There are numerous commentaries on the Gita. This book is unique in the sense that it is written by a scientist of Indian origin who teaches in the USA but has a deep interest in Indian religious philosophy. As the title indicates, the author views the Gita through the eyes of a scientist. This volume is primarily directed towards readers who are more exposed to science and technology rather than religious philosophy.
Dr. M.S. Manhas is Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at the Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. He has made an outstanding contribution to Chemistry and has several books and research publications. He is also deeply interested in comparative religious philosophy. After going through the scriptures of several religions, he decided to work on the Bhagavad Gita which is the quintessence of Hinduism.
Dr. Manhas has been promoting Indo-US scientific collaboration for several decades. This volume is a contribution to cultural promotion and an offering to his original homeland.
Shrimad Bhagavad Gita (Song of the Lord) together with Upanishads and Brahmasutra are called Prasthana traya or scriptural trinity. Together they constitute the final authority on the philosophy of Sanatana (Hindu) dharma. All three of them are self consistent and there is no conflict between them. The philosophy propounded in these texts is called Vedanta and was formulated by Rajarishis (Sanskrit: Raja-king, rishi-sage, seer: king sages) as a revolt against excessive ritualism that was prevailing in those days. These rishis were ruling Kshatriyas. Both Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (6.2.8) and Chandogya Upanishad (5.3.7), the two major Upanishads. corroborate this observation. Their thoughts originated not in the seclusion of caves or in the isolation of the jungles but in the midst of an active daily life. Incidentally Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, which is the best commentary on the Vedic philosophy, was also enunciated by a Kshatriya (Shri Krishna) on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
In order to understand the Vedas, the Vedic philosophy and the Bhagavad Gita It is essential to understand a few basic concepts. Whithout their clear grasp it is difficult to enjoy the full depth of knowledge that they contain, the of arguments that have been used and the relevance of the concepts that they propound to enlighten our everyday life. Since the scriptures are primarily concerned with the direct relationship of human life with the Eternal (God) to seek happiness and eliminate sorrow. it is essential to understand the nature of life and the Eternal.
Human life has two aspects associated with it-material and spiritual. The material phase is the subject of study by the secular scientists. Their understanding is based upon observation. experimentation and Inference. Their approach may not necessarily be in this order. nevertheless these are the essential tools for their investigation.
The spiritual phase of life is studied by rishis (sages. seers). Their approach is much the same except that meditation and realization play a critical role in understanding the spiritual nature of life which is not amenable to direct experimental verification. They have concluded that human nature is tied up with the Atman (soul) which resides within the body. Human soul is a part of the Eternal (God) and has all the characteristics of the Eternal. A part cannot be different from the whole. The space outside is indistinguishable from the space inside a container. As soon as the boundary of the container is removed, the two become one. In the same way the human soul (atman) which is a part of the omnipotent. omnipresent, omniscient and the immortal Eternal, merges with the Eternal when the boundary walls of the human body are removed. Atman (soul) resides in the body but is not a part of it. It is a life force of unknown nature which sustains the body. The body, in turn, is made of five essential elements (earth, water, air, fire and ether). At the time of death the life force (atman) departs and the useless body remains behind. The dead body is useless in the sense that it is discarded through burial, cremation or cast aside to nature for disposal.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Brahma Sutras (77)
Yoga Vasistha (81)
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