Friday, November 29, 2013

#BookReview : Art of Life : Timeless Wisdom from the Gita by J. S. Mishra

On the jacket:

The Bhagavad Gita, popularly known as the Gita, is the Sacred Song of God. In its seven hundred shlokas, the ecstatic joy of devotion, importance of equanimity and the relationship of man with God are described in the most precise poetic language. The Gita, recited by Krishna to Arjuna as an exhortation while war rages around them, subtly raises the question of whether action or renunciation of action is better, and concludes that the path of action is better. At the end, Arjuna declares that his delusions have been destroyed and doubts dispelled, he is convinced to carry out his duty and follow the path of action. The message of the Gita is as relevant to the present day Kurukshetra of daily challenges and opportunities as it was for Arjuna in the great war of the Mahabharata. Art of Life - Timeless Wisdom from the Gita offers a clear understanding of the profound wisdom contained in the Bhagavad Gita, in simple and lucid language.

Review:

About 16 years ago, when my father was battling cancer, his state of mind, more than his health was a mess. He wasn't even 50, his child was still in school and his wife young. To top it all, a worries. My mother, in her numerous attempt to care of him, in every possible way, got him a set of audio cassettes, of Bhagvat Gita, music arranged by V Balsara. I really don't know how much it helped my father, but it helped me a lot, then and in the months to come. For years, I had been looking for those cassettes and if not, similar texts. In Art of Live: Timeless Wisdom from the Gita I found it. 

Neatly divided into 18 chapters and subsequent sub-chapters, this book present the Gita in probably the simplest possible way. The pattern is simple too. Each page has two lines, said by one person, it's English translation and then the explanation. Chapter One begins on the battlefield at Kurukshetra, with Dhritarashtra asking Sanjaya, what did his and Pandu's sons do on the holy land of Kurukshetra. 

The book is a very painstaking attempt to make Gita easy and accessible to everyone who wants to learn from it. The author has selected an assortment of 121 shlokas which are the most important ones and also form the core of our present day lives. The research, hardwork and presentation behind the entire book is evident and definitely worth an applause.

This is a book, one can keep as a guidebook for life. One doesn't need to be a believer of any religion, what is preached here is the same as is preached in every other religious book - how to be a good human being. When times are low, when problems seem bigger than us, when every path seems blocked - it's okay to sit back, breathe and speak to someone learned and gain some wisdom. Art Of Life, I think, is one such tool.

The cover of the book is beautiful, to say the least. Beautiful, and captivating. And calming. To me, every page was an episode, a chapter from life, something to learn from. You read a page and you sit back and think, such is this book. 

Rating: *****/5

[This was a PR request review. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.]

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