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!!!!!