Shri Dnyaneshwari Vol 1: Commentary by Sant Shri Dnyaneshwar on Bhagawad Geeta Chapters 2-18; Translation from original Marathi by Kishor Kulkarni
by Sant Shri Dnyaneshwar
Shrimad Bhagawad Geeta/Gita (also referred to simply as Geeta/Gita) is the most revered of Indian scriptures that comprehensively presents the highest spiritual philosophy in the Indian tradition. It is believed to be told by Lord Shri Krishna to Arjuna on the Mahabharat battle field of Kurukshetra. Just before the epic war between Pandavas and Kauravas was to begin, Arjuna was suddenly overcome by confusion about whether it was right for him to fight his own cousins and other relatives as also his revered teachers (gurus) and other elders who were standing opposite him as his enemies. As a result, he dropped his weapons and sat down in his chariot in a completely distraught mood. It was then that Shri Krishna who had taken upon himself the job of being Arjuna’s charioteer, preached the complete spiritual philosophy by way of Shrimad Bhagawad Geeta. It helped Arjuna understand clearly what this creation is and what the purpose of human life in it is. He could then proceed with fighting the Mahabharat war as a duty in a detached manner.
Shrimad Bhagawad Geeta consists of 18 chapters and is originally in Sanskrit. There have been many explanatory commentaries on it by different philosophers and thinkers. The greatest of some of the most revered saints who lived during the 13th century in Maharashtra, Sant Shri Dnyaneshwar Maharaj, wrote an incomparable commentary on the Geeta titled Bhavarth Deepika, more popularly known as Shri Dnyaneshwari, in Marathi verse form. It is believed that Lord Shri Krishna Himself reincarnated as Sant Dnyaneshwar primarily to take the Geeta philosophy down to the less educated seekers who were unable to understand the original Geeta in Sanskrit language. Shri Dnyaneshwari is the result of that. Sant Shri Dnyaneshwar maharaj took samadhi at a tender age of 21 years soon after completing Dnyaneshwari, which confirms the belief that the primary purpose of his incarnation was delivering Geeta philosophy to the masses of ordinary people.
The original Dnyaneshwari is organised exactly on the lines of Geeta in 18 chapters. Each of the shlokas (verses) of Geeta has many owis (Marathi verses) explaining the meaning of the particular shloka. Sant Shri Dnyaneshwar excels in putting across the underlying philosophy by way of many different metaphors and examples from the day-to-day life making it easy for a sincere reader to understand and digest it.
The Dnyaneshwari owis are in old Marathi of the 13th century. This series of three books is an attempt by the author to take the Dnyaneshwari to non-Marathi seekers. It is a literal translation of the original “owis” rendered as modern English prose. It is presented in the following format – the literal meaning in English of the original Sanskrit shloka of Geeta followed by the English translation of the related owis. At some places, more than one sholka are presented together if the meaning can be better understood that way. The reader is expected to have a resonable degree of familiarity with Indian spiritual philosophy and the commonly used Sanskrit terms in respect of the various fundamental spiritual concepts.
Chapter 1 and the first ten shlokas of Geeta describe the formation of armies on both the sides with the names and qualities of the various warriors gathered on the battle field. There is also a description of the distraught state of Arjuna’s mind in this initial part. The actual philosophical preaching by Lord Shri Krishna starts from Chapter 2, shloka 11 and hence this book also starts from that point onwards. This translation of the complete Dnyaneshwari is presented in three volumes. The first volume covers chapters 2 to 8, second covers chapters 9-13 and the third covers chapters 14-18.
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