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Introduction To Geeta

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by HariLakhera, Jun 5, 2023.

  1. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    INTRODUCTION TO GEETA

    I belong to a religious-minded family as my parents believed in God and Goddesses. Every year 'Durga' (Goddess of Power) was worshipped on Asthami, the 8th day of Navaratri, during October-November. They were not ritualistic but as tradition would have it almost all festivals were celebrated with all sincerity. There were, of course, no regular visits to temples or daily recitation of Ramayana or Geeta. Brought up in such an environment, doing all these rituals came naturally to us as grownups.

    My official trip to Tamilnad (then Madras) became a turning point in my life if I may say so. I was sent to Trichy to attend to some official work with BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited). If I remember correctly I reached Madras (now Chennai) by GT Express from Delhi. Next, I took a train to Trichy stayed there for two days, and took a train back to Madras in the afternoon. We were allowed to travel in Second Class (called Intermediate- as it was between Third Class and First Class). The seating arrangement was like two long benches facing each other as far as I can remember now.

    Two other gentlemen were sitting on the opposite bench. One of them was a white person who may be from the USA or UK and the other seemed to be a South Indian. They were talking in English. We had those customary hi hellos and then I started leafing through the pulp fiction I had purchased from the Wheelers bookstall on the platform. I think it was by Parry Masson. I was in no hurry to read this and so tried to keep myself busy watching those paddy fields. I then overheard the white reciting some verses in chaste Sanskrit. My curiosity got wings and I tuned my ears to what they were discussing, still keeping my face towards the paddy fields. Quite obviously they were talking about the message of Gaeta. I had heard about this book but never had the opportunity to own it and worst to read it.

    I had Sanskrit as a third language in my High School but my knowledge of the language was just enough to pass the exams. then. I was pleasantly surprised by the way both of them were reciting the Sanskrit verses, interpreting them, and exchanging notes.


    I felt so small. Born in a Brahmin family belonging to the lands of the Himalayas also called 'Tapo Bhumi', a land of saints and sages, I had no knowledge of God's language and worse still no idea about our scriptures. And here was a foreigner, a white Christian (most probably), who was reciting the Sanskrit verses as if it was his mother tongue. There was a foreign interpretation of Geeta as if he was a devoted Hindu scholar.


    The first thing that I did after reaching Delhi was to buy two copies of Geeta one in Hindi and the other with an English translation. I finished the Hindi version in one night and the English version the second night but could not make any head and tail of it. I persisted with my efforts, attended a few talks on the subject, and read more interpretations. Even after some 40 years of effort, I cannot claim I have understood even one percent of it. Today I have Ramcharitamanas, Valmiki Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagwat, and many other such scriptures. A few pages from Geeta and Manas form part of my daily worshiping ritual.


    Thank you, Mr. White, if I may call you by that name!!!!!
     
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  2. joylokhi

    joylokhi Platinum IL'ite

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    It is said, one can learn a lot from each of life's experiences, good or bad, and what is great is that you were inspired enough to read up the books! Yes, in the beginning not understanding the purports of the Geetha from the original sanskrit, i used to read only the english meanings of each verse in the entire book. As u say, it is only after listening to some discourses on the same after i turned 60, that real depth of the same is understood and i continue to read along with prayers frequently.
     
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  3. umaakumar

    umaakumar Finest Post Winner

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    Dear Ms Harilakhera,

    Nice write up on an eye-opening journey.
    Just yesterday I decided to enrol in Gita classes. But everything the speaker said went over my head. He was talking non stop using complicated words.
    I too come from a Brahmin family in Chennai. We too celebrated all the religious functions. But Religion was not imposed on us. We knew the norms.
    But as I started growing older, I realised I have missed a great deal. Started reading the religious books with meanings.
    When my grandchildren were born, i wanted them to know about our culture and religion. I started my you tube channel telling stories. I started with Ramayana, which has come to yudhakandam.
    I am an ardent animal lover. One of my friends, who had given a dog for adoption, went to check how the dog was doing. The couple who adopted were French nationals. She said, she could not understand the language they were talking. Though it was familiar, no definitely not french. Finally she asked them and they said, they were talking in Sanskrit.
    Incredible India!!!
     
