Arjuna’s struggle in the Bhagavad Gita is acutely modern. He has lost his way on the battlefield of life and turns to find the path again by asking direct, uncompromising questions of his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, the Lord himself. Krishna replies in 700 verses of sublime instruction on living and dying, loving and working, and the nature of the soul.
Easwaran shows the Gita’s relevance to us today as we strive, like Arjuna, to do what is right.
“No one in modern times is more qualified – no, make that ‘as qualified’ – to translate the epochal Classics of Indian Spirituality than Eknath Easwaran. And the reason is clear. It is impossible to get to the heart of those classics unless you live them, and he did live them. My admiration of the man and his works is boundless.” – Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions.
Said to be the text closest to the Buddha’s actual words, The Dhammapada is a collection of short teachings that his disciples memorized during his lifetime. Easwaran presents The Dhammapada as a guide to spiritual perseverance, progress, and ultimately enlightenment — a heroic confrontation with life as it really is, with straight answers to our deepest questions. We witness the heartbreak of death, for instance — what does that mean for us? What is love? How does karma work? How do we follow the spiritual life in the midst of work and family? Does nirvana really exist, and if so, what is it like to be illumined?
In his interpretation of Buddhist themes, illustrated with stories from the Buddha’s life, Easwaran offers a view of the concept of Right Understanding that is both exhilarating and instructive. He shares his experiences on the spiritual path, giving the advice that only an experienced teacher and practitioner can offer, and urges us to answer for ourselves the Buddha’s call to nirvana — that mysterious, enduring state of wisdom, joy, and peace.
So whether it's Mother Teresa's acts of charity, Gandhi's perseverance, or your aunt Betty's calm demeanor, as long as you're motivated to be better today than you were yesterday, it doesn't matter who inspires you. Regardless of religion, geographical region, race, ethnicity, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, ability, flexibility, or vulnerability, if you do good you feel good, and if you do bad you feel bad.
Buddhism isn't just about meditating. It's about rolling up your sleeves to relieve some of the suffering in the world. If you are ready to be a soldier of peace in the army of love, welcome to Buddhist Boot Camp!
The Katha Upanishad embraces the key ideas of Indian mysticism in a mythic story we can all relate to – the quest of a young hero, Nachiketa, who ventures into the land of death in search of immortality.
But the insights of the Katha are scattered, hard to understand. Easwaran presents them systematically, and practically, as a way to explore deeper and deeper levels of personality, and to answer the age-old question, “Who am I?”
Easwaran grew up in India, learned Sanskrit from a young age, and became a professor of English literature before coming to the West. His translation of The Upanishads is the best-selling edition in English.
For students of philosophy and of Indian spirituality, and readers of wisdom literature everywhere, Easwaran’s interpretation of this classic helps us in our own quest into the meaning of our lives.
(Previously published as: Dialogue With Death)