual enquirers who want to study the Gita in the original.

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