The Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita is an intensely spiritual work that forms the cornerstone of the Hindu faith, and is also one of the masterpieces of Sanskrit poetry. It describes how, at the beginning of a mighty battle between the Pandava and Kaurava armies, the god Krishna gives spiritual enlightenment to the warrior Arjuna, who realizes that the true battle is for his own soul.Juan Mascaró's translation of The Bhagavad Gita captures the extraordinary aural qualities of the original Sanskrit. This edition features a new introduction by Simon Brodbeck, which discusses concepts such as dehin, prakriti and karma.

The Bhagavad Gita Details

TitleThe Bhagavad Gita
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 17th, 2018
PublisherPenguin
ISBN-139780140449181
Rating
GenreReligion, Philosophy, Classics, Spirituality, Nonfiction

The Bhagavad Gita Review

  • Francisco
    January 1, 1970
    Goodreads should have a shelf for "continually reading". I think I have about six different translations of the Bhagavad Gita but I often end up with Eknath Easwaran's for its simplicity. This is the book I re-read when I am writing a novel. It keeps everything in perspective by reminding me to offer my effort to God, to see my work as a service to others, and to not worry about what happens after that.
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  • Nandakishore Varma
    January 1, 1970
    On the battlefield of GoodReads, the mighty reviewer Arjuna picked up his trusty pen, Gandeeva, and addressed his charioteer (who was none other than Lord Krishna):- O Kesava! Take me to the middle of the battlefield, between the opposing armies of Authors and Reviewers, so that I may see who I am fighting against.And Krishna did so.But Arjuna, seeing all his favourite authors arrayed against him, was suddenly loath to fight. - O Krishna! he said. How will I use my cruel pen to tear into these d On the battlefield of GoodReads, the mighty reviewer Arjuna picked up his trusty pen, Gandeeva, and addressed his charioteer (who was none other than Lord Krishna):- O Kesava! Take me to the middle of the battlefield, between the opposing armies of Authors and Reviewers, so that I may see who I am fighting against.And Krishna did so.But Arjuna, seeing all his favourite authors arrayed against him, was suddenly loath to fight. - O Krishna! he said. How will I use my cruel pen to tear into these dear ones? How will I lay bare their plots, deconstruct their sentences, and take their grammar apart? No, I do not want the glory and likes obtained by such a heinous act! Better a brain-death, reading trash, than such sin! And he threw his pen down.Krishna smiled and stood up.- O Partha! Such faintheartedness is not worthy of a warrior like you! Do you think that you destroy books through your reviews? Banish such foolishness from your mind! Those reviewers who think that they are destroying books, and those authors who believe their books are getting destroyed through reviews, both are equally mistaken: for books are neither created nor destroyed through reviews.For the book which is published, oblivion is certain: and for that which goes out of print, rebirth is certain. But the story never dies: like human beings change worn clothes, it only changes publishers and dust jackets.The narrative cannot be destroyed by weapons: it cannot be burnt by fire (read Fahrenheit 451!), it is not drowned in water. It is eternal.So your karma, O Kaunteya, is to do the review without worrying about its fruits. Do not think of the likes you are going to get: do not worry whether the author is going to find you out and conk you on the head: do not trouble your mind about whether people will be put off from reading the book because of your review. Go into it without attachment: this is the way of the Kshatriya. This is "Nishkama-Karma", the way to eternal glory!Hearing this, Arjuna was heartened. He picked up his pen, and started to review with renewed vigour.Review inspired by Manny
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    Hey, how pretentious am I? I just gave a four-star review to a fucking holy text. And now I'm going to review it. And I will swear in my review. I'm just asking for it, aren't I?When comparing this one to the other holy books I've read and/or skimmed, I found this one quite insightful. As a professed athiest, this one probably speaks to me the most. The Bhagavad Gita is actually a section of the Mahabharata, which is, to simplify (because that's all I have researched enough to do), the story of Hey, how pretentious am I? I just gave a four-star review to a fucking holy text. And now I'm going to review it. And I will swear in my review. I'm just asking for it, aren't I?When comparing this one to the other holy books I've read and/or skimmed, I found this one quite insightful. As a professed athiest, this one probably speaks to me the most. The Bhagavad Gita is actually a section of the Mahabharata, which is, to simplify (because that's all I have researched enough to do), the story of a war. During this war, one of the characters* is visited by god. Hilarity ensues. Just kidding. Actually, he has a conversation with god, and god drops some deep shit on him. There's some delicious irony about this conversation taking place on a battlefield after much death and before some more of it. But, where would someone need to speak to god more?Anyway, I consider myself a little tiny bit spiritual, and the wisdom in this book can be translated into athiestic terms. And, it didn't seem self-contradictory. When it comes to holy writ, these are things I like. But, as it is a brief text, you come out of it knowing only slightly more about Hinduism than you knew before. In comparison, I felt after reading Chuang Xi, or however we're spelling his name these days, that I had a pretty damn good understanding of Taoism. After reading this one, I have only the vaguest of understandings of Hinduism. But, it isn't really about the religious tradition as much as it's about gleaning little bits of insight into the human condition. In that context, it is a very good read.*Yes, I'm calling them "characters." Sue me. I'm not a Hindu.
