At Ananda in Bothell, WA, we just completed an eight week course on PY's commentaries. The text we used is that written by SK in 2004. PY's commentaries, though he announced they would be published later in 1952 (he died in March, 1952), were not, in fact, published for fifty years. When they were published, they bore little relationship to the powerful and inspired commentaries he dictated decades ago.
Consequently, at age 78, SK felt the inspiration to share his memory of that great scripture by writing his own version. The result (out of nearly 150 books he wrote in one lifetime) is clearly his magnum opus. For exhaustive esoteric details, replete with ample scholarly footnotes, you can later turn to the two-volume version put out by his organization but for inspiration, practical personal guidance, and depth combined, SK's work, Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, is unsurpassed.
In our 8-week course we only covered the first 7 chapters of "the Gita" but these are more than sufficient to convey the breadth and depth of that great work and PY's commentaries as given to us by SK. Anyone inspired by the highest aspirations of meditation and resonant with the teachings of India will find a lifelong guide in this "new scripture" for a new age.
Among the themes expressed in the Gita and the insights of PY for our times, we find:
- Why is life a struggle?
- With what intentions and attitudes should we work towards spiritual awakening and freedom?
- Have we lived before?
- If this world is a "dream," is it best simply to "drop out" of this world?
- If we must act, how must we act?
- How did the Infinite Spirit create this great drama? And, why?
- What is the best path? Is knowledge enough?
- Is God personal, or impersonal? How can one best worship or "find" God?
- What is yoga? Is it physical, mental or spiritual (only)?
- What are the stages of creation?
- What qualities reflect higher awareness? Which are delusive?
- Where does one focus in meditation?
- What is kundalini and how is kundalini awakened?
- What are the chakras, the energy centers in the body?
- What is the significance of the mantra, AUM?
- Can one hear AUM in meditation? How?
- What is kriya yoga and why does PY say it is the "airplane route?"
- What are the stages of awakening?
- Guidance regarding preparing for death
- Do we ascend by self-effort alone? Grace? Or?
- Is satan real?
- The stages of creation from idea, to energy, to form.
- What are the qualities of consciousness and matter? How do they manifest?
- Does heaven exist? Is hell real? Is it eternal?
- Are there really angels? Demons? "Ghosts"?
- Does possession really occur?