Bhagavad Gita- The Spiritual Song


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Adopting a comprehensive and holistic approach not attempted hitherto, he intersperses his purports with illustrative stories and real-life examples to make the teachings easy to comprehend and implement in everyday living. He masterly quotes from all the Vedic scriptures and many other sacred texts, opening up a panoramic view to help us see through the window of the Bhagavad Gita, the whole Absolute Truth. Unable to deal with the immediate problem at hand, Arjun approached Shree Krishna for a palliative to overcome the anguish he was experiencing.

Shree Krishna did not just advise him on his immediate problem, but digressed to give a profound discourse on the philosophy of life. Hence, the purpose of the Bhagavad Gita, above everything else, is to impart Brahma Vidya, the science of God-realization. The Bhagavad Gita is not content with providing a lofty philosophical understanding; it also describes clear-cut techniques for implementing its spiritual precepts for everyday life. Inexperienced spiritual practitioners often separate spirituality from temporal life; some look on beatitude as something to be attained in the hereafter.

But the Bhagavad Gita makes no such distinction, and aims at the consecration of every aspect of human life in this world itself. Thus, all its eighteen chapters are designated as different types of Yog, since they deal with methodologies for the application of spiritual knowledge to practical life. Dedication Introduction Publishers note. Start your day with a nugget of timeless inspiring wisdom from the Holy Bhagavad Gita delivered straight to your email!

Bhagavad Gita, The Song of God. In the Gita , the soul of each human being is considered to be identical to every other human being and all beings, but it "does not support an identity with the Brahman", according to Fowler. Krishna is all and One.


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This is how the flower of devotion evolves into the fruit of knowledge. The Gita teaches several spiritual paths — jnana, bhakti and karma — to the divine. However, states Fowler, it "does not raise any of these to a status that excludes the others". The Gita teaches the path of Karma yoga in Chapter 3 and others. It upholds the necessity of action. The Gita teaches, according to Fowler, that the action should be undertaken after proper knowledge has been applied to gain the full perspective of "what the action should be".

The concept of such detached action is also called Nishkam Karma , a term not used in the Gita but equivalent to other terms such as karma-phala-tyaga. A karma yogi finds such work inherently fulfilling and satisfying. According to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the object of the Gita is to show the way to attain self-realization, and this "can be achieved by selfless action, by desireless action; by renouncing fruits of action; by dedicating all activities to God, i.

In the Bhagavad Gita , bhakti is characterized as the "loving devotion, a longing, surrender, trust and adoration" of the divine Krishna as the ishta-devata. According to Fowler, the bhakti in the Gita does not imply renunciation of "action", but the bhakti effort is assisted with "right knowledge" and dedication to one's dharma. According to M. Sampatkumaran, a Bhagavad Gita scholar, the Gita message is that mere knowledge of the scriptures cannot lead to final release, but "devotion, meditation, and worship" are essential.

Jnana yoga is the path of knowledge, wisdom, and direct realization of the Brahman. The Gita praises the path, calling the jnana yogin to be exceedingly dear to Krishna, but adds that the path is steep and difficult.

Bhagavad Gita (Full Version Beautifully Recited in English)

Sivananda's commentary regards the eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad Gita as having a progressive order, by which Krishna leads "Arjuna up the ladder of Yoga from one rung to another. Swami Gambhirananda characterises Madhusudana Sarasvati's system as a successive approach in which Karma yoga leads to Bhakti yoga, which in turn leads to Jnana yoga: []. Some scholars treat the "yoga of meditation" to be a distinct fourth path taught in the Gita , referring to it as Raja yoga. The Gita rejects ascetic life, renunciation as well as Brahminical Vedic ritualism where outwardly actions or non-action are considered a means of personal rewards in this life, after-life or a means of liberation.

It instead recommends the pursuit of an active life where the individual adopts "inner renunciation", acts to fulfill what he determines to be his dharma , without craving for or concerns about personal rewards, viewing this as an "inner sacrifice to the personal God for a higher good". According to Edwin Bryant, the Indologist with publications on Krishna-related Hindu traditions, the Gita rejects "actionless behavior" found in some Indic monastic traditions. It also "relegates the sacrificial system of the early Vedic literature to a path that goes nowhere because it is based on desires", states Bryant.

