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Vedanta Sandesh

……….…………………………………….The Free Monthly E-zine of Vedanta Mission

Some Frequently Asked Question’s about Gita :

1. Who is the real author of Bhagwad Gita - Lord Krishna or the author of Mahabharata Sri Ved Vyasa ?

Discernment of authorship of a text may have its own importance & purpose for a scholar, but has little relevance to someone whose very philosophy & goal of life is to transcend the very sense of doership and discover identity with Lord himself. If someone is an authority on Vedanta then it is obviously implied that the said man of knowledge has not only transcended his or her sense of doership but has also discovered his total identity with Lord. Writing s of such a person alone are worth reading. Such a Mahatma directly knows himself as the self of all, he alone functions in & through all bodies at any time & at any place. This being the case the very question of authorship of texts like Gita becomes redundant. From the point of view of Ved Vyasa he himself is Lord Krishna and Lord Krishna is Ved Vyasa. Vedanta is only bothered about the eternal truths of life rather than the conditionings of personalities, places or time. What Gita says is the same as what Upanishads are saying. The author of both are essentially same. If Vedas have been revealed by God himself then Gita too has been revealed by God himself. The pen certainly have been that of Ved Vyasa but he himself says that he has no identity other than Brahman himself. The teachings of Gita can never be of any individual whose perspective is conditioned in any way whatsoever. Let those who cannot understand all this keep discussing as to who is the real author, such questions are of no relevance or interest either to any seeker of truth and of course never to any siddhas, who either invariably forget to write their names or freely use any mouth to express what needs to be expressed.

2. How much time did the discourse of Lord Krishna last ? Is it practical to imagine that both the armies kept on waiting for all that time ?

As we know the present text as we have it today was a dialogue between Sanjay and King Dhritarashtra on the tenth day of the war. Sanjay described to the blind King that very important incidence of the first day. He gave all the details right from the kind of army formation to the smallest symptom of psychological breakdown in Arjuna. If we keep aside all such descriptive details of first, eleventh and eighteenth chapters, and also the statements of Dhritrashtra and Sanjay, then also the chanting time of shlokas is reduced to less than an hour. Now it is upon us to imagine whether Lord Krishna and Arjuna were talking to each other in shlokas or sentences. If they were not chanting shlokas there on the battlefront then the entire dialogue could not have lasted for more than half an hour.

To wait for just half an hour at that critical juncture was worth it for both the armies. If Arjuna was giving reasons why not to fight then it was worth while for the Kauravas to wait, they saw a faint possibility where they could have won the war without even shooting a single arrow. The wait of Kauravas did ultimately prove to be too costly for them, because the psychological breakdown of Arjuna which was masterminded by Kauravas so very effectively was not only set right by Lord Krishna, but in fact with his Song Divine he brought out of that dejected Pandava a highly motivated soldier for the cause of Dhrama. If only Kauravas had understood who really was Lord Krishna then the situation could never have come to such pass, and having got the situation, when they saw Arjuna with Krishna then certainly they should not have waited.

3. Is there any relevance of the discourse given on the battlefield of Kurukshetra in helping solve the problems of our modern day ?

Gita is ‘Krishna-cure’ for ‘Arjuna disease’. Whoever has that problem will be definitely transformed by this divine discourse. Hinduism, says Poojya Swami Chinmayananda, is never bothered about any history. That which is a matter of our interests is only His-Story. Gita does not comprise of any story whatsoever, it is purely a philosophical discussion. Like any other such discussion it is relevant at all times & places. It talks of mind, emotions, relationships, motivations and perceptions. None of these change with time. Human being is essentially same, and so it is equally relevant today, if not more relevant than it was at any point in time.

