Saturday, December 3, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Amazing Secrets of the Bhagavad Gita

Best-selling author Ed Viswanathan Amazing Secrets of the Bhagavad Gita is a good opportunity to understand the popular scripture. Just do not think beyond that. Sapna Sarfare reviews the book.

The Bhagavad Gita was always an attraction. There have been many a translation and unique takes on this Hindu scripture. So when best-selling author Ed Viswanathan had come up with Amazing Secrets of the Bhagavad Gita, I was intrigued enough to pick it up.

Amazing Secrets of the Bhagavad Gita is, in a way, kind of a follow on. It also has a dialogue form narrative but this time, between a grandfather and his grandson. Of course, the tone of the conversation is more of an indulgent grandpa who answers every question with patience and at times, appreciates the kind of questions his grandson poses.

The book basically introduces you to certain aspects of the sacred scripture and in turn, about Hinduism. What is the Bhagavad Gita? What are sin and salvation according to Lord Krishna? What does Lord Krishna say about birth, death, and reincarnation in the Bhagavad Gita? Does Lord Krishna mention heaven and hell in the Bhagavad Gita? A range of topics are covered, right from sati to stress control, avatar, and yoga to even homosexuality. The Q-As are aimed at the layman who might have some questions. If looking for answers for transcendental questions, this might not be the book for you.

It is easy to go to a particular topic without having to go through pages like mad. The language is simple too.

What really works is its narrative style. The conversation between the grandfather and grandson is simple yet meaningful and is understood by the layman. The topics are put in chapter format with a brief at the beginning, then the Q-As and then a small summary at the end of what the chapter spoke about. It is easy to go to a particular topic without having to go through pages like mad. The language is simple too. One feels it is kept considering the vast readership that might be picking up the book.

The simplicity might a factor for those who probably want more & deeper questions to be replied to. The book could have taken more questions related to things spoken in the Gita. Few complex questions could have been put in. Also, the overall feel one gets in the book is that of a superiority complex of Hindu religion. The talk always slides down to how the religion is more accepting of things or better than other religions. If the writer would have stuck to explaining Hinduism’s position on certain things or just what the book explains on diverse topics, the book would have hit the bull’s eye.

Overall, Amazing Secrets of the Bhagavad Gita does strike a chord with those looking for a visitors' guide to understanding the Bhagavad Gita.  Pick it if you are not looking for deeper meaning.

BOOK TITLE: Amazing Secrets of the Bhagavad Gita
AUTHOR: Ed Viswanathan
PUBLISHER: Rupa Publications India
PAGES: 312
PRICE: Rs. 266 

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