Sunday, April 23, 2006

Dhanjibhai Fakirbhai and the Song of the Heart

"Dhanjibhai Fakirbhai was born a Hindu in Baroda and grew up in an atmosphere of devout bhakti. He became a Christian as a young man and after retirement from his work as a professor of physics devoted himself to the writing of Christian literature presenting the Christian faith in a way that would appeal to Hindus. His most widely-read book is Hriday Gita (The Song of the Heart)."

(from Robin Boyd, An Introduction to Indian Christian Theology, 1969, ISPCK, 2000 edition, p.213, available from
Merging Currents.)
"Hriday Gita was the title of the original Gujarati work, published about 1955. It was later published in English, Hindi, and Marathi as Shri Krist Gita (The Song of the Lord Christ). The English version, published posthumously in 1969, is based on the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, but in Gujarati the translation of the Bible is Dhanjibhai's own very attractive one. Hriday Gita is a devotional presentation of the Christian faith in the dialogue-form made so familiar in India by the Bhagavadgita - a dialogue between the Lord and the believer, with the added testimony of other disciples and devotees. The material is composed entirely of quotations from the New Testament, yet this is no mere chain of texts. Dhanjibhai had a very detailed knowledge of the New Testament, and the selection and arrangement of the material indicates a profound grasp of the inner meaning of the Christian faith, and of how it can be presented to Hindu readers in a form at once familiar and new.

"The first section begins with the Divine Vision (dirsana) - Christ's appearance in glory to the author of Revelation. The titles of some of the other sections are: The Yoga of Faith (sraddha yoga), The Yoga of Divine Love (prema yoga), The Yoga of Action (karma yoga), The Yoga of Salvation (mukti yoga), The Yoga of Knowledge (jnana yoga), The Yoga of the Divine Sacrifice (balidan yoga), etc. In the words of Bishop Appasamy, 'many familliar passages in the New Testament will be found to glow with a new meaning in their new setting' in this book."

(from Robin Boyd, Manilal C. Parekh, Dhanjibhai Fakirbhai, Christian Literature Society, Madras, 1974, p.185, available from Merging Currents.)

Shri Krist Gita in its English version has appeared in print from time to time. It has been recently republished by Pilot Books, and can be purchased from the William Cary Library. As a taste of the entire work, Chapter one is presented on this blog - please click here.

Hriday Gita in the Gujarati version is long out of print, and difficult to find even in libraries in India. As a testimony to Dhanjibhai, a beloved Jesu Bhakta, I am presenting it in its entirety on this blog - a gift to Jesu Bhaktas everywhere and Jesu himself. For the Table of Contents (in Gujarati), click here. If there are any copyright issues, please let me know.

If you have trouble viewing Gujarati on your computer, see my article Office XP Proofing Tools for Indian Text Entry, Spell Checking, and Web pages.

- Marko

Dhanjibhai Fakirbhai died at the age of seventy-two in 1967.

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