Introduction to Sri Aurobindo’s Essays on the Gita

The Bhagavad Gita occupies a unique position in the spiritual literature of the world, as it is one of the most revered scriptures, while at the same time being an outstanding poetical expression, a philosophical masterwork, a visionary experience and a profound psychological text outlining key concepts in the practice of yoga as a methodology for the development of consciousness.

One of the things that makes the Bhagavad Gita unique is the setting. It is a teaching provided on a battlefield, at a time where the evolutionary progress of humanity was meeting substantial opposition and hostility. The questions that arise within this context are universal questions that every human being eventually has to face, questions of life and death, morality and religious faith, and questions of relationships, honor, justice and of war and peace.

In order to truly grow and evolve, the individual must eventually come out from behind the wall of traditional creeds, dogmas, rigid doctrines, narrow viewpoints and religious ideologies and begin to apply a deeper, spiritual insight to the resolution of these issues.

The Gita does much more than propound a teaching. It provides perhaps the most insightful review of the psychological framework that governs our actions, and a methodology for applying practical psychology to our response to life’s circumstances, of any text of yoga or psychology one could hope to find. In particular the extensive review of the three gunas, or qualities, and their interaction, is an essential teaching.

Sri Aurobindo spent considerable time and effort in his review of the Bhagavad Gita and his Essays on the Gita stands as one of the most lucid and widely acclaimed commentaries on this important text.

Sri Aurobindo goes beyond any dry academic appraisal of the text: “Our object, then, in studying the Gita will not be a scholastic or academical scrutiny of its thought, nor to place its philosophy in the history of metaphysical speculation, nor shall we deal with it in the manner of the analytical dialectician. We approach it for help and light and our aim must be to distinguish its essential and living message, that in it on which humanity has to seize for its perfection and its highest spiritual welfare.” **

It is our goal to take up the systematic review of Essays on the Gita in the following pages. All page number citations in this review are based on the U.S. edition of Essays on the Gita published by Lotus Press, EAN: 978-0-9149-5518-4 **Essays on the Gita, pg. 8,


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