The sublime message of Bhagavad-gita is time-less and is applicable in every facet of life. Within the Bhagavad-gita are the answers to the mysteries of existence - our real purpose in this world, how we should act and why we suffer, or are oftentimes helpless in our struggle for survival.
To understand the Bhagavad-gita one must enter into the spirit of the Gita by accepting the path of devotion (bhakti). Accordingly, the Gita's message cannot be properly understood by mental speculation. To this end, the sublime process illuminated within the Gita must be accepted as given by the speaker Himself, Sri Krsna.
The active principle of understanding the message of the Gila is to hear directly from the Master of yoga, Sri Krsna, who is glorified throughout the Vedic literature as the Supreme Person, the Absolute Truth. Sri Krsna speaks to Arjuna in Bhagavad-gita and thus one who studies the Gita hears from Krsna directly.
The philosophy of Bhagavad-,gita is clear for the sincere reader, yet for some, approaching the Gird may seem daunting - its language too ancient. However, this obstacle is easily overcome by a straightforward translation and commentary (Anuvrtti). The requirement for a translation and commentary on the Gita is as necessary today as anytime in the past. With the passing of time, our values and our world view are constantly changing, and this demands a fresh approach to the understanding of the Gita.
This translation and commentary on the Bhagavad-gita provides simple, yet profound knowledge to elevate us to a higher state of consciousness whereby we can realise our true self and progress towards attaining a life of spiritual fulfilment. Self-realisation means to realise our actual purpose in life and act towards it, gradually freeing us from the yoke of material bondage. Where there is light, darkness cannot stand - where there is proper knowledge, ignorance cannot remain. The Bhagavad-gita unravels the mysteries of life, providing not only knowledgeable answers, but also a progressive process to uplift us to pure consciousness.
One of the more remarkable features of the Gita is that its readers can easily observe and feel its philosophy working, like poetry in motion, in their everyday lives. The knowledge of Bhagavad-gita is a true science - its formulas for success clear and observable in action. The Bhagavad-gita thus provides a complete outline for self-realisation in everyday life.
Anyone who is fortunate enough to dive deeply into the wisdom of the Bhagavad-gita and embrace its message will surely achieve success, for this is guaranteed in the Cities final verse
Bhagavad-gita is the oldest and most widely read book of theistic science in the world today. Also known as the Gitopanisad, the Bhagavad-gita has been the principle handbook of yoga for more than 5,000 years. In contrast to many mundane literatures of the present day, the Bhagavad-gita is free from mental speculation and is complete in knowledge of the eternal self (atma), the process of bhakti-yoga and the nature and identity of the Absolute Truth, Sri Krsna. As such, the Bhagavad-gita is the single most important book in the world, surpassing all others in wisdom and enlightenment.
The first word of Bhagavad-gita is dharma. Sometimes dharma is mistaken to mean religion or a particular belief, but it is not so. Dharma means the quintessential duty or knowledge that elevates our consciousness to a direct connection with the Absolute Truth. This is also known as sanatana-dharma, the occupational duty of all living beings. The Bhagavad-gita begins with the word dharma - thus we can understand from the outset that Bhagavad-gita is not about dogma or a sectarian way of thinking. Indeed, Bhagavad-gita is the complete science of realising the Absolute Truth.
For an observant person it is clear that the world around us is a bewildering place with many unsolved mysteries. If one is seeking answers to the age-old questions of 'Who am I?"Why do we suffer?' 'Where do we come from?' 'What is the purpose of life?' 'What happens after death?' - then one will find great satisfaction in the Bhagavad-gita because the Gita answers these questions and more with the utmost clarity.
As a young seeker of truth, I first came in contact with the Bhagavad-gita in 1968. In subsequent years I travelled to India and studied Bhagavad-gita under the foremost gurus of the late 20th Century, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada and Svami B.R. Sridhara Deva Gosvami. By the goodwill of these two great masters, the essential message of Bhagavad-gita entered my heart and I was soon to be situated on the path of self-realisation.
As with any path in life, one will certainly encounter crossroads. The first crossroad that I came to while studying the Bhagavad-gita was to decide on the path - personal or impersonal. Was I to follow the path of personalism - to perfect the individual self, to enter into the spiritual sky of Vaikuntha planets and live eternally with the Supreme Person, Sri Krsna? Or was I to follow the path of impersonalism - ending existence as an individual living being and merging myself into the brahmajyoti of infinite bliss? I chose the former, personalism (bhakti-yoga).
Bhagavad-gita is specifically meant for those following the path of bhakti-yoga. Many impersonal philosophers have tried to lay claim to the Gita over the years, at times even claiming to be Sri Krsna - a claim that is exposed by the simple fact that they do not understand the message of Sri Krsna in Bhagavad-gita, despite its profound clarity. Sri Krsna is the original speaker of Bhagavad-gita, therefore He must know the message of the Gita better than anyone, and Krsna says in the Eighteenth Chapter that the message of the Gita is exclusively meant for those who are aspiring to know the Absolute Truth on the path of bhakti-yoga.
Bhagavad-gita is certainly a scholarly work, but one need not be a scholar to understand the Gita’s straightforward and simple message. Indeed, Arjuna, the first student of Bbagavad-gita, was not a scholar, but a warrior. In the past many great scholars, gurus and self-realised masters have written illuminating commentaries to accompany the Gita -its 'as it is' meaning, its poetry, philosophy and its hidden treasure - so that the people of their time, as well as the people of future generations, may have a better appreciation of the message of Sri Krsna.
We have now completed the first decade of the 2Ist Century and a host of such erudite commentaries on the Bhagavad-gita sit upon our bookshelves and in our libraries - surely there is no call for yet another!
The message of Bhagavad-gita is eternal and unchanging, but the time that surrounds us is always changing, thus our perception of life, our current situation and our necessity is also always changing. To meet the changing times and the present necessity, yet another commentary is being presented - a brief commentary, or Anuvrtti.
According to Visvanatha Cakravarti, a renowned commentator on the Bhagavad-gita from antiquity, the first six chapters of the Gita mainly pertain to karma, the second six chapters to bhakti and the final six chapters to jnana. But the answers to life's most puzzling questions are found throughout the eighteen chapters of the Gita with Sri Krsna's last and conclusive instruction to Arjuna in verse 66 of the last chapter - sarva-dharman parityajya mam saranam vraja.
In our Anuvrtti we have not commented on each and every verse spoken by Sri Krsna as we feel that by directly hearing from Krsna with one's intelligence, one receives the greatest knowledge and further comment is not always necessary. The comments made in the Anuvrtti are to highlight certain points and to reflect on what Krsna says with relevance to our world today. What lies ahead in our Anuvrtti are the basics of Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy (acintya-bhedabheda-tattva) and the essential understanding for the practice of bhakti-yoga.
Many readers may want to delve deeper into the knowledge of Bhagavad-gita and for such persons we highly recommend the study of the 1973 Macmillan edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada. Other recommended readings are the commentaries of Visvanatha Cakravarti, Baladeva Vidyabhusana, Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Svami B.R. Sridhara Deva Gosvami.
We would like to express our sincere appreciation for those who have encouraged us in our work and helped to bring Bhagavad-gita - Sri Krsna's Illuminations on the Perfection of Yoga to completion. We especially want to mention here our godbrothers, Svami Bhakti Bhavana Visnu, Jayadeva, Jagadisvara, our godsister Dhira-lalita, and our sannyasi disciples, Svami Bhakti Vijnana Giri and Haridasa Babaji Maharaja.
May this publication be an offering unto the Absolute Truth, Sri Krsna - krsnar-parnam astu.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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