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  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    January 1, 1970
    भगवदगीता = The Bhagavad Gita = The Song of God, Anonymous The Bhagavad Gita (The Song of God), often referred to as the Gita, is a 700 verse Hindu scripture in Sanskrit that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata (chapters 23–40 of the 6th book of Mahabharata). سرود خدایان هندو Bhagvad - gita, Anonymousتاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و چهارم ماه ژوئن سال 1996 میلادیعنوان: بهاگاواد- گيتا - كتاب مقدس هندوان همراه با مقدمه ای در باره مبانی فلسفه م مذاهب هندی؛ مترجم: محمدعلی موحد؛ تهران، ترجمه و نشر کتاب، 1 भगवद्गीता = The Bhagavad Gita = The Song of God, Anonymous The Bhagavad Gita (The Song of God), often referred to as the Gita, is a 700 verse Hindu scripture in Sanskrit that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata (chapters 23–40 of the 6th book of Mahabharata). سرود خدایان هندو Bhagvad - gita, Anonymousتاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و چهارم ماه ژوئن سال 1996 میلادیعنوان: بهاگاواد- گيتا - كتاب مقدس هندوان همراه با مقدمه ای در باره مبانی فلسفه م مذاهب هندی؛ مترجم: محمدعلی موحد؛ تهران، ترجمه و نشر کتاب، 1344؛ در 202 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: تهران، خوارزمی، 1374؛ عنوانهای فارسی: بگودگیتا، باگاوادگیتامهمترین و اسرارآمیزترین بخش از حماسه ی هندی، موسوم به ماهابهاراتا ست؛ که از دو کلمه ی بهَگَوان به معنی خداوند، و گیتا به معنی سرود و نغمه تشکیل شده؛ و شامل هجده فصل (فصلهای بیست و پنج تا چهل و دوم بخش ششم ماهابهاراتا) و حدود 700 بیت است، نخستین ترجمه ی همین کتاب را به فارسی «داراشکوه بابری؛ شاهزاده گورکانی هند از سال 1024 تا 1069» در سده 11 هجری، با عنوان: فصلی از مهابهاراتا، بهگود گیتا: سرود الهی، انجام داده‌ است، و شادروان محمدرضا جلالی نائینی آن را تصحیح و در سال 1359 هجری در کتابخانه طهوری به چاپ رسانده است؛ ا. شربیانی
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  • Warwick
    January 1, 1970
    I read the Bhagavad Gita with the same mixture of moral unease and as it were anthropological delight that all great religious books excite in me. I find it so fascinating to gain these direct insights into how our species has, for millennia, grappled with the same questions of existential purpose and ethic responsibility; but the answers put forward by most pre-modern societies were, though beautiful, astounding and imaginative, also often cruel and inflexible and governed by values that now se I read the Bhagavad Gita with the same mixture of moral unease and as it were anthropological delight that all great religious books excite in me. I find it so fascinating to gain these direct insights into how our species has, for millennia, grappled with the same questions of existential purpose and ethic responsibility; but the answers put forward by most pre-modern societies were, though beautiful, astounding and imaginative, also often cruel and inflexible and governed by values that now seem completely alien. Most of all, of course, they are fundamentally authoritarian (and if the word ‘fascistic’ were not so inflammatory I might use that).Culturally, religious texts really benefit from their longevity. Much as I object to a lot of Biblical content, the cadences of Tyndale and the Authorized Version are a part of my linguistic DNA; Bible translations are prime among the literary masterpieces of the language I've inherited. If you speak an Indic language then the same may be true for you of the Bhagavad Gita, in which case I can only apologise for the crass analysis that is about to follow, which is based on my completely uninformed encounter with