- Paperback: 450 pages
- Publisher: Chinmaya Prakashan; 5th re-print edition (1 March 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 8175970626
- ISBN-13: 978-8175970625
- Package Dimensions: 21.3 x 14 x 2.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,86,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ashtavakra Geeta: 1 Paperback – 1 Mar 2007
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About the Author
Swami Chinmayananda (May 8, 1916 - Aug 3, 1993) was born Balakrishna Menon (Balan) in Ernakulam, Kerala in a devout Hindu noble family called "Poothampalli". Graduating from Lucknow University, he entered the field of journalism where he felt he could influence political, economic and social reform in India. But his life was changed when he met Swami Sivananda at Rishikesh and became interested in the Hindu spiritual path.  Balakrishna Menon took sanyas(monkhood) from Swami Sivananda and was given the name Swami Chinmayananda - the one who is saturated in Bliss and pure Consciousness. Swami Shivananda saw further potential in Swami Chinmayananda and sent him to study under a guru in the Himalayas - Swami Tapovan Maharaj under whom he studied for 8 years. Swami Tapovan maharaj was known for his rigid teaching style, to the point where he told Sw. Chinmayananda that he would only say everything once, and at anytime he would ask questions to him. Even with these extreme terms, Sw. Chinmayananda stayed with Tapovan maharaj until the very end of 8 years. Being a journalist at heart, Sw. Chinmayananda wanted to make this pure knowledge available to all people of all backgrounds, even though Tapovan Maharaj had advised against it. It was then that with Tapovan maharaj's blessings, he left the Himalayas to teach the world the knowledge of Vedanta throughout the world. During his forty years of travelling and teaching, Swami Chinmayananda opened numerous centres and ashrams worldwide, he also built many schools, hospitals, nursing homes and clinics. His interest in helping the villagers with basic necessities lead to the eventual creation of a rural development project, known as the Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development or CORD. It's Naitonal Director, Dr. Kshama Metre was recently awarded the Padma Shree National award in Social Work. Swami Chinmayananda passed away on 3 August 1993 in San Diego, California. His followers regard him as having attained Mahasamadhi at that point. His work has resulted in the creation of an international organization called Chinmaya Mission. This mission serves Swami Chinmayananda's vision of reinvigorating India's rich cultural heritage, and making Vedanta accessible to everybody regardless of age, nationality, or religious background.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Swami Chinmayananda's translation and discourses on the Astavakra Gita is one of the few extended commentaries we have in English by such an eminent exponent of Vedanta. It borrows freely from Swami Nityaswarupananda's superb translation and notes, but Swami Chinmayananda's lively presentation and penetrating insights make his work a uniquely valuable contribution to the literature.
In addition to his own expository comments Swami Chinmayananda helps to convey the meaning of selected verses by citing parallel passages from other texts, including the Bhagavad Gita, Avadhuta Gita, various Upanisads, Vivekacudamani, and especially Yoga Vasistha.
For sure, there are numerous misprints as well as oddities of expression and punctuation, but these seldom present more than a momentary distraction to the reader. Recommended.
Although this book provides us with quite a good translation of the Ashtavakra, along with a very full commentary in less idiomatic and somewhat whimsical English, perhaps it's most useful feature is its lavish treatment of the Sanskrit.
Besides a beautifully printed Sanskrit text in a large clear easy-to-read Devanagari font we are also given a complete transliteration of each verse, a word-by-word translation, and a final English translation of the verse.
Swami Chinmaya's edition, as being the only available edition of the Ashtavakra which has all of these features, would be an excellent choice for anyone, especially those with an interest in the Sanskrit text.
For information about the Ashtavakra and full details of other available editions see my Listmania list: The Ashtavakra Gita - A Very Early and Pure Advaita Text.