A 21ST CENTURY INTRODUCTION TO BHAGAVADGITA
Last ten years, during June-December, we(picked up this ‘WE’ from 'Srikrishna' who said ‘We reject…’ in an article published in the Economic Times, and I had to go to the small print to know that ‘WE’ included his 'SWARUP'…here 'we' include Sudha, my wife and me) stay in Bhandup(West) in the central suburbs of Mumbai. Every year, during this period, I visit once or twice, the Shraddha General Stores, on Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg, here. This store, described as MYSORE SUGAHAND BHANDAR’, owned by one Prakash Mishra sells, besides puja articles, publications from Gita Press.
Yesterday(June 27, 2014), I picked up a cloth-bound copy of ‘THE BHAGAVADGITA’ for Rs15/-. This edition (thirty-ninth reprint, 2013, 15,000 copies- taking the total to 9,62,625-which publisher will keep track of numbers like this?) contains, besides Sanskrit text of Gita, an introduction by Jayadayal Goyandka and a synopsis of the Gita as prefix and an article by the same author bearing on the Gita as an appendix.
I had procured my first copy of Bhagavadgita which was the paper-back edition of the same book during 1963 from the book stall attached to the Sriramakrishna Hospital in Thiruvananhapuram. The price I paid was twentyfive paise. That copy is in my son’s house, kept in the puja room by his wife, Smitha. Books get preserved!
Gita Press, Gorakhpur-273005(Phone: (0551 2334721/2331250, Website: gitapress.org), in ‘business’ since 1923, publishes Sanskrit/Hindi/English versions of a variety of Indian scriptures. Their library has about 1400 editions of the BHAGAVADGITA published in 34 different languages including 8 foreign languages. Their publications are heavily subsidised, and are made available to public at affordable prices. Though I couldn’t do full justice to their efforts by reading those heavy volumes, I have a collection of six cloth-bound volumes which carry the Sanskrit text of Mahabharatha with Hindi meaning.
M G Warrier