The Gītā Dhyānam (Sanskrit: गीता ध्यानम्), also called the Gītā Dhyāna or the Dhyāna Ślokas associated with the Gītā, is a 9-verse Sanskrit poem that has often been attached to the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most important scriptures of Hinduism. In English, its title can be translated literally as "meditation on the Gita," and it is also sometimes called the Invocation to the Gita.:395
The nine Gita Dhyanam verses offer salutations to a variety of sacred scriptures, figures, and entities, characterize the relationship of the Gita to the Upanishads, and affirm the power of divine assistance. Although differing accounts are given of its origins, the poem is widely circulated in India, and its verses have been quoted by many Hindu leaders.
|Selected Verses, with Translation|
The Gītā Dhyānam's first verse opens by affirming an act of meditation (anusandadhāmi): "Om. I meditate on the Bhagavad Gītā, which gave enlightenment to Arjuna... by the Lord himself":395 The Gītā is also affirmed as a mother (bhagavatīm, amba) who rescues from ceaseless change (bhava dveṣiṇīm). The next verse offers salutations to Vyāsa, the traditional recorder of the Gītā. Several additional verses offer salutations (namaḥ, bowing down) to Kṛṣṇa (verses 3, 5, 8), or to the supreme Godhead (devāya, verse 9).
The commonly quoted fourth verse characterizes the Gītā as a distillation of the wisdom of the Upanishads. It uses the image of the Upanishads as like cows, and Arjuna (the person to whom the Gītā is told) as like a calf who is receiving their milk. This and another selected verse are shown in the table at right, in English translation, Sanskrit original, and romanized transliteration.
The remaining Gītā Dhyānam verses extoll the virtues of the Mahābhārata, the larger scripture in which the Gītā is embedded, or describe the challenges and foes overcome by Arjuna, to whom Kṛṣṇa spoke the Gītā (verses 6 and 7).
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan:13 and Nataraja Guru:7 each stated that the Gītā Dhyānam is from the Vaiṣṇavīya Tantrasāra. Swami Chinmayananda wrote that the Gītā Dhyānam was "attributed traditionally to the pen of Madhusudana Sarasvati.":27 Swami Ranganathananda wrote that the Gītā Dhyānam verses
are current all over India, and now, in foreign countries also. We don't know who composed them. Some people believe it was Sridhara Swami, a commentator on the Gita and on the Srimad Bhagavatam, who lived about three or four centuries ago.:15
Nataraja Guru stated that the Gītā Dhyānam "is found prefixed to most Indian editions of the Gita.":7 Swami Ranganathananda stated that that in studying the Gita, "generally, before commencing the study of the text, we study what are called Gita Dhyana Slokas, 'the nine Meditation Verses on the Gita.'":15
Hindu leaders have quoted or alluded to verses from the Gītā Dhyānam. Swami Vivekananda wrote from Chicago, following his attendance at the 1893 World Parliament of Religions, that "I am doing the Lord's work, and wherever He leads I follow. मूकं करोति वाचालं etc. - He who makes the dumb eloquent and the lame cross a mountain, He will help me.":71
Mahatma Gandhi, when praising work done at a school for orphans, wrote that "Seeing the school, I bowed my head in reverence and wondered what love could not do. It can make the dumb speak and the lame climb a mountain."
Swami Chinmayananda has published a word-for-word English translation of the Gītā Dhyānam, along with extensive commentary:
- Chinmayananda, Swami (1998). Shreemad Bhagawad Geeta chapter I & II: original Sanskrit text with Roman transliteration, word-for-word meaning, translation and commentary (revised ed.). Mumbai, India: Central Chinmaya Mission Trust. ISBN 81-7597-084-7. ISBN 978-81-7597-084-7 (pp. 1-27)
Other translations into English include:
- Easwaran, Eknath (1975). The Bhagavad Gita for daily living: Commentary, translation, and Sanskrit text. Berkeley, CA: Blue Mountain Center of Meditation. ISBN 0-915132-03-6. OCLC 1322141 (pp. 393–399)
- Sivananda, Swami (2000 Web edition; original 1942). The Bhagvad-Gita. Rishikesh, India: Divine Life Society. Retrieved 30 May 2011. OCLC 463526912 (pp. 7–8).
- Besant, Annie; Bhagavan Das (1905). The Bhagvad-Gita: With Samskrit text, free translation into English, a word-for-word translation, and an introduction on Samskrit grammar. London and Benares: Theosophical Publishing Society. OCLC 463526912 (pp. xxxii-xxxiii).
The Gītā Dhyānam has also been translated into Italian:
- Sivananda, Swami Saraswati; L. Porpora (trans.) (2005). La bhagavad gita. Traduzione integrale dal sanscrito e commento. Edizioni Mediterranee. ISBN 978-88-272-1791-7. ISBN 88-272-1791-6 (pp. 32–33)
- "Invocation to the Gita" (pp. 393-399) in: Easwaran, Eknath (1975). The Bhagavad Gita for daily living: Commentary, translation, and Sanskrit text. Berkeley, CA: Blue Mountain Center of Meditation. ISBN 0-915132-03-6. OCLC 1322141
- (italics added) The corresponding Sanskrit reads: "Om pārthāya pratibodhitāṃ bhagavatā nārāyaṇena svayaṃ... tvam anusandadhāmi bhagavad-gite" (See Easwaran, 1975, p. 394, or Chinmayananda, 1998, pp. 1-2).
- About verse 9, Chinmayananda (1998) comments that "The invocation of the Supreme-most is undertaken here through a peculiar literary trick. The extent of the Infinite cannot be comprehended by anyone and therefore, it can only be indicated by suggestive terms. Even the Creator and the Vedik Deities representing the phenomenal powers must be praying to and invoking their own glorious powers only at the altars of the Infinite and so it is said that we invoke Him, whom the deities of the Vedik period invoke by their Divine hymns" (p. 26).
- Radhakrishnan, S. (1993). The Bhagavadgita: With an introductory essay, Sanskrit text, English translation, and notes. New Delhi: HarperCollins. ISBN 81-7223-087-7.
- Guru, Nataraja (1973). The Bhagavad gita: A sublime hymn of dialectics composed by the antique sage-bard vyasa. Asia Publishing House.
- Chinmayananda, Swami (1998). Shreemad Bhagawad Geeta chapter I & II: original Sanskrit text with Roman transliteration, word-for-word meaning, translation and commentary (revised ed.). Mumbai, India: Central Chinmaya Mission Trust. ISBN 81-7597-084-7.
- Ranganathananda, (Swami) (2000). Universal message of the Bhagavad Gita: An exposition of the Gita in the light of modern thought and modern needs (Vol. 1) 1. Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama. ISBN 81-7505-213-9.
- Vivekananda (1964). Letters of Swami Vivekananda. Calcutta, India: Advaita Ashrama. (pp. 68-71). Letter to Dewanji Saheb, Chicago, 15 November 1894(3?) [sic]
- Gandhi (18 February 1932), Collected Works, vol. 55, p. 22.
- Audio recitation of Gita Dhyhanam
- Sanskrit text and transliteration: ver. 1 ver. 2 (Chinmaya Mission)