Uddhava-Gita - the Song Goes Ever On
Posted September 12, 2007
We are happy to announce the release of the much awaited book, the Uddhava-gita, for the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada and the assemble Vaisnavas.
That the Uddhava-gita, which is really an essential companion to the Bhagavad-gita, has been largely overlooked is certainly a great mystery. Lord Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita on the battlefield of Kuruksetra when His friend Arjuna refused to execute his duty, fearing the death of many family members. The same Lord Krishna also spoke the Uddhava-gita to another dear and intimate devotee, Sri Uddhava, to exceute the final duty of this world — which is to renounce worldly attachments to take to the path of complete dedication to God.
In essence, the messages of both texts are similar, but the Uddhava-gita goes a little bit further in the science of God. Lord Krishna instructed Arjuna at the end of Bhagavad-gita to abandon all varieties of religion, to simply surrender to Him and to execute His will only. Arjuna did just as the Lord had instructed.
At the end of His manifest pastimes on earth 5,000 years ago, the demigods headed by Lord Brahma approached Lord Krishna and submitted to Him that the purpose for which the demigods had prayed for His descent into this world was now fulfilled. They prayed to the Lord to return to His eternal abode in the spiritual world, since the purpose of His appearance had been executed.
The Lord approved the request of the demigods, but there was one more duty that needed to be performed: the withdrawal of the Yadu dynasty from the face of the earth. Should the Yadu dynasty have been left behind after Him, the Yadus would have felt unbearable separation from Him, and thus would have subsequently created another burden for the Earth. Under the pretext of some curses by great sages, there was fratricidal war among the Yadu members, and the dynasty was withdrawn from the Earth.
After this the Lord sat in a secluded place preparing to leave the planet. Uddhava approached the Lord, feeling great separation, and prayed that the Lord might take him with Him, but the Lord had something else in mind for Uddhava. He wanted Uddhava to deliver His final teachings to the sages in the Himalayas, who will in turn benefit humanity. Just as Uddhava was earlier deputed by the Lord to take a message to the inhabitants of Vrindavan, the Lord was again sending Uddhava to take His ultimate teachings to the sages of Badarikashram. Uddhava thus posed several questions, and the Lord answered with sound logic and philosophy.
The instructions in the Uddhava-gita bear many similarities to the Bhagavad-gita; however, there is more practical analysis of how to execute the ideas briefly explained in the Bhagavad-gita. Lord Krishna elaborately explained the path of self-realisation, various yoga and mystic perfections, real religion, the modes of material nature and their influences, analytical understading of material nature, the process of philosophical inquiry and the ultimate path of bhakti, which is the process of total dedication to God. In one sense, Uddhava-gita is the ultimate companion to Bhagavad-gita, as what was briefly taught in the Bhagavad-gita was now elaborately explained by the same speaker, Lord Krishna, in the Uddhava-gita.
While the Bhagavad-gita is part of the Mahabharata, the Uddhava-gita occurs in the Bhagavata Purana; both epics were composed by Srila Vyasadeva to highlight the glory of Lord Krishna's descents into the world. There are countless translations and editions of Bhagavad-gita, and the numbers are increasing regularly. The most potent edition of Bhagavad-gita is the edition presented by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Srila Prabhupada presented Bhagavad-gita As It Is and opened the eyes of this darkened world to the personality of Lord Krishna, which had previously been hidden by unscrupulous and impersonal commentaries.
It is our great fortune that we are presenting the Uddhava-gita for the first time to the world. Though the Uddhava-gita is drawn from the eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, which had already being published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, this edition is special. Lord Krishna's final teaching is fully elaborated upon with the commentaries of two great Vaisnava spiritual masters, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the spiritual master of Srila Prabhupada. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati also made a summary of each chapter, thus making the book easily understandable. The commentaries of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and the purports of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura are presented sequentially on each verse of the book.
This book, Uddhava-gita, with the commentaries of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, is complete with the original Sanskrit verses, roman transliterations, English translations and full commentaries. Including a glossary of terms and a full index, the book is 820 pages, 9"x7" (229mm x 188mm), hardback. It's now available in India, and it will soon be available in Europe through Bhaktivedanta Library Services and in North America through Krishna Culture.