Dnyaneshwari: The Heart of Lord Krishna, The Yoga of Devotion


The Heart of Lord Krishna, The Yoga of Devotion

by Sarah Kirkham

Dnyaneshwari is a profound and poetic composition that Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj completed in 1290 AD. It is widely regarded as a commentary on the Bhagavad Gītā, but it is more accurately an elaboration of Lord Krishna’s words to his dear friend Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

Amidst the chaos of the battle, Arjuna had fallen into deep despair, unable to pick up his bow and arrow to fight. Lord Krishna, in his compassion, shared his sacred teachings, and Dnyaneshwar Maharaj’s poetic composition of nine thousand ovīs or verses provides further clarification of these teachings.

This, the twelfth chapter of the Bhagavad Gītā, the Yoga of Devotion, is the most important chapter for the Vārakari Sampradāya, a spiritual tradition widely practiced in the Indian states of Maharashtra and northern Karnataka. This chapter emphasizes the path of Bhakti, which involves Nāmasankeertan, or the chanting of the Lord’s name, to purify and steady the mind.

As for our purpose in life, Dharma or righteous duty plays a significant role. Dharma refers to the ethical and moral principles that guide our conduct and align us with our true nature. Living in accordance with these principles and seeking the truth of our existence is our duty. When we face challenges in life, these teachings offer guidance and encourage us to live a life of devotion and righteousness.

Shri Raghunathdas Maharaj has been teaching Dnyaneshwari for seventeen years, his student Sarah Kirkham has translated the meaning of the ovīs into English, in a continuous flow of thought, making the essence easily understandable to readers.

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