Dharma is a prominent paradigm of the Mahabharata , and it is referenced in the Gita as well. The term dharma has a number of meanings.

Bhagavad-Gita, The Song Of The Supreme Soul | Yoga Wisdom

Few verses in the Bhagavad Gita deal with dharma , according to the Indologist Paul Hacker, but the theme of dharma is important in it. It is more broadly, the "duty" and a "metaphysically congealed act" for Arjuna. According to Malinar, "Arjuna's crisis and some of the arguments put forward to call him to action are connected to the debates on war and peace in the Udyoga Parva. While Duryodhana presents it as a matter of status, social norms, and fate, Vidura states that the heroic warrior never submits, knows no fear and has the duty to protect people.

In this context, the Gita advises Arjuna to do his holy duty sva-dharma as a warrior, fight and kill. According to the Indologist Barbara Miller, the text frames heroism not in terms of physical abilities, but instead in terms of effort and inner commitment to fulfill a warrior's dharma in the battlefield. The text explores the "paradoxical interconnectedness of disciplined action and freedom". The first reference to dharma in the Bhagavad Gita occurs in its first verse, where Dhritarashtra refers to the Kurukshetra, the location of the battlefield, as the Field of Dharma , "The Field of Righteousness or Truth".

This dharma has "resonances at many different levels". Unlike any other religious scripture, the Bhagavad Gita broadcasts its message in the centre of the battlefield. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi , in his commentary on the Gita , [] interprets the battle as "an allegory in which the battlefield is the soul and Arjuna, man's higher impulses struggling against evil".

In Aurobindo 's view, Krishna was a historical figure, but his significance in the Gita is as a "symbol of the divine dealings with humanity", [] while Arjuna typifies a "struggling human soul".


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Other scholars such as Steven Rosen, Laurie L. Patton and Stephen Mitchell have seen in the Gita a religious defense of the warrior class's Kshatriya Varna duty svadharma , which is to conduct combat and war with courage and do not see this as only an allegorical teaching, but also a real defense of just war. Indian independence leaders like Lala Lajpat Rai and Bal Gangadhar Tilak saw the Gita as a text which defended war when necessary and used it to promote war against the British Empire. Lajpat Rai wrote an article on the "Message of the Bhagavad Gita".

He saw the main message as the bravery and courage of Arjuna to fight as a warrior. Liberation or moksha in Vedanta philosophy is not something that can be acquired. While the Upanishads largely uphold such a monistic viewpoint of liberation, the Bhagavad Gita also accommodates the dualistic and theistic aspects of moksha. The Gita , while including impersonal Nirguna Brahman as the goal, mainly revolves around the relationship between the Self and a personal God or Saguna Brahman.

A synthesis of knowledge, devotion, and desireless action is offered by Krishna as a spectrum of choices to Arjuna; the same combination is suggested to the reader as a way to moksha. According to Dennis Hudson, there is an overlap between Vedic and Tantric rituals with the teachings found in the Bhagavad Gita. The Shatapatha Brahmana , for example, mentions the absolute Purusha who dwells in every human being.

A story in this vedic text, states Hudson, highlights the meaning of the name Vasudeva as the 'shining one deva who dwells vasu in all things and in whom all things dwell', and the meaning of Vishnu to be the 'pervading actor'. In Bhagavad Gita, similarly, 'Krishna identified himself both with Vasudeva, Vishnu and their meanings'. Soon the work was translated into other European languages such as French , German, and Russian. John Garrett, and the efforts being supported by Sir. Mark Cubbon. In , Larson stated that "a complete listing of Gita translations and a related secondary bibliography would be nearly endless".