  4. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Hari Sir, It is so nice to read about your introduction to the religious text through a foreign national. I got introduced to a book called Vedantic Treaties written by Sri Parthasarathywho has a Vedantic Institute in Lonavla in Maharastra. This book was gifted to me when I was 50 years old by my father-in-law’s brother. I couldn’t keep the book down for two days. That opened up a floodgate of learning about the scriptures through reading and attending classes. I have personally read Adi Sankara’s Viveka Choodamani carefully from start to finish.

    When I joined the Sathya Sai organization, I volunteered for many activities interacting with so many foreigners who were ardent devotees. They taught me so much about the scriptures. Once I was asked to present a paper in an international ICT conference held in Puttaparthi. A group of Britishers came at that time and recited Rudram and Chamakam flawlessly in the presence of Sri Sathya Sai Baba. I kept my head down as I tried to learn Rudram but didn’t succeed. I still couldn’t pronounce the Sanskrit Verses with proper pronunciation.
     
  5. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    True. I read with Hindi translation and explanation. It helps.
     
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  6. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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  7. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    I face the same problem. I read Sanskrit in high school and passed with good numbers also but it was elementary. Unless we practice and speak it, it is difficult. Sometimes I wonder why it was made so complicated. What was the need for uniting various words in one word making it difficult to segregate them? It needs a perfect knowledge of Sanskrit grammar.
    There are many explanatory versions of the Gita.
     
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  8. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    “Geeta” here transported my mind to several Geethas among my relatives and friends and the one left IL complaining bias in selection and announcement of FP . I was ecstatic thinking that am going to know about another GEETHA or Gita but then only reading further I understood that thread is about
    “Bhagavat “ Gita.​

    I was once stunned by a yoga expert from Germany when he was detailed for training me to learn a set of asanas to overcome certain (pseudo) ailments. It was in yoga centre at Adyar in Chennai.
    He quoted slokas from different chapters of Gita and the corresponding english version vis a vis the yoga posture. He mentioned expertise drawn from stolen sanskrit manuscripts in palm leaves by his predecessors working in German university. That was the moment I had decided to get hold of a couple of books on Gita by foreign & Indian authors.

    I understood the meanings of slokas differently in different period. In school level never knew any meaning but just chanted in group. At the age twenty a bit understood which is quite different at ages thitry, forty, fifty andso on. It caters to differently to different people depending upon their age and aspirations.

    upload_2023-6-6_23-14-58.jpeg
    I find Indians are re-discovering these treasures in sanskrit and Yoga only when it is popularised in foreign countries and universities.

    • Mattur a district in Karnataka India is the inly place known for using sanskrit for day to day communication . Wikipedia throws great deal of information on this subject.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2023
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  9. HariLakhera

    HariLakhera Platinum IL'ite

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    To be frank, I wanted to mention in a bracket that here I mean by Geeta "Bhagwat Geeta" and not a life partner. But then, Bhagwat Geeta has become a life partner anyway. What is in the name-so said, Shakespeare.
    Coming to the subject, Geeta has answers for any stage in life and for different ways of salvation. It does have a few shlokas, not in tune with changing times about women and lower castes. That said, it is one of the most-read spiritual books.
     
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  10. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    This remind me the Sankrit language class. The sankrit master used to close his eyes sitting or half sqatting on an arm chair on a raised platform listening to class one by one stand and loudly say the sabbdha which comprise all forms of a sigle word usually written in a matrix 8x3.

    Pupils think master slleping but the moment a student commits mistake or skip a part if sabhdha.

    In this process i had an advantage thanks to my late parents naming me that soells with T at the beginning. Students sitting in rows and columns and bu the time my turn comes to recite, i must hv already heard atleast over 25 times and i stood by hearted the larticular sabhdha.

    I never studied at home this sabhdha. I memorised only by listening s
    When my class mates were telling in the class one by one.
     

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