[ultimate_heading main_heading=”Interview With Haribakth, Author of 19th Akshauhini: algorithm of the Gita” main_heading_color=”#1e73be” sub_heading_color=”#8224e3″ spacer=”line_with_icon” spacer_position=”bottom” line_style=”dotted” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#1e73be” icon_type=”custom” icon_img=”id^48|url^http://ashvamegh.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Ashvamegh-ICO.jpg|caption^null|alt^Ashvamegh Journal Icon|title^Ashvamegh ICO|description^null” img_width=”48″ main_heading_style=”font-weight:bold;” main_heading_font_size=”desktop:34px;” line_width=”3″ margin_design_tab_text=””]also some inputs by the co-author Vaishnavi[/ultimate_heading]
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Haribakth is the pen name of Ravindra Rao who is a self-retired banker from a reputed bank. He has further given his time to studies and writing. His is interested in spiritual studies and religious seeking. His inclination towards the ‘God’s Words’ has inspired him to write the book 19th Akshauhini: algorithm of the Gita. Following is the chat that features his answers about this book to the questions raised by Alok Mishra. 

Alok Mishra: Dear Haribakth, first of all, congratulations for this book – 19th Akshauhini algorithm of the Gita! Very few people today would do something as you have done. Writing a book on the book which is widely acclaimed as the mother of philosophy is truly a great achievement! How do you feel?

Haribakth: Thank for your congratulatory message of greetings. I agree only partly with you. The mother of all philosophy part is absolutely correct. My achievement part is to be taken with a pinch of salt, because I have not created, added or produced anything. The Words, import and choices were always & already present for all to see. I have only collated the same and juxtaposed the words and the verses so that hidden meanings become revealed and esoteric imports are elicited.

Alok Mishra: Before I ask you any questions, I would give it to you to tell our readers that what different you have done in your book as there are thousands of books on the Gita already? It’d make our readers aware of your work.

Haribakth: Many others earlier have written on the subject but have concentrated on the semantics, purport and translation and have not dwelt on how to conceptualise or study or how to understand Gita—that is where the book has carved a niche for itself. Any earlier book doesn’t encourage aspirants to think of other facets or dimensions of Gods’ words due to which infinite possibilities are lost.
My book does not translate, comment or give purports. It only quotes Gods’ words. God has given a set of master keys in Gita itself as to how to understand Gita and my book highlights this and emphasises this by dedicating an entire chapter titled “Gita through Gita”.

Alok Mishra: Now, as the first question, I would directly ask you why did you choose only the Gita? Why not Ramcharitmanas or Valmiki Ramayana or any of the four Vedas? What’s so special about Gita according to you?

Haribakth: The Ramcharitmanas and Ramayana are authored by Goswami Tulsidas and Valmiki Maharishi respectively whereas Gita has emanated directly from the lips of Almighty God himself.
Vedas are subordinate to Gods’ words. An entire chapter in my book is dedicated to showing Gods’ take on Vedas vis-a-vis His words.
God is infinitely pristine, blemish less and complete-whole. As a natural corollary, His words, too, inherit that legacy.
God, His words, His pastimes and anything associated with Him is infinitely dear to me. So what would be a better way of paying homage unto Him than by declassifying the mystery behind His words?

Alok Mishra: Going through the title, chapter titles and then the content, I could comprehend that you are actually doing a scientific investigation of the Gita and bringing out its values to the modern readers. Am I right or you have to add something to it?

Haribakth: I scanned and studied various types of analysis/investigation and zeroed in on 7-8 types of analysis. I even commenced the analysis and did complete 2-3 types of analysis. That is when I had a tele-talk with a friend of mine and was confronted with an old Hindi adage;
“भाप भाप ही होता है |”, of course in a different context. I stopped my analysis and took to highlighting God’s analysis as found in The Gita. Thus was born the chapter “Analysis with If analysis and cause and effect analysis”

Alok Mishra: On page number 47, Computer/Webpage, you have presented the argument that laws may be overturned by the future observations. However, the Gita cannot ever be turned down even in the context millions of years ahead. A layman might ask what’s the use of Gita’s knowledge if it might not feed my family? I mean how will you satisfy the layman’s query about the relevance of Gita today?

Haribakth: Gita is not meant for food, even though Gita answers- Earn your livelihood through performance of your duties. Even insects, birds and animals feed themselves and they haven’t studied The Gita. It is precisely for this reason (for uplifting man from animal mode to divine mode i.e. from arising from the basic needs of eating, sleeping, mating and defending which all animals including humans do that Gita is recommended.
Coming to the relevance of the Gita, it uplifts man from animal instincts to divine instincts. It is both a destination and the path. It teaches us discrimination between ignorance & knowledge, Truth & falsehood, Bondage & liberation, what needs to be done and what is to be eschewed, what is uplifting and what is demeaning, what is attachment and what is renunciation, and the difference between the temporary(perishable) and permanent(imperishable) These questions are not subject to certain period of time but eternal questions spanning the past, present and would continue in future. The answers contained in the Gita would hold good for all times.

Alok Mishra: In the chapter entitled FAQ, page number 88, you have mentioned that anyone, howsoever sinner he be, who devotes himself in devotion should be taken as a saint. You have also cited verse 30, chapter 9 of the Gita:
अपि चेत्सुदुराचारो भजते मामनन्यभाक् |
साधुरेव स मन्तव्य: सम्यग्व्यवसितो हि स: || 30||
I would like you to clarify because general people generally have so many questions about this. The classic case might be a terrorist who has killed hundreds of people, innocent people and then announces that he is a devotee. Will Krishna forgive him and grant him the sainthood?

