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God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita (Self-Realization Fellowship) 2 Volume Set Paperback – August 1, 2001


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God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita (Self-Realization Fellowship) 2 Volume Set + The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You (Self-Realization Fellowship) 2 Volume Set + Autobiography of a Yogi (Self-Realization Fellowship)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

A great story of the inner struggle for spiritual growth, mankind's most important but most difficult and daring quest...This is a book that one can study and cherish for a lifetime. --Yoga International

A monumental work...a masterpiece of spiritual, literary, and philosophical work. --India Post

Yogananda's commentary penetrates to the heart of the Bhagavad Gita to reveals deep spiritual and psychological truths...Classic on how to live a spiritual life. --Publisher's Weekly

A great story of the inner struggle for spiritual growth, mankind's most important but most difficult and daring quest...This is a book that one can study and cherish for a lifetime. --Yoga International

A monumental work...a masterpiece of spiritual, literary, and philosophical work. --India Post

A great story of the inner struggle for spiritual growth, mankind's most important but most difficult and daring quest...This is a book that one can study and cherish for a lifetime. --Yoga International

A monumental work...a masterpiece of spiritual, literary, and philosophical work. --India Post

A great story of the inner struggle for spiritual growth, mankind's most important but most difficult and daring quest...This is a book that one can study and cherish for a lifetime. --Yoga International

A monumental work...a masterpiece of spiritual, literary, and philosophical work. --India Post

A great story of the inner struggle for spiritual growth, mankind's most important but most difficult and daring quest...This is a book that one can study and cherish for a lifetime. --Yoga International

A monumental work...a masterpiece of spiritual, literary, and philosophical work. --India Post

About the Author

Born in India on January 5, 1893, Paramahansa Yogananda devoted his life to helping people of all races and creeds to realize and express more fully in their lives the true beauty, nobility, and divinity of the human spirit. After graduating from Calcutta University in 1915, Yogananda took formal vows as a monk of India's venerable monastic Swami Order. Two years later, he began his life's work with the founding of a how-to-live school since grown to twenty-one educational institutions throughout India where traditional academic subjects were offered together with yoga training and instruction in spiritual ideals. In 1920, he was invited to serve as India's delegate to an International Congress of Religious Liberals in Boston. His address to the Congress and subsequent lectures on the East Coast were enthusiastically received, and in 1924 he embarked on a cross-continental speaking tour. Over the next three decades, Paramahansa Yogananda contributed in far-reaching ways to a greater awareness and appreciation in the West of the spiritual wisdom of the East. In Los Angeles, he established an international headquarters for Self-Realization Fellowship, the nonsectarian religious society he had founded in 1920. Through his writings, extensive lecture tours, and the creation of Self-Realization Fellowship temples and meditation centers, he introduced hundreds of thousands of truth-seekers to the ancient science and philosophy of Yoga and its universally applicable methods of meditation. Today, the spiritual and humanitarian work begun by Paramahansa Yogananda continues under the direction of Sri Mrinalini Mata, one of his closest disciples and president of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India since 2011. In addition to publishing his writings, lectures and informal talks (including a comprehensive series of Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons for home study), the society also oversees temples, retreats, and centers around the world.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1224 pages
  • Publisher: Self-Realization Fellowship (August 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0876120311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0876120316
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paramahansa Yogananda was born Mukunda Lal Ghosh on January 5, 1893, in Gorakhpur, India, into a devout and well-to-do Bengali family. From his earliest years, it was evident to those around him that the depth of his awareness and experience of the spiritual was far beyond the ordinary.

Both his parents were disciples of Lahiri Mahasaya, the renowned master who was instrumental in reintroducing Kriya Yoga in modern India. When Yogananda was an infant in his mother's arms, Lahiri Mahasaya blessed him and foretold: "Little mother, thy son will be a yogi. As a spiritual engine, he will carry many souls to God's kingdom."

In his youth Mukunda sought out many of India's sages and saints, hoping to find an illumined teacher to guide him in his spiritual quest. It was in 1910, at the age of seventeen, that he met and became a disciple of the revered Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri. In the hermitage of this great master of yoga he spent the better part of the next ten years, receiving Sri Yukteswar's strict but loving spiritual discipline.

At their very first meeting, and on many occasions thereafter, Sri Yukteswar told the young disciple that he had been chosen as the one to disseminate the ancient science of Kriya Yoga in America and worldwide.

After graduating from Calcutta University in 1915, Mukunda took formal vows as a monk of India's venerable monastic Swami Order, at which time he received the name Yogananda (signifying bliss, ananda, through divine union, yoga). His ardent desire to consecrate his life to the love and service of God thus found fulfillment.

