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Lectures on the Gita
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Lectures on the Gita
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Foreword

The Bhagavad-gita is the most popular religio- philosophical work which engages the attention of both the scholars and the laymen. It is the timeless text which has gone through the different spans of time shaping the life-world of the Hindus. The Hindu tradition venerates the authority of the Upanisads, the Brahma-sutra, and the Bhagavad-gita, which are collectively called prasthanatraya. Each one of these texts shows the way (prasthana) to the spiritual goal. The tradition speaks of the sruti-prasthana of the Upanisads, tarka-prasthana of the Brahma-siara, and the smrti-prasthana of the Bhagavad-gita. It means that the tradition has taken care of both scripture and reasoning in the formulation of the principles of philosophy and spiritual life. When we speak of the authority of a text, we mean the power of ideas inherent in it, which serves as the source of knowledge worthy of consideration and acceptance. The prasthana-traya takes care of the theory and practice of the philosophico-religious dimensions of the people. Though the Bhagavad-gita is a smrti text, it has got the status and authority of the Upanisads. Just as the Upanisads convey the knowledge of Brahman, the supreme reality (Brahma-vidya), even so the Bhagavad- gita conveys the highest wisdom. Also, it is yoga-sastra, providing the fusion of the path of action (karma-yoga), the path of devotion (bhakti-yoga), and the path of knowledge (jnana-yoga). Hence, it has special importance.

There are quite a few commentaries, traditional and modern, on the Bhagavad- gita and also independent expositions of it. The present volume, Lectures on the Gita, contains the discourses on the teachings of the Gita delivered by Sri Vidyaprakasanandagiri Swamiji, the founder of Sri Sukhabrahmasram at Srikalahasti. While conveying the message of the Gita, the Swamiji highlights the salient features of the Advaita tradition by quoting the Upanisadic and other texts at the appropriate places. It may be noted that, according to the tradition, the Bhagavad-gita tuus: be viewed in the context of the Upanisads and the Brahma-sutra. In several places the Swamiji shows that the philosophical background of the Gita is taken from the Upanisads. For example, it contains the elucidation of the nature of Ksetra and Ksetrajria, Ksara, and Aksara, etc. borrowed from the Upanisads. Also, the nature of Brahman as identical with that of the inward Self is set forth against the background of the Upanisads. The concept of bhakti, which finds an important place in the text, is a direct development of the upasana taught in the Upanisads, Further, the Swamiji has drawn our attention to the fact that the eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad-gita are so grouped that they cover all the three yogas-karrna, bhakti, and jnana. According to Madhusudana Sarasvati , the first six chapters of the Gita deal with karma, the next six chapters, with bhakti, and last six chapters, with jnana. This division does not suggest that the three disciplines are mutually exclusive. On the contrary, it is only a rough division suggesting the main emphasis of the particular yoga in one group of chapters. The real position is that there are references to jnana in addition to karma in the first six chapters. Similarly, in the last six chapters there .is emphasis on jnana in addition to karma. The 'implication here is that all the three disciplines are interrelated in such a way that the one leads to the other without any break or division. The Lord teaches Brahma-vidya to Arjuna only when the latter proves his readiness to receive the saving knowledge. The Swamiji sums up the teachings of the' Gita in his discourse on Chapter 12. First of all, liberation is for the mind and not for the Self. Secondly, the spiritual aspirants, without losing hope and confidence, should repeatedly practice the discipline. Thirdly, those who cannot practice concentration of mind can perform actions related to God. Fourthly, the spiritual aspirants should dedicate not only their actions, but also the fruits of their actions to God. The Swamiji conveys the most difficult concepts in the teachings through examples drawn from our every-day- life. It is not easy to convey the total and integrated message of the Bhagavad-gita in eighteen discourses, reflecting as closely as possible the eighteen chapters of the text. One has the sense of satisfaction as one reads the text from the beginning.

