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Book Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living
Volume 2 -- Like a Thousand Suns
Eknath Easwaran
Nilgiri Press 1996 Paperback $19.95
ISBN: 0-915132-18-4


This is the second volume of a three-volume series of commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita. Working with six chapters of the text, Eknath Easwaran concentrates on the theme of unity which is at the heart of a spiritual perception of reality. "Life is a kind of school where we keep coming back until we realize the unity of life. Only then can we graduate." Through meditation and the use of a mantram, it is possible to whittle away at our separateness from others. Or as Easwaran puts it, "When we begin looking upon everything as an opportunity to draw closer to others, the days of the ego are numbered."

Each person we encounter provides us with an opportunity to exercise love, even when that person is irritating. The author's grandmother — his favorite spiritual teacher — had a phrase for difficult people; each is like a "lash in the eye." Instead of cursing them, bless them for they can be spurs to "patience, forgiveness, and freedom from likes and dislikes."

Samskaras are rigid automatic responses to life that can be permanent parts of our character. Spiritual growth, according to Easwaran, involves changing these habits. The best way to fight a samskara is to do just the opposite of what it says. If somebody has been unkind to you, go out of your way to be kind to her. Such a daring approach is only possible when we follow the Gita's admonition of "living beyond the reach of I and mine." This commentary is overflowing with excellent spiritual advice by Eknath Easwaran.

 

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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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