Jnaneshwari (Bhavartha Dipika)

by Ramchandra Keshav Bhagwat | 1954 | 284,137 words | ISBN-10: 8185208123 | ISBN-13: 9788185208121

The English translation of the Jnaneshwari (Dnyaneshwari), a Marathi commentary on the Bhagavad Gita from the 13th century written by Jnaneshwar (Sri Jnanadev). The Bhagavad Gita embodies the essence of the Vedic Religion and this commentary (also known as the Bhavartha Dipika) brings to light the idden significance and deeper meaning of the conver...


Sri Jnanadev or Jnaneshwar, Poet and Yogi, Jnani and Bhakta, was on this earth for about twenty years, nearly seven hundred years ago. His brief life was a divine event.

The Bhagavad Gita embodies the essence of the Vedic Religion within a short compass and in the most popular form. That glorious dialogue between Nara and Narayana, Arjuna and Sri Krishna, is aptly described as Jnanamaya Pradipa—the Light of Knowledge.

Jnaneshwar Maharaj had, at a very young age, a vision of that Light and he gave discourses on the Gita, which came to be known as Bhavartha Dipika or Jnaneshwari, bringing to light the deeper meaning and hidden significance of the dialogue between the Blessed Lord and Arjuna.

This very original Commentary, long confined to Marathi and a few other Indian languages in translation, was made available for the first time to the world at large by Sri Ramchandra Keshav Bhagwat in a complete English translation, published in two volumes (1952, 1954).

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Some years ago when I called on Sri S. Duraiswami Aiyer of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, I found him reading this book. He spoke highly of it but added, that being no longer available, it was worth reprinting. I noted down the name and address of the translator and wrote to him on my return to Madras. His son, Sri Bhaskar Ramchandra Bhagwat, replied offering his co-operation, and added with a touch of sadness that his father had passed away in 1956. I left it at that until Prof. S. Suryaprakash lent me his copy of the book when we touched upon the subject in our conversation. I am now happy to offer a new edition of this English Jnaneshwari encouraged by the response to the new imprint, SAMATA BOOKS, and the two publications, THE BHAGAVAD GITA with the Commentary.of Sri Sankaracharya, and DAKSHINAMURTI STOTRA of Sri Sankaracharya.

I am grateful to Sri B. R. Bhagwat for his wholehearted co-operation and for readily granting the necessary permission for the reprint and helping me with his personal copies of the book. He also secured the illustrations that adorn this great work.

While Sri R. K. Bhagwat’s translation was originally in progress, the “Dnyaneshwari English Rendering Publishing Association” was formed with Prof. N. K. Bhagwat as Chairman, Sri B. R. Patwardhan, Sri W. T. Apte, Sri S. A. Apte and Sri J. R. Kinikar as members; Sri S. R. Gurjar and Sri B. R. Bhagwat as Joint Secretaries; and Sri G. M. Vaidya and Sri B. B. Mahabal as advisers. Volume I was published on Gita Jayanti, 27 November 1952, and Volume II on Gita Jayanti, 6 December 1954.

The Association acknowledged its gratitude to Dr. R.D. Ranade for his Foreword; to Prof. S. V. Pandit, Prof. V. V. Dixit and Sri V. D. Kulkarni for their editorial work, to Dr. S. K. Belvalkar for permission to use his English translation of the Gita and to Sri V. A. Patwardhan, Shrimant Rajasaheb of Jamkhandi and the Rajasaheb of Miraj (Senior), and others for their generous help.

Sri R. K. Bhagwat, the translator, explained in his introduction how he first came to know of Sri Jnaneshwar Maharaj from a booklet published in Madras. It is perhaps more than a coincidence that Sri Bhagwat’s translation of Jnaneshwari, first published from Pune, is now being issued in a Second Edition from Madras.

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I thank Prof. K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar for his advice and suggestions and for his invaluable scholarly help at a critical time. I wish to place on record my gratitude to the management and staff of All India Press, Pondicherry, for their fine work. And I thank him, who wishes to remain unnoticed, who has been an intimate friend and a brother “bhrata mahodaraḥ”: for all that he has done for me and continues to do despite my failings.

My thanks are due to Sri B. R. Bhagwat, for the photograph of his father; to Sri Nana Maharaj Sakhare Math, Pune, for the photograph of the image by Sri. D. V. Talim, to Vijaya Art Studio, for the photograph of the Samadhi at Alandi, and to Prof N.S. Kullur, Nevase, for the photographs of the pillar and the Jnaneshwar Temple.

The title DNYANESHWARI of the earlier edition was in conformity with the Marathi spelling of the word. It has now been altered to JNANESHWARI conforming to the original Sanskrit spelling.

An important feature of this edition is the inclusion of the original verses of the Gita in Devanagari. The earlier numbering of every tenth OVI has been omitted. The number given in brackets, at the end of the last line of the English translation of the verses, indicates the number of the OVI with which the Commentary on the verse or, group of verses, begins.


The Gita has been studied traditionally as a book of three parts each of six chapters. Sri Jnaneshwar Maharaj deals with the Gita as of two parts, the first, Purvakhanda, consisting of the first nine chapters, and the second part Uttarakhanda, consisting of the remaining nine chapters. This is novel but very meaningful. The reader may also find the commentary on VI. 12 and the following verses very much out of the ordinary and the yogic Kriya exemplified for the first time at such length.

The Gita may be said to begin, in a sense, with Arjuna’s aspiration and surrender to Sri Krishna in a state of perplexity II. 7. The Blessed Lord imparts to Arjuna the Great Word of the Supreme Secret Uttamam Rahasyam XVIII.56. And the Gita concludes with Arjuna’s declaration in this greatest self-knowledge: Karishye Vachanam Tava XVII173. I shall fulfil your Word. May Jnaneshwari invoke the grace of the Divine and lead its readers to that Realization.

Velury Sadanand

10 December 1978

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