Editor's preface

"Arjuna, having reflected on wisdom fully, do as you like."

This charming admonition of Sri Krishna to his disciple is characteristic of the profundity and at the same time deceiving simplicity of the Gita. This monumental work of ancient India has come to us in all its unadulterated beauty. The Gita is complete by itself and apparently easy to understand, but for the reader to penetrate its great depths of wisdom and to fly to the exalted heights of spiritual aspiration partly veiled within its pages, a commentary is quite necessary, especially for the occidental reader. The commentary must be in the guise of emphasis and explanation, without adulterating or otherwise bringing elements of distortion into the pristine and eminently practical teachings of the original text.

Sri Chinmoy, a son of Bengal, has given us such a commentary. To the transcendental perception of the eternal truths presented in the Gita he has added the magnificently beautiful touch of the poet. The beauty of his expression is so fascinating that one is tempted to glide through the text enraptured by its poesy without trying to grasp its true depth. Again, its simplicity is deceiving, for Sri Chinmoy has the rare gift of expressing the most difficult concepts in very simple everyday words.

Undoubtedly aimed mainly at the occidental mind, this commentary is dotted here and there with quotations from our best known thinkers, philosophers and poets which add significantly to its readability and expand the different themes treated, analysed and explained.

This commentary, as well as the Bhagavad Gita itself, is a literary jewel that can be read over and over and enjoyed immensely just for its captivating theme, practical wisdom and unsurpassed rhetoric. But for the inquisitive mind, for the truth seeker and for the aspirant for the transcendental knowledge, this work is a much welcome help, coming as it does from a realised soul. In Indian parlance this means one who has discovered the truth about himself and who, having communed with his inmost soul, is also in touch with God, the soul and God being eternally inseparable.

Like a magnificent symphony the Gita opens with a major chord, the transcendental soul teaching, guiding, conducting the personal soul up and up the spiral of wisdom. All through its beautiful array of motifs, love, duty, sacrifice, faith and devotion play fascinating rhythms. On and on to higher and loftier melodies proceeds the ineffable music until the loftiest height is reached, the union and complete fusion of the personal soul with the transcendental soul. To make us fully appreciate all the meaning and artistically creative power of the Gita, a commentary has to flow from the consciousness of the one who has himself realised this union. No one is better qualified for this work than Sri Chinmoy, for, having trodden the path of wisdom himself, he speaks with the authority of a knowledgeable and reliable guide. His knowledge is not the knowledge gleaned from the study of books, but the first-hand experience of one who has been there and whose consciousness can soar to the sublime and then bring down the transcendental wisdom to the level of the everyday man.

To the scholar familiar with Indian Scripture as well as to the seeker who has set his foot on the path leading to the discovery of the transcendental truth, this commentary will be a much welcome help and a source of real joy.