24 June 2021 | By: Writing Buddha

Aksara Bhagavad Gita by Haribakth & Vaishnavi (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

1936th BLOG POST

21st Book of 2021


As all of you know that Bhagavad Gita is one of my favourite passion and I just love going to it whenever I feel doubtful, sad, clueless, and directionless. Every page of it has an essence that ends up giving you the motivation and meaning you are looking forward to. I find many people talking about the purpose of life. Most of them say just for the sake of it but the people who really wish to seek the meaning of this question tend to turn towards Bhagavad Gita and get the answer they were searching for. The biggest question arises for people when they wish to get into the reading of Bhagavad Gita is – Which is the original Bhagavad Gita and which will give me the best and real meaning of it. This happens because almost all the books are translated and explained by different authors hence a person finds it hard to find the real Bhagavad Gita.


All the problems a reader faces in searching a Gita and then understanding it is discussed in this new book I just completed reading after 4 months. It is named “Aksara Bhagavad Gita” written by the combo of father and daughter – Haribakth and Vaishnavi. Haribakth is the pen name of Mr. Ravindra Rao. Before this, I read the book called “19th Akshauhini: Algorithm of the Gita” written by the same father-daughter duo and it was surely a new experience for me. Haribakth writes every book from a research point of view which sounds like published papers by big Universities of the world. I like the way all the points are articulated and summarized in all the chapters.


The book is of around 600 pages, and it needs a lot of patience for the reader to finish reading it. If you have ever wondered why we find contradiction in several shlokas of Gita (or we perceive it in such manner), then the whole effort of this book is to ensure you understand them well along with the context of it.  It has been written in a conversational discussion mode between the two characters- like the tone in which the original Bhagavad Gita is written. A character asks questions related to her queries on Bhagavad Gita which is then provided as a detailed answer by another character resolving all the doubts and problems. I liked how the characters are evolved from the authors’ 1st book and anyone who has read that will feel nostalgic.


You will start feeling the arrival of the main content of the book from the chapter named “Navaratri Conversation” which speaks about lot of subjects such as how Gita is read, heard, and understood from a semantic perspective but not from conceptual perspective – why only God narrated the Gita and not entrusted upon someone else for the same – Juxtaposition – Dharma – Surrender – Liberation – Sins  - Sacrifices – Knowledge and Silence – God on Memory – Shunya and its reference with God – examples of syllogism in the Gita etc. There are many other ideologies that the author discusses in this chapter giving reference of the chapters which shall arrive in the future in the book. This is basically like a precap of the whole book. In case you don’t have time, you can go through this section itself and you are done knowing a lot of things about Gita and its correct perception.


After this – author begins the real debate and names all the chapters in this section as Kurukshetra. I liked this metaphor as the Gita was actually spoken on the ground of Kurukshetra or say, the Kurukshetra War, and even here in the book, the chapters with real debate on all the main pointers are named as Kurukshetra. This segment discusses many primary teachings of Gita. Author gives many references of how the God is Supreme and no one is beyond him but He is beyond everyone. I liked how author gives the example and reasoning of Algebra to discuss the topic of Perishable vs Imperishable. Author also provides many pointers to state why Gita is complete and self-contained. The book also talks about definition of different concepts such as Spiritual and Mundane, Temporary and Permanent, Crime and Sin etc. Author also talks in detail about one of the important aspects discussed in Gita i.e. three types of Guna – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. We are also explained the concept of how God is the cause of all actions, gunas – the performer and we – just the medium through which the action is performed.


There are many such explanation, detailing and learnings that are provided through this book which will make your hold on Gita and its messaging more solid and powerful. I liked the tables at the end or between of every chapter which helps in understanding the summary of the section in a very professional manner. The pointers/bullets used throughout the book emphasize every point that the debate discussions need to make. Generally, as a reader, we make notes of all the important points in the book but here, the book is itself written in a way that every sentence of it is important. Just like original Bhagavad Gita, you read any page of this book, and it is going to be insightful for you and the situation you are dealing with. Authors knew it very well how to entertain and inform the readers who are seeking knowledge on Bhagavad Gita and the book is drafted in a very mature manner in the same way.


Talking about the drawbacks of the book, I must say that the length of the book is the biggest concern. This could have either be divided into two different parts so that it could motivate readers to pick it up because a book with 600-pages in such busy life is always going to be a tough decision to read. Secondly, the pricing of the book is on a very high side. I believe it should also be cut short. Thirdly, I must say that the book doesn’t provide a consistent way of writing as you find dialogues in between, then debates, then suddenly pointers and unexpectedly, a table format inserted between them. Author could have worked a little on that front.


Overall, this is a book which I believe you can pick only after you have little knowledge on what Gita is; or even if you have read easier version of Gita by Indian authors. I give this extremely researched and nicely compiled book 4.5 stars out of 5. Recommended to everyone who loves reading Gita or seeks to know the answer on What is God or What is the Purpose of Life.






2 CoMMenTs !!! - U CaN aLSo CoMMenT !!!:

Brinda said...

beautifully detailed review. Anyone thinking of buying this book should see this review.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Ah - but for me there is no rendition that can improve on that given by HH Pujya Gurudev Sw Chinmayananda... a mahatama with solid parampara from which lineage I have been taught and now teach. (That is whole-book form, but it can also be purchased as chapter format to spread cost.)

The writing of this father/daughter you review today may well be worthy, but it will be informed only by their own thinking. An interpretation.

The 'real' Gita is the Sanskrit version pulled from the Mahabharata; if one reads Sanskrit then one can take meaning for oneself. Even then, to have a teacher with proper authority is necessary - just as with any subject we choose to study in depth. The professors have their tenures for a reason... YAM xx

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