The Timeless appeared in time to give the timeless message of the Timelessness of man to a confused and broken Arjuna.
The time was Karttika-bahula-amavasya 3141 B.C.
Ever since volumes have been written explaining, expounding and interpreting this invaluable message from the Lord Himself.
Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda’s Gita Yajna talks were compiled to make the classic ‘The Holy Gita’. He firmly believed that nation building could happen only through individual character building. He inspired the youth to walk the Gita path of wisdom. In today’s changing times, the message of this great spiritual manual is as relevant as it was when it was revealed.
This is a humble effort to make the exhaustive work into a concise, crisp reference work.
It is but a small torch to show the light of wisdom to seekers who would walk on this difficult, yet much trodden path.
The Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF), established in 1989, is a research centre of Sanskrit and Indology, recognized by the Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Kerala. CIF is located at the Adi Shankara Nitayam, the ancestral maternal home and birthplace of Adi Sankaracarya at Veliyanad in Kerala and serves as a cross-cultural forum for the exchange of knowledge. Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayanandaji visualised CIF as a bridge between the East and the West, science and spirituality, past and present and pundit and public.
Pujya Gurudev swami Chinmayananda was a master orator who held his audience by the power of his speech and his fiery delivery. An able logician, he captured his audience with his incisive analysis of the human plight. With graphic descriptions he drew word-pictures like an accomplished artist. He was the essence of compassion and love. Above all this, he was a Man of Wisdom and a teacher par excellence, who strove to enlighten people of their true nature.
At the end of one of Pujya Gurudev’s discourses a Lady happily came up and said to him, “Gurudev, do you know, I have gone through all the 18 chapters of the Bhagavad Gita 18 times.” Gurudev smiled his wise smile and asked her, “Has the Gita gone through you at least once?”
Dear reader, we hope this book will help you to welcome the Bhagavad Gita and its ageless wisdom into your life as you strive to walk the Gita path.
Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayanandaji devoted his entire life to spiritual renaissance. For almost half a century, he toured the length and breadth of the world on ‘wings and wheels’ carrying the message of the Upanisads and the Bhagavad Gita to vast audiences and individuals alike. The global Chinmaya Mission is a testimony to his noble work as well as the gratitude of the many who have benefited by his presence and teachings. Pujya Gurudev was the ‘Geetacharya’ of modern times. His discourses on the Bhagavad Gita held listeners enthralled and transformed millions. His lectures on the Gita were soon edited and compiled, and thus was born the ‘Holy Gita’- an exhaustive commentary on the Bhagavad Gita by Swami Chinmayanandaji. This commentary was unique in many ways: the explanations were logical, well elucidated with day-to-day examples, interspersed with humour, abundant with many original interpretations and had a universal appeal. Just as a photo would capture an individual’s mood, Pujya Gurudev’s multifaceted personality stands wholly revealed in his Holy Gita. The Holy Gita is not only a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, but is also a thorough presentation of the Vedantic Philosophy and an unfailing guide to all seekers of Truth.
I am very happy to note that the Chinmaya International Foundation (CW) has brought out this elegant and student-friendly Ready Reference book on the Holy Gita. This work is sure to benefit all sincere students of Vedanta, and the Bhagavad Gita in particular. I am also pleased to see the re-publication of the alphabetical index of all the padas of the Bhagavad Gita first compiled by the late Sri C. Madhava Rao. Our profound thanks to Sri D.C. Rao for enthusiastically sponsoring the entire project.
The Golden Jubilee of the Chinmaya Mission was celebrated in 2001 with the ‘Chinmaya Visva Sammelan’. More than 10,000 people from all over the world from the various Chinmaya Mission Centres congregated at Mumbai, India and many unique programmes were conducted and the ‘Holy Gita Quiz’ was one among them. For conducting the Holy Gita Quiz, all the questions and answers had to be first compiled. You could very well say that that compilation of about 250 brief questions and answers gave the first impetus to this book. Once the Chinmaya Visva Sammelan Celebrations were over, the Gita quiz questions and answers were filed away.
Two years had almost gone by. It was then that Dr. D.C. Rao showed us the book prepared by his late father Sri C. Madhava Rao: the ‘padanukramanika’ of the Bhagavad Cita i.e., an alphabetical arrangement of all quarters of the Bhagavad Gita verses. He explored whether Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF) would be willing to republish this work. This book published by his father, almost 20 years back, was like a ready reckoner to the Bhagavad Gita verses. While all regular indices of the Gita contain only the first pada, or sometimes the words found in the Gita, this book was unique—it had all the tour padas (quarters) arranged in alphabetical order. You could, with the help of this book, track with ease any verse of the Gita. It then struck me that a student friendly book could be prepared with the ‘quiz material’ as well as the ‘padanukramanika’. Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayanandaji, Head of the Chinmaya Mission, approved and blessed the project and work started. Sri D.C. Rao, who was keen on this work, came forward to sponsor the entire project.
