“The spiritual ethos and the philosophical outlook that the Bhagvad – Gita postulates paves the way for the liberation of man, who, as Rousseau said, ‘being b…”
Below is a compilation of two dozen + one of the Mantra-s/shloka-s from various shruti /smriti sources which form the Basic Foundation for the Concepts of Advaita. The selection is arbitrary and purely based on what appealed to me to be significant. Other learned seekers may like to add to or delete from or suitably emend this list in order to make it comprehensive and authentic. If any authoritative lists are already available in public domain (preferably online), a reference and a link to them will be appreciated. Continue reading
Here are further details about the on-line Vedanta courses being provided by Chinmaya International Foundation:
Chinmaya International Foundation is offering courses of Vedanta, Bhagawad Geeta, Sanskrit, Vedic Mathematics, Bhagavad and Make It Happen (Course on Self-Transformation) in the postal and online modes.
CIF has recently launched the Learning Sanskrit Grammar – the Paninian Way, a Webinar Course, and this has received enthusiastic response.
On the occasion of the Chinmaya Centenary Year, CIF is happy to announce launch of the Webinar Mode for its Foundation and Advanced Vedanta Courses and also its popular Bhagavad Gita Course. The uniqueness of the Webinar Course is that participants will be directly and actively assisted by Chinmaya Mission Acharyas during their course study. Hence the advantage of doing the courses through Webinar, as compared to the postal and online modes, cannot be overemphasised. Continue reading
There are very many versions of the Bhagavad Gita in print, although you will have to look to Indian bookstores to obtain most of these. This can be very worthwhile. Not only are they a lot cheaper there but it is not necessarily the case that the best versions are those which are most popular and are therefore available through Amazon.
You really need to look at each of them yourself to decide which ones appeal most. I can make a few general observations but only you know what your priorities are. (It goes without saying, of course, that the Bhagavad Gita is a ‘must read’ for anyone seriously interested in Advaita!) If you want to see original Devanagari, you are restricted in choice. If you want Romanised transliteration, again not all will provide this.
If you want word-by-word translations, only a few give this (see Refs. 1 – 3 below). If you are interested in the Sanskrit – parts of speech and which verses contain which words, you want Ref. 16 (but this contains neither the text nor a commentary).
If you want the most comprehensive, understandable commentary and expense and time are no hindrance, then Ref. 15 is a no-brainer!
Finally, there is the all-Devanagari version with Shankara’s bhAshya (Ref. 18). This is a huge, hardback book, beautifully produced but, of course, totally useless unless you can read Sanskrit very well indeed. I have a spare copy of this and hereby offer to send it to anyone in the UK free of charge (or anyone elsewhere in the world if they pay the postage) in exchange for the following: you agree to be available to provide a literal translation of any (short) text by email from time to time if I need this for my writing. Email me if you are interested in this offer. Continue reading
The superficially contradictory ‘descriptions’ of Brahman as ‘neti, neti’ and ‘sarvaM khalvidaM brahma’ [all this is verily Brahman] are brought out in adjacent verses of the Atma bodha, attributed to Shankara (Swami Chinmayananda translation):
- Brahman is other than this, the universe. There exists nothing that is not Brahman. If any object other than Brahman appears to exist, it is unreal like the mirage.
- All that is perceived, or heard, is Brahman and nothing else. Attaining the knowledge of the Reality, one sees the Universe as the non-dual Brahman, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss-Absolute.
Here, it is first stated that the universe is not Brahman. But it is also said that any other appearance will be unreal, like a mirage. The mirage is a powerful metaphor because the water that appears is in reality only the sand upon which the appearance takes place. I.e. sand is the substratum of the water appearance, just as Brahman is the substratum of the world appearance. It is then stated that all appearances are, in fact, nothing other than Brahman. But this is realized, of course only upon enlightenment. Until then, the world remains very real. Similarly, to the seeker after water in the desert, the mirage is very real. Continue reading
Shravana is the first phase on the path of knowledge in the tradition. Preparation is all about becoming eligible to do shravaNa – listening to the scriptures.
This is another feature of the traditional teaching that rarely can be transferred to Western students.
Excerpts from the ‘Upanyãsa’ rendered by Brahmashi Mani Dravid Shastriji:
‘Vedanta shravanãdhikãri’, the requisites of a person that make him eligible for listening to Vedanta (…)
The term ‘Adhikãri’ refers to that person who is capable of attaining the fruit as a result of performance of some action (karma). Possession of some basic prerequisites are laid down by scriptures in order to attain the fruit of ‘Vedanta shravana’ (listening to Vedanta). Continue reading
“When you understand and are able to act from right action, morality is no longer necessary. It’s instantly obsolete and discarded. This is at the heart of the Bhagavad Gita. Arjuna, as a moral creature, throws down his weapon and refuses to launch a war. Krishna converts him to a creature of right action by freeing him from delusion and Arjuna takes up his weapon and launches the war. Right action has nothing to do with right or wrong, good or evil, naughty or nice. It is without altruism or compassion. Morality is the set of rules and regulations that you use to navigate through life when you’re still trying to steer your ship rather than let it follow the flow”
Extract: Action in Non-Action from the new book by Raphael.
Raphael interprets Shankara’s comments on the famous verse IV.18 from the Bhagavad Gita:
One who sees non-action (akarma) in action (karma) and action in non-action, is the wisest among men, he is one who has realized yoga, who has fulfilled everything.
Q: How would it be possible to deal with our common Bhagavad Gita in terms of Advaita Vedanta?
A (Ramesam): Please appreciate that Bhagavad-Gita is not the primary or basic text for Advaita. Though many of the verses in it are almost exact mantras from various Upanishads, prior to Sankara (8th Century A.D), Bhagavad-Gita was not perhaps as popular a scriptural text for teaching Vedanta as it is today. It was a part of the mythological story, Mahabharata. Some people hold that the Bhagavad-Gita of Mahabhrata contained 745 verses. Some others opine that the original Gita was much smaller and it was Sankara who compiled the present Gita putting together diverse verses from different sources. None of these opinions, however, have any credible supporting evidence. The first extant gloss on the Gita is by Sankara and it contains 700 verses (one or two verses are still disputed and said to have been later insertions). Continue reading
It is about 40 days ago I had posted the first part posing what I thought would be questions that will interest many readers.
Shri Panigrahi and Shri Peter have been kind to respond giving their observations. I am grateful to them for their comments.
I do not know why there are not many more reactions. The reasons could vary from the reader profile, website personality to flippancy of the questions. But as you may have already anticipated, there cannot be ‘the one correct answer.’ There can only be different views. So without going into much elaboration, I shall spell out my thoughts for the answers. Continue reading