Yogananda began his life's work with the founding, in 1917, of a "how-to-live" school for boys, where modern educational methods were combined with yoga training and instruction in spiritual ideals. The Maharajah of Kasimbazar made available his summer palace at Ranchi (about 250 miles from Calcutta) as the site for the school. Visiting the school a few years later, Mahatma Gandhi wrote: "This institution has deeply impressed my mind."

One day in 1920, while meditating at the Ranchi school, Yogananda had a divine vision showing him that now was the time to begin his work in the West. He immediately departed for Calcutta, where the next day he was invited to serve as India's delegate to an international congress of religious leaders convening later that year in Boston. Sri Yukteswar confirmed that the time was right, saying: "All doors are open for you. It is now or never."

Shortly before his departure, Yogananda was visited by Mahavatar Babaji, the deathless master who revived in this age the ancient science of Kriya Yoga. "You are the one I have chosen to spread the message of Kriya Yoga in the West," Babaji said to Yogananda. "Long ago I met your guru Yukteswar at a Kumbha Mela; I told him then I would send you to him for training. Kriya Yoga, the scientific technique of God-realization, will ultimately spread in all lands, and aid in harmonizing the nations through man's personal, transcendental perception of the Infinite Father."

The young swami arrived in Boston in September 1920. His first speech, made to the International Congress of Religious Liberals, was on "The Science of Religion," and was enthusiastically received. That same year he founded Self-Realization Fellowship to disseminate worldwide his teachings on India's ancient science and philosophy of Yoga and its time-honored tradition of meditation. The first SRF meditation center was started in Boston with the help of Dr. and Mrs. M. W. Lewis and Mrs. Alice Hasey (Sister Yogmata), who were to become lifelong disciples.

For the next several years, he lectured and taught on the East Coast; and in 1924 embarked on a cross-continental speaking tour. Reaching Los Angeles in early 1925, he established there an international headquarters for Self-Realization Fellowship atop Mt. Washington, which became the spiritual and administrative heart of his growing work.

From 1924-1935, Yogananda traveled and lectured widely, speaking to capacity audiences in many of the largest auditoriums in America -- from New York's Carnegie Hall to the Los Angeles Philharmonic Auditorium. The Los Angeles Times reported: "The Philharmonic Auditorium presents the extraordinary spectacle of thousands....being turned away an hour before the advertised opening of a lecture with the 3000-seat hall filled to its utmost capacity."

Yogananda emphasized the underlying unity of the world's great religions, and taught universally applicable methods for attaining direct personal experience of God. To serious students of his teachings he taught the soul-awakening techniques of Kriya Yoga, initiating more than 100,000 men and women during his thirty years in the West.

Among those who became his students were many prominent figures in science, business, and the arts, including horticulturist Luther Burbank, operatic soprano Amelita Galli-Curci, George Eastman (inventor of the Kodak camera), poet Edwin Markham, and symphony conductor Leopold Stokowski. In 1927, he was officially received at the White House by President Calvin Coolidge, who had become interested in the newspaper reports of his activities.

In 1929, during a two-month trip to Mexico, he planted the seeds for future growth of his work in Latin America. He was welcomed by the president of Mexico, Dr. Emilio Portes Gil, who became a lifelong admirer of Yogananda's teachings.

By the mid-1930s, Paramahansaji had also met quite a few of the early disciples who would help him build the Self-Realization Fellowship work and carry the Kriya Yoga mission forward after his own lifetime was over -- including two whom he appointed to be his spiritual successors as president of Self-Realization Fellowship: Rajarsi Janakananda (James J. Lynn), who met the Guru in Kansas City in 1932; and Sri Daya Mata, who had attended his classes in Salt Lake City the previous year.

Other disciples who attended his lecture programs during the 1920s and '30s and stepped forward to dedicate their lives to the SRF work were Dr. and Mrs. M. W. Lewis, who met him in Boston in 1920; Gyanamata (Seattle, 1924); Tara Mata (San Francisco, 1924); Durga Mata (Detroit, 1929); Ananda Mata (Salt Lake City, 1931); Sraddha Mata (Tacoma, 1933); and Sailasuta Mata (Santa Barbara, 1933).

Thus, for many years after Yogananda's passing, and continuing to this day, Self-Realization Fellowship has been guided by disciples who received Paramahansa Yogananda's personal spiritual training.

Yogananda's talks and classes in the earliest years of his ministry were recorded only intermittently. However, when Sri Daya Mata (who later became president of his world­wide organization) joined his ashram in 1931, she undertook the sacred task of faithfully recording Yogananda's hundreds of lectures, classes, and informal talks so that his wisdom and inspiration could be preserved in their original power and purity and published by Self-Realization Fellowship for generations to come.

