The world is quite familiar with the Bhagavad Gita, the conversation between Krishna and his warrior friend Arjuna just before the battle at Kurukshetra.
This book is another Gita, known as the Uddhava Gita, which is found in chapters seven through twenty-nine of the eleventh Canto of the Bhagavata Purana (Srimad-Bhagavatam).
Uddhava was a statesman possessed of unequaled intelligence and a close friend of Krishna. He knows that Krishna is about to leave earth for his eternal abode. Feeling the pangs of imminent separation from him, Uddhava approaches Krishna and asks him to take him with him to the spiritual world.
In response Krishna explains that he wants Uddhava to stay and teach for the benefit of others. Here we have a profound philosophical dialogue between Sri Krishna and Uddhava, which augments the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna details the necessity of detaching from all material things, what the yoga practices are and their limitations, the nature of self-centeredness, varnashrama (a socio-religious framework for society), what is perfect spiritual knowledge, the nature of the world, Sankhya philosophy, how to go beyond the three gunas, and he ends his conversation with a description of the importance of bhakti yoga.
The author writes, “I hope to communicate the teachings in plain, everyday English, so that the modern reader will imbibe an overall sense of what Krishna is teaching to Uddhava and how it affects our lives in the twenty-first century.”
His attempt has been successful.
Charles S. J. White, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion American University, writes in the Foreword, “Here the author augments existing translations by adding context and relevance, readability, and accessibility. . . . The emphasis here is not on literal translation but on overall meaning and gist.”
The book’s layout is simple. We have the English translation of a verse, or several verses, and a short, straightforward commentary.
For those serious about learning more about bhakti, this is a good addition to the library.