The Mantram, or mantra, is a short, powerful, spiritual formula from the world’s great traditions, repeated silently in the mind, anytime, anywhere. Easwaran, the author of Passage Meditation and the best-selling translations of The Bhagavad Gita, The Upanishads and The Dhammapada, taught the use of the mantram for forty years as part of his passage meditation program.
The mantram can help you to steady your mind and free it from anxiety, anger or resentment. Easwaran explains how the mantram works, and gives practical guidelines for using it to focus your thoughts and access deeper resources of strength, patience, and love.
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Easwaran's 55-page introduction places the Bhagavad Gita in its historical setting, and brings out the universality and timelessness of its teachings. Chapter introductions clarify key concepts, and notes and a glossary explain Sanskrit terms.
Easwaran grew up in the Hindu tradition in India, and learned Sanskrit from a young age. He was a professor of English literature before coming to the West on a Fulbright scholarship. A gifted teacher, he is recognized as an authority on the Indian classics and world mysticism.
The Bhagavad Gita opens, dramatically, on a battlefield, as the warrior Arjuna turns in anguish to his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, for answers to the fundamental questions of life. Yet, as Easwaran points out, the Gita is not what it seems – it’s not a dialogue between two mythical figures at the dawn of Indian history. “The battlefield is a perfect backdrop, but the Gita’s subject is the war within, the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage if he or she is to emerge from life victorious.”
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.
In the Upanishads, illumined sages share flashes of insight, the results of their investigation into consciousness itself. In extraordinary visions, they have direct experience of a transcendent Reality which is the essence, or Self, of each created being. They teach that each of us, each Self, is eternal, deathless, one with the power that created the universe.
Easwaran’s translation of the principal Upanishads and five others includes an overview of the cultural and historical setting, with chapter introductions, notes, and a Sanskrit glossary. But it is Easwaran’s understanding of the wisdom of the Upanishads that makes this edition truly outstanding.
Each sage, each Upanishad, appeals in a different way to the reader’s head and heart. In the end, Easwaran writes, “The Upanishads are part of India’s precious legacy, not just to Hinduism but to humanity, and in that spirit they are offered here.”