According to Sargeant, the Gita is "said to have been translated at least times, in both poetic and prose forms". The translations and interpretations of the Gita have been so diverse that these have been used to support apparently contradictory political and philosophical values. For example, state Galvin Flood and Charles Martin, these interpretations have been used to support "pacifism to aggressive nationalism" in politics, from "monism to theism" in philosophy. Gerald Larson summarizes the history of translation and interpretation of the Gita as follows: [].

In her native environment, the Bhagavad Gita is a beguiling, seductive, naturally beautiful and altogether elegant daughter in the Hindu extended family of Sanskrit texts. Her limbs are perfectly shaped, her shining black hair and moist pale skin glisten in the sunlight; the lines of her body evoke the fullness of her breasts and the lush softness of her lips, and when her sari occasionally drops away to reveal her hidden nakedness, even a distant observer pauses to marvel and reflect upon such spontaneous loveliness. Like all daughters of India, however, her character and substance are profoundly ethnic and contextual.

She is occasionally raped and to some extent always abused, at best becoming a concubine in some house of Western scholarship, at worst a whore in some brothel of ideology or of an insipid cross-cultural mysticism. Her natural paradoxes then appear as an unintelligent fickleness; her simple elegance as simple-mindedness; her refreshing openness to varying perspectives as proof of her lack of originality; and effortless devotion as hopeless naivete.

According to the exegesis scholar Robert Minor, the Gita is "probably the most translated of any Asian text", but many modern versions heavily reflect the views of the organization or person who does the translating and distribution. In Minor's view, the Harvard scholar Franklin Edgerton's English translation and Richard Garbe's German translation are closer to the text than many others. The Gita has also been translated into European languages other than English.

In , passages from the Gita were part of the first direct translation of Sanskrit into German, appearing in a book through which Friedrich Schlegel became known as the founder of Indian philology in Germany. The Gita Press has published the Gita in multiple Indian languages. Raghava Iyengar translated the Gita into Tamil in sandam metre poetic form. Mother Geeta in the similar shloka form. The book is significant in that unlike other commentaries of the Bhagavad Gita , which focus on karma yoga , jnana yoga , and bhakti yoga in relation to the Gita, Yogananda's work stresses the training of one's mind, or raja yoga.

Popular lyricist and music composed Ravindra Jain has written the Hindi translation of Bhagwad Gita named Ravindra Gita [] which is on the way for publishing. The textual development of the Bhagavad Gita has been researched, but the methods of this research have developed since its onset in the late 18th century. According to Adluri and Bagchee, 19th century German Indologists had an anti-Brahmanic stance, [] due to their "Protestant suspicion of the Brahmans.

Bhagavad Gita integrates various schools of thought, notably Vedanta, Samkhya and Yoga, and other theistic ideas. It remains a popular text for commentators belonging to various philosophical schools. However, its composite nature also leads to varying interpretations of the text and historic scholars have written bhashya commentaries on it. According to Richard Davis, the Gita has attracted much scholarly interest in Indian history and some commentaries have survived in the Sanskrit language alone.

The Bhagavad Gita is referred to in the Brahma Sutras, and numerous scholars including Shankara , Bhaskara , Abhinavagupta of Shaivism tradition, Ramanuja and Madhvacharya wrote commentaries on it. He calls the Gita as "an epitome of the essentials of the whole Vedic teaching ". Abhinavagupta was a theologian and philosopher of the Kashmir Shaivism Shiva tradition.

The Gita text he commented on, is slightly different recension than the one of Adi Shankara. He interprets its teachings in the Shaiva Advaita monism tradition quite similar to Adi Shankara, but with the difference that he considers both soul and matter to be metaphysically real and eternal. Their respective interpretations of jnana yoga are also somewhat different, and Abhinavagupta uses Atman, Brahman, Shiva, and Krishna interchangeably. Abhinavagupta's commentary is notable for its citations of more ancient scholars, in a style similar to Adi Shankara.

