The Original Gita: Striving for Oneness with Comments and Related Verses of the Bhagavad Gita

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  • Book Name The Original Gita: Striving for Oneness with Comments and Related Verses of the Bhagavad Gita
  • Author Gerard D. C. Kuiken
  • Language, Pages English, 166 Pgs. (HB)
  • Upload Date 2022 / 06 / 08
  • ISBN 9788120835221, 8120835220
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The Original Gita: Striving for Oneness with Comments and Related Verses of the Bhagavad Gita
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We live in a world that functions by seeming 'dualism', a perspective that keeps us in bondage. In this book, dualism is addressed and shown to be illusionary, since every pair of opposites implies the third element: the notion of a difference implied by both opposites.

The Original Gita, which predates the Bhagavad Gita, focuses on the basic philosophical and practical essentials of life and living. Here dualism is addressed and shown to be illusionary since every pair of opposites implies the third element: the notion of a different implied by both opposites. The discussion of what is an ever-present 'difference' in such a triunity and how it impacts everything we perceive is pivotal to awakening to a new dimension of observation. It is in the unseen difference that we become aware of opposites, such as long-short, day-night, and true-false.

In the first part of the book, the questions-What is thought? What is space-time? What is life-death? - are examined in a concise form to give a foundation for the understanding of the philosophy of the Gita. Using this basis of Eastern wisdom, the author comments on the 209 verses of The Original Gita, and a Sanskrit-to-English translation is given of the related 319 verses in the classic Bhagavad Gita that correspond to these verses; these 319 verses can therefore be considered as the core of the Bhagavad Gita. There is no reference in The Original Gita to the battle fought by the Bharatas, nor is there support for the caste system, which were interpolations added later to the Bhagavad Gita. The book includes a glossary for clarification of a number of germane Sanskrit terms, a bibliography, and an index.

About The Author

Dr Gerard D. C. Kuiken received his PhD from the Delft University of Technology, where he lectured in the fields of fluid mechanics and thermodynamics. He is the author of Thermodynamics of Irreversible Processes: Applications to Diffusion and Rheology, published by John Wiley & Sons. He has studied yoga since his youth and resides in both The Hague in The Netherlands and Santa Barbara in California, USA.

 

Preface

Why should we study this book? Perennial wisdom is to be found everywhere, in books and seminars dedicated to expanding our understanding of our essential selves and our connection with 'the unlimited Oneness'.

We live in a world that functions by seeming 'dualism', a perspective that keeps us in bondage. In this book, dualism is addressed and shown to be illusionary, since every pair of opposites implies a third element: the notion of a difference implied by both opposites. The discussion of what is an ever-present 'difference' in such a trinity and how it impacts everything we perceive is pivotal to awakening to a new dimension of observation. It is in the unseen difference that we become aware of opposites, such as long-short, day-night, and true-false.

So what is distinctive about this book? It is essential to realize that each concept has a triune quality as exemplified by the three elements involved: both the opposites and their difference. Is it practical to know this? Yes. Because, by realizing this general law, we can free ourselves from holding to the bias of one particular side. Even though we might not accept the law, we are nevertheless all subject to it, just as we are subject to gravity. And what about that Vastness, that Oneness that often comes up in spiritual works? As what exists is finite, it can be placed in that Vastness by 'distinction, which can only be indicated by a 'limitation'. The process of applying a limitation is inherent in all existence. We ourselves constantly apply limitations unconsciously and block ourselves from seeing further. A limitation gives rise to a difference, but it will turn out that the limitation has to be repeated again and again since it has no existence by itself.

Dwelling on deepening the understanding of these basic fundamentals, an understanding of space-time might arise. Is this aspect widely discussed in other books? The author does not think so. At this point, our work becomes more difficult, but if we can observe these fundamentals in practice for ourselves, we can apply this understanding in our daily lives. We might even study physics and logic to see if it applies there too since these fields nowadays are at the forefront of the examination of existence. The author has done so but wanted to go beyond, to understand life in its vastness and not in its limitation. The Vastness is revealed when the limitation is released. But no one else can give us that understanding-an author can only provide road signs, due to the nature of 'the unlimited Vastness'. We might go on reading books and listening to wise people, but we have to investigate for ourselves. Only personal inquiry can bring us understanding and take us beyond limitations. There are two parts to the book. Part One discusses the essentials of Eastern wisdom in a concise form. It examines the questions: What is thought? What is space-time? What is life-death? The text is kept short so that we can ponder on a few sentences and evaluate for ourselves what has been written. The author's intention was that by distilling the essentials, we would be able to apply them in our daily life and in doing so, that the Vastness and the personal could unite as one. Here a basic understanding of the philosophy of the Gita can be obtained, providing a foundation for the author's comments on the Original Gita in Part Two.

Part Two contains the author's translation of the Original Gita from the Dutch language. It is available in English for the first time. I received the manuscript in 1970 from my teacher Saswitha. That it antedates the Bhagavad Gila is discussed at the beginning of Part Two. The Original Gita has 209 verses that can be correlated to 319 of the 700 verses of the Bhagavad Gita included in the Mahabharata. As such, it is less than one-third the length of the well-known Bhagavad Gita and focuses on the essence of the wisdom of the Gird. It is called 'original' as it predates other versions of the Gita into which interpolations, such as the grief of Arjuna as well as some rituals and meditation techniques, were later incorporated. Most importantly, the Original Gita contains no verses that might validate the caste system, which has been such a detriment to Indian society. In reading and meditating on the text of the Original Gita we can appreciate the core of its wisdom, recognizing that the Gin' is the science of Life and living. Short comments on the 209 verses in the Original Gila can be found. A new translation from the Sanskrit language is given of the 319 verses in the Bhagavad Gita that correspond to these 209 verses. The Bhagavad Gila can be found as part of the sixth book of the Indian epic Mahabharata and is one, of the world's most valuable religious texts. In the Bhagavad Gita, dialogue takes place between the archer Arjuna [the self], the hero of the epic, holding five arrows [the five senses]; and Krsna [the Self], his friend and charioteer, driving the four horses of the chariot [the four elements, the world], when confronted with Life, exemplified as the great battle. These 319 verses are not commented on.

Sanskrit is a classical language and, like every other language, it has its peculiarities. As Sanskrit is also an ambiguous language or, as my friend Ravi Ravindra remarked to me, a flexible 14nguage, many different scholarly translations into English exist. While none of these can be considered incorrect, these interpreters usually do not agree with each other on the meaning of the text. I consider myself privileged to have the Original Gita in my native Dutch, which enables me to select from the various English meanings of a Sanskrit word one that reflects the meaning and philosophical teaching found in the Original Gita.

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