All these were due to the formative influence of his pious and learned forebears as also of his spiritual disciplines under able teachers. His ancestor, Rama Misra Agnihotri, is believed to have migrated from Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh in AD to escape religious persecution by the foreign invaders. Coming away to Bengal, he settled in the village Unasiya in Kotalipada, district Faridpur, now in Bangladesh. Into this lineage was born Pramodan Purandaracarya, who begot five sons.

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All these were due to the formative influence of his pious and learned forebears as also of his spiritual disciplines under able teachers. His ancestor, Rama Misra Agnihotri, is believed to have migrated from Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh in AD to escape religious persecution by the foreign invaders. Coming away to Bengal, he settled in the village Unasiya in Kotalipada, district Faridpur, now in Bangladesh. Into this lineage was born Pramodan Purandaracarya, who begot five sons.

The first four-Srinatha Cudamani, Yadavananda Nyayacarya, Kamalanayana, and Vagisa Gosvami-became famous scholars while the last son, however, turned out to be average.

The third son, Kamalanayana, born in about AD according to some and the brightest of them, received the name Madhusudana Sarasvati when he embraced monasticism in later life. While a boy, Madhusudana was taught Sanskrit grammar, poetry, etc. Some say that Madhusudana renounced home when he was merely ten years and travelled all the way to Navadvip in West Bengal to meet Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who was famous then as an embodiment of intense love for God. But, as destiny would have it, at that time Sri Caitanya was elsewhere in India spreading his message of bhakti.

And in the meanwhile, studying under the guidance of Mathuranatha Tarkavagisa, the then foremost professor of Nyaya, he mastered that philosophy. At the same time, he also deeply imbibed the devotional teachings of Sri Caitanya with which Navadvip was vibrant. After thorough studies at Navadvip, and still unable to meet Sri Caitanya even after a long time, Madhusudana proceeded to Kasi Varanasi in search of a teacher of Advaita philosophy. But on completing this course studying under Rama Tirtha, he felt that a command of the Mimamsa philosophy too was necessary to become a complete scholar and tackle the Advaita philosophy.

So he further studied Mimamsa under the erudite sanyasin Madhava Sarasvati. However, these intellectual pursuits, instead of making Madhusudana content with dry scholarship, increased his spiritual hunger.

Besides, now he was convinced of the conclusions of Advaita, and also felt impelled to get ordained into monasticism. Thus he hoped to realize directly the ultimate nondual Truth. Advised by his Advaita preceptor Rama Tirtha, he approached the revered monk Visvesvara or Visvesvarananda Sarasvati a disciple of Rama Sarasvati with an earnest request to be ordained a monk. Needless to say, his desire was duly fulfilled.

What was the fruit of all these strivings? We get the answer from his numerous writings, which indicate that he blossomed into a great lover of God, a yogi of a high order, and a realized soul who attained the state of Perfection. Some of his important writings are i. Vedanta-kalpa-Latika, ii.

Siddhanta-Bindu, iii. Bhakti-Rasayana, iv. Advaita-Siddhi, v. Sanksepa-Sariraka-Vyakhya, and vi. Madhusudana also left behind three eminent disciples Balabhadra Bhattacarya, Sesagovinda and Pursottama Sarasvati. Some additional facts about the barely known life of Madhusudana found in the books referred to pp. A historically important event at Benares in those days has been recorded by prof.

Those priests were protected by a faulty law that exempted them from any legal punishment! So the hapless Hindus approached Madhusudana to do something to stop this injustice. Since he was well known at the durbar of Emperor Akbar who ruled between AD , he met the Emperor through Raja Birbal and narrated to him the religious atrocities at Benares, etc.

At the same time he promulgated a law that thence-forth the Hindu sannyasins too, like the Muslim priests, were outside the purview of legal action. Thus was born at the hands of Madhusudana the much respected, and feared, Naga sect of Vedantic Sannyasins. The recruits into it were mostly from the Ksatriya caste. They lived in monasteries called akhadas, lit. Despite these great contributions, Madhusudana, it seems, was hounded out of Benares by the pandas Hindu priests at pilgrim centres during his later years for some unclear reasons.

As a result he had to go away to Haridvar where, it is believed, he passed away at the ripe age of in AD , according to some. Now, coming to the Gudhartha-Dipika, it is possibly his best gift to the pundits as also to the not so scholarly majority of spiritual aspirants.

