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Posted December 11, 2011
Seriously life-enhancing: I only wish there more stars to give it.
Essence of the Bhagavad Gita: A Contemporary Guide to Yoga, Meditation, and Indian Philosophy (Wisdom of India) (Paperback)
This book has been produced posthumously from recorded talks. Guided by the author's specific instructions before his death, the editors (long-time students of his) have done a stunning job. (The material in this book has not been previously published.) I hope for at least a few more such posthumous books, and I believe they are in process.
The book displays Easwaran's usual graceful clarity of thought and word. But I think this is the deepest of Easwaran's books to date. This one goes deep, deep into the heart and mind of humanity. I've gained insights from this book which I have not gained from his prior books, even though I've studied them all. Maybe I just wasn't ready for these insights until now, I cannot tell for absolutely certain-sure. But I think this book is deeper.
I've just finished it; I will re-read it this week, slowly, and ponder its message. I've no doubt it will be read again and again, and become dog-eared rather quickly.
It's a life-changing, seriously life-enhancing book, perhaps particularly for those individuals who are chasing material goods and/or power in the sad delusion that these will make them truly happy. But it would be life-enhancing for everyone.
In conclusion, I can do no better than copy a sentence from another reviewer (on Another Online Bookstore's Web Site): "Nowhere have I found such a clear exposition of the path into deeper consciousness and how we can truly transform our personalities." This says it all.
Pat Meadows (who is deeply grateful to Easwaran and to the editors of this book - Thank you!)
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Posted December 24, 2011
Highest Recommendation!!! This book will change your life!
From a small operation in Northern California, Eknath Easwaran and the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation continue to produce books of enormous importance. This latest addition to Easwaran's legacy is one of the most insightful to date. If you enjoy Easwaran's teachings, if you're yearning for ultra deep insights into this beloved Hindu scripture, or if you simply want to read elegant prose seasoned with delightfully modern, often amusing stories and analogies, you'll love this book.
Many Gita commentaries (including Easwaran's own three-volume set) explore the text passage by passage. Through these, we quickly discern that the battle described in the Gita is not physical but internal and that this battle is won using will power rather than firepower.
Beyond the individual words and passages, however, lies much more. Deftly wielding his little but powerful lamp, Easwaran leads us on a spelunking trip deep into the heart of the Gita. Along the way, we encounter wisdom from such varied sources as Shankara, Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo, Spinoza, Jung, Canadian neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield, physiologist Hudson Hoagland and others. The journey is at once simple and profound.
The book begins by introducing the split in consciousness between our lower and higher selves that causes separateness and struggle. Easwaran explores the nature of reality and personality, explaining that we are not our bodies or our minds (!) and that identification with these imposters keeps us feeling separate from everyone and everything.
Beginning with chapter six, we move from theory to practice. Easwaran explains how to heal the split using a system of living that includes meditation, living deliberately and experimenting with our likes and dislikes. The words are practical and enormously compelling.
The final three chapters describe the journey of humanity toward its ultimate goal: self-realization. We have no choice but to fight this battle, Easwaran and the Gita insist. Putting our heads in the sand or playing with the toys of life only delays the battle and prolongs our misery. Ultimately, Easwaran's Gita tells us we will not only fight but also win and that this glorious day comes much more quickly when we seize the initiative and realize our potential.
This story could only be told by a lifelong student of the Gita, someone who has lived it each day and is now so familiar with it that its words pale against the underlying meaning. Even so, in the hands of a lesser writer, no one but an enlightened being could even understand how the meaning derives from the words. But Easwaran's ideas fit together so well and are so nicely supported by the sparsely used but powerful Gita verses that, by the end, it's utterly impossible to deny both the wisdom of this interpretation and the inevitability of its effect on us.
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Posted December 18, 2011