Haribakth: This can be answered at levels:
By way of live examples
By way of Gods’ sayings
We have Valmiki maharishi who was earlier a forest brigand and turned into a poet-saint who has left Ramayana for subsequent generations.
Next, we have Goswami Tulasidas who was enamoured by his wife but in a moment of reflection, left her and turned to become a saint.
In Buddhist tradition, we have Angulimala a dacoit who turned a saint after coming into contact with Buddha.
Saint Augustine is another case in point.
God has Himself said so in BG- 9-30
The statement that Terrorist announces himself as devotee is improper because a saint/devotee never announces himself but so recognised by God and other devotees. A terrorist may surrender himself but has to pay for bad karma executed by him. No one is exempt from the rewards/punishments for his karma. God didn’t exempt Himself from the inescapable laws of Karma and punished Himself by being mortally wounded by Jara the hunter for having shot and killed Vali from behind in His Ramavatara. It is widely believed that Jara the hunter was none other than Vali of Ramavatara who repaid his Karma.
The same can be seen in our daily lives also where Chambal dacoits, ULFA militants, Naxalites and other outlaws have surrendered and joined mainstream after undergoing the prescribed punishment handed over, and were subsequently rehabilitated.
When mundane government shows compassion for its citizens how much more so the Almighty Lord?

Alok Mishra: On page number 106, you have raised a very good question, Haribakth, whether Moksha is abode or a state of mind. Though you have presented arguments on both the sides, which side you would favour more if asked to choose one and why? As you have been an ardent learned of the Gita, I would be pleased if you could illustrate your personal opinion on that.

Haribakth: Four types of Moksha have been specified by shashtras. I will answer here only that part which I have mentioned in my book.
God’s abode is Vaikuntha. Residents therein are said to have attained Liberation or Moksha. The main characteristics of Moksha is that
They are free from miseries and anxieties
There is no dearth of happiness there
They are immortal and need not have to return to the mortal world.
This is stated in BG—8-16, 8-20, 8-21 & 15-6. Thus it can be seen that Moksha is an abode.
There are certain liberated souls in the earth itself who are not affected by the joys and miseries of the earth. They are called Jivan muktas. These are the saints and sages who have by virtue of their strong sadhana overcome all the inner enemies like Anger, fear, lust, greed etc. They are in the final stage wherein their subsequent destination is God’s abode itself. This stage is a state of mind. BG—5—27 & 28
The residents of Vaikuntha have already attained the mental state of dispassion.
Some residents of Vaikuntha may visit Earth planet for their own or Gods divine purposes like Narada Muni etc. This is being done by their own choices and should not be interpreted that Vaikuntha is also a temporary shelter. This is akin to a convict in prison with no freedom and a Jailer who also stays in jail but has full freedom.
Regarding your question about my preference, it is obviously God’s abode.

Alok Mishra: Do you think the Gita should be taught in schools? Or at least, the basic knowledge of the Gita which comprises of Yoga, Karma and Knowledge should be given to the students before they matriculate? If yes, then why and if no then why not?

Haribakth: Yes, of course, The Gita must be taught in schools. Why? Because knowledge doesn’t harm anybody but only help them progress.
All human beings have a combination of 3 traits of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas in different proportions. By identifying their dominant characteristics, a person may perform his duties whatever be his vocation, based on his dominating trait. Further, he may choose a vocation suitable to his trait. This would bring individuals in harmony with the society and usher in positivity and eliminate destructive tendencies. Besides, He will do his duty without expecting its fruits in a spirit of dedication which would definitely bring results for the good of the society.

Alok Mishra: Vaishnavi, I liked your illustrations as well as the ideas behind those beautiful drawings. How could you come with such a beautiful section as ‘what he said & what we understood’?

Vaishnavi: Our entire family is the devotee of Krishna including my Dad, mother and me. My dad visualised the concept and asked me to sketch it. The background, Characters and presentation were left to my discretion. I sketched preliminary sketches which drew Oh’s & WOW’s from my Mom and Dad. Only the script in the illustrations was edited by my Dad. Barring two exceptions, all the sketches were approved/endorsed by my Dad and seconded by the entire family.
Incidentally, although I have a flair for drawing, sketching, painting etc Inherently, I cannot do the same justice to my mundane works like I do with Krishna’s works. The life element present in His works would be missing in mundane works.

Alok Mishra: As far as I could apprehend, your primary targets are those who are children or those who are reading Gita perhaps for the first time. How far do you think that your illustrations would help them? Do you have any suggestion on how the readers should go through your pictorial descriptions?

Vaishnavi: Children are more receptive to learning new things some of the reasons being they are more open minded, accept new ideas retain what is learnt and assimilate quickly.
Elders have mental stumbling blocks in learning new things especially when they have to shed their old misconceptions.
Elders tend to get lost in the labyrinth of words and get more deeply mired than extricate themselves.
My illustrations resolve this dilemma to some extent.
Hence, the targeted audience is elders and not children although children make most of my illustrations.

Alok Mishra: Thank you both, Haribakth and Vaishnavi for your time and answering my questions. I wish you both the best of luck for this book 19th Akshauhini and also all other future ventures!

Haribakth: Thanks a lot, Ashvamegh team and especially you for your journalistic nose and a keen sense of questioning through which you extracted the soul of the book.