The Astavakra Gita is a unique text among the world's contemplative classics dealing systematically with the mystical experiences of the Self on its way to transcendence, peace and bliss. There are few ancient treatises in East or West which evince such profound and lively concern with the Supreme Self as the ultimate reality, embodied in mystical insight and experience, and written with such spiritual imagination and poetic fervour. Astavakra Gita (The Song of the Self Supreme) contains the Sanskrit text of Astavakra Gita (both in Nagari and Roman script), its English translation, Exegesis and Glossarial Index. It presents in twenty chapters the substance of Astavakra's teaching in respect of the Cosmic Self in the form of his dialogue with Janaka, the magnificent king of Videha. The teaching is based on the Upanisadic creed of Absolute monism (Advaitavada) that identifies the Self with the non-dual Ultimate Reality. But the contribution of Astavakra is also immense, for he has introduced the element of emotional experience or the mystical feeling as the means for realizing the non-dual nature of the Self. Written in a lucid style and dealing systematically with the subject matter, the book, it is hoped, will hold a unique position among the contemplative classics of the world.
The English translation is faithful to the Sanskrit original and the annotations by the editor are extremely illuminating and helpful. Altogether, this book is a treasure house of Advaita thought and should be in the hands of every sincere student of philosophy - --P.V.SIVARAMA DIKSHITAR, The Hindu, September 29, 1998
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