Juan Mascaró's 1962 translation.So the thing is: on the face of it, the story of the Bhagavad Gita is really quite unpleasant. We join the action in medias res (the poem is just one small part of the vast Mahabharata), and Prince Arjuna is surveying the battlefield ahead of what promises to be a bloody clash against an enemy force made up of his own family members and beloved friends. He asks advice from the god Krishna, and over several philosophical verses the two of them have what amounts to the following conversation:ARJUNA: I really don't want to do this.KRISHNA: You must.ARJUNA: But if we go ahead with this battle, loads of people will die on both sides. It all just seems so pointless. These men are my friends, my teachers, my relatives. Wouldn't it be better if we just called it all off?KRISHNA: Don't be so selfish. It is your duty to kill them whether you feel happy about it or not.ARJUNA: It just…it feels really wrong…KRISHNA: Look at it this way: all these people are going to die anyway. ‘I am all-powerful Time which destroys all things, and I have come here to slay these men. Even if thou dost not fight, all the warriors facing thee shall die.’ So it might as well be now; what's another twenty or thirty years to a god?ARJUNA: Well, nothing, probably, but I expect it means quite a lot to them…KRISHNA: The highest moral precept of all is to do your duty. So: do it.ARJUNA: Oh my god…this is horrible… *kills everyone*Now, this is presented primarily as a handbook for overcoming internal tensions – a lesson on how to deal with crippling doubt and indecision. And much of it is indeed quite moving and thought-provoking; but I just found the context chilling. I was completely on Arjuna's side, I didn't want him to be won over by Krishna's arguments, and part of me kept fantasising about a humanist rewrite where Arjuna told Krishna to get stuffed and the Kurukshetra War never happened.Setting the plot aside, of course, there is a huge amount of rewarding meditation here on how people should think and behave in order to achieve some measure of calm in their lives, especially when they know they have to go through with something unpleasant. A lot of this can still be read with profit now – and this focus on how to deal with things mentally seems very unusual to me. After all, every religion stresses the importance of submission to a deity, but I can't think of comparable passages from other faiths which offer so much guidance on (for want of a better term) the mental-health implications of this for believers. So it really is a very interesting text, despite how off-putting I found the initial set-up.There is also a lot of quite beautiful poetry here, which makes me very curious to read some other parts of the Mahabharata. I particularly loved Krishna's long riff on his own glory and omnipresence, which runs through flora, fauna, vocabulary, geography and much more besides…I am the cleverness in the gambler's dice. I am the beauty in all things beautiful. I am the victory and the struggle for victory. I am the goodness of those who are good.Yes, but unfortunately also – as with all religions – the badness of those who are bad.
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  • Karla Becker
    January 1, 1970
    I can read this book over and over and still gain so much from it. It contains such timeless truths, especially in light of today, such as, "They alone see truly who see the Lord the same in every creature, who see the deathless in the hearts of all that die. Seeing the same Lord everywhere, they do not harm themselves or others. Thus they attain the supreme goal."