However, the texts he quotes have not survived into the modern era. Ramanuja was a Hindu theologian, philosopher, and an exponent of the Sri Vaishnavism Vishnu tradition in 11th- and early 12th-century. Like his Vedanta peers, Ramanuja wrote a bhashya commentary on the Gita. Madhva , a commentator of the Dvaita Vedanta school, [] wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita , which exemplifies the thinking of the "dualist" school Dvaita Vedanta. Madhva's commentary has attracted secondary works by pontiffs of the Dvaita Vedanta monasteries in Udupi such as Padmanabha Tirtha , Jayatirtha , and Raghavendra Tirtha.

Vallabha the proponent of "Suddhadvaita" or pure non-dualism, wrote a commentary on the Gita, the "Sattvadipika". According to him, the true Self is the Supreme Brahman. Bhakti is the most important means of attaining liberation. Barack Obama in during his U. With the translation and study of the Bhagavad Gita by Western scholars beginning in the early 18th century, the Bhagavad Gita gained a growing appreciation and popularity.

At a time when Indian nationalists were seeking an indigenous basis for social and political action, Bhagavad Gita provided them with a rationale for their activism and fight against injustice. The Bhagavad-Gita deals essentially with the spiritual foundation of human existence. It is a call of action to meet the obligations and duties of life; yet keeping in view the spiritual nature and grander purpose of the universe.

Robert Oppenheimer , American physicist and director of the Manhattan Project , learned Sanskrit in and read the Bhagavad Gita in the original form, citing it later as one of the most influential books to shape his philosophy of life. Oppenheimer later recalled that, while witnessing the explosion of the Trinity nuclear test , he thought of verses from the Bhagavad Gita XI,12 :. If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one We knew the world would not be the same.

A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita ; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. Ralph Waldo Emerson, remarked the following after his first study of the Gita , and thereafter frequently quoted the text in his journals and letters, particularly the "work with inner renunciation" idea in his writings on man's quest for spiritual energy: [].

I owed — my friend and I owed — a magnificent day to the Bhagavad Geeta. It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us. The Gita presents its teaching in the context of a war where the warrior Arjuna is in inner crisis about whether he should renounce and abandon the battlefield, or fight and kill.

He is advised by Krishna to do his sva-dharma , a term that has been variously interpreted. According to the Indologist Paul Hacker, the contextual meaning in the Gita is the "dharma of a particular varna". To render it in English for non-Hindus for its better understanding, one must ask what is the sva-dharma for the non-Hindus? The Lord, states Chatterjee, created millions and millions of people, and he did not ordain dharma only for Indians [Hindus] and "make all the others dharma-less", for "are not the non-Hindus also his children"?

According to Chatterjee, the Krishna's religion of Gita is "not so narrow-minded". The Gita has been cited and criticized as a Hindu text that supports varna-dharma and the caste system. Ambedkar , born in a Dalit family and the principal architect of the Constitution of India, criticized the text for its stance on caste and for "defending certain dogmas of religion on philosophical grounds".

To Ambedkar, states Klausen, it is a text of "mostly barbaric, religious particularisms" offering "a defence of the kshatriya duty to make war and kill, the assertion that varna derives from birth rather than worth or aptitude, and the injunction to perform karma " neither perfunctorily nor egotistically. Nadkarni and Zelliot present the opposite view, citing early Bhakti saints of the Krishna-tradition such as the 13th-century Dnyaneshwar. For Dnyaneshwar, people err when they see themselves distinct from each other and Krishna, and these distinctions vanish as soon as they accept, understand and enter with love unto Krishna.

According to Swami Vivekananda, sva-dharma in the Gita does not mean "caste duty", rather it means the duty that comes with one's life situation mother, father, husband, wife or profession soldier, judge, teacher, doctor. For Vivekananda, the Gita was an egalitarian scripture that rejected caste and other hierarchies because of its verses such as For seeing the Lord as the same everywhere present, he does not destroy the Self by the Self, and thus he goes to the highest goal.

Aurobindo modernises the concept of dharma and svabhava by internalising it, away from the social order and its duties towards one's personal capacities, which leads to a radical individualism, [] "finding the fulfilment of the purpose of existence in the individual alone. Gandhi's view differed from Aurobindo's view. According to Jacqueline Hirst , the universalist neo-Hindu interpretations of dharma in the Gita is modernism, though any study of pre-modern distant foreign cultures is inherently subject to suspicions about "control of knowledge" and bias on the various sides.