Little did we realise the magnitude of the effort required to re-create this book. We had imagined that all that was necessary was to retype the originals and publish a book! We had not taken into account two factors—(1) the ‘Quiz Material’ alone cannot form a complete book and that (2) the ‘padanukramanika’ needed a full revision. The ‘Quiz Material’ though adequate to serve its then explicit purpose was incomplete and inadequate to be re-christened a ‘compendium of questions and answers of the Bhagavad Gita’. A compendium had to contain more than just ‘quiz-type’ brief questions and answers. It had to incorporate elaborations on all the terms, definitions, thoughts and concepts found in the Bhagavad Gita and highlight the unique interpretations given by Gurudev Swami Chinmayanandaji to certain verses. We also wanted it to contain a section on the important verses of the Gita to be remembered. To make the book complete and useful to the student, it appeared there was a lot more work pending.
While checking the ‘padanukramanika’, notwithstanding the hard work of the compiler Sri C. Madhava Rao, we entered into difficulties in placing alphabetically words containing anusvara and visarga. What would be the placement of anusvara and visarga - which are not regular alphabets - in the Sanskrit alphabetical order? While arranging them we had to keep in mind that the order should be logical yet student-friendly so that a verse could be tracked with ease. Thus started our study of the extant literature on how Sanskrit dictionaries arrange words, including pathbreaking works such as that of Vedic Concordance of Maurice Bloomfield. But as these earlier arrangements were non-student friendly and would defeat the very purpose of our endeavour, we evolved our own system to arrange the padas.
Work started in right earnest-in eight months both these were complete.
Br. Pranipata Chaitanya helped in the typing of the Bhagavad Gita Quiz material. Meera Seth, Dr. D.C. Rao and Br. Rishi Chaitanya edited and proofread the initial ‘Quiz material’.
Swamini Niranjananda, Dr. Kanshi Ram and Swamini Vimalananda, with their constructive criticisms, by just saying -“this won’t do” - facilitated the quantum leap from a partial ‘Quiz-type-collection’ to a complete ‘Reference Compendium’. Dr. Kanshi Ram also helped us whenever we had difficulty with Sanskrit grammar. The CIF staff - Smt. Sarala Suresh, Kumari Jaya and Smt. Radhika Manoj-typed, proofread and worked continually f or many months at stretch. They worked patiently with full zest.
And when the book required its ‘right finish’ - help arrived from the Lord Himself - Smt. Padma Narayanan and Smt. Sandhya Sundar joined the team arid pooled in their editing talents. Smt. Sandhya Sundar’s exceptional editing skills have given this book its well deserved finesse.
As far as the ‘padanukramai3ika’ is concerned, we have followed the footsteps of Sri. C. Madhava Rao, who undertook this daunting task of preparing and publishing an index of all the padas of the Bhagavad Gita as a means of “tracing the context of any pada of profound significance which may haunt one and otherwise would require a taxing search to trace it.” We believe that an index of all the padas is considerably more useful to students of the Bhagavad Gita than a mere index of the first pada alone. Using Sri Madhava Rao’s pioneering work as a starting point, we have edited and revised the presentation of the padanukramanika. Sri Madhava Rao’s son Dr. D.C Rao, Br. Vedanta Chaitanya, Smt. Sarala Suresh, Kumari Jaya and Smt. Rajalekshmi prepared the revised draft and spent many months in perfecting it to ensure that the coverage of the padas is complete and accurate. The hard work of Br. Vedanta Chaitanya who revised and re-revised this work almost a dozen times is highly commendable. His persistence enabled us to evolve the logic for the present alphabetical arrangement of the padanukramanika.
Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayanandaji permitted us to incorporate his composition of the Bhagavad Gita Astottarasatanamavali.
On the whole this work was a ‘yajna’ in the true sense of the term. Help, advice, guidance, as well as funds flowed freely from everywhere - literally speaking from ‘Washington to Moscow’!
Our special thanks to Sri. D.C. Rao of Chinmaya Mission, Washington, who not only has sponsored the entire project but also helped in editing and preparing this work. We are also indebted to Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Mumbai, the apex body of the Chinmaya Mission - Worldwide, who permitted us to use the Holy Gita - the very source of the ‘Bhagavad Gita Question and Answer Bank’. Our indebtedness to ‘Omkarananda Ashram’, Himalayas, whose software Itranslator 99 (freeware) has been of great help in preparing this book. Our thanks to Sri Sreekumar, CIF Administrator, who helped in all the administrative matters with respect to the publishing. Our thanks also to the S.T. Reddiar & Sons for giving an excellent finish to the book.
But for Sri Krsna where is the Bhagavad Gita? Without Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayanandaji there would be no Holy Gita. Bereft of the grace of Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayanandaji - the underlying blessing factor of this project - you would not be holding this book in your hand!
Saying just ‘thanks’ to the Lord and Guru feels so incomplete and unfulfilling.
The growing demand for the Holy Gita Ready Reference has necessitated this third reprint within two years. In this reprint we have improved the quality of the paper and the total finishing of the book. We hope this has made the book more handy and attractive.
We thank Pujya Swami Dheerananda, Acharya, Chinmaya Mission, Washington Regional Center, USA for arranging the sponsorship for this reprint. The major portion of the sponsorship, Rs. 4 lacs, has been offered by the Balakrishnan family: Ramaswamy, Janaki, Karthik and Aparna of Maryland, USA. Dr. D.C. Rao, Washington, USA, who had sponsored the entire first edition of this book, has offered Rs. 1 lac for this fresh reprint. Chinmaya International Foundation is thankful to them for their kind support.
May the immortal message of Sri Krsna inspire us to follow the Gita way of life.
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