“Gita, Gita, Gita, and solitude,” replies Ravindra Rao aka Haribakth when asked about his passions in life. He is the author of Aksara Bhagavad Gita, a book on Gita that analyzes and deals with interpretations, aims and objects, characteristics of God and His Gita, and much more. This is the second book written by Haribakth.
Read on as author Ravindra Rao (Haribakth) talks about Aksara Bhagavad Gita (Imperishable Gita) book, the motivation behind writing it, co-author Vaishnavi, life lessons from Gita, and more things.
1. Let’s begin with a brief introduction of yours and an overview of your book— Aksara Bhagavad Gita (Imperishable Gita).
My name says it all (Haribakth). Nothing less, nothing more.
Overview of my book:
This book analyses and deals with:
- The pre-qualifications to read Gita.
- Interpretations and how to interpret?
- Aims & Objects.
- Immediate, short term, and long term.
- Interpretation based thereof.
- Characteristics of God & His Gita.
- How to use characteristics to interpret Gita.
- How to verify our interpretation with help of these characteristics?
- Other Branches of Knowledge.
- Grammar & Language
- Their role in the interpretation of the Gita.
- The interrelation of the above with each other
- Codification of rules of interpretation based above.
- Debate on the codification/ rules enunciated and its tenability.
- In course of the debate, general observations and interpretations made.
- All of them is backed by the authority of the Gita.
The Imperishable Gita offers a common denominator of acceptability to all rational and logical theists. This book provides a template through which any scripture may be interpreted and crosschecked as to its correctness or otherwise. So cosmopolitan is the template that it can be used to interpret scriptures of any religion, any philosophy, or any ideology.
All the previously mentioned is put forth in the form of debate in a fictionalized environment.
2. What was the motivation behind writing Aksara Bhagavad Gita? How is it different from the Srimad Bhagavad Gita?
I wanted to share what remained unsaid so far. The facet of Gita which is unexplored, that master key to interpreting any scripture which is hidden within the confines of the Gita, that core essence of unity and universality of God and all religions and their brotherhood.
This is in keeping with God’s dictate that there is no one dearer to Him than he who expounds this science among His devotees. That motivation is what spurred me.
Other books on Gita are semantic-based, unlike this one which is concept-based. Other books interpret Gita as per the tenets of their founder, i.e. Monism, Dualism, Qualified Monism, Simultaneous Monism & Dualism, a combination of some or all of the above, or its variants.
Aksara Bhagavad Gita suggests interpretation based on the characteristics of the Author/Ideologue, viz. omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, infinite, complete, infallibility, and grandeur.
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3. You have authored the book with Vaishnavi. Could you please tell us about her and what brought you together on the project?
Vaishnavi is my daughter. She is an Interior designer by profession and qualification. Painting, drawing, sketching, idol-making, embossing, carving, are the inherent skills she is endowed with.
I used her skills by commissioning her for illustrations in this book. She simplified the abstract and difficult concepts with her illustrations.
4. What sort of reviews are you receiving from the readers?
Many read, but very few offer review, even when requested. Many reviews by members of a book club or reviewers club are deleted from Amazon reviews for reasons best known to them.
The few that reviewed have rated 4 & + stars without assigning reasons in the review. The book has garnered a few negative reviews, for which I thank them and have noted their observations so as not to repeat the same mistakes in my next book.
A review helps the author and other readers too. I would love to have reviewed from domain experts in the field of religion, philosophy, and hermeneutics. None of the persons approached has responded.
5. Please share with us about your other literary works.
I had written, “19th Akshauhini, Algorithm of the Gita” in 2016. Let’s say that it is a collection of random thoughts not blended properly. This has been rectified in this book.
6. Three life lessons that you learnt from Bhagavad Gita?
Persistence, Perseverance and Surrender.
The first and last have been mentioned in the Gita and perseverance is implied. Gita identifies three types of firmness (Persistence). Surrender to Him is the ultimate lesson. Perseverance is the natural corollary of persistence.
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7. Do you think everyone should read Gita at least once in his/her life? Why?
Reading once would implant the seed of devotion which may germinate and fructify in any of your subsequent births.
8. Whom do you consider your icons when it comes to writing? Any favourite authors or poets?
Being a non-writer, I am not a competent judge or comment about other writers. But as a reader, I do enjoy reading— Ayn Rand for her philosophy, Arthur Hailey for giving a complete overview of any particular subject in each of his book, Jeffrey Archer for his entertaining and gripping stories.
I enjoyed reading James Michener’s “Hawaii”. Back home, I love the writings of R K Narayan who is from our own Mysore and can relate to the places and characters in his books.
9. A quick-fire round:
– What are your other passions in life?
Gita, Gita, Gita, & solitude.
– Books that have influenced your life?
Gita by different Authors. Uddhav Gita of Srila Saraswati Siddantha Thakura, The Brahmana & Vaishnava by Srila Saraswati Siddantha Thakura.
– What is that dream goal you want to achieve before you die?
Stamp of authority on my work by religious, philosophical and rational top brass. Not because I am seeking validation of my opinions, but because people believe & follow authorities even when it is strictly not the truth and even truth is discarded when uttered by a nobody like me.
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10. What’s next for Ravindra Rao aka Haribakth? Any new book or project you are working on?
Yes, I am midway with my forthcoming “Commandments in the Bhagavad Gita”.
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