Karma Yoga: A Practical way of Spiritual Life The book titled "Selfless Action" subtitled "Compilation and critical analysis of the practical philosophy of Karma Yoga" by G Sankarasubba Ayyar is a critical analysis of the Bhagavad Gita from the author's personal perspective.
The author looks at the philosophy of Bhagavad Gita from the Karma Yoga perspective. A remarkable feature of the present volume is that the Karma Yoga is not treated on mere scholastic lines, but as a practical way of spiritual life, in keeping with the structure of the Gita, the book is divided into 18 sections as per the chapters of the Gita. Each chapter is subdivided thematically which makes it very reader-friendly.
The author makes a running commentary on the themes, quoting from the verses of the Gita in an apt way. Together with this, the various technically appearing words of the Gita are taken up and explained from the author's perspective. Another notable feature of the book is that it does not strictly adhere to any particular classical school of Indian Piilosophy. The author advocates his own spiritual experience of practising Karma Yoga throughout his life, and 'offers interpretation of the Gita in his original way. The author quotes a number of illustrations and real-spiritual experiences in making his point on the Gita. In one way, it is an interpretation of Gita removed from all previous scholastic bias.
The central claim of the author is that the entire Gita advocates the Karma Yoga, not just in the well-known third chapter; but, in all the eighteen chapters consistently. The book is a worth read for any serious aspirant of spirituality and to the inquisitive of the Bhagavad Gita as well.
Dr. Venkat Rao, a biomedical scientist residing in the USA and grandson of the author, Sri Sankarasubba Ayyar, initiated discussion with his family to publish the aging manuscript safely stored in the attic that embody three decades of painstaking hard work nearly 100 years ago by his grandfather. This book is an abridged version of the five thousand -page manuscript and supportive documents.
The ultimate goal is to make this literature available all over the world, so the timeless message of the Gita reaches distant shores all over again. It does not matter how many versions of this timeless teachings gets published, each and every new endeavor brings the ageless message refreshingly new like the rolling waves of the ocean hitting the shores.
It is my proud privilege and a great honour to introduce the book entitled "selfless action - compilation and critical analysis of the practical philosophy of karma yoga by sri g. Sankara sub ba ayyar".
Bhagavad Gita or song celestial has created an indelible impression on the minds of both oriental and occidental scholars from times immemorial. If Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhwa give Vedantic interpretation of Gita, Jnaneshwar gives mystical interpretation, Bhandarkar stresses Devotionalism, Tilak emphasizes Activism, Gandhi derives Detachment, Annie Beasant, K.M. Munshi, Aldous Huxley and Belwalkar concentrate on the unity of three paths, K.N. Katju and K.V. Divitia are influenced by Social teachings of Gita, W.R.P. Hill, C. Rajagopalachari, S. Radhakrishnan have brilliant estimates of Gita, Otto stresses on Numerism, Aurobindo on Divinization, Swami Rama and S.K. Ramachandra Rao stress on Psychological aspect. Gita is one of the widely translated works of the world. Whole of Gita is in the form of questions and answer type which can be termed as Socratic method from the Western angle. According to Shankarcharya, Gita is the sum and substratum of Vedic wisdom. According to Yamuna Muni the descendant of Ramanujacharya, Gita is the descent of the Shastras. If Mahabharata is a Parijatha, Gita is its nectar according to Madhvacharya. Raghavendra Swami has called Gita as Krishna Gita. It has been called Han Gita in Mahabharata itself. According to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa one should repeat the words Gita, Gita, Gita a few times. You will also hear it as Tyagi, Tyagi, Tyagi indicating thereby that the Gita gives a call to live a life of offering everything to the supreme lord, verily the life of sacrifice is what liberates.
Taking cue from the above statement of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Sri Sankarasubba Ayyar has brought out his interpretation of Gita entitled selfless action — compilation and critical analysis of the practical philosophy of karma yoga after a meticulous and hard labour for ten years. His extremely meticulous nature to everything he did is evident in the format, compilation, cross references to literature and editorial guidance for readers all carried out with limited material resources is truly astonishing. It is heartening to note that after the completion of the work he held a grand puja to mark the occasion and many luminaries of the day such as Sri C. Rajagopalachari, the first Governor General of the free India and representatives from the Princely State of Mysore attended the event and blessed him. His excellency, Sri Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, the Maharaja of Mysore and his Diwan Sri Ramanathan have seen the Bhagavad Gita Manuscript and have expressed appreciation through a letter of honour under the stamp and signature of Maharaja himself. Padma Shri Awardee Sri. C.K. Venkataramaiah, Director of the Mysore State Secretariat, a close friend of Sankarsubba Ayyar, arranged a meeting with Sri Kengal Hanumanthaiah, Chief Minister of Mysore and arranged for a Magic Lantern Lecture at the Secretariat. After listening to the Lecture, the Chief Minister called him a Mahapurusha.
The book SELFLESS ACTION - COMPILATION AND CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHY OF KARMA YOGA BY SRI G. SANKARASUBBA AYYAR is in two parts. The first consists of Chapters 1-6 and the second consists of Chapters 7-18.
The first volume highlights the importance of Karma consisting of first six chapters including Sankhya Yoga, which is known as mini Bhagavad Gita. This is the chapter wherein the dis-illsioned Arjuna is instructed by Krishna as to how a realised soul will behave. The importance of self-less action and the role of meditation is nicely brought out in this volume.
The second volume consists of chapters from seven to eighteen wherein the role of devotion, the three kinds of Gunas, along with the cosmic vision of the Lord have been highlighted. At the beginning of every Chapter the methodology of the Chapter along with the verses have been indicated. For instance, while highlighting the first chapter it is mentioned as :- "Main narration — Verse 1"
Duryodhana's survey of the Armies — Verse 2-11
Blowing of the Conches — Verse — 12-19 Arjuna's Survey of the Armies — Verses 20-27
Dejection of Arjuna — Verses - 28-44
Decision of Arjuna — Verses —45---41
Both the volumes have inter-connection and hence they serve as complimentary to one another. Both the volumes are highly informative, interesting, inspiring, incisive, and directly strikes a cord to the reader and creates an indelible impression. The encyclopedic knowledge of the author runs through both the volumes as a common thread.
The opinions of the Scholars quoted both oriental and occidental with an open mindedness is truly in keeping with the motto of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan — let noble thoughts come to us from every side. The opinions of the great savants, sages and scholars like Swami Vivekananda, Swami Yogananda, Ramakrishna Paramahamasa, Shankaracharya on the one hand and that of Walter Scott, Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, St. Luke and St. Mark on the other shows author's dispassionate reading and commitment to knowledge.
To substantiate one's own stand point the author has quoted profusely from Mahabharata, Astavakragita, Katopanishad, Ishopanishad, Taittiriya Upanishad, Manusmruti, Ramayana, Vivekachoodamani, Yoga Vasistha, Srimad Bhagavatam, Han Vamsha, Rigveda, Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Sarva Vedanta Siddanta Sarasangraha, Uddhava Gita, and so on which demonstrate the encyclopedic knowledge of the author.
This book would be a welcome addition to the enormous literature on Gita and I am happy that the book was published from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan so that the learned and the laymen can lay their hands on this wonderful work.
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