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My Gita Paperback – Special Edition, 11 Nov 2015

4.2 out of 5 stars 749 customer reviews

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Product description

Review

It will definitely blow your mind. The Gita, in a most simple form, for any person who wants to think in a intellectual way. The explanation he gives for the name - 'My Gita' is top notch. As I already like The Gita very much, I'm just loving Devdutt's version of it too. --By Supratheesh on 17 November 2015

As it is said that "Bhagavat Gita is the milk of Vedas" I say "My Gita is the Milk Shake" made by Dr.Devdutt, to the our generation. His hardwork in unravelling the wisdom is highly appreciable. --By Customer on 28 November 2015

A very unbiased & clear writing.. Gripping and thought provoking ideas mentioned. --By Vidya on 22 November 2015

About the Author

Devdutt Pattanaik writes and lectures on the relevance of mythology in modern times. He has written over 500 articles in newspapers, and thirty books, which include Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata, Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana, 7 Secrets of Hindu Calendar Art, 7 Secrets of Shiva, 7 Secrets of Vishnu, 7 Secrets of the Goddess, The Book of Ram, 99 Thoughts on Ganesha, Shikhandi and Other Tales They Don’t Tell You and Myth=Mithya: Decoding Hindu Mythology. He lives in Mumbai. For more information on Devdutt and his books, visit devdutt.com


From the Publisher

Further, at places, the same words are used in different verses to convey different meanings, and at other instances, different words are used to convey the same idea. For example, sometimes the word ‘atma’ means mind and sometimes soul; at other times other words like dehi, brahmana and purusha are used for soul instead of atma. This can be rather disorienting to a casual reader, and open to multiple interpretations. So My Gita departs from the traditional presentation of The Gita—sequential verse-by-verse translations followed by commentary. Instead, My Gita is arranged thematically. The sequence of themes broadly follows the sequence in The Gita. Each theme is explained using several verses across multiple chapters. The verses are paraphrased, not translated or transliterated. These paraphrased verses make better sense when juxtaposed with Vedic, Upanishadic and Buddhist lore that preceded The Gita and

stories from the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Puranas that followed it. Understanding deepens further when the Hindu worldview is contrasted with other worldviews and placed in a historical context. For those seeking the standard literal and linear approach, there is a recommended reading list at the end of the book.

Reason 2: My Gita is subjective

We never actually hear what Krishna told Arjuna. We simply overhear what Sanjaya transmitted faithfully to the blind king Dhritarashtra in the comforts of the palace, having witnessed all that occurred on the distant battlefield, thanks to his telepathic sight. The Gita we overhear is essentially that which is narrated by a man with no authority but infinite sight (Sanjaya) to a man with no sight but full authority (Dhritarashtra). This peculiar structure of the narrative draws attention to the vast gap between what is told (gyana) and what is heard (vi-gyana).

Krishna and Sanjaya may speak exactly the same words, but while Krishna knows what he is talking about, Sanjaya does not. Krishna is the source, while Sanjaya is merely a transmitter. Likewise, what Sanjaya hears is different from what Arjuna hears and what Dhritarashtra hears. Sanjaya hears the words, but does not bother with the meaning. Arjuna is a seeker and so he decodes what he hears to find a solution to his problem. Dhritarashtra is not interested in what Krishna has to say. While Arjuna asks many questions and clarifications, ensuring the ‘discourse’ is a ‘conversation’, Dhritarashtra remains silent throughout. In fact, Dhritarashtra is fearful of Krishna who is fighting against his children, the Kauravas. So he judges Krishna’s words, accepting what serves him, dismissing what does not.

Krishna Arjuna (source) (seeker) Sanjaya Dhritarashtra (transmitter) (judge) Me You

Overhearing the Gita

I am not the source of The Gita. But I do not want to be merely its transmitter, like Sanjaya. I want to understand, like Arjuna, though I have no problem I want to solve, neither do I stand on the brink of any battle. But it has been said that the Vedic wisdom presented by Krishna is applicable to all contexts, not just Arjuna’s. So I have spent months hearing The Gita in the original Sanskrit to appreciate its musicality; reading multiple commentaries, retellings and translations; mapping the patterns that emerge from it with patterns found in Hindu mythology; and comparing and contrasting these patterns with those found in Buddhist, Greek and Abrahamic mythologies. This book contains my understanding of The Gita, my subjective truth: my Gita. You can approach this book as Arjuna, with curiosity, or as Dhritarashtra, with suspicion and judgement. What you take away will be your subjective truth: your Gita.

The quest for objective truth (what did Krishna actually say?) invariably results in vi-vaad, argument, where you try to prove that your truth is the truth and I try to prove that my truth is the truth. The quest for subjective truth (how does The Gita make sense to me?) results in sam-vaad, where you and I seek to appreciate each other’s viewpoints and expand our respective truths. It allows everyone to discover The Gita at his or her own pace, on his or her own terms, by listening to the various Gitas around them.

Objectivity is obsessed with exactness and tends to be rather intolerant of deviation, almost like the jealous God of monotheistic mythologies. But meanings change over time, with the personality of the reader, and with context. Subjectivity challenges the assumption that ideas are fixed and can be controlled; it celebrates the fluid. Modern global discourse tends to look at truth qualitatively: it is either true or false. That which is objective is scientific and true. That which is subjective is mythic and false. Hindu thought, however, looks at truth quantitatively: everyone has access to a slice (bhaga); the one who sees all slices of truth is bhaga-van. Limited truth is mithya. Limitless truth is satya. Satya is about including everything and being whole (purnam).

The journey towards limitless truth expands our mind

(brahmana). The Gita itself values subjectivity: after concluding his counsel, Krishna tells Arjuna to reflect on what has been said, and then do as he feels (yatha-ichasi-tatha-kuru). Even Sanjaya, after giving his view on what Krishna’s discourse potentially offers, concludes The Gita with the phrase ‘in my opinion’ (mati-mama).

Reason 3: My Gita is not obsessed with the self

Traditionally, The Gita has been presented as a text that focusses on self-realization (atma-gyana). This suits the hermit who isolates himself from society. This is not surprising, since most early commen tators and retellers of The Gita, such as Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhwa and Dyaneshwara, chose not to be householders. The original Buddhist monastic order may not have survived in India, but it did play a key role in the rise and dominance of the Hindu monastic order. The monastic approach willy-nilly appeals to the modern individualist, who also seeks self-exploration, self-examination, self-actualization and, of course, selfies.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India; My Gita Special Edition edition (11 November 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9788129137708
  • ISBN-13: 978-8129137708
  • ASIN: 8129137704
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 749 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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