[of the first Bengali Edition]
vande sri-guru-gaurangau, radha-govinda-sundarau
Bowing down to the holy feet of Sri Guru, Sri Gauranga, and Sri Sri Radha Govindasundara, all accompanied by Their associates, I sing the glories of the hidden treasure of Srimad Bhagavad-gita.
Since Srimad Bhagavad-gita is very familiar to the learned society, an acquaintance of the conceptions of this edition may be given here. We are followers of the school of thought descending from Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, so this edition is based on the Sri Gita commentaries of the pre-eminent, exalted Sri Gaudiya Vaisnava Acharyas—Sri Visvanath, Sri Baladev and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. By the grace of our worshipful spiritual master, Om Visnupada Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada, and from indications in the commentaries given by the aforementioned great pure devotees, in places some new light has been shed, revealing deeper meanings. The devoted reader will appreciate this particularly with regard to the four verses (10.8–11) which were described by Sri Visvanathpada as the four essential verses (chatuh-sloki) of the book.
Generally, Sri Gita is known as an excellent study of the science of religion. The language of Sri Gita is simple and sweet; its mood is grave, extensive and radical; its thought is succinct, lucid and impartial; and its logic is sound and natural. The eloquence of the prologue, epilogue, exposition, review, analysis, synthesis and delivery of Sri Gita is unprecedented and charming in the extreme. Sri Gita is activation for the lazy, courage for the fearful, hope for the hopeless, and new life for the dying. Sri Gita unifies and sustains all ranks, whether revolutionary, occultist, optimist, renunciationist, liberationist, or full-fledged theist. From the atheist of grossly crude vision to the most elevated saint, the essential conceptions of all classes of philosopher are illustrated with clear and powerful logic. The devotees of the Lord (bhagavad-bhaktas) and persons on the paths of action, knowledge and yoga (karmis, jnanis and yogis) will each find the essence of their paths dealt with in a comprehensive and illuminating manner, and thus the book is highly esteemed by all.
The essential and inner purport of the Vedas and Upanisads of the Aryans is directly explained, and the essence of various non-Aryan doctrines can also be found. Sri Gita teaches us enlightenment through the selfless execution of scripturally ordained actions. When the consciousness is thus purified, self-realization or spiritual realization is attained. In its maturity, this pure realization blossoms into loving service in the joyful, divine plane.
From the standpoint of sambandha-jnana or 'knowledge of relationship', Sri Gita gives us the conception that the Absolute Reality is a transcendental personality; from the standpoint of prayojana or 'the objective', spiritual love for the Absolute Reality is given as the highest attainment; and from the standpoint of abhidheya or 'the means', we are taught that one must initially offer all his actions to the Supreme Lord, followed by the cultivation of self-realization favourable to realization of the Lord, and finally surrender to the Lord, to the exclusion of all other endeavours. Ultimately, the means will culminate in the objective when, in one's perfected spiritual form, one whole-heartedly engages in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.
Sri Gita has clearly shown the distinctions between the various paths, such as the path of action, including worship of the gods for worldly fulfillment, and the path of knowledge, for the attainment of liberation. The thoughtful reader can note that Sri Gita, by its comparative study, refutes the misconception that the many paths and goals are 'all one'. Rather, it is stated, yo yach chhradhah sa eva sah, "A man is known by his faith."
These verses would warrant deep consideration in this respect:
"The yogi is superior to persons engaged in austerities, superior to the person of knowledge, and superior to the person of action... Therefore, O Arjuna, be a yogi. And best of all yogis is My faithful devotee for whom I am the only goal, and who serves Me whole-heartedly. This is My opinion." (6.46, 47)
Showing the inferiority and meaninglessness of dry renunciation, the gift of Sri Gita is most substantial and positive. Rather then merely renouncing action, one should selflessly offer one's actions to the Supreme Lord (karma-yoga). Ultimately, based on one's surrender, one will be inspired to act in devotion (bhakti) for the Lord alone. This is the conclusive and sublime teaching of Sri Gita. In the finest conception, the overall excellence of Sri Gita is found in its gift of devotion. In its full manifestation, such devotion is prema-bhakti, loving devotion to the all-attractive Supreme Personality—Sri Krishna, Reality the Beautiful.
Secret, more secret, and the most secret of all teachings have been given, as the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord (sankirtana), and service in spontaneity (bhava-seva), with exclusive surrender and dedication to the transcendental pleasure of Krishna as the ultimate goal of life, as sung by the vibrant clarion call of Sri Gita—sarva-dharman parityajya, mam ekam saranam vraja, and as deeply contemplated by the followers of the lotus foot-steps of the Supreme Lord who mercifully appears as the saviour in this age of Kali—Sri Chaitanyachandra, and as corroborated by the divine succession of saintly teachers.
May Lord Sri Krishna accept the offering of this edition.
Swami B.R. Sridhar
|"HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS | HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS"|
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