Krishna is presented as a teacher who "drives Arjuna and the reader beyond initial preconceptions". The Gita is a cohesively knit pedagogic text, not a list of norms. Novel interpretations of the Gita , along with apologetics on it, have been a part of the modern era revisionism and renewal movements within Hinduism. Vivekananda's works contained numerous references to the Gita , such as his lectures on the four yogas — Bhakti, Jnana, Karma, and Raja.

According to Ronald Neufeldt, it was the Theosophical Society that dedicated much attention and energy to the allegorical interpretation of the Gita , along with religious texts from around the world, after and given H. Blavatsky, Subba Rao and Anne Besant writings. These late 19th-century theosophical writings called the Gita as a "path of true spirituality" and "teaching nothing more than the basis of every system of philosophy and scientific endeavor", triumphing over other "Samkhya paths" of Hinduism that "have degenerated into superstition and demoralized India by leading people away from practical action".

In the Gita , Krishna persuades Arjuna to wage war where the enemy includes some of his own relatives and friends. In light of the Ahimsa non-violence teachings in Hindu scriptures, the Gita has been criticized as violating the Ahmisa value, or alternatively, as supporting political violence. During the freedom movement in India, Hindus considered active "burning and drowning of British goods" which technically illegal under the colonial laws, were viewed as a moral and just-war for the sake of liberty and righteous values of the type Gita discusses.

Mahatma Gandhi credited his commitment for ahimsa to the Gita. For Gandhi, the Gita is teaching that people should fight for justice and righteous values, that they should never meekly suffer injustice to avoid a war. According to the Indologist Ananya Vajpeyi, the Gita does not elaborate on the means or stages of war, nor on ahimsa , except for stating that " ahimsa is virtuous and characterizes an awakened, steadfast, ethical man" in verses such as Gandhian ahimsa is in fact "the essence of the entire Gita ", according to Vajpeyi.

Instead, it is teaching peace and discussing one's duty to examine what is right and then act with pure intentions, when one's faces difficult and repugnant choices. Philip Glass retold the story of Gandhi's early development as an activist in South Africa through the text of the Gita in the opera Satyagraha The entire libretto of the opera consists of sayings from the Gita sung in the original Sanskrit.

The Hidden Truths in the Bhagavad Gita

In Douglas Cuomo's Arjuna's dilemma , the philosophical dilemma faced by Arjuna is dramatised in operatic form with a blend of Indian and Western music styles. The Sanskrit film, Bhagavad Gita , directed by G. Steven Pressfield acknowledges that the Gita was his inspiration, the golfer character in his novel is Arjuna, the caddie is Krishna, states Rosen. The movie, however, uses the plot but glosses over the teachings unlike the novel.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A scripture of the Hindus in Sanskrit verses. For other uses, see Bhagavad Gita disambiguation. For other uses, see Gita disambiguation. Krishna and Arjuna at Kurukshetra , c. Other scriptures. Bhagavad Gita Agamas. Ramayana Mahabharata. Shastras and sutras. Chronology of Hindu texts.

See also: Smarta Tradition.

Bhagavad Gita, the Lord’s Song

Face pages of chapters 1, 2 and 3 of historic Bhagavad Gita manuscripts. Top: Bengali script ; Bottom: Gurmukhi script. Selfless service It is not those who lack energy nor those who refrain from action, but those who work without expecting reward who attain the goal of meditation, Theirs is true renunciation.

Bhagavad Gita and related commentary literature exists in numerous Indian languages. Chapter 11 of the Gita refers to Krishna as Vishvarupa above. This is an idea found in the Rigveda. Main article: Karma yoga. Main article: Bhakti yoga. How a Gita recitation sounds? Verse 2. On motives. On meditation. Main article: Jnana yoga.