The Bhagavad-Gita is considered the essence of the mass of Indian philosophical and religious thoughts. It is also dear to innumerable people as a guide to daily life. So, perhaps this is a reason why Madhusudana has lucidly discussed at the appropriate places the principal Indian philosophical doctrines, and also dealt with the practical steps necessary to attain to Self-knowledge.

It also gives a summary of the Gita. Thus it is easy for the readers to follow his discussions in the Dipika. According to him, the first six chapters deal with Karma -yoga, which is the means to the final goal; and the last six deal with that goal, Jnana, Knowledge, itself..

In this regard the reader should refer to pp. One of the features of the Dipika is that Madhusudana has explained almost every word of the Gita verses slokas , even such as ca, and; tu, but; hi, in-deed, for, etc. Besides, at many places he has attributed significant implications to those words. Again, one sees his unique style where he gives in a verse or two of his own the gist of a chapter-or of a few verses-he has just annotated.

The translations of such verses have been indented and fully italicized; as for instance, at the end of the chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.

Some other verses of his that draw attention are the verse at the end of Chapter 10, the one introducing Chapter 13, and those at the end of Chapter For, they unmistakably show his abundant bhakti side by side with his firm Advaitic convictions. Further, readers who are themselves inclined to bhakti are sure to be charmed even by such passages as in the Dipika on 7, 14 and his introduction to 7.

Again, though he was says, under 6. Then, again, in the Dipika on As in the above places and in many others of the Dipika, similarly towards the concluding portions of the book too Madhusudana has harmonized bhakti, yoga and Jnana, e. Indeed the annotations on the verses Another point to note is that at some places he has differed from the explanations of Sri Sankaracarya.

For example, while explaining the first anyah in 2. However, these should not at all be viewed as deviations from tradition or as a sign of lack of respect for Sri Sankara. Besides, almost at each such place he has done so with explicit humility; for example, at the end of the annotation on 6. And explained in Bengali by Pandit Bhutanatha Saptatirtha; ed. Nalinikanta Brahma; Navabharat Publishers, Calcutta; Though a separate list of the places no less than fourteen where Madhusudana has followed variant readings of the Gita-verses is not given, parts of the Dipika where its other readings were found have been given in the footnotes.

By reading the Dipika, omitting the transliterated and italicized words of the sloka, one still gets continuous sentences. Often, where such simple sloka-words as ca, eva, tu, etc. This has been done more in the later chapters, presuming that by then the readers would have become familiar with their usual meanings.

Words such as self, reality, knowledge, etc. Technical Sanskrit words, specially those whose translations are long, have been given the first few times in their transliterated italicized form, together with their translation in parenthesis; later on only the transliterated form is retained.

But, for the sake of convenience all such words have been included in the Glossary, sometimes with the page numbers or the verses under which they have been discussed. As for the references to the quotations, some of them have remained untraced despite extensive search.

We shall be greatly obliged if readers can supply them to us so that they can be added in the next edition. We are relieved and happy that this important book is finally out. But our deep regret is that Swami Gambhirananda passed away in , four months after he completed the translation. Naturally, the responsibility of revising the work, only wherever necessary, fell mostly on Swami Moksadananda, whose valuable suggestions Swami Gambhirananda had sought even when the work was in progress.

The other person involved in the revision etc. So, whatever shortcomings or errors the readers may come across in the book are not of the translator. On the other hand, indeed, to him we are obliged for leaving us this last gift, despite his almost total blindness and advanced age of nearly ninety-one years when he passed away. Lastly, I am personally grateful to my brother monks, Swamis Amareshananda and Baneshnanda, for helping me in various ways in getting the book ready. In his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, however, he set forth a philosophy of life which also recognized other ways of spiritual development - such as Yoga, devotion to God, and the analytical penetration of Samkhya.

Here, Madhusudana gave the highest place to the cultivation of devotion. According to him, devotion is the most effective means of God realization and Sri Krishna is the higher manifestation of the Divine. Once Madhusudana wrote that those who can worship the inscrutable Unmanifested may well do so; but for him there is nothing greater than the thought of surrender to Sri Krishna and nothing sweeter than love of Sri Krishna.

This book is a valuable addition to our publications and is highly recommended to serious readers of Indian Philosophy and religion.


Madhusūdana Sarasvatī



Bhagavad Gita in English by Madhusudana Sarasvati




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