Gita on the Green: The Mystical Tradition Behind Bagger Vance

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**Use copy in Blurb1Deep in India's past, Lord Krishna revealed the 700 verse Bhagavad-Gita, a spiritual poem containing universal, nonsectarian truths. In 1995, Steven Pressfield decided to introduce the Bhagavad-Gita to a contemporary audience, so he restructured the Gita in terms of a golf novel, The Legend of Bagger Vance. As he says, "In the Gita the troubled warrior Arjuna receives instruction from Krishna, Supreme Lord of the Universe, who has assumed human form as Arjuna's charioteer. Instead of a troubled warrior, it's a troubled golf champion (Ranulph Junah); instead of his charioteer, it's his caddie Bagger Vance." Now a major motion picture directed by Robert Redford and starring Matt Damon and Will Smith, The Legend of Bagger Vance is loosely based on the ancient Hindu epic. Steven Rosen, in Gita on the Green: The Mystical Tradition Behind Bagger Vance, draws the story out further using some thirty years of Gita scholarship and a writing style that is both eloquent and thorough. Rosen takes us on a colorful jourbaney into the golf world of Bagger Vance, as well as into the spiritual realm of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. By the end of the jourbaney, one realizes that one has just read a commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita while hitting a hole in one.

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What People Are Saying

Arvind Sharma
In the Bhagavad-gita, the heroic if spiritually-challenged Arjuna asks his charioteer Krishna for good advice. He discovers half-way through their exchange that all the while he had been receiving God advice….Hmmm…Now what if Arjuna were a golfer, and God was his caddie? That would no doubt transform the classic text into something more readable for Westerners. This was accomplished in The Legend of Bagger Vance and taken further still by Steve Rosen, who, in Gita on the Green, puts us all on the playing field with both Bagger and Bhagavan Sri Krishna. The result is indeed edifying!
— (Arvind Sharma, Birks Professor of Comparative Religion, McGill University, and author of The Hindu Gita)
Tamal Krishna
Gita on the Green does for the Bhagavad-gita what Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance did for Zen Buddhism. It takes a philosophically elaborate Eastern tradition and makes it accessible for a Western audience….Enjoyable enlightenment! — (Tamal Krishna Goswami, University of Cambridge)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826413659
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 5/30/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven J. Rosen is the author of fifteen books on East-Indian philosophy and spirituality. For the last eight years he has been the editor of The Journal of Vaishnavi Studies (an interdisciplinary quarterly). He is currently part of an editorial team working to complete The Encyclopedia of Hinduism, an eighteen volume compendium of Indian thought (forthcoming, 2003, University of South Carolina Press). He lives in Nyack, NY.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 9
Foreword 11
Introduction 15
1 My Search for the "Authentic Swing" 27
2 Violence on the Battlefield of Life 45
3 The Art of Action 65
4 Devotional Love: The Name of the Game 95
5 Putting Knowledge First 116
Endgame: Or, How Does All of This Apply to Me? 152
Select Bibliography 170
Index 174
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From the foreword by Steven Pressfield, author of The Legend of Bagger Vance:

What is the Gita anyway? To call it a great work doesn't quite do it justice.... What I love is that it's not Western. It's not Judeo-Christian. Its message is not the eye-for-an-eye or turn-the-other-cheek with which we are familiar, but something from an entirely different quadrant of the compass.... On one page it champions a hard-core warrior ethic; on another it declares harmlessness, ahimsa, the supreme virtue of God and man. The Gita exhorts the reader to action, but admonishes that he has no right to the fruits of that action. Be a "lord of discipline," it urges, in the same breath commanding utter surreder to one's spiritual mentor. It can be pretty daunting to us Westerners. This is where Steven's Rosen's Gita on the Green comes in. Gita on the Green takes Bagger Vance as a point of departure and launches from there into the source text at full strength. Steve's book is about the Gita. He uses golf, and a novel about golf, as levers to pry into that mighty husk of wisdom that has come to us from the sages of India.... [He does so] with a clarity of thought and expression that makes you say, "ah! So that's what it's about!" ...Gita on the Green was a college education for me. I hope it will be for you too.

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