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  • Sanjay Gautam
    January 1, 1970
    Bhagavada Gita is a text when you read it in Sanskrit produces an effect that resonates somewhere deep in your heart. I know this because as a child I used to hear my grand father recite Gita as it is in Sanskrit (he knew it by heart), and that had some kind of celestial experience inside me. It was a very big book which needed patience to finish. I read from cover to cover. Since I didn't know Sanskrit I had to depend on a translated version. The translation is said to be 'as it is', however, I Bhagavada Gita is a text when you read it in Sanskrit produces an effect that resonates somewhere deep in your heart. I know this because as a child I used to hear my grand father recite Gita as it is in Sanskrit (he knew it by heart), and that had some kind of celestial experience inside me. It was a very big book which needed patience to finish. I read from cover to cover. Since I didn't know Sanskrit I had to depend on a translated version. The translation is said to be 'as it is', however, I found the translation very dry. This particular translation just couldn't make much impact, else its one of the greatest spiritual text of India. Regarding commentary, I never dared to touch it. It was too orthodox, for me.Note: This rating represent only the quality of the translation and no the original content. The Bhagavad Gita according to Gandhi is a much better book. He was a selfless man who followed the teachings of Bhagavad Gita throughout his life. Gandhi has lived the words he had said. You can check his version here: Gita According to Gandhi
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  • Bookdragon Sean
    January 1, 1970
    Religion is a contentious topic. Many people are strongly opposed to it. This is especially so with young people in the modern world. Society has slowly been drifting away from its sacred texts for many centuries. I’m, of course, generalising very heavily here. There are still parts of the world that are devoutly religious, but the prominence of this is unmistakably reducing and will continue to reduce as time goes on. People raised by religious parents often grow up to become non-believers. Soc Religion is a contentious topic. Many people are strongly opposed to it. This is especially so with young people in the modern world. Society has slowly been drifting away from its sacred texts for many centuries. I’m, of course, generalising very heavily here. There are still parts of the world that are devoutly religious, but the prominence of this is unmistakably reducing and will continue to reduce as time goes on. People raised by religious parents often grow up to become non-believers. Society is moving on. In the western world, at least as far as I have seen in England, people with faith are slightly ridiculed, again often at the expense of the young and immature. The Christian bible and its churches are seen as kooky and outdated. Jehovah Witness’ are practically hated because of their canvasing techniques. The Muslim faith with its Mosques and The Koran are seen as distinctively foreign by those that do not follow Islam. There are huge knowledge gaps about faiths such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Judaism within the general population. I don’t recall ever being taught much about them, perhaps just one lesson at school on each faith whilst the rest of the time we learnt about Christianity and a little bit about the Muslim faith. I honestly think I learnt more about different religions from watching The Simpsons as a child. I am an agnostic. I will never have faith (I lean towards Buddhism, though I don’t consider it a religion: it’s more a way of life, a philosophy.) I consider myself fairly educated, but my education on matters of faith is rather poor. I think it would be rather ignorant to presume that there is not some wisdom in faith even if you are an atheist. So here I am reading a book of Hindu scripture. I’ve started reading Mahatma Ghandi’s autobiography and this popped up very early on. And to my shame I’d never even heard of it. So I had to buy a copy and see what it was all about. I thought it might allow me some insight into the formation of his early character.He spoke of being inspired by the story when he was very young, though he later lost his faith in the story. The Gita is a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna before a great battle. Krishna gives some sage advice, advice about life, death and everything in between. There are some real pieces of wisdom in here, ideas of karma and non-attachment. But herein lies the rub, acceptance is the key; acceptance of the place of God in the life of man. Krishna says: Become My devotee, always think of Me, act for Me, worship Me, and offer all homage unto Me. Surrender unto Me alone. Do not fear sinful reactions. (That’s seems slightly (how shall we put it?) odd. Essentiality, Arjunja is having a moral crisis. He does not want to kill his brothers, his friends, his teachers and his countryman. Such a thing is nasty and evil, Arjunja says. Krishna excuses such a thing on the basis that it is his will for the battle to occur. But is that a good thing?This is a clear debate between man and god, of man’s morals being sacrificed for the acceptance of a higher power. Arjunja, ethically speaking, made the wrong decision. But, spiritually speaking, at least, according to this text, such actions are excusable. Dare I say it, but this text felt like a tool for cultural brainwashing. Soldiers and generals who read this would care less about the horrors of war if they knew it would not affect their chances of reincarnation. They would shed blood with little to no remorse. Krishna achieves his aims. Such a thing is beyond terrible, and such ideas have been used by men in power for centuries to justify countless wars across many faiths. As a student of literature, I have an invested interest in all literature. But I also have a very critical mind. The most convincing parts about this book were the reasons Arjunja proposed for not going to war. I’m glad I read this religious text, and I will be reading more in the future but I will be aprroaching them like I would any other story.An article on the reduction of faith in England: https://www.theguardian.com/world/201...
