For most of us the Gita evokes an image of Krishna addressing Arjuna who is dutifully kneeling before him with folded hands, with a chariot and the battlefield as a backdrop. We have seen versions of this image on wall calendars, diaries, amateur paintings, and on walls of religious spaces. Year after year, our exposure to the Gita remains limited to these fleeting visual engagements as they become part of our muscle memory as we go about our chores.
This book, as the title suggests, decodes life lessons from each section of the Gita, looking at this ancient text through a twenty-first century prism. Far from being a mere compilation of selected didactic verses, this narrative skillfully strings together 251 verses of the Gita. It deciphers each of them, and presents the takeaways as tools to face situations of modern-day distress, dilemma and inner conflict.
Written from the perspective of a non-ritualistic individual, the book connects the teachings of the Gita with current concepts of life skills. It also reiterates the relevance of a text written thousands of years ago, and showcases its contemporary value by drawing parallels with our day-to-day existence today.
There are those who make a fetish out of reading Bhagavad Gita—a shloka a day, for example. That’s not how one should read Bhagavad Gita. You do not discover Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita discovers you. One should read it when one is ready to internalize it. Typically, this happens when one faces a dilemma, an inner conflict, a shock. Vandana Singh discovered Bhagavad Gita and internalized it, as many others have, and has now decided to disseminate her learning. This has been beautifully done, sticking to the chapters, but with around one-third of the shlokas. – Bibek Debroy