Book Title: My Gita
Author: Devdutt Pattanaik
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
My experience with this book has been one of best simple reading. Original Gita by Krishna is in Samskritam and it is rather difficult to follow if you are not good in the original language, because it is filled with terms, words that shift completely with just a slight change in word-endings.
My journey with Gita began way back in 1998, when I used to read the translated lines from a pocket size book. Even though I was familiar with most of the terms used in the song, but I still didn’t have a complete sense of the conversational poetry.
For many years, I continued to read the line by line literal translation without understanding the inner import. Reading the pocket sized Gita was more an act of prayer than an act to understand.
But the most important phase of my journey with Gita happened while I was reading up on how the discourse happens right in the middle of a war. It is strategically placed in the center of the Epic Mahabharata.
That particular fact fascinated me so much that I was frustrated that I couldn’t fully understand the text. I kept religiously reading the text until I was given access to the next level of understanding the text.
I always believed that whatever you learned in your life doesn’t come to you until you are ready for the next level of understanding. Every time I had a question that I’m seeking from inside, the cosmos sends me the answer through books, articles and through sudden understanding or even a person explaining it to me.
So it was not surprising when I meet people at specific time or place. For that matter even chance meeting with people would result in me gaining knowledge from the meeting.
In 2011 round about, on such chance meeting with one of my professors led me to gain knowledge of Gita at the next level. He suggested that I read an autobiography written by Sri Paramahansa Yogananda. This yogi was renowned at least in the west for propagating Yoga as healthy life choice.
It was interesting to read about the yogi’s life and influences. This also made me realize that I opened up to the book much to my surprise. In my college days I had been spending time reading a lot of Jiddu Krishnamurthi’s work.
While working towards staying away from conditioning of any form, I read with openness any text of spiritual import. So when in 2013, I invested in a book written by Paramahansa Yogananda titled “God Talks To Arjun”, and found myself totally understanding the Gita differently. But it was still not simple to understand.
Being a yogi, Paramahansa explained the Gita chapters like a hermit; whereas in the case of Devdutt, he was more of a householder and his explanation was that of a householder.
The language used is so simple and easily accessible for a light reading of deep thoughts. Krishna suddenly became easy to understand now that the text was not sequential one but thematic.
This is the first time that I read Gita completely from Chapter 1 to Chapter 18 while getting its main import. Devdutt has a wonderful way of explaining single words with multiple meanings. Because the fact that Samskritam was very advanced by that time and was scientific too. The images included with the text helped to understand the Gita much more with ease.
Krishna became more of a collected and a scientific person who categorized the world in material and spiritual import. But then at the same time, the fact remains that to be a detached householder may actually be great way to leave this world.
Devdutt explains the complex part of dharma, varnas, gunas, and the path to moksha is not about renouncing everything and going away to the forest. But to be within the web of delusion of this material world and act as a person who is non-judgmental about what one observes in life on Earth while anchoring faith in Krishna.
One of the best quotes for me were:-
Within infinite myths lies an eternal truth
Who sees it all?
Varuna has but a thousand eyes
Indra, a hundred
You and I, only two.
Great read! Totally enjoyed it and understood too.