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  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    Has a book ever literally called to you by falling off the shelf and into your hands? When the Bhagavad Gita came through the book drop while I was working at the library, I recognized the title instantly without remembering why it was familiar, at least initially. All I knew was that I was going to take it home and read it immediately. What I learned from the introduction is that Bhagavad Gita is Sanskrit for “Song of the Lord” and is India’s best known scripture. If none of that rings a bell, Has a book ever literally called to you by falling off the shelf and into your hands? When the Bhagavad Gita came through the book drop while I was working at the library, I recognized the title instantly without remembering why it was familiar, at least initially. All I knew was that I was going to take it home and read it immediately. What I learned from the introduction is that Bhagavad Gita is Sanskrit for “Song of the Lord” and is India’s best known scripture. If none of that rings a bell, then the name Mahatma Gandhi will. As it says in the publisher’s summary, Gandhi used it as his personal guidebook. I read the Penguin Classics edition translated by Juan Mascaro first and while I found his language rich and beautiful at times, I prefer this edition by Ekneth Easwaran, which is clear and straightforward. My favorite chapter is probably chapter 12 “The Way of Love” because of its parallels to Christianity. Just as Paul does in 1 Corinthians 13:8 (“Charity/Love never faileth”), the Gita places love above knowledge and miracles. The last chapter, “Freedom and Renunciaton,” is also satisfying. I identify strongly with the idea of becoming closer to God by renouncing the rewards of work and self-will. Overall, reading the Gita has inspired me to seek the truth in all religions and spiritual philosophies. Finding the principles in the Gita that are common to my own beliefs was enlightening. Any recommendations of what to read next would be appreciated. I’ll end this review with my favorite verses:“That devotee who looks upon friend and foe with equal regard, who is not buoyed up by praise nor cast down by blame, alike in heat and cold, pleasure and pain, free from selfish attachments, the same in honor and dishonor, quiet, ever full, in harmony everywhere, firm in faith – such a one is dear to me.” (12:18,19)“Be fearless and pure; never waver in your determination or your dedication to the spiritual life.” (16:1)“Make every act an offering to me; regard me as your only protector. Relying on internal discipline, meditate on me always. Remembering me, you shall overcome all difficulties through my grace.” (18: 57, 58)“Be aware of me always, adore me, make every act an offering to me, and you shall come to me; this I promise; for you are dear to me.” (18:65)
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  • Foad
    January 1, 1970
