The Gita as It Was: Rediscovering the Original Bhagavadgita

The Gita as It Was: Rediscovering the Original Bhagavadgita

The Gita as It Was: Rediscovering the Original Bhagavadgita

The Gita as It Was: Rediscovering the Original Bhagavadgita

Excerpt

My search for the original Gita was inspired by my personal experiences of living in India and elsewhere. The idea for the project did not come suddenly but crystallized over a period of 15 years. Since the story of my rediscovery of the Gita is very closely related to other events in my life, it may be informative to review some of my background.

After receiving a Ph.D in political science from The American University, Washington, D.C., I returned to India in 1968 with the ambition to work for the betterment of the nation. Though I had been active in Indian politics from 1946 to 1957 and knew most of the prominent socialist leaders, I did not join any political party upon my return. The decision to remain outside active politics took shape during work on my dissertation, 'The Praja Socialist Party of India'. During my research for the thesis, I concluded that the building of a better India cannot be accomplished by the politicians of any party. I expressed this belief at the first opportunity upon returning to India. About a hundred people came to the Patna Airport to greet me. Among them were several political leaders of Bihar and other prominent men of Patna. I told this group: "I will not join any political party. I have come back to work for the uplifting of the country, but I will work as a non-political person."

Another occasion for expressing my views came on the way to my village in northern Bihar. About a half-mile from the village, at a market place known as Parihar, about ten thousand people had assembled to welcome me. It was the most touching scene of my life. I was wondering what these people expected from me that they had waited for hours to see and hear me. They had arranged a public meeting for me in the compound of a local high school. The warmth of their reception made me cry. The school-children sang, and a young man delivered an oration about what I had accomplished, how I had transformed myself, and what I could do for the people. The moment came for me to say a few words, and I said, "Brothers, sisters, friends and children! I am very deeply touched by your affection and warmth. I have returned to serve you and will work to make a better India. But I will work without joining any political party." This declaration disappointed many of my long-time political associates, who had expected me to work with them upon my return.

I had strong feelings about working for the betterment of India, but I was very wary about the fragmented political leadership of that time. I was . . .

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