According to tradition, Dnyaneshwar was born in AD 1275 and passed away in the year 1296 at the age of 21. Little is known or him through ascertainable historical instruments except by way of what he narrated, in which there is very little or no mention of his personal life. But what he narrated had such an astounding quality that the material has survived and prospered, first through the oral tradition and later in print without even an iota of any marketing effort. His most well-known work is Dnyaneshwari, a huge composition in verse and is purportedly a commentary on the Geeta, the most well-known of India's religious/philosophical texts. However, in all probability Dnyaneshwari is an independent work which takes Geeta as a reference but unveils all Indian philosophical systems in great detail and in exquisite verse in a local dialect. The Geeta is in Sanskrit, a classical language. This act of using a local dialect was as rebellious as it could ever get. History tells us that two centuries later an attempt at translating the new testament of the Bible from the original Greek into English led to persecution imprisonment and the violent death of the translator in AD 1536.
In spite of the tribulations that his parents suffered at the hands of the clergy, Dnyaneshwar did not become an archetypal rebel but was of a pragmatic mind and relied more on persuasion and evolution in social matters rather than being a revolutionary. His writing is full of great scholarship of the knowledge then extant. His reasoning is based on sound footing drawn mainly from the natural world and he is very astute when reading the human condition. He is well informed about his natural and social environment and intuitively speaks on matters scientifically which would boggle the modern mind. But above all he was a visionary, a stoic yet compassionate social philosopher with a great gift with words and it is believed by those who read his work that his mind was touched by the transcendental. This attempt at translating his main work into English has been made so that more of the world may acquaint itself with this great son of mankind.
The author is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon by profession and has held academic positions in a teaching hospital in Mumbai till he retired in 1997, His scientific work, which includes some basic research and several innovations, have received international recognition and was frequently published throughout the eighties and the early part of the nineties, He is still active in his profession, both in private practice as well as in more than one charitable institutions. In addition, he has been a social activist and his work in improving the environment in his neighbourhood as well as at the Lokmanya Tilak Hospital, where he spent most of his professional years prior to retirement, has won him much appreciation from the public at large as well as with the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai, In the recent past he has used the Right to Information Act with great zeal and perseverance, exposing the apathy of the powers that resulted in several “course corrections" in public matters. During the last twenty years he has studied philosophy and physics as a hobby and has written several popular books in Marathi, his mother tongue, on the work of Dnyaneshwar, a noted commentator on the Geeta, the most well-known of Indian philosophical/religious texts. One of these publications has won a state award. The present work in English took nearly six years to write and its intended so as to acquaint a wider readership with Indian philosophy.
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