I suppose that many readers may be already familiar with the great work of Bhagavad Gītā itself, but here we are mostly interested in the classical commentaries of Śrī Rāmānujācārya, which retains its significance also in our days.
Rāmānuja was the first and foremost propounder of Viśiṣṭādvaita or “qualified non-dualism” philosophy and the spiritual leader of one of the four main Vaiṣṇava traditions – Śrī Vaiṣṇavism, which is a living tradition also in our days. His personal foremost deity was Śrī Nārāyaṇa – “the God who ruled over waters” – an avatar of Viṣṇu – and the husband of Śrī - “Śrī” referencing for Devi Lakṣmī – the Goddess of Abundance. Hence the tradition is known as Śrī Vaiṣṇavism.
The main line of Rāmānuja’s Viśiṣṭādvaita philosophy is that there are 3 different realities – Cit, Acit and Brahman – or Conscious beings – or Puruṣas, Unconscious or material reality - Prakṛti – and Brahman or God – the creator and subject of all conscious and unconscious reality. God permeates everything existing, He is present in every being in the form of Puruṣa or Soul – but at the same time – they are not completely the same. God’s Highest Personality is different and greater than everything existing and it is only His radiance or “Body” what we perceive as a Soul or Matter.
If we live cognizant of non-material nature of our Soul and its eternal almighty source, love and serve our God – we may reach the God’s bliss, Liberation from rebirth and stay eternally in the presence of God, but without the absolute qualities and power of God himself. Here Rāmānuja was a strict opponent to another famous Vedānta teacher – Śaṅkarācārya who propounded the Liberation of all attributes and complete merging with God.
Now, let’s give a word to Śrī Rāmānujācārya himself and his own introduction to Bhagavad Gītā follows next. Rāmānuja’s advice on spiritual matters may be very significant to all who sincerely search after God, Spiritual Realisation, Liberation and better world in general.
Below the page is the Table of Contents with links to the full content of Bhagavad Gītā with commentaries of Rāmānuja!
Introduction to Bhagavad Gita
The Supreme Nārāyaṇa, the Lord of Śrī, whose essential nature is being the sole reservoir of all illustrious attributes and who is the antithesis to all that is evil as exemplified by wisdom and bliss.
Who is the great ocean of the infinite, immeasurable, exalted and innumerable glorious qualities which are part of His natural essence, such as omniscience, power, sovereignty, eternality, omnipotence and splendour.
Whose transcendental form is a treasure house of effulgence, beauty, loveliness and perfection; beyond all conceptions, divine, wonderful, everlasting and invincible and sublime being immutable in accordance with His will.
He is adorned with countless transcendental ornaments: variegated, bountiful, marvellous and permanent which are perfection and worthy of Him in every respect.
Who is accoutred resplendently with innumerable divine weapons agreeing with His nature, of inconceivable power, invincible, eternal and glorious.
The Supreme Śrīman Nārāyaṇa is the beloved of Śrī, also known as Lakṣmī-Devī, who is herself quite perfect in all the multitudes of limitless, marvellous and uncountable qualities of divinity such as amiability, compassion, devotion etc. and harmonising in perfect synchronisation with His nature, form, omnipotence, majesty and opulence.
He who has at feet constantly eulogizing prayers and singing hymns, countless divine beings; whose essence, being, and phenomenal works are all in accordance with His will.
They delight solely in rendering service to Him, possessed as they are with a multitude of vast, eternal, indestructible, and sublime attributes far beyond any definitions of words or thoughts.
The Supreme Lord Krishna whose expansions and incarnations have their abode in the transcendental celestial firmament known as Vaikuṇṭha, which is indestructible and limitless and which conforms with His nature, which is expansive, unfathomable, endless and opulent. That Vaikuṇṭha of infinite wonder, of infinite glory, of infinite majesty and of infinite omnipotence is eternal and imperishable.
The Supreme Lord Krishna by whose will and pleasure trillions of universes are dramatically displayed by projection in the material substratum in the modes of sustentation and dissolution; the universes so replete with 8,400,000 different species of life and full of so many wonderfully variegated and amazingly phenomenal creations and hosts of enjoyers thereof.
He is also to be known by the names of His manifestations such as Brahman and Para Brahman, by any of His incarnations such as Rāma and Buddha and by any of His expansions such as Nārāyaṇa and Vāsudeva.
The Supreme Lord Krishna, who is the Ultimate Truth, the Ultimate Consciousness and the Ultimate Personality, having emanated the complete cosmic manifestation from Brahma down to a blade of grass,
by His own desire He withdrew within His own Self and was instantaneously completely beyond the material existence and the meditations and adorations of Brahma, the devas and mortal beings.
The Supreme Lord Krishna being an all pervading ocean of infinite mercy with unlimited compassion, unlimited love and unlimited magnanimity, although completely transcendental to the material existence;
simultaneously willed to incarnate in various material forms similar to those of His creation, without compromising His own divine transcendental nature and periodically descends as different incarnations in the material worlds as he so desires.
The Supreme Lord Krishna is always accessible to those by whom He is worshipped and receiving His mercy are granted their desires from artha which is material wealth all the way to mokṣa which is salvation from material existence and their aspirations are always completely fulfilled.
The Supreme Lord Krishna's main purpose for descending and incarnating is to relieve the Earth of any demoniac and negative, undesirable influences that are opposed to spiritual development; but simultaneously at the same time it is also His incomparable intention to continuously be within reach of all humanity.
To fulfil this purpose He periodically manifests Himself in the material existence so that He becomes an actual reality for all people to consciously see, hear and learn about and He personally performs such phenomenal and extraordinary pastimes that are able to captivate, inspire and enrapture the hearts and minds of all living entities high and low.
The Supreme Lord Krishna naturally delights all the worlds who are fortunate enough to learn about Him with His transcendental beauty, His eternal, spiritual form and His extraordinary phenomenal pastimes which are overflowing with the nectar of compassion and love.
The Supreme Lord Krishna under the pretext of having to persuade Arjuna to fight at the battle of Kurukṣettra, agreed to accept the position of chariot driver for His devotee and took the opportunity to reveal again the eternal and imperishable Bhagavad-Gita which had been lost over the millenniums.
By delineating karma yoga and jñāna yoga which both when becoming mature blossom into bhakti yoga which is the science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the Ultimate Consciousness by loving devotional service unto the Supreme Lord or through any of His authorised incarnations revealed in the Vedic scriptures.
The Supreme Lord Krishna fully described the science of bhakti yoga in the middle six chapters of Śrīmad Bhagavad-Gita and these six chapters reveal the goal of all Vedāntic teachings and by which He is irrefutably indicated as the Ultimate Reality, the best object of love for the highest good of all living entities and that loved , He Himself becomes the means to rescue a living entity from all illusory and conditioned existences.
The Supreme Lord Krishna appeared in His original form with a view to shower benefits on the whole Earth and allowing Himself to be overpowered by the great love from His true and faithful devotee Arjuna, gave Himself to him and consenting to his desire undertook the duties as Arjuṇa’s charioteer and safely drove his surrendered devotee to victory throughout the 18 day battle of Kurukṣettra as witnessed by all the universe which was inaugurated due to King Duryodhana and the Kaurāvas becoming antagonistic against Arjuṇa’s family known as the Pāṇḍavas.
Śrīmad Bhagavad-Gita begins with the Supreme Lord Krishna driving Arjuṇa’s magnificent golden chariot drawn by four milk white horses between the two armies opposed for battle. The dialogue begins with the blind king Dhritarāṣṭra, of the enemy Kaurāvas inquiring about the welfare of his son Duryodhana from Sanjaya, who had been given the power of clairvoyance by incarnation Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vyāsa to see and hear everything that occurred on the battlefield as if he was physically present.
Thus ends the introduction to the commentary of Śrīmad Bhagavad-Gita