Written by one who had been connected with publishing for well over a decade and who established the Sterling Publishing House, this slim volume highlights in brief, the Hindu theory of jnana (knowledge), bhakti (devotion) and karma (action/fate). ?Karma is work and work is life??this forms the basis of Hindu philosophy. Ghai says the Gita is the guide to ?the science of Being and the art of living. It is a complete guide to mastering the problems of day-to-day life?for any man in any age. The teachings of the Gita inspire all to realise the reality within them. The fulfilment lies in the simultaneous development of the heart and the mind.?
This abbreviated version of Bhagawad Gita begins by relating the story of Dhritarashtra who brought up King Pandu'sfive sons called Pandavas along with his own 100 sons of whom Duryodhana was the eldest. Dhritarashtra'ssons were called the Kauravas and instead of naming his own eldest son Duryodhana as the heir to the throne vacated at King Pandu'sdeath, he announced Yudhishtra, the eldest of the Pandava brothers as the heir. Duryodhana became jealous and challenged Yudhishthra to a game of dice in which Yudhishtra lost everything, even his wife Draupadi. Duryodhana sent the Pandava'sinto exile and they lived in the forest for 13 long years braving the hardships of a tough life. After this period was over, the Pandavas approached Dhritarashtra for return of their kingdom but Duryodhana stood in the way and refused. Being blind and helpless, Dhritarashtra could do nothing. The result of this was the great battle of Mahabharata that was fought on the plains of Kurukshetra for 18 days. This battle was essentially fought by Krishna who drove the chariot of Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers. However, on the battlefield, Arjuna could not bear to see the battle between the cousins and told Krishna, ?What is the use of fighting against my own family members? I see no good in killing my kinsmen in the battle. What even if I win? Will it give me peace? Will it give me happiness??
The gist of what Krishna preached was that whatever is the result of an action, we should do our duty without bothering about the reward. Arjuna had the right and control over the action and not on its subsequent fruit. Right action is bound to bring right result but one should not run after rewards. A person with the right mind renounces the fruits of action and reaches the highest goal called moksha, liberation, which is free from all evil. One who does not understand this, loses happiness as desires ?give rise to anger, and anger destroys reason?the intelligence to discriminate between right and wrong. Such a person loses all happiness and peace of mind, which comes to those who do not think of themselves and thereby attain God and nirvana.
Krishna tells Arjuna about the yoga of knowledge and action, which should be religiously practised. It is the karmayogi, who through selfless action, becomes a sannyasi, a master of his senses. Krishna advises Arjuna to become a yogi who should worship Him like a true devotee and adds in his discourse.
In short, the Bhagavad Gita teaches us how to be, how to think and how to act. This version, which gives in brief the basic teachings of the Gita is specially meant for those who do not have the time or inclination or patience to go through the complete original version of the Gita.
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