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The Dnyaneshwari (or Jñaneshwari) (Marathi ज्ञानेश्वरी) is a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita written by the Marathi saint and poet Dnyaneshwar during the 13th century at age 16. This commentary has been praised for its aesthetic as well as scholarly value. The original name of the work is Bhavarth Deepika, which can be roughly translated as "The light showing the internal meaning" (of the Bhagvad Geeta), but it is popularly called Dnyaneshwari after its creator. .
Importance of work
The Dnyaneshwari provides the philosophical basis for the Bhagawata Dharma, a Bhakti sect which had a lasting effect on the history of Maharashtra. It became one of the sacred books (i.e. the Prasthanatrai of Bhagawata Dharma) along with Ekanathi Bhagawata and Tukaram Gaathaa. It is one of the foundations of the Marathi language and literature written in Modi Script , and continues to be widely read in Maharashtra. The Pasayadan or the nine ending verses of the Dnyaaneshwari are also popular with the masses.
According to Vaisnava belief, the Bhagavad Gita is the ultimate statement of spiritual knowledge since it was professed by Lord Krishna who was an Avatar of Vishnu. Dnyaneshwari is considered to be more than a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita because it was professed by Dnyaneshwar, who is considered to be a saint.It contains more easy and lucid examples about the teaching in Bhagavad-Gita as it is said that Saint Dnyaneshwar composed it for the development in the behaviour of people.It is quite difficult for today's life to understand the concepts clearly as the written text is very old and is written in about 1290 A.D. It is made available by many publications in simplified as well as original form.
Dnyaneshwar expanded the Shri Bhagavad Gita, which consisted of 700 shlokas (Sanskrit verses), into around 9999 Marathi verses (ovis). The first line of each ovi rhymes with the next two, rendering a lyrical quality to the entire work.
The first ovi of the Dnyaneshwari follows a rhyme scheme, where the first three lines end in "ā." This ovi is an invocation to OM, and is followed by an elaborate explanation of Lord Shri Krishna's form as the embodiment of the Vedas and Puranas, and the complete representation of OM:
ॐ नमोजी आद्या |
वेद प्रतिपाद्या |
जय जय स्वसंवेद्या |
The second ovi and all the ovis after it follow the same rhyme scheme:
Devā Tūchi Gaṇeshū |
Mhaṇe Nivṛtti Dāsū |
देवा तूंचि गणेशु |
सकलमति प्रकाशु |
म्हणे निवृत्ति दासु |
अवधारिजो जी ||2||
Āmhī tanumanu jīve |
Tuzhiyā bola potangāve |
Ana tuwāchi aise karāve |
Tari sarale mhaņe ||3.135||
The content of Dnyaneshwari reflects a detailed knowledge of kundalini, metaphysics and astrology. The commentary lays importance on God as energy. It emphasises that although there may be many different living forms, they all breathe oxygen (even fishes under water and reptiles deep inside the earth) and have the same life force within them, which is a part of God, who is energy and intelligence. It states that people can use energy and intelligence to connect with the supreme and provides methodologies to achieve the same.
In Local Culture
Dnyaneshwari has had a very profound effect on the mind and lives of people, especially in Maharashtra. The book is considered as sacred as the Bhagvad Geeta, of which it is a commentary. Saint Dnyaneshwar wrote the book in an attempt to make sure that the knowledge from within the Geeta was accessible to all the common people, who had less command over or access to Sanskrit, and used Marathi in their day-to-day life. The attempt has been very successful, due to the nature of the writing and the depth with which the commentary evolves and clarifies the original concepts. It is widely studied and regularly cited, read in homes and religious places, all across Maharashtra. It has a special place in the hearts of every Marathi speaking person. There have been many further commentaries on this commentary, in even simpler language, since the 12th-century Marathi language of the original book has come to differ from contemporary Marathi.