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Bhagavad Gita for Modern Times

Commentary by Swami Sadashiva Tirtha

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating
User Rating 4 Star Rating (2 Reviews)


Bhagavad Gita for Modern Times
Bhagavad Gita for Modern Times: Secrets to Attaining Inner Peace and Harmony is a unique commentary on the Gita – the most profound Hindu scripture. This “universal manual for peaceful living” by Swami Sadashiva Tirtha seeks to offer modern-day guidance based on the teachings of the holy book of the Hindus.
The physicist Leo Szilard once told a friend he intended to keep a diary “to record the facts for God”. “Don’t you think God knows the facts?” his friend asked. “Yes,” said Szilard, “He knows the facts, but He does not know this version of the facts”.

Perhaps, this is what best describes this book. We all know or have heard the venerable teachings of the Gita, but we do not know how to apply it to our busy lifestyles. We cram myriad activities in our daily schedule, and easily discard much that does not contribute to our kind of living.

Most often, The Bhagavad Gita adorns personal bookshelves, but remains there gathering dust for posterity. Although aware of its profound wisdom, no one has the leisure to ruminate on its teachings and apply it for betterment or empowerment.

Swami Sadashiva Tirtha does that for us. With his acumen, deep insight, and clarity of thought, he elucidates the verses of the Gita in the language of modern times, lifting theory off the page and creating an at-home Gita seminar for one person, the entire family, or study group. He draws parallels from the verses of the Gita and casts them in the chapters of our everyday lives so fluidly we start reworking or rethinking on those lines of wisdom. To draw the point home, here is an excerpt from Tirtha’s Commentary on the three gunas sattwa, rajas, tamas that control everything – in the language of the corporate world:

"Imagine three brothers: Sat, Roger, and Tom Goona. They want to start a computer software company named Goo-Na. It was Sat’s idea, and he did all the groundwork to get the company up and going. He got Good Ol’ Dad (G.O.D.), venture capitalists, to loan them the startup funds. But since Sat loses interest in the daily activities and likes to move on to create some more dot-com startup companies, Roger was the perfect choice to run the company.

Roger doesn’t have much creative sense, so he was happy that Sat started the company; Roger’s god-gifts lie in management and organizational skills. So he runs the day-to-day operation.

Sat and Roger talked Tom into leaving his job at his salvage company and use his cleanup skills for their new company. Some of Tom’s responsibilities will be clearing out old computers, furniture, cell phones, cars, software, and so on, since the company must stay on the leading edge of technology and fashion to impress the clients. Tom also has the responsibility to compassionately deal with people when they must be let go. He is also in charge of disbanding parts of companies that their company takes over.

The people who work at Goo-Na have enjoyed their jobs, their salaries support their families, and everything runs smoothly. As the company becomes larger and more powerful, the brothers, human nature being what it is, begin to lose their idealistic focus.

Roger becomes power hungry, i.e., busy with hostile takeover attempts. Tom has become lazy and sloppy, not clearing out old inventory, not showing up for work, preferring to sit and watch plasma screen TV all day. And Sat, well, he spends all of his time either creating new companies or reading scripture and meditating.

As a result, corporate ethics has slipped and customers are not getting quality products. Creative ideas to serve humanity have fallen by the wayside. Other companies are being harassed where they were previously community partners, and there are even some financial scandals afoot.

There remains one employee, Archie, who joined the company, and who is still inspired by its idealistic mission statement; however, he is quite upset that the company is not allowing him to truly help society. No one listens to his creative ideas. When he tries to talk to any of the brothers, they ignore him. Archie is stuck, trapped by the three brothers. The only way to get out of this predicament is to go to … the venture capitalists G.O.D... Since Archie alerted G.O.D. about the loss of vision at Goo-Na, the G.O.D. company may be able to bring integrity, ethics, compassion back into this company by threatening to close them down (i.e., stop funding them). As a result of Archie’s devotion to helping people, G.O.D. succeeded in putting Goo-Na back on track.

This story gives a brief idea of how the gunas work. Sattwa creates life. Rajas keeps things going. Tamas concludes the life cycle. To avoid getting caught up in material life and really know the eternal, non-changing Divine bliss, Krishna advises Arjuna to go beyond the three gunas and to directly seek God."

Filled with such evocative allusions, this book serves as a guide to applying ancient wisdom in one’s daily life to find oneself, strengthen family ties, develop a more meaningful career, achieve greater peace and harmony, discover life’s purpose and vision, understand the connection between various religions, apply the exercises to cultivate a more peaceful life. The book incorporates the essence of the Gita’s revered teachings with fresh concepts, including how to reduce stress through meditation, how to achieve familial harmony, how ecology and nature affect inner peace, how to nurture well-rounded education for children, and how to impart social entrepreneurial benefits to communities.

Throughout, the commentary remains true to the wisdom of the original text. It also offers a wealth of stress-management advice—perfect for yoga instructors, business professionals, even busy parents. And very appropriately, Tirtha dedicates the book to all people seeking greater peace, harmony and balance of their spiritual priorities with their worldly goals and responsibilities, all bhaktas who are seeking how to integrate Vedanta and Bhakti, and all those seeking some insight into the universality of religions, spirituality, nature, and ethics.

User Reviews

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 4 out of 5
Interesting book and Intro to Bhagavad Gita, Member Annabellalein

I consider this book as very important, especially for people who gre up in the West, trying to understand the basic principles of the Bhagavad Gita. This book explains in a simple way what Krishna is trying to explain to Arjuna. After each chapter you find some exercises that you can easily do at home with your family and friends. This book is designed as a workbook for people, who wanna include more spirituality in their busy days. I can recommed this book to everybody, who wants to learn more about God and the meaning of life. Unfortunately there are some spelling mistakes and grammar mistakes in the book, but apart from that i am very glad to have read it.

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