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  • Main article: Dharma. Main article: Moksha. Cover pages of early Gita translations. Main article: Influence of Bhagavad Gita. The Indologist Franklin Edgerton was among the early scholars and a translator of the Gita who believed that the Gita was a later composition that was inserted into the epic, at a much later date, by a creative poet of great intellectual power intimately aware of emotional and spiritual aspects of human existence.

    Further, he states that the Mahabharata has numerous such interpolations and inserting the Gita would not be unusual. This text, states Fitzgerald, must have been integral to the earliest version of the epic. Further, states Basham, the verses that discuss Gita's "motiveless action" doctrine was probably authored by someone else and these constitute the most important ethical teaching of the text. Fragments of this early text have survived into the modern era. The Gita attempts to present a harmonious, universalist answer, state Deutsch and Dalvi.

    Bhagavad Gita is a part of this recollection. Arjuna's chariot is the body. The blind king Dhritarashtra is the mind under the spell of ignorance, and his hundred sons are man's numerous evil tendencies. The battle, a perennial one, is between the power of good and the power of evil. The warrior who listens to the advice of the Lord speaking from within will triumph in this battle and attain the Highest Good. That is a view which the general character and the actual language of the epic does not justify and, if pressed, would turn the straightforward philosophical language of the Gita into a constant, laborious and somewhat puerile mystification But there is this much of truth in the view, that the setting of the doctrine though not symbolical, is certainly typical.

    Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Tilak and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as notable commentators see: Gambhirananda , p. Tilak and Gandhi and their use to inspire the independence movement see: Sargeant , p. In the literature, the quote usually appears in the form shatterer of worlds, because this was the form in which it first appeared in print, in Time magazine on November 8, Robert Neil Minor ed. Modern Indian Interpreters of the Bhagavad Gita.

    State University of New York Press. Nadkarni , pp. Robinson Jacob Neusner ed. Westminster John Knox Press. Retrieved 16 May Bhagavad-Gita: The Song of God. Signet Clasic. Peeters Publishers. Asian Humanities Press. The Essence of Bhagavad Gita. Academic Publishers.

    Understanding Asian Philosophy. Northwestern University Press. Gopinatha Rao Elements of Hindu Iconography.

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    Motilal Banarsidass. Robert L. Brown ed. Ganesh: Studies of an Asian God. Williams Handbook of Hindu Mythology. Oxford University Press. Accomplishing all that would require a human who lived several thousand years, so scholars do place the story of his achievements as those of one man in the area of mythology. They refer to Vyasa as a mythical or symbolic author of the Mahabharata.

    Advaita Ashram. The Bhagavad Gita, Part 2. Harvard University Press. Fitzgerald Journal of the American Academy of Religion. The Origins and Development of Classical Hinduism.

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    Notes sur la Bhagavadgita. Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner. Hinduism and the Religious Arts. Lochtefeld The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Volume 1. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. Bloomsbury Publishing. Bhagavad Gita — The Song of God. New American Library. Cambridge University Press. Moral Passion and Christian Ethics. Philosophy East and West. University of Hawai'i Press. Framarin A descriptive catalogue of the Sanskrit manuscripts in the Adyar Library. Adyar Library Oriental Pub. This is especially remarkable in the light of the numerous variants for the remainder of the Mahabharata, some of which are quite serious.

    Secondary insertions are found in individual manuscripts of the Gita, but these are clearly secondary. The number of stanzas in the Gita is , a number confirmed by Shankara, and possibly deliberately chosen in order to prevent interpolations. The Bhagavad Gita 3rd ed. Koninklijk Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen. LXXV : 36— Indian Literature. Maxwell Theological Studies. Sage Publications. Ranade Mysticism in Maharashtra: Indian Mysticism. Bryant Krishna: A Sourcebook. The Bhagavad Gita. Plott et al. As we have already observed, this is the basic and ineradicable distinction between Hinduism and Buddhism".

    Put very briefly, this is the [Buddhist] doctrine that human beings have no soul, no self, no unchanging essence. Columbia University Press. Springer Science. Coward Raju Structural Depths of Indian Thought. Nadkarni , p. Nilgiri Press. Phillips Johnson Julius Lipner ed.

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