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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy of Bhagavadgita: Swami Dayananda's Interpretation, 4 Feb. 2011
This review is from: The Teaching of the Bhagavad Gita (Paperback)
The author unfolds the teaching of Lord Krishna in a lucid and effortless manner. While retaining the profound nature of the text he discusses the inner meaning of its philosophy so that everyone can understand. He highlights the message of all relevant chapters and interprets key hymns in great detail. The author illustrates his profound understanding of one of the greatest texts ever presented to mankind. The metaphysics of Gita according to the author is summarized below;

The knowledge of the self will eliminate the sense of inadequacy in life. When one discovers oneself to be a full and complete being, all the conflicts and grief vanish: This is called Brahmavidya. The Gita teaches karma yoga as a means of eliminating likes and dis-likes which may be achieved through bhakti or devotion to the Lord, according to the author.

Everything you know is an object and you are the subject. There are only two things in creation: ksetra, the object, and ksetrajna the subject, the one who knows the object. This concept is discussed in detail in the thirteenth chapter of the Gita, but it is also unfolded in the second chapter. The subject, the knower, must be distinct from the known, the sense organs. You can rightly say that you are the knower of the deafness of your ears, the blindness of your eyes, or the congestion in your nose, but you are not the deaf ears, the blind eyes, or the blocked nose. If you are not the sense organs, who are you? Who is the knower? Through this inquiry you are able to conclude that you must be distinct from the body, sense organs, mind, knowledge, memory, and ignorance. You are none of the relative roles, like father, son, etc., because to play a particular role you have to stop playing the others. You are therefore "distinct from all of these. You must now say, "I am someone who is aware of my ignorance, my knowledge, my memories, my emotions, my hunger, my sense organs, and my body. All that I hear, see, smell, taste or touch are objects. I am the subject, the aware being, who is aware of all the objects, including the body and the mind." This Awareness, I, is limitless and non-dual. Any object can be limited by time, space, or another object; but Awareness, I, is not an object, and so it has no dimension, no shape, no limitation.

There cannot be any distance between the moon and space because the moon is in space and space is in and through the moon. Distance itself is the space between two objects in space, but between space and space there is no distance. Similarly, the sun, the sky, the stars all exist Within Awareness. Your body exists within Awareness. Space exists within Awareness. There can be no distance. You are Awareness, and in Awareness are the stars above. Between Awareness and the stars there is no distance. You are Awareness, he is Awareness, she is Awareness, I am Awareness. How many awareness's are there? There is one, all-pervasive Awareness in which all objects exist. And this Awareness is not limited by time, because I, the Awareness being aware of time. Anything that is born in time can be destroyed in time; but Awareness, the very basis of time, is beyond the realm of time. Further, because Awareness is formless, it cannot be destroyed by dividing it into parts. An object can be destroyed, but Awareness is the subject to the basis of everything. Thus all agents of destruction are incapable of destroying I-Awareness. Lord Krishna says in verses 2.23-24, "Weapons cannot cut it; fire cannot burn it; water cannot wet it; even wind cannot dry it. It is not subject to being cut, burned, wet or dried. It, is beyond time, all-pervasive, Immovable, and immutable." In sleep, neither time nor space, nor the mind (which objectifies the world) exists; but I exist in and through waking, dream, and sleep. Therefore I am not circumscribed by space or time: I am sarvagata, all-pervasive and nitya, free from the limitation of time. In Awareness are space and time, and in time-space alone is the whole creation. Therefore, I am free from all limitations. Talking about Awareness, Lord Krishna says in verse 2.25: "This is not manifest (cannot be perceived), nor can this be thought of (as one thinks of an object); not subject to mutation either (because it is not born). Therefore knowing this Awareness to be thus you have no cause or grief." Eternity is a concept that is timeless, because anything that is material must change with time, but eternity is unaffected by time, and I, awareness is beyond time and hence not subject to death. Therefore, Lord Krishna says in verse 2.21, killing or causing others to be killed is totally immaterial to the one who knows this Self to be indestructible, eternal, unborn, and not subject to decline

The Self is the reason for awareness of your emotions, your thoughts, and all the objects of the world. Happiness is manifest only in a satisfied mind, a mind that desires nothing, because the Self is the source of happiness. Verse 2.55 states that "when one completely renounces all the desires entertained by the mind, satisfied in the Self, by the Self, one is called a person of steady wisdom." The one who recognizes that the Self is sat-cit-ananda - existence, Awareness, and ful1ness is wise. That person is cal1ed sthitaprajna, well rooted in wisdom. The one into whom al1 desires enter, as waters flow into the ocean, which remains unchanged and ever full, that one gains peace, and not the one who desires objects (verse 2.70). Verse 2.71 states, `having given up al1 desires, the man who moves about without attachment, who has no thought of ''I'' or "my", gains peace." In the next verse the Lord goes on to state that; with limitless space, you will no longer feel limited. This knowledge is cal1ed here the Brahmi state, a state of Brahman,

In verse 2.47, Krishna states that "Work alone is your privilege, never its results." Many interpreters take this to mean that one should perform action without expecting a result, but no one performs action without expecting some result. This verse really means that you have a choice in your action, but never in the results. The results of action are governed by physical laws. It is through His laws that one gets a particular result.

If the Brahman associated with Maya is the cause of everything, how is it that everyone is not similar? When the cause is One, why should the effects be varied? The body-mind complex of a human being is nothing but Prakriti, matter, vivified by caitanya, consciousness. Prakriti and Caitanya being the same in everyone why should one person be contemplative, another ambitious, and a third dull? The fourteenth chapter, called Gunatraya-vibhaga-yoga accounts for these differences. All the constituents of creation can be classified into three categories called gunas (qualities): sattva, related to knowledge; rajas related to activity; and tamas, related to inactivity. So that everything that comes from Prakriti including the psychological disposition of a given individual is characterized by these three gunas. The Lord says that everyone is a mixture of these three gunas, but the predominance of one guna over the other accounts for the dissimilarities observed among people.

1. Modern Indian Interpreters of the Bhagavad-gita (SUNY Series in Religious Studies)
2. The Philosophy of the Bhagavad-Gita
3. Philosophy of the Gita (American University Studies Series V, Philosophy)
4. The Philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita
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