Swami Lakshmanjoo: Bhagavad Gita in the Light of Kashmir Shaivism - Chapters 1-6
Video recordings by Swami Lakshmanjoo from the oral tradition of Kashmir Shaivism
14 DVDs & Transcript
The Bhagavad Gita in my view is the most important book you will ever read. It is the ultimate ‘users manual’ for the human experience, we who are wandering in space and time. It took some 60 years before the Bhagavad Gita revealed itself to me, and it continues to embrace and nurture me in its endless layers of divine wisdom. I keep a copy next to my bed.
The Bhagavad Gita is the amazing synthesis of all the earlier Sanskrit texts. The sage seer who wrote these 700 verses within the 100,000 verses Mahabharata was a genius, the master of the four Vedas and the Upanishads and the ancient Samkhya. He is known as Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa and no one really knows anything about him – but that is India. They did not care for individual identity or dates, only the liberating wisdom mattered.
Over the years as I read many translations, I began to realize that these verses could be interpreted through diverse lenses. Each commentary and translation reflected the consciousness of the writer and translator. I thus resolved to learn a bit of Sanskrit myself.
My first favorite translation was J.A.B van Buitenen’s because it is so clean. Every lover of the Bhagavad Gita should have a copy of the Winthrop Sargeant version that gives you the Devanagari, the transliteration, and the English definition of each word in the text, along with the Sanskrit grammar.
The third Bhagavad Gita I found indispensible was Abhinavagupta’s Commentary, the Gitartha-Samgraha, translated by Boris Marjanovic (2002). Over time as I continued to study, I realized that when I wanted the greatest clarity and depth of understanding, I repeatedly turned to Abhinavagupta. I feel this is particularly true in the case of those who are actually meditating, who are moving through experience, and who are not only scholars.
In the preface to Marjanovic’s translation we read: “… Swami Lakshmanjoo also brought out another Sanskrit edition of [Abhinavagupta’s] Gitartha-Samgraha (in 1933)… which has become very rare. It is a very happy and heartening occasion that Gitartha-Samgraha, and its English translation, is now being published in the United States and will thus be made more widely available for scholars and students.” (Pandit Hemendranath Chakravarti)
So when I learned that Swami Lakshmanjoo’s commentary on the Abhinavagupta version was available, my heart beat with joy! The idea that a living Master would reveal my favorite version of my favorite book was delightful. And certainly I was not disappointed.
Swami Lakshmanjoo’s commentaries definitively clarify and elucidate the Bhagavad Gita for our era, meaning this phase of the Kali Yuga. As always, Swami Lakshmanjoo speaks from another realm. He is living and being inside the highest trans-dimensional consciousness of Parabhairava, and therefore he is able to transmit the wisdom of enlightenment to the listener more effectively than the mere reading of scholarly texts. He laughs a lot!
For example in Chapter 2, Verse 30 (in the Kashmir version), Krishna explains to Arjuna that even though many are aware of the God-within, the Atman, only very few are capable of understanding. Swami Lakshmanjoo reveals the ever-deeper meaning. God is playing – even more to the point the God in us all, in you and me, is playing. “It is your own play.”
“And the time will come…when you understand…Then you should come to know that you have become mine, you have become myself [Parabhairava]. But there is no distance. …There is no distance, just vibration. It is vibration. … When you have understood, actually understood, you won’t say, I have understood.”
Swami Lakshmanjoo then quotes from the Kena Upanishad 2.3, which can be translated as: “It is known to him to whom it is unknown; he does not know to whom It is known. It is unknown to those who know well, and known to those who do not know.” (Gambhirananda’s translation)
Who else but an enlightened Master could speak from the consciousness that moves you into the realm of vibration, beyond all manifestation, beyond what is known and what is not. Swami Lakshmanjoo resides in the place that transcends all of this. He is where we want to be, what I call Home.
I was not fortunate enough to be with Swami Lakshmanjoo while he was in a body. Sadly, I have never been to Kashmir - and thus for me these video recordings of him speaking are priceless. How can we thank John Hughes and his wife Denise, whose courageous diligence has brought us the blessing of Swami Lakshmanjoo’s sweet subtle grace through the eye of the camera. Just as the Bhagavad Gita itself has the power to enlighten you, so it is with these DVDs.
Chapters 7-18 are soon to become available.
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