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The Eternal Wisdom of India
Jan 12, 2015 07:26 PM 6960 Views

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The idea of India is different to different persons. To some it provides a picture of utter chaos while others admires her for her diversity. To some its identity was a gift of our colonial masters while a few will point towards its rich cultural heritage. However, in my view her claim to greatness is most apparent in the field of religion and philosophy. While the mankind was wandering in forest in search of food elsewhere, here the noble sages sought to solve the riddle of greatest mystery that engulf our life and universe around it.


And at the summit of religious and philosophical quest of this great nation is placed a book which has no peer - Bhagawad Gita. While scientific knowledge is pushing back the frontiers of religion relentlessly, this work not only holds its own against the onslaught but also anticipates and encourages further development of science. It is small wonder then that this book has provided guidance and inspiration to great minds and greater workers not only in India but also outside.


Thankfully, I was introduced to this amazing dialogue between a troubled soul of the world and Greatest Incarnation of God in my childhood and it had captivated my heart from the very beginning. Though I do not claim to understand and practice even a small fraction of this wonderful book, it gives me immense solace to reflect upon the fact that there lies a stage of life within our reach which is full of bliss, peace and truth. Seldom I let go an opportunity to read interpretation of the work by men of great wisdom and often I found a hidden treasure which I had missed in my earlier readings.


Essence of Bhagwad Gita by Eknath Easwaran fell into my hand as I was enjoying my time amidst books in my favourite bookstore. It was elegantly designed, neatly presented and the language seemed simple and straight from the heart. I carried it back home and slowly lost myself once more in the dialogue between the clever cowherd boy and warrior prince. I found the subjects were arranged somewhat differently here than the original work and it has worked in favour of the book.


Prof Easwaran gently holds the hand of the reader and takes him or her to a journey through the beautiful garden full of flowers and fruits of wisdom. He relates the troubles of Arjuna with that we face in our daily dealings and by doing so points out the relevance of teachings of Bhagavad Gita in our daily life. He draws from the lives and teachings of great figures of other religions to clarify and emphasise a point, raises questions on our behalf and then closes the subject with clarity. His generous soul and loving heart shines throughout the book and in spite of his apparent mastery of the subject, never once it seems that he is showing off his intellectual or religious prowess.  He explains the concepts of different kinds of yoga(Gyan, Karma and Bhakti), immortality of soul, surrendering of fruits of action, devotion, detachment, liberation etc with great care and simple language but without sacrificing their essence. He uses the language of reason and science and therefore this work should also found acceptance amongst the modern youth whose creative energy often loses direction in this world with abundant scope of indulgence.


The Gita emphasises the point that one should follow the path to liberation as per his or or her personal inclination and takes great care to point that one path proclaimed  as superior to another not because their results are different but only because common men may find one of them more convenient to follow.   This is a point which cannot be over emphasised in today's world because religious bigotry is once again raising its ugly head in various parts of India and World. In such backdrop, the universal message of Gita with its capacity to appeal both the heart as well as mind of people irrespective of their religious affiliation attains a new significance.


To sum up, Essence of the Bhagavad Gita by Eknath Easwaran is a joy to read and one will be greatly benefitted by pursuing this work with interest. It should be savoured slowly for one should allow the effect of a particular message to work on ones mind and life before moving ahead. Multiple reading of the book is highly recommended as though such works are potentially life transforming, we have limited capacity to grasp a knowledge and implement it in our life.


A real treasure!


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