In 1935, Yogananda returned to India for a last visit with his great guru. (Sri Yukteswar passed away on March 9, 1936.) Traveling by ship and automobile through Europe, Palestine, and Egypt, he arrived in Bombay in the summer of 1935.

During Yogananda's year-long sojourn in his native land, he gave classes and Kriya Yoga initiation in cities throughout the subcontinent. He also enjoyed meetings with Mahatma Gandhi who requested initiation in Kriya Yoga; Nobel-prize-winning physicist Sir C. V. Raman; and some of India's most renowned spiritual figures, including Ramana Maharshi and Anandamoyi Ma.

It was during this year that Sri Yukteswar bestowed on him India's highest spiritual title, paramahansa. Literally "supreme swan" (a symbol of spiritual discrimination), the title signifies one who is established in the ultimate state of union with God.

While in India, Yogananda secured the permanent foundation for his work there, Yogoda Satsanga Society of India. From its headquarters in Dakshineswar (on the Ganges near Kolkata) and the original ashram in Ranchi, the society continues to thrive to this day -- with schools, ashrams, meditation centers, and charitable works throughout the subcontinent.

In late 1936 he returned to America, where he remained for the rest of his life.

During the 1930s, Paramahansa Yogananda began to withdraw somewhat from his nationwide public lecturing so as to devote himself to the writings that would carry his message to future generations, and to building an enduring foundation for the spiritual and humanitarian work of Self-Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsanga Society of India.

Under his direction, the personal guidance and instruction that he had given to students of his classes was arranged into a comprehensive series of Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons for home study. A beautiful hermitage overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Encinitas, California, had been built for the Guru during his absence in India by his beloved disciple Rajarsi Janakananda. Here the Guru spent many years working on his autobiography and other writings, and began the SRF Retreat program which continues to this day.

He also founded several Self-Realization Fellowship temples (Encinitas, Hollywood, and San Diego), speaking regularly there to devoted audiences of SRF members and friends on a vast array of spiritual subjects. Many of these talks, which were recorded stenographically by Sri Daya Mata, have since been published by SRF in the three volumes of Yogananda's Collected Talks and Essays and in Self-Realization magazine.

Yogananda's life story, Autobiography of a Yogi, was published in 1946 (and significantly expanded by him in subsequent editions). A perennial best seller, the book has been in continuous publication since it first appeared and has been translated into many languages. It is widely regarded as a modern spiritual classic.

In 1950, Paramahansaji held the first Self-Realization Fellowship World Convocation at the international headquarters in Los Angeles -- a weeklong event that today attracts thousands each year from all around the globe. He also dedicated the beautiful SRF Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades, enshrining a portion of Mahatma Gandhi's ashes in the ten-acre lakeside meditation gardens that has since become one of California's most prominent spiritual landmarks.

Paramahansa Yogananda's final years were spent largely in seclusion, as he labored intensely to complete his writings -- including his voluminous commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita and the teachings of Jesus Christ in the four Gospels, and revisions of earlier works such as Whispers from Eternity and the Self-Realization Fellowship Lessons. He also worked extensively with Sri Daya Mata, Mrinalini Mata, and a few other of his closest disciples, imparting the spiritual and organizational guidance that would enable them to carry on his worldwide work after he would be gone.
He told them:

"My body shall pass but my work shall go on. And my spirit shall live on. Even when I am taken away I shall work with you all for the deliverance of the world with the message of God.
"Those who have come to Self-Realization Fellowship truly seeking inward spiritual help shall receive what they seek from God. Whether they come while I am in the body, or afterward, the power of God through the link of the SRF Gurus shall flow into the devo­tees just the same, and shall be the cause of their salvation....The ever-living Babaji has promised to guard and guide the progress of all sincere SRF devotees. Lahiri Mahasaya and Sri Yukteswarji, who have left their physical forms, and I myself, even after I have left the body -- all will ever protect and direct the sincere members of SRF-YSS."