The problem of a modern day man sitting in the midst of plenty & mind boggling advances in the field of science & technology is that in the midst of various comforts he or she is sitting all alone. Very lonely. The moral values have broken down, reliability has come down to its lowest ebb, selfishness and dissatisfaction of man has made the lives of most of the people in many parts of the world hell. Flora & fauna are disappearing, many species have become extinct, pollution has reached such levels that people are wondering what kind of world are we going to pass on to our children. The main culprit of all this destruction and imbalance is man alone, who has become blind & senseless. He doesn't know inspite of all his information as to what is his real goal. The mind is deluded, lost. Today he desperately needs some direction, to not only help him bring out the best in him, but also enlighten him to know the facts of life. Man today may be knowing something about the objective world, but the subjective world is totally unknown to him. It is this subjective ignorance which is creating the havoc we see around. Texts like Gita fill this vacuum. So Gita is indeed desperately needed today. Gita doesn't provide any do’s & don'ts but simply the understanding of life. If Gita was written today by some modern day author, then the author could have easily kept its name something like :

‘The Art of right & quick decision making’. ----------------------------------------------- ‘Bringing out the best in you’. ------------------------------------------------------------- ‘Right action as a spring board to the transcendental’. ------------------------------------- ‘Compendium of translating Holistic vision in our day to day life’. -------------------------- ‘The infinite potentials of right action’. ----------------------------------------------------- ‘Rooting out the Stress - the Holistic way’. ------------------------------------------------ ‘From action to actionlessness’. ----------------------------------------------------------- ‘Managing self for excellence’. ------------------------------------------------------------ ‘Spontaneous creativity’. ------------------------------------------------------------------ ‘Motivation that lasts & leads’.------------------------------------------------------------

All these above possible names are not my suggestions proposing amendment to the name of Srimad Bhagwad Gita, which is as beautiful as the text itself, but only to indicate the subject matter of the text and show its relevance in our modern day superficial existence. The question of its irrelevance comes only in the minds of those people who do not know what Gita is all about. They are people who need to be ignored - for they know not what they say.

  1. Which are the available commentaries on Bhagwad Gita, and which is recommended to start ones study ?

There are various commentaries on Gita. We can broadly divide them into two categories, viz. Ancient and Modern. Some well known commentaries of these categories are :

  1. Ancient commentaries as per the Advaita Vedanta tradition (all in Sanskrit)

1. Bhasya on Gita by Sri Adi Sankaracharya ----------------------------------------------2. Commentary by Sankarananda ---------------------------------------------------------3. Commentary by Madhusudan Saraswati ------------------------------------------------4. Subhodhini Commentary by Sridhar ----------------------------------------------------5. Commentary on bhashyas by Anand Giri -----------------------------------------------6. Commentary by Nilkantha --------------------------------------------------------------7. Commentary by Venkatnathiya----------------------------------------------------------

B. Modern day commentaries

In English : ( First three recommended for beginners)

1. Holy Gita by Swami Chinmayananda ---------------------------------------------------2. Commentary by Swami Chidbhavananda -----------------------------------------------3. Commentary by Sri Jayadayal Goenka (original in Hindi) -------------------------------4. Commentary by Swami Dayananda ----------------------------------------------------5. Commentary by Maharshi Mahesh Yogi ------------------------------------------------6. Commentary by BG Tilak (Original in Marathi) -----------------------------------------7. Commentary by Dr. Radhakrishnan ----------------------------------------------------8. Gita As it is by Prabhupada ------------------------------------------------------------9. Commentary by Rajneesh (Osho) ------------------------------------------------------

In Hindi : (All recommended)

1. Commentary by Swami Chinmayananda (Original in English) ----------------------------2. Commentary by Sri Jayadayal Goenka -------------------------------------------------3. Commentary by Swami Akhandananda (Vrindavan) ------------------------------------4. Commentary by Swami Vidyananda (Kailash Ashram, Rishikesh) -----------------------5. Sadhaka Sanjeeveni by Swami Ramsukhdas --------------------------------------------6. Commentary by Swami Bhagwatananda (Prayag) --------------------------------------


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