    در روز جنگ، "اَرجونا"ى پهلوان سوار بر ارابه اى كه "كريشنا" مى راند به ميان معركه مى رسد، و درست هنگامى كه بايد سرنوشت جنگ را يكسره كند، دلش از اين همه خونريزى به درد مى آيد و مى گويد: اگر مرا بكشند بهتر از آن است كه من ايشان را بكشم.در اين هنگام كريشنا، كه در حقيقت ايزد "ويشنو" است كه در قالب انسانى تجلّى يافته، ارجونا را با والاترين اسرار برهمايى آشنا مى كند: كشتن و كشته شدن هر دو مربوط به "مايا" و جهان نمودهاست، اما به جهان بود مرگ راه ندارد، ذات واحد همه ى موجودات نه نابود مى شود، نه تغيير مى در روز جنگ، "اَرجونا"ى پهلوان سوار بر ارابه اى كه "كريشنا" مى راند به ميان معركه مى رسد، و درست هنگامى كه بايد سرنوشت جنگ را يكسره كند، دلش از اين همه خونريزى به درد مى آيد و مى گويد: اگر مرا بكشند بهتر از آن است كه من ايشان را بكشم.در اين هنگام كريشنا، كه در حقيقت ايزد "ويشنو" است كه در قالب انسانى تجلّى يافته، ارجونا را با والاترين اسرار برهمايى آشنا مى كند: كشتن و كشته شدن هر دو مربوط به "مايا" و جهان نمودهاست، اما به جهان بود مرگ راه ندارد، ذات واحد همه ى موجودات نه نابود مى شود، نه تغيير مى كند؛ نه مى كشد، نه كشته مى شود. در نتیجه ارجونا نباید از کشتن بیزار باشد.گفتگو به موضوعات مختلف عرفانی مى کشد و با يك كشف و شهود به پايان مى رسد: ارجونا از كريشنا مى خواهد چهره ى حقيقى خود را بنمايد، و كريشنا به صورت ايزد ويشنو در مى آيد، با هيئتى عظيم، با صدهزار دست و صدهزار چشم و صدهزار دهان، همه ى شكل هاى جهان در او جمع شده. ارجونا از هيبت او به خاك مى افتد و تقاضا مى كند به همان صورت انسانى برگردد، زيرا طاقت ديدن چهره ى حقيقى او را ندارد.مراقبه در مقابل عملرنه گنون، در کتاب بحران دنیای متجدد توضیح می دهد که فرهنگ های شرقی از جمله فرهنگ هندی، بر خلاف غربیان، اصالت را نه به عمل بلکه به درون نگری و مراقبه می دهند. زیرا عمل مربوط به جنبۀ ظاهری و گذرا و در نتیجه فناپذیر جهان است، اما مراقبه و درون نگری مربوط به جنبۀ باطنی و ناگذرا و فناناپذیر جهان است. اما با این وجود از اهمیت عمل نیز غافل نیستند. هر چند آن را تابع مراقبه می داند، همان طور که ظاهر را تابع باطن می دانند، و تنها به واسطۀ مراقبه، ضرورت عمل را اثبات می کند. گنون سپس برای نمونه به کتاب گیتا اشاره می کند، که در آن کریشنا، ارجونا را به جنگیدن (به عمل کردن در دنیا) تحریک می کند، اما دلیلش دلیلی کاملاً عرفانی است.از کتابآغاز اين عالم منم و انجام آن نيز من،جز من، اى ارجونا، چيزى نيست:طعم آب منم،روشناى ماهتاب و آفتاب منم،بوى خوش خاك منم،پرتوى سرخ فام آتش منم،زندگى زندگانم من،من، اى سرور بهارانان، ذات جاويد تمامى موجوداتم.
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  • Riku Sayuj
    January 1, 1970
    How to Read The Ancient TextsTo know how we should approach the great Classical works of antiquity, we can look to Ben Jonson’s formulation in "Discoveries": "I know nothing can conduce more to letters, than to examine the writings of the ancients, and not to rest in their sole authority, or take all upon trust from them; provided the plagues of judging, and pronouncing against them, be away; such as are envy, bitterness, precipitation, impudence, and scurrile scoffing. For to all the observatio How to Read The Ancient TextsTo know how we should approach the great Classical works of antiquity, we can look to Ben Jonson’s formulation in "Discoveries": "I know nothing can conduce more to letters, than to examine the writings of the ancients, and not to rest in their sole authority, or take all upon trust from them; provided the plagues of judging, and pronouncing against them, be away; such as are envy, bitterness, precipitation, impudence, and scurrile scoffing. For to all the observations of the ancients, we have our own experience: which, if we will use, and apply, we have better means to pronounce. It is true they opened the gates, and made the way, that went before us; but as guides, not commanders."
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  • Brad
    January 1, 1970
    I love the Bhagavad Gita. It offers something for everyone, no matter what your religous/spritual persuasion might be. However, I had mixed feelings about