Book Review: My Gita

”Arjuna, people worship limited deities., limited as they are by their nature and their yearnings. From me comes their faith. From me comes fulfillment of their faith. The restricted stay restrained. Those who shatter the boundaries discover me: the limitless.”

Bhagavad Gita, one of the most read and cited holy scripture that helps you understand the essence of the world and explain why it is the way it is. A scripture that presents a synthesis of Brahmanical concepts related to Dharma, Bhakti, Yoga, Moksha. It answers your fundamental queries like why a particular event transpires? What drives it, our past or present?

The original Bhagavad Gita is about 700 verses long, but only a few of us would have read it. It hasn’t been able to satisfy a lay man’s thirst to decipher what exactly Gita means.  I remember my mother bought me a translated copy to understand the basics of Gita, but then I was not able to understand the verses and apply their deductions into the world where we are currently living.

Recently I got a copy of My Gita by Devdutt Pattnaik which makes you understand how Gita came into existence, how Krishna gave knowledge to Arjuna which in-turn, gave him the strength to fight a war against his own kin. The verses have been translated in such a way that you can understand the very core of it, and apply its learning into your regular life also. As Devdutt Pattnaik says, we live in the world where we give importance to arguments over dialogues, increasingly indulging and isolating ourselves, which makes us a wee bit selfish. We forget that we live in an ecosystem which consists of other people too, where we have to support each other and create a balance and act fair, even if we are at war or having a minute tiff.

My Gita starts with the author giving you an understanding of why he calls the book as ”My Gita” and not Bhagavad Gita. He explains that as compared to the traditional presentation, My Gita is thematic in approach with paraphrased verses. A contrast has also been given from time to time with another worldview.

Now when Krishna was giving Arjuna ”Gyaan” (knowledge), Sanjaya was passing on Krishna and Arjuna’s conversation to the blind king, Dhritarashtra. But he was not understanding the meaning behind each and every word. He was just simply doing his duty, acting like Dhritrashtra’s eyes during the Mahabharata. Devdutt Pattnaik made sure to conduct an extensive study so that his role doesn’t end up like Sanjaya. The author takes us deep into the conversation.

Also, the traditional Gita has been presented as a text of Self Realization (Atma-Gyan). This suits the people who have isolated themselves from the society, but what about people who deal with the society only? Therefore, My Gita also makes us understand how our actions affect the people around us, making us more compassionate and reasonable in our approach towards others.

My Gita has eighteen chapters, each chapter covering different aspects like judgment, experiencing life differently, seek to mean, empathize with others and accommodating with others. Its mentions areas where we can explore why we hesitate to trust, why we have no control over somethings, why do we cling to somethings in our life and why we matter to each other. All these eighteen chapters can give you an insight into an easier version of scripture which claims to solve many dilemmas of your life.

I personally loved the insightful illustrations which are like author’s signature in his books. One of the best things about My Gita is the stories related to each verse taken from either Ramayana or Krishna’s Leela or Mahabharata. Every story takes you closer to the true meaning of Gita. Though My Gita might allure a very specific set of people who love to read mythology and its mysteries including  Devdutt’s followers, we still recommend the book to everyone. Try and enjoy each verse of the book, divulge into each story to understand it’s true meaning.

Don’t rush and let My Gita transform into Your Gita.

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