About the Book:
His book analyzes the root cause of dejection. Unless the cause is ascertained, no remedy can be sought. Everyone faces an identity crisis at some point in his/her life as a result of which one's priorities become misplaced. Thus all our endeavors meet with dejection sooner or later.
Dejection can become a stepping stone to ultimate success by awarding us the opportunity to seek our real identities and to relinquish our misconceived identities. The Bhagavad-gita shows how this may come about by treating dejection as a form of yoga. Yoga here means discovery of the true self and its communion with the Absolute. In this sense, dejection can transport us beyond identity crisis and situate us in a determined awareness of our higher purpose in life.
The setting for this discussion is a battlefield, where Arjuna must fact his most deep-rooted attachments. By descending to the depths of his being through the vehicle of Krsna's divine guidance, Arjuna will emerge victorious, as a warrior for truth.
We are invited herein to do the same, by embarking on this journey that reflects the battlefield of life.
About the Author:
Satya Narayana Dasa, earned his graduate degrees in engineering from IIT Delhi and worked as software engineer in USA for a few years.
He gave up his field and took to philosophy. He studied the Sanskrit, six systems of Indian Philosophies under various traditional Gurus in Vrindavana. He studied the whole range of Gaudia Vaisnava literature from his Guru, Vaisnava literature from his Guru, Sri Haridas Sastri, one of the eminent scholars and saints of India.
Satya Narayana Dasa founded Jiva to promote Vedic culture, Philosophy and Ayurveda through education. He regularly gives classes on Gaudia Vaisnava literature, and has authored many books on the subject. He has contributed to the twenty five volume work brought out by the project of history of Indian science, philosophy and culture.
Back of Book:
As waves of water shimmer,
A yearning lotus stands alone,
Entranced by its reflection,
The light it sees it thinks its own.
Its leaves and petals wither,
Although it stretches toward the light,
A dark eternal struggle,
The flower toils through the night.
A luminance emerges,
The sun reveals a brilliant ray,
Which breaks the flower's slumber,
And introduces it to day.
Bhagavad-gita, arguably the most concise and systematic book
of religion, ethics, philosophy and metaphysics ever written, is
itself but a single part of the Mahabharata, an astonishing tapestry
of ancient Vedic history and philosophy told through the lives of
several generations of the great Kuru Dynasty. Bhagavad-gita is a
discourse between Sri Krsna and his disciple, the warrior Arjuna,
shortly before Arjuna fought a great war on the Battlefield of
Kuruksetra. Because the Gita was not written as an independent
book, the characters, setting, and circumstances mentioned in it
are assumed already to be familiar to the listener, by hearing the
preceding episodes of the Mahabharata. In order to satisfy the
reader who wants to approach Bhagavad-gita directly, a brief and
relevant summary of the events in Mahabharata which lead up to
the speaking of Bhagavad-gita is given here.
Currently, only a small portion of the original Mahabharata
text is extant, and yet, the verses we have comprise one of the
longest epic poems in history. This vast work was composed by
Vyasa, whose full name is Krsna Dvaipayana Vyasa. He received
the title Vyasa, or "compiler," because he compiled the four Vedas.
He also wrote the eighteen Puranas and the Vedanta-Sutra. The
word "Mahabharata" literally means, "of great weight." According
to the author, the work is named Mahabharata because it is very
deep in meaning. It is more important than the Vedas, and it
contains transcendental knowledge about the Absolute Person, .
Sri Krsna, and his activities and potencies.
The Story of the Mahabharata
Long ago, in present-day India, there ruled a righteous king
named Bharata, who was so glorious that India itself became
known as Bharata, after him. Thus, in Sanskrit, Mahabharata also
means "the great history of Bharata" or India, as the book
describes the history of the kings who appeared in the dynasty of
King Bharata. Among the kings who appeared in this dynasty
was King Kuru, whose descendents are known as Kauravas.
About fifty-three centuries ago, a king named Santanu appeared
in the Kaurava Dynasty. His capital was at Hastinapura, near the
modern city of Meerut in Uttara Pradesh. Santanu's first wife,
Ganga, gave birth to a son, Bhisma. Later in his life, King Santanu
fell in love with Satyavati, the foster-daughter of a fisherman. He
wanted to marry her and asked her father for her hand. The father
said that King Santanu could marry his daughter on one condition:
that her own son, yet to be born, would become heir to the
kingdom, and not Prince Bhisma, who, according to Hindu custom,
was the rightful heir by virtue of being first-born. King Santanu
refused to accept the condition, thinking it unjust to his son.