**Contents and Sample Pages**












Lectures on the Gita

Item Code:
NAP818
Cover:
PAPERBACK
Edition:
2008
Language:
English
Size:
8.50 X 5.50 inch
Pages:
757
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 0.7 Kg
Price:
$30.00   Shipping Free
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Foreword

The Bhagavad-gita is the most popular religio- philosophical work which engages the attention of both the scholars and the laymen. It is the timeless text which has gone through the different spans of time shaping the life-world of the Hindus. The Hindu tradition venerates the authority of the Upanisads, the Brahma-sutra, and the Bhagavad-gita, which are collectively called prasthanatraya. Each one of these texts shows the way (prasthana) to the spiritual goal. The tradition speaks of the sruti-prasthana of the Upanisads, tarka-prasthana of the Brahma-siara, and the smrti-prasthana of the Bhagavad-gita. It means that the tradition has taken care of both scripture and reasoning in the formulation of the principles of philosophy and spiritual life. When we speak of the authority of a text, we mean the power of ideas inherent in it, which serves as the source of knowledge worthy of consideration and acceptance. The prasthana-traya takes care of the theory and practice of the philosophico-religious dimensions of the people. Though the Bhagavad-gita is a smrti text, it has got the status and authority of the Upanisads. Just as the Upanisads convey the knowledge of Brahman, the supreme reality (Brahma-vidya), even so the Bhagavad- gita conveys the highest wisdom. Also, it is yoga-sastra, providing the fusion of the path of action (karma-yoga), the path of devotion (bhakti-yoga), and the path of knowledge (jnana-yoga). Hence, it has special importance.

There are quite a few commentaries, traditional and modern, on the Bhagavad- gita and also independent expositions of it. The present volume, Lectures on the Gita, contains the discourses on the teachings of the Gita delivered by Sri Vidyaprakasanandagiri Swamiji, the founder of Sri Sukhabrahmasram at Srikalahasti. While conveying the message of the Gita, the Swamiji highlights the salient features of the Advaita tradition by quoting the Upanisadic and other texts at the appropriate places. It may be noted that, according to the tradition, the Bhagavad-gita tuus: be viewed in the context of the Upanisads and the Brahma-sutra. In several places the Swamiji shows that the philosophical background of the Gita is taken from the Upanisads. For example, it contains the elucidation of the nature of Ksetra and Ksetrajria, Ksara, and Aksara, etc. borrowed from the Upanisads. Also, the nature of Brahman as identical with that of the inward Self is set forth against the background of the Upanisads. The concept of bhakti, which finds an important place in the text, is a direct development of the upasana taught in the Upanisads, Further, the Swamiji has drawn our attention to the fact that the eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad-gita are so grouped that they cover all the three yogas-karrna, bhakti, and jnana. According to Madhusudana Sarasvati , the first six chapters of the Gita deal with karma, the next six chapters, with bhakti, and last six chapters, with jnana. This division does not suggest that the three disciplines are mutually exclusive. On the contrary, it is only a rough division suggesting the main emphasis of the particular yoga in one group of chapters. The real position is that there are references to jnana in addition to karma in the first six chapters. Similarly, in the last six chapters there .is emphasis on jnana in addition to karma. The 'implication here is that all the three disciplines are interrelated in such a way that the one leads to the other without any break or division. The Lord teaches Brahma-vidya to Arjuna only when the latter proves his readiness to receive the saving knowledge. The Swamiji sums up the teachings of the' Gita in his discourse on Chapter 12. First of all, liberation is for the mind and not for the Self. Secondly, the spiritual aspirants, without losing hope and confidence, should repeatedly practice the discipline. Thirdly, those who cannot practice concentration of mind can perform actions related to God. Fourthly, the spiritual aspirants should dedicate not only their actions, but also the fruits of their actions to God. The Swamiji conveys the most difficult concepts in the teachings through examples drawn from our every-day- life. It is not easy to convey the total and integrated message of the Bhagavad-gita in eighteen discourses, reflecting as closely as possible the eighteen chapters of the text. One has the sense of satisfaction as one reads the text from the beginning.

**Contents and Sample Pages**












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