On March 7, 1952, the great guru entered mahasamadhi, a God-illumined master's conscious exit from the body at the time of physical death.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

230 of 234 people found the following review helpful By richardpinneau.com on November 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Just as Yogananda's Autobiography of a Yogi has established itself as peerless and eternal among the masses of spiritual biographies and surveys published each century, God Talks to Arjuna is becoming recognized as that singular presentation of the Bhagavad Gita which will be studied and restudied by sincere seekers and scholars for ages to come. The handsome and lavishly illustrated 1200-page, two-volume set is available in both a finely bound slipcased hardcover edition ... and a surprisingly inexpensive paperback printing ... For a volume that will likely be reconsulted, Bible-like, many times over the years, the hardcover edition is to be recommended if your budget can possibly permit.
Each of the 700 Bhagavad Gita verses is presented in both Sanskrit and English. More importantly, each verse is followed by commentary and expansion that integrates your study of the Gita with the entire spiritual science of Raja (meditative) Yoga. Hundreds of thoughtful commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita have been published over the centuries; some have been finely crafted by brilliant intellects; only a handful have come from realized sages; in this long-awaited Self-Realization Fellowship edition we have the insights of a soul who has experienced and mastered all the spiritual heights extoled by this dearest of Indian scriptures.
Yogananda dictated his commentaries to his most trusted students during retreats to the southern California desert during the late 1940s. Those disciples related how the yoga master would, from his state of samadhi (conscious communion with God), pour out this uninterrupted stream of spiritual erudition throughout the night, surpassing the endurance of his much younger scribes.
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181 of 195 people found the following review helpful By Bill Butler on May 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Crystals, atheism, ecology, Seinfeild, TV dinners, Prozac, astrology, depth psychology, the rise and fall of the British Empire. But what about where we came from? What happens after death? Why do we suffer? Why are some people happy. Yogananda's life was impeccable. I have looked for dirt everwhere. Found only solid gold. This book is incredible. Atheism postulates a "peaceful nothingness" after death. And since this contradicts Newton's second law, the law of conservation, it too is a religion. In Buddhism, no matter how good a life you have lived, you may be reborn as a hell being if you die a violent death. In Christianity, if you are a wonderful human being, you will go to eternal hell if you are not a Christian. And if you are a rotten apple, don't worry. If you believe in Jesus then He will save you and eternal happiness will be yours. Where can we turn? Existentialism? Humanitarianism? Alcoholism? For answers that are congrruent with science, testimonies, reason, logic and faith. This book does it. Go heavily into psychic research for 10 years. Study comparitive religions for another 10. Meditate for 20 more years. Get a Ph.D in science. And finally, you will most likely end up saying, "Yes, now I understand" after reading and studying this book. It took me 30 years of meaningless searches and trips, and yogis, and psychologists, and scientists to find this book. It was like finding the Holy Grail. The only thing bad about this book is that, once read, you will always come back to it. Always. Even if you don't like what reality spells out for us. Truth can be very addicting. It is like quicksand. You can get stuck in it. And the more you struggle, the harder it becomes to get out of it.Read more ›
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I have enjoyed many noteable works of great inspiration, but reading "God Talks With Arjuna", was literally a breathtaking experience. Not just another Gita commentary - this work contains many original spiritual insights and practical, balanced, religious approaches to life that are desparately needed in to-days world. But most of all, PARAMAHANSA YOGANANDA was a Living Example of that ideal Christlike perfection as taught in the Gita and has inspired millions with his "Autobiography of a Yogi". A rewarding in depth revelation awaits any serious, sincere seeker of truth. Especially recommended for the serious religious scholar and devotee. If you have not yet found a satisfying answers to lifes most profound questions, this would be a good place to find clear, simple, practical, spiritual direction and understanding. A complete reference book for living the Spiritual Life and guiding your journey to Self-Realization.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Essential reading for anyone interested in yoga, whether as a practictioner or as a scholar, this book also offers a lot to those interested in other paths of transformation. This is a brilliantly executed work: verse by verse, the book provides the sanskrit text, the English translation and Yogananda's comprehensive commentary mining the Gita's many levels of meaning. For example, Yogananda explores the Gita's depiction of events (the armies of Arjuna and his brothers arrayed against their foes) as an allegory for every aspirant's internal struggle between the forces leading towards spiritual realization and the forces (e.g. sense-slavery, sloth, lack of discrimination)that thwart it. Within this context, he also examines the dialogue between Arjuna and Krishna as a reflection of the inner dialogue between Spirit and soul (hence the "God Talks" title). On other fronts, Yogananda makes connections between the Gita and Pantanjali's Yoga Sutras and the Sankhya philosophical traditions. In ways I am not yet able to articulate, this book helped me bridge the gap between what I categorize--imprecisely I'm sure--as yogic and non-yogic traditions. (By yogic I mean any meditative tradition that predicated on the existence of Spirit, the realization of which serves as the final goal, vs. non-yogic by which I mean meditative traditions that assert Emptiness as the final goal.) Ultimately, what makes this book so powerful is that Yogananda clearly knows whereof he speaks. The result is a book that speaks in direct and practical terms to the aspirant, while also able to satisfy the pedant.
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God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita (Self-Realization Fellowship) 2 Volume Set
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