When Bhisma came to know of this, he stood in front of the
fisherman and vowed, "I will never accept the throne." But the
fisherman was apprehensive, fearing that a future son of Bhisma
might steal the throne from Satyavatr's future grandson.
Understanding the fisherman's hesitation, Bhisma proclaimed
another vow, "I shall remain a lifelong celibate." Being satisfied
with Bhisma's words, the fisherman married his daughter,
Satyavati, to King Santanu. Hearing of his son's noble and selfless
deed, King Santanu blessed Bhisma, granting him the boon that
he would never die-except by his own will.
Satyavati bore King Santanu two sons, Citrangada and
Vicitravirya, After Santanu's death, Citrangada was crowned as
his successor, but shortly afterwards, Citrangada died in a duel
with a gandharva, one of the heavenly singers. Vicitravirya then
took his place on the throne, even though he was still a young
boy. Intending that they should marry Vicitravirya, Bhisma
abducted three daughters of the King of Kasi: Amba, Ambika
Amba already desired to marry another king, Salva, and when
she revealed this to Bhisma and Vicitravirya, they freed her to go
to him. Salva, however, refused to marry her. She returned to
Bhisma and proposed that he should marry her, because she did
not wish to marry Vicitravirya. But, as was mentioned earlier,
Bhisrna had vowed never to marry, and thus flatly refused. Amba
then approached the sage Parasurama, who was a renowned
warrior and Bhisma's martial arts guru, asking him to convince
Bhisma to marry her. Parasurama ordered Bhisma to marry Amba,
but Bhisma did not heed his order. Enraged, Parasurama
challenged Bhisma to a duel and they fought for twenty-seven
days, but neither could defeat the other. Finally, the celestial gods
had to come down from heaven and request the pair to cease
Frustrated, Arriba vowed revenge against Bhisma. She retired
to the forest and performed severe penance to please Lord Siva.
Lord Siva, satisfied with her austerities, granted her the boon that
in her next life she would be born to King Drupada as a daughter,
but at the prime of her youth she would turn into a male. Lord
Siva's words came true, and in her next life Amba became the
Ambika and Ambalika, the other two sisters of Amba, married
King Vicitravirya, but he died of tuberculosis before fathering any
children. Later on, at the request of Satyavati, the learned Vyasa
sired one son from each of the two wives of King Vicitravirya, in
order to provide rulers in Vicitravirya's line of succession. Ambika,
the senior queen, gave birth to Dhrtarastra, but he was born blind,
and was thus disqualified from occupying the throne. Ambalika
gave birth to Pandu, whose sons later came to be known as the
Pandavas. Vidura, a third son of Vyasa, was born of a maidservant
after the births of Dhrtarastra and Pandu.
The Sons of Dhrtarastra and Pandu
The blind Dhrtarastra married Gandhari, the daughter of the
King of Gandhara, an area in present-day Afghanistan. She gave
birth to one hundred sons and a daughter. Duryodhana was her
eldest son. Pandu married Kunti and Madri. Kunti was Krsna's
aunt, but had been adopted by King Kuntibhoja, a friend of Krsna's
grandfather. Kunti gave birth to Yudhisthira, Bhima and Arjuna,
and Madri to Nakula and Sahadeva.
Although the sons of both Dhrtarastra and Pandu were all
descendents of King Kuru, the epithet of "Kaurava" was popularly
applied only to the sons of Dhrtarastra. Pandu was cursed by a
sage, and both he and Madri died while living in the forest. After
Pandu's death, Dhrtarastra occupied the throne despite his
blindness. Although he seemingly welcomed Kunti and the five
fatherless Pandava boys into his kingdom, he and his sons always
feared and hated them, wanting nothing but to get rid of them.
This loathing did not go unnoticed by Kunti or her sons.
From their childhood, the hundred sons of Dhrtarastra and
the five Pandavas were rivals. Among the Pandavas, Bhima was
immensely strong and mischievous. He used to single-handedly
wrestle all one hundred Kauravas during their play. Because of
this, Duryodhana became very envious of him and wanted to
obliterate him. Duryodhana tried to poison Bhima twice, drowned
him in the Ganges and exposed him to poisonous snakes, but
Bhima survived all of these attempts on his life.
The Training of the Princes
As young princes, the Kauravas and Pandavas were trained in
martial arts by Krpacarya, Krpacarya and his sister, Krpi, had been
reared by King Santanu, who found them in a forest where they
had been abandoned by their father. Krpi's husband, Drona (also
known as Dronacarya), was a great warrior, expert in all forms of
The Bhagavad-gita is one of the most popular scriptures in the
world. Traditionally, it is regarded as one of three main Vedic
scriptures comprising the prasthana-traya, or the three royal paths
leading to the ultimate goal of life. The importance of the
prasthana-traya in Vedic philosophy can be discerned from the
fact that almost all prominent Vedic teachers have traditionally
written an expository commentary on the prasthana-traya to
propound their individual schools of philosophy. Unless the
philosophical conclusions of their schools could be established
from these three books, the scholarly community would reject
Besides the Bhagavad-gita, the other two scriptures in the
prasthana-traya are the books of the Upanisads and the Brahma-
sutra (also known as the Vedanta-sutra. The Upanisads are a body
of literature that explains the essence of the Vedas. The Brahma-
sutra, written by Vyasa, is a synopsis of the Upanisads, synthesizing
their meaning-whenever there is a seeming conflict between
Upanisadic statements, one can resolve it with the help of the
Brahma-sutra. But being sutras, or aphorisms, the texts of the
Brahma-sutra are extremely terse (sometimes only a word or two)
and cannot be understood without the help of a commentary. The
Gita, which also gives the essence of the Upanisads, helps to unfold
the meaning of the Brahma-sutra. Succinctly and clearly, it portrays
the underlying principles of the Upanisads and the Brahma-sutra.
The Universality of the Bhagavad-gita
Among the three scriptures of the prasthana-traya, the
Bhagavad-gita is the one most widely read, because of its lucidity
and practical approach. Even an ordinary person without a
background in philosophy or theology can grasp its message and
apply it in daily life. The message of the Gita is universal-not
limited to a particular class of people. It delineates absolute truth
and teaches the art of living, by which one can obtain ultimate
happiness and the supreme goal of human life.
Truth, like the laws of science, is never sectarian. Just as the
law of gravity is not restricted to a particular nation or religious
denomination, the Gita is not intended only for Indians or
Hindus-it is meant for anyone who wants to be happy. It does
not discriminate on the basis of nationality, gender or creed. It
does not demand superficial changes in dress, appearance or
profession, but instead recommends internal change. By following
the principles of this book, one will automatically excel in one's
field of action, because the Gita teaches us how to optimize our
abilities and realize our full potential. The Gita promises this
because it specifically cures the disease of dejection that stunts
one's physical, mental and spiritual growth.
It is this that sets Bhagavad-gita apart from the often well-
meaning, yet failed attempts of various theorists to provide a clear
solution to the problems of the human condition. Being trapped
within the forest of material life, one tends to become either lost
in the details of existence here, or fragmented and overwhelmed
by its relative immensity. Thus, when an ordinary person goes out
and actually searches for answers to his questions about life, he
seems to find only one of two things.
He may encounter hundreds of books of philosophy that are
just like a muddy pond-dark, confusing, and such that if one
should accidentally fall into it, his only thought is to get out, take
a shower and never return. On the other hand, he may come upon
thousands of "self-help" books, filled with overgeneralizations,
platitudes and clever words that only tell people the things about
themselves they want to hear. Such books do people a disservice
by inflating their egos and giving them the feeling that they have
been relieved of their miseries, when in fact they have not. Such
words can be compared to a person's shimmering reflection on
the surface of a body of water. Seeing only a glorified image of
himself, a viewer becomes so distracted and preoccupied trying to
grasp at its substanceless form, he completely forgets the reason
he came to the water in the first place, which was to drink and end
Because the Gita emanated from the mouth of the Lord, it does
not have any of these defects. There are no "secret levels" one
has to buy his way into with a credit card. It is like the crystal clear
water surrounding a coral reef: when one looks into it, he sees
directly to the bottom-the answers are clear and lucid. Then,
upon entering the water, he feels refreshed and is amazed at its
depth, expansiveness and beauty. It is free to all, and everyone is
invited to enter into it as often as they like and take as much from.
it as they desire.
One might still object, saying that the Gita is meant only for
Hindus in India, because it was spoken by a Hindu god. This,
however, is a misconception-Krsna is not a god only for Hindus
any more than Christ is a teacher only for Christians, or
Mohammed a prophet only for Muslims. These limiting
designations were assigned to them after the fact, but in reality,
none of these teachers restricted their message to a particular
section of society, because what they profess is absolute, not
relative. Krsna makes this point in the Gita (9.32), saying that any
person can become perfect by following his instructions. Thus,
true religion, like truth itself, is universal, and it is only apparent
followers that invent factions and create ill feelings between sects-
often to facilitate some personal agenda of their own.
Unscrupulous persons twist the words of scripture to arouse
fanaticism among the innocent and then manipulate them with
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