In Essays on the Gita Sri Aurobindo writes that “the truth of substance, the truth of living vision and experience on which the Gita’s system was built is still sound and retains a permanent validity and significance.” This is surely the power of its appeal and its message to mankind in all countries and through the ages. In this issue we are introducing a new publication that is the result of many years of careful and scholarly work: The Gita in the Vision and the Words of Sri Aurobindo, edited by Galeran d’Esterno. While studying the works of Sri Aurobindo, Galeran had the habit of making notations and cross-referencing ideas and themes. In the process he found translations of many of the Gita’s shlokas, or verses, in volumes other than Essays on the Gita, namely in The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, and in essays and articles published in Essays Divine and Human and Essays in Philosophy and Yoga. These studies convinced Galeran that Sri Aurobindo had indeed translated or freely rendered almost all of the 701 verses of the Gita, not just a portion of them. During the course of thirty years he gathered all these translations and compiled a new book that presented a nearly complete translation of the Gita in Sri Aurobindo’s words. Earlier books on the same subject have either used the translations of others as well as those of Sri Aurobindo or have only included those translations found in Essays on the Gita.

Another differentiating feature of this volume is that while the book follows the order of the original shlokas of the Gita, the traditional format of presenting first the Sanskrit verse, then the translation, and then the commentary was not strictly adhered to. In many cases, instead of extracting the translation from its source and placing it below the verse, the editor begins straight away with Sri Aurobindo’s commentary, in which the translation or free rendering of the Sanskrit verse forms an integral part of the text of the commentary. He uses boldface type to highlight the words that most closely correspond to the Sanskrit text proper. This example (Chapter II, verse 7) illustrates the format:

7. Arjuna in his reply to Krishna admits the rebuke even while he strives against and refuses the command. He is aware of his weakness and yet accepts subjection to it. It is poorness of spirit, he owns, that has smitten away from him his true heroic nature; his whole consciousness is bewildered in its view of right and wrong and he accepts the divine Friend as his teacher; but the emotional and intellectual props in which he had supported his sense of righteousness have been entirely cast down and he cannot accept a command which seems to appeal only to his old standpoint and gives him no new basis for action.

    The whole upshot is that all-embracing inner bankruptcy which Arjuna expresses when he says that his whole conscious being, not the thought alone but heart and vital desires and all, are utterly bewildered and can find nowhere the dharma, nowhere any valid law of action. For this alone he takes refuge as a disciple with Krishna; give me, he practically asks, that which I have lost, a true law, a clear rule of action, a path by which I can again confidently walk. He does not ask for the secret of life or of the world, the meaning and purpose of it all, but for a dharma.

This approach, Galeran suggests in the Postscript, allows us to see quite clearly how Sri Aurobindo elaborated some of his renderings, revealing the deeper truth of the shlokas, and “with all their implications, suggestions, and allusions brought to light, they become more penetrating, more vibrant and alive in us; and sometimes they open us to vistas beyond”.

The book also contains passages from Essays on the Gita chosen by the editor to introduce and/or elucidate some aspects of the Gita’s teaching, aspects that may often be alluded to by a single word or verse, but which are important to its fundamental message. Interspersed throughout the book, these passages touch on such ideas, theories, and systems as the caste system, Sannyasa and Tyaga, Sankhya Yoga and Vedanta, Avatarhood, the determinism of Nature and free will, and the reconciliation of works and spiritual living. An index of important words and phrases, both Sanskrit and English, provides a reference tool many readers will appreciate.

Galeran had travelled and worked in Southeast Asia and Africa before settling in the Ashram in 1964. He studied Sanskrit with Pujalal-ji and Jagannath-ji, was a keen student of the Gita, and could recite many of its shlokas from memory. He worked at the Ashram Press, translated a few of Sri Aurobindo’s books into French, and continued to research, write, and, of course, compile this new edition of the Gita that he hoped would “show what the Yoga of the Gita is and how it can become a strong basis for the practice of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga”.

*     *     *

Another new book introduced below, Mother You said so..., is a record of Huta's conversations with the Mother from 1955 to 1973. In these talks, which were recorded by Huta from memory immediately after they took place and then sent to the Mother for her corrections, the Mother clearly lays out the difficulties and struggles along the path but reassures Huta of her constant love, help, and guidance. As she says in one conversation from 1965: "My work is to put human beings into the Arms of the Lord."


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coverThe Gita in the Vision and the Words of Sri Aurobindo

— Compiled from the works of Sri Aurobindo
ISBN: 978-81-7058-935-8
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Department, Pondicherry
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 339
Price: Rs 240

This book provides a seamless fusion of translation, interpretation, and commentary on the Gita in the words of Sri Aurobindo. Nearly all of the 700 shlokas or verses of the Gita have been translated or freely rendered by Sri Aurobindo, mostly in Essays on the Gita but also in The Life Divine, The Synthesis of Yoga, and in essays and articles published in Essays Divine and Human and Essays in Philosophy and Yoga. The editor, following the order of the Gita’s Sanskrit shlokas, has woven together these various translations and added explanatory passages, an introduction, and a conclusion, all compiled from Essays on the Gita. A distinctive feature of this scholarly work is the use of boldface type to indicate those portions of the text that are renderings of the Sanskrit verses, thus incorporating translation and commentary in an unbroken continuity.

coverMother You said so...

— Compiled and designed by Huta
ISBN: 978-81-87372-24-0
Publisher: The Havyavahana Trust, Pondicherry
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 113
Price: Rs 200

This book records conversations which the Mother had with Huta from 1955 to 1973. Huta recorded the talks from memory and sent them the next day to the Mother for corrections. In these revealing talks, the Mother teaches Huta how to live the true inner life and constantly encourages her to overcome her problems and difficulties, to reject the influence of the adverse forces, and to open herself completely to the Divine. In addition, the Mother talks to her about the Future Painting. Also included are a few letters written by the Mother.

coverFootprints of God

— Words of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother
ISBN: 978-81-7060-291-0
Publisher: Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 56
Price: Rs 60


coverBhakti Sudha

Mantra aur Bhajan
— Sri Aravind tatha Srima ke charan kamalon me samarpit Sanskrit, Hindi aur Gujarati geet
Publisher: Mohan Mistry, Pondicherry
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 135
Price: Rs 75


coverSri Aravindara Mahakavya Savitri

— Sri Aravindaru
Publisher: Hemantha Sahitya, Bangalore
Binding: Hard Cover
Pages: 386
Price: Rs 250


coverSri Aravindula Chintanamrutamu

— Dr T. Prasanna Krishna
Publisher: Institute of Human Study, Hyderabad
Binding: Soft Cover
Pages: 118
Price: Rs 100

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