So this book offers to the reader not merely a translation and inter-
predation of this sacred Scripture, but something infinitely more
precious to us: the secret of the Gita as it has been seen and experienced by Sri Aurobindo.
In the course of his research, the Editor found that nearly all 700
slokas of the Gita have actually been translated, or rather, rendered, by Sri Aurobindo, mostly in his Essays on the Gita, but in
other books as well. Extracting them from their various sources,
he succeeded in weaving them together, respecting the order of
the Gita's slokas. Reading this book, we understand better why
the Yoga of the Gita is an important part of Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga, and how it leads to a vaster, all-embracing vision of
life and of man's spiritual evolution.
So this book offers to the reader not only a new translation and
interpretation of this sacred Scripture, but something infinitely
more precious to us: the secret of the Gita as it has been seen and
experienced by Sri Aurobindo.
First of all, there is undoubtedly a Truth one and eternal which we are
seeking, from which all other truth derives, by the light of which all other
truth finds its right place, explanation and relation to the scheme of knowledge. But precisely for that reason it cannot be shut up in a single trenchant
formula, it is not likely to be found in its entirety or in all its bearings in any
single philosophy or scripture or uttered altogether and forever by anyone
teacher, thinker, prophet or Avatar. Secondly, this Truth, though it is one and
eternal, expresses itself in Time and through the mind of man; therefore every
Scripture must necessarily contain two elements, one temporary, perishable,
belonging to the ideas of the period and country in which it was produced,
the other eternal and imperishable and applicable in all ages and countries.
What is of entirely permanent value is that which besides being universal has
been experienced, lived and seen with a higher than the intellectual vision.
The truth of substance, the truth of living vision and experience on which
the Gita's system was built is still sound and retains a permanent validity and
significance. The Gita is a book that has worn extraordinarily well and it is
almost as fresh and still in its real substance quite as new, because always
renewable in experience, as when it first appeared in or was written into the
frame of the Mahabharata.
What we can do with profit is to seek in the Gita for the actual living
truths it contains, apart from their metaphysical form, to extract from it
what can help us or the world at large and to put it in the most natural and
vital form and expression we can find that will be suitable to the mentality
and helpful to the spiritual needs of our present-day humanity. No doubt in
this attempt we may mix a good deal of error born of our own individuality
and of the ideas in which we live, as did greater men before us, but if we
steep ourselves in the spirit of this great Scripture and, above all, if we have
tried to live in that spirit, we may be sure of finding in it as much real truth
as we are capable of receiving as well as the spiritual influence and actual
help that, personally', we were intended to derive from it. And that is after
all what Scriptures were written to give; the rest is academicals disputation
or theological dogma. Only those Scriptures, religions, philosophies which
can be thus constantly renewed, relived, their stuff of permanent truth con-
scantly reshaped and developed in the inner thought and spiritual experience of a developing humanity, continue to be of living importance to
mankind. The rest remain as monuments of the past, but have no actual
force or vital impulse for the future.
We of the coming day stand at the head of a new age of development
which must lead to a new and larger synthesis. We are not called upon to be
orthodox Vedantins of any of the three schools or Tantrics or to adhere to
one of the theistic religions of the past or to entrench ourselves within the
four corners of the teaching of the Gita. That would be to limit ourselves
and to attempt to create our spiritual life out of the being, knowledge and
nature of others, of the men of the past, instead of building it out of our own
being and potentialities. We do not belong to the past dawns, but to the
noons of the future. But just as the past syntheses have taken those which
preceded them for their starting-point, so also must that of the future, to be
on firm ground, proceed from what the great bodies of realized spiritual
thought and experience in the past have given. Among them the Gita takes
a most important place.
Our object, then, in studying the Gita will not be a scholastic or academicals scrutiny of its thought, nor to place its philosophy in the history of meta-
physical speculation, nor shall we deal with it in the manner of the analytical
dialectician. We approach it for help and light and our aim must be to distinguish its essential and living message, that in it on which humanity has to
seize for its perfection and its highest spiritual welfare.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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