This contemporary companion to the Bhagavad Gita addresses the heart of human yearning. It offers the possibility of transforming the battle of life into a path to Truth—a living process. Each of the eighteen chapters presents a road toward our inner, universal Self, bringing a deeper and wider perspective along the way. A psychological orientation invites the reader to move from abstract idea to individual insight. As the book proceeds, the relationship between the personal and the eternal gradually unfolds in an ever-expanding process of self discovery.
      Quotes from great teachers are included in the text to inspire, uplift and help us cross over the sea of illusion.

—with Bibliography, Glossary, Addendum, Notes, Index

      Naina Lepes has been receiving inspiration and wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita since 1970, and studied Vedanta with Swami Chinmayananda. Her longtime Guru has been Sai Baba, while other early influences in her life include the work of G. I.Gurdjieff and C. G. Jung.

      She is the author of The Bhagavad Gita and Inner Transformation, From Maya to Oneness (available in the U.S. at, tel 714 6690522, India-, tel 08555 287375, 125 rupees plus mailing) and The Cat Guru (available at Formerly the author worked as a Jungian trained psychotherapist in New York. Her formal education includes degrees in Music, Psychology and a Ph.D. in Counseling. Naina was born in Fall River, Massachusetts and now lives in India where she writes poems and travel stories.

Individuality and Universality

For one who looks beyond surfaces
and truly wishes to realize
the essence of his human birth
while reveling in the process of life
the Gita offers a way

the path is highly individual
so it might seem multifaceted
yet the way is really universal
leading to the one

nothing is grafted on
it all comes from inside
helps us harmonize thinking and feeling
raises our energy
brings softness and intelligence
takes us deep as we're able to go
in joy and in sorrow

we can meet the one anywhere
all that's needed is a link
a link with our Self…
the Gita helps us forge a link

this sacred spot where
individuality embraces universal fullness
brings lasting value to
the seemingly mundane
guiding our inner and outer battles
helping us see the relationship
between the two
till the awesome moment when
man made boundaries cease

so in this era of greedy globalization
we are being offered the opportunity
to become universal in an individual way
without imposition or intrusion

that our inner subjectivity
will one day discover
its absolute objectivity
and eternal continuity

      Without any conscious intention on my part, the Gita has become a secret driving force behind the unfoldment of my life. In the days of doubt, this wonderful book appeared and supported my spiritual search. Then for many years, I carried the tiny Juan Mascaro edition around with me, and read a bit here and there. Before long, I began turning to her wisdom in times of need. And she has remained a faithful guide ever since.

      For eighteen years I neither read a commentary nor heard a teacher. The Gita alone was my sole guide. Then, while living in India in 1988, some unusual events led me to Swami Chinmayananda, and I began receiving the Gita wisdom from this great realized teacher. Upon returning to the U.S., I read commentaries of other Gita lovers and mahatmas, great souls. Soon I felt the urge to try to express in words something of the essence and meaning of each chapter in a flowing way, which would help strengthen my inner connection and integrate the spiritual, the psychological and the somewhat scholarly.

      My wish is that this book will contribute to self reflection, finer feeling and deepen one's inner process. Then life in the world can become a real education—dynamic, full and joyful—no matter what the circumstance. May the wisdom of loving consciousness ever guide us on our journey!

bhagavad gita summary

a golden thread
sews all our actions
to the infinite

      The Bhagavad Gita can be experienced as a powerful catalyst for transformation. Bhagavad gita means song of the Spirit, song of the Lord. This extraordinary poem was sung by Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra while multitudes of men stood by waiting to fight the largest battle in history.

      In this eternal moment of intense dramatic necessity, we are shown how to live in the world and not be of the world; how to utilize living itself as a means of spiritual growth, no matter what the external circumstance; how to experience all our joys and sorrows and shortcomings as a means of spiritual upliftment. The Gita helps us integrate our separate personality into harmony with the whole. It teaches an alchemy of transforming our raw material as well as transcending it. Spirit and matter are equal partners. The individual and the divine are part of one unity.

      This knowledge is revealed through a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna. Krishna is the loving teacher; Arjuna is the questioning disciple. Krishna is a king; a married man with many duties. And he's also an avatar—one who descends to earth with the express purpose of uplifting humanity. Krishna is the inner Self—eternal, omniscient, present within each of us. Arjuna is the insecure individuality making its way in the world subject to confusion and doubt. An aim of the Gita is to help us forge a link with this inner Self as we dance through life, so we can come to know who we really are. Then genuine self confidence emerges.

      Gradually throughout each chapter, Krishna teaches Arjuna the nature of Truth or Reality. This helps him come closer and closer to his inner Self until at the very end, Arjuna's memory of his true nature returns. The knowledge of our true identity cannot occur without a battle. This battle takes place on the field of dharma. Dharma means justice, righteousness or the inner essence of a thing. Although the location of the battle is called Kurukshetra, it is really placeless and timeless. It is a battle each of us will be compelled to fight if we yearn for liberation. Liberation from suffering, liberation from ignorance cannot occur without yearning for freedom. Like Arjuna we must know we do not know. And to gain freedom, we must learn to participate in the battle of life with right knowledge.

      What makes the Gita a practical psychology of transformation is that it offers us the tools to connect with our deepest intangible essence. Only when the connection becomes ongoing does suffering cease. In order to be able to forge this inner link, much baggage must be discarded along the way. All the external conditioning which is not a reflection of our essence must gradually go. Our anger, fear, greed, jealousy, confusion, worry, attachment, selfishness, pride, expectations and desire to control must be given the means to melt down as the beginning process of the work. This occurs not only through technique, but also through ever heightening yearning, spiritual practice and consequent insight that proceeds from deep within each person. First we must recognize the tools and then learn how to use them.

      The process consists of many small steps along the way of practice and understanding. As each fresh insight brings new joy and a different obstacle, a flow is established between inner knowing and outer happening. Events are no longer seen as separate and segmented but part of a giant continuity of great nature of which we are all a part. We are each students at the university of prakriti learning lessons from nature tailored to our individual level and inner needs. And eventually we might come to see that what constitutes liberation is the qualitative depth and breadth of our experiential vision.

      There is no theory to be internalized and applied in this psychology. Ancient practices spontaneously induce what each person needs as the individual and the universal coincide. The work proceeds through intellectual knowledge of the playing field(jnana yoga), emotional devotion to the ideal(bhakti yoga) and right action that includes both feeling and knowledge(karma yoga). With ongoing purification we approach wisdom.

      Each of the eighteen chapters presents a yoga or graduated means of linking the separate individuality with the selfless Self. Yoga derives from the Sanskrit "yuj", which means to join. The various philosophies and methods of joining the mind to eternal Truth find expression within each chapter. When the different aspects of oneself become connected to the One center, the goal of yoga is near.

      Then all our seemingly individual thoughts and actions become linked to the higher Intelligence. If each individual who experiences an inner calling could work in accordance with his or her capacity to forge this connection, there would be peace and contentment within the individual, the family, the society and the world.





Poem, Gita Synopsis

1. Yoga of Arjuna's Sorrow (Arjuna Vishada Yoga)
     Evolution and Liberation
     The Value of Conflict
     Essence of the Gita
     Living in Dharma

2. Yoga of the Eternal (Sankhya Yoga)
     The Real and the Unreal
     Three Laws of Vedanta
     Knowledge and Practice
     Yoga of the Higher Intelligence
     Three Qualities of Matter
     Person of Steady Wisdom

3. Yoga of Action (Karma Yoga)
     The Value of Action
     Desireless Action and Ego
     Preparing for Meditation
     Action as Unification
     Karma Yoga in Practice
     Spiritual Work
     Detaching from Desire

4. Yoga of Knowledge in Action (Jnana Yoga)
     Descent of the Avatar
     Knowing Reality
     The Four Types
     The Secret of Work
     Sacrifice, Individual and Cosmic
     Techniques of Sacrifice
     The Power of Faith

5. Renunciation Through Action (Karmasannyasa Yoga)
     Renouncing Desire
     Action for Integration
     The Joy of Harmony
     Action as Duty
     The Way of Knowledge
     Beyond Mind
     The Freedom of Meditation

6. Yoga of Meditation (Dhyana Yoga)
     Renunciation of Agency
     Equality, Love and Self-Control
     The Way of Meditation
     Freedom from Sorrow
     True Empathy
     Effort is Never Wasted
     Reflections on Meditation

7. Yoga of Wisdom (Vijnana Yoga)
     Matter and Spirit
     God as Nature
     Atman Transcendent and Immanent
     Taking Refuge Within
     A Function of Evil
     The Four Seekers
     Transforming Levels of Maya

8. Yoga of the Imperishable Brahman (Aksharaparabrahma Yoga)
     Cycles of Continuity
     Levels of Consciousness
     Transcending the Fear of Death
     Aspects of Reality
     Ways of Practice
     The Process of Dying
     Cycles of Time
     Love and Devotion Beyond Time
     Paths of Light and Darkness

9. The Secret Kingly Yoga (Rajavidya Rajaguhya Yoga)
     Dynamic Divine Cosmology
     God and Nature
     Action as Creation
     Ignorance and Knowledge
     Worship and the Wisdom Sacrifice
     Yoga of Giving

10. Yoga of Divine Splendor (Vibhuti Yoga)
     Origins of Individual Functioning
     Cosmic Levels of Creation
     The Tremorless Yoga
     Devotion and Buddhi Yoga
     Arjuna's Faith and Understanding
     Consciousness and the Total Mind
     The Ocean of Milk
     Story of Prahlada
     Psychology of Alchemy
     The Seven Female Qualities
     Incarnating God Energy

11. Yoga of the Cosmic Form (Visvarupa Sandarshana Yoga)
     Cosmic Splendor and Destruction
     Dissolution on a Personal Level
     Karma and Cosmic Action
     After Death Experience
     Arjuna's Loving Gratitude
     God With Form
     True Spiritual Experience

12. Yoga of Devotion (Bhakti Yoga)
     Levels of Devotion
     Including and Transcending Personal Form
     Arjuna's Question
     Techniques of Devotion
     Avoiding Pitfalls in Spiritual Work
     The True Devotee
     Reflections on Love

13. Yoga of the Knower and the Known (Kshetra Kshetrajna Vibhaga Yoga)
     The Field
     Aspects of Maya
     Psychotherapy and Purification
     Prerequisites for Knowledge
     Intimations of Brahman
     Relationship of Matter and Spirit
     Five Steps Toward Discrimination

14. Yoga of the Three Qualities (Gunatraya Vibhaga Yoga)
     Description of the Gunas
     Effects of the Gunas
     Psychopathology of the Gunas
     Observing the Gunas Within
     Continuity of the Gunas
     Evotutionary Potential of the Gunas
     Way to Paramatma
     Summation of the Three Qualities

15. Yoga of the Supreme Self (Purushottama Prapti Yoga)
     The Secret of Nonidentification
     The Source of Birth, Death and Action
     Approaching the End of Knowledge
     Three Aspects of the One
     Affirmations of Brahman

16. Yoga of the Light and Dark Paths (Daivasurasampad Vibhaga Yoga)
     Introversion and Extroversion
     Materialistic Values of Contemporary Society
     The Purpose of Suffering
     True Wealth
     The Asuric Mentality
     Transforming the Inner Asura
     Psychotherapy and the Asuric Mind
     The Science of Spirituality

17. Yoga of the Threefold Faith (Shraddhatraya Vibhaga Yoga)
     Faith, Ego and Dharma
     Three Forms of Faith
     Three Forms of Austerity
     Three Qualities of Food
     Three Qualities of Sacrifice
     Three Qualities of Charity
     Witnessing the Four Categories
     Abiding in Remembrance
     Faith Dissolves Ego
     Reflections on Faith

18. Liberation and Renunciation (Moksha Sannyasa Yoga)
     Surrender and Renunciation
     Love, Surrender and Ego
     The Causes of Karma
     Action and the Gunas
     Four Psychological Types and Dharma
     Work as Worship
     Separating Essence from Conditioning
     Unity and Individuality
     Renunciation and Internalization
     Becoming One with Brahman
     The Victory of Love
     The Choice of Surrender
     Scripture as Word of God

Krishna Picture

Poem Eternal Dharma

Verses from the Bhagavad Gita

Addendum One: Background Story and Characters

Addendum Two: Psychotherapy and Spirituality






remember Me
and revel in the game of life!

The Bhagavad Gita and Inner Transformation, by Naina Lepes.

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