Rise above the myriad mis-interpretations of The Gita, August 24, 2005
By Siddhartha Azad "http://www.ashtophoenix.com" (New York, NY, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Essays on the Gita, New U.S. Paperback Ed. (Paperback)
Hi, Essays on The Gita is categorically the most definitive explanation of The Gita. These essays, when carefully and patiently read, will not leave any speck of doubt in you. Everything written has been explained and nothing has been ignored. Everything is presented in a broad perspective, with relation to Sankhya, Vedanta, also giving an explanation of these. This is not a word to word translation of The Gita. This is The Gita as it was meant to be understood. Do not be afraid if you do not have much of a background in reading such scriptures. The language, so beautiful, clear and simple, addresses the advanced as well as the not-so-advanced readers. All in all, do not think twice, get this book. Permalink Comment
This is the best modern commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. The scripture itself is a synthesis of many of the most important Indian spiritual philosophies, and is, in my opinion, by far the most relevant to modern humanity and the most inspiring to westerners. It contains instruction in the highest forms of Yoga with an eye towards the needs of practical people involved in the often confusing and distressing activities of life in the world.
Sri Aurobindo clearly states his intentions towards this text in the introduction: to put the teachings of the Gita in a modern context, that is, to see how they can be made relevant to readers in the present day.
In addition, he asks for a more objective look at the text than certain other interpretations. While I found that he, in general, carried this out, it is not dry, nor is there any vacillation: the book is imbued with the author's ideas about evolution and the role of man in relation to the divine and the author is clear in his interpretive bent.
Most important, however, is that his explinations of the meaning of the scripture are truly magical. He clarifies confusing points with such ease and lucidity, I often found myself thinking "Ah, but that's so clear! How'd I ever have a problem with it?"
This is NOT, however, an easy text to read. Sri Aurobindo went to Cambridge during the 1890's and the language he uses is not what most people are used to. He is deliberately thorough and has no inhibitions about repeating himself with slight variation if there is an even slightly different context shedding light on the passage. He uses long sentences when expressing large, transcendent ideas (that is, most of the time) and it is easy to get lost in his paragraphs.
In addition, the scope of the Gita when expressed in this way is tremendous. Not all of the text can possibly be relevant to someone's life, and at times it can seem as if he's belaboring the point. Often, however, such troubling passages become the ones that are most inspiring when reread in a different context.
Therefore, I strongly recommend this book, but only to people who are interested in serious, deep study of the Gita and are willing to invest a lot of time and effort into it. The rewards can be truly fabulous.