Traditional Science and Art of Happy Living
Part I- Background
It gives a brief background of the Battle of Mahabharat.
Part II- Sermons of the Gita
168 Shlokas have been selected from the Gita depending on their importance in the message of the Gita and their relevance to the present day conditions. (Appendix II)
Parts III- Message of the Gita
It presents a very brief summary of the main ideas presented in the Gita which are relevant and useful for man today.
Modern Science and Art of Happy Living
Part IV- World of Man and Science of Happy Living.
Part V- Road to Happiness and Art of Happy Living.
Part IV and Part V present a commentary on the message of the Gita. The content is characterised by the following special features :
The main concern of the Gita is the spiritual emancipation of man, while the main emphasis in this book is on happiness in the life of man and a balance in worldly success and spiritual salvation.
The sequence of presentation of chapters in the Gita is in conformity with the nature of knowledge as it existed during the Mahabharat period. So, there are chapters on topics like Karma yoga, Gyan yoga, Bhakti yoga, Puroshottam yoga, Moksha, Sanyas yoga etc., whereas the chapters in the commentary are in conformity with the nature of knowledge prevalent today, e.g., cosmic power, universe, man, society, knowledge, etc. However, the content matter of both, the Gita and the commentary is the same. The Gita also deals with God, universe, man, society, knowledge, suffering, faith, yajna, yoga, etc. as will be evident from the details of the subject matter. (Appendix III)
The Gita has drawn its subject matter from the then existing scriptures, namely- Vedas and the other Shastras. Certainly, the subject matter in the commentary has been drawn from the vast knowledge of modern sciences, philosophies and spiritual experiences of saints. This wide spectrum of information gives a comprehensive perspective to the topics under consideration. This has also ensured relevance and importance of the subject matter in the life of modern man.
The Gita is in the form of a sermon and it categorically asserts what is good for man, although there are attempts of integration and reconciliation of different points of view, but the commentary does not state anything as the final truth. Various views on the subject are stated and it is left to the individual to decide what appeals to him the most.
The whole emphasis in the commentary is on providing the latest and varied opinions on the subject relevant to modern life. The aim is to prompt the individual to think for himself of what is best for him in his situation? The ultimate aim is to get rid of suffering and attain happiness. Here is an attempt to present the traditional philosophical wisdom in the context of modern knowledge on the subject so that its relevance for modern man can be appreciated. Thus the faith of modern man is strengthened in traditional wisdom and he is not cut off from his roots. This is likely to help him to retain his ancient spiritual values, while marching ahead on the path of modernization.
Every effort has been made to keep the language as simple as possible, but the complex and abstruse nature of the subject is such that at some places, the language could not be simplified further. However, wherever possible, explanations have been provided.
If this humble effort of relating ancient scriptural knowledge to modern scientific and philosophical knowledge and bringing out its practical implication to solve the day to day problems of modern man is welcomed and appreciated, further efforts in this direction could be made and the ancient Vedic heritage could be saved from obsolescence.
It is firmly believed that the knowledge contained in the Vedic scriptures, particularly in the Gita, is very relevant and useful for life even for the modern man. It is further believed that this knowledge should be imparted to the youth, before he enters an independent household life so that he can save himself from avoidable suffering and lead a happy life.
The aim is to inform and inspire the youth, so as to avoid suffering in life and attain happiness from the very beginning through introspection and self-transformation.
Suggestions for improvement of the book are earnestly requested.
"In ancient India, philosophy (Anvikshki) was considered as the rational, critical and illuminating review of the contents of theology, economics and political science and also as the right instrument and formation of all action and duty which helped one to achieve intellectual balance and insight as well as linguistic clarity and behavioural competence mr f-prr A-FRk-zo. 53 (Prof. K. Satchidanand Murty- Philosophy In India, Page (173). The Gita is perhaps the best representation of practical application of such a concept of philosophy. Kautilya was the last statesman in India to present an example of practical application of Indian philosophy. Since 2nd century B.C., there has been negligible original thinking in Indian philosophy. An age of commentary has continued during the last so many centuries. Time has come for a change. The need is being widely felt particularly since independence.
It was Professor Kalidas Bhattacharya who had drawn attention to the mechanical textual treatment of Indian philosophy without any broad perspective. He questioned its value when our philosophy has nothing to do with concrete human problems. Dr. Radhakrishnan in his book Indian Philosophy Vol. II had stated, "Indian Philosophy today should be made alive and real so as to become what it should be- one of the great formative elements in human progress, by relating the immensely increased knowledge of modern science to the ancient ideals of Indian Philosophy.
In 1978, University Grants Commission had appointed a small committee of four eminent Professors of philosophy from Indian Universities to free the Indian philosophy from this academic stagnation and cultural subjugation. The Committee suggested as under
a) Indian Philosophy should make one aware of India's very rich and varied philosophical heritage.
b) It should present what is universal and best philosophical thought irrespective of the time and country in which it originated and developed.
c) It should enable one to choose or develop an ideology capable of supporting a system of values adequate to one's present needs.
d) It should encourage asking of questions which have roots in the lived life of the questioner and pursuit of those questions in a spirit of freedom. Philosophical problems must be those arising at present out of one's own life and thinking.
This book is an outcome of a very humble and small step in that direction. It deals with the problem of "Suffering" which incidentally is the problem of man today and has been the central problem of the Indian philosophers and saints since very ancient times.
Obviously, the Gita serves as the most appropriate starting point as it presents the suffering soul of Arjun seeking guidance from Lord Krishna to get rid of his suffering. Lord Krishna treated the subject in a very comprehensive manner in context with psychological, philosophical, social, spiritual and practical aspects of life during those times.
In the Gita, Shri Krishna presented a detailed analysis of the world in which man lives- including the gross and subtle natural environment in the universe, the inner life of man, the expectations of the society and the philosophical thought as it existed at that time. This was a comprehensive narration of the world of man. Against this background, Shri Krishna placed before Arjun, the causes which led to suffering of man. Then he suggested the path which could lead to the end of suffering and attainment of happiness. However, Lord Krishna presented these sublime ideas in the light of the aims of human life as visualised during that age.
The book follows the same pattern, bringing in the ancient philosophical knowledge as Well as the modern knowledge of physical and social sciences. There is no attempt to impose any particular ideology or thought system. An effort has been made to present all points of view- ancient, modern, oriental, occidental, and then leaving it to the youth to make his own choice in view of his own experiences. The book presents a simple and straight forward philosophy of life suited to the present times.
The draft had been presented to eight scholars from various fields with rich life experience to review and offer their suggestions so as to make the material relevant, useful and authentic. Their suggestions were discussed by the group and necessary modifications were made in the original draft.
The book is meant for the students and youths on the thresholds of adolescence and adulthood who need such knowledge the most. Every effort has been made to keep the language and style suited to the age group. Effort has also been made to avoid all controversies so as to suit an average Indian.
This may be the first attempt of its kind. So there could be many slips. A sympathetic consideration is, therefore, requested. Suggestions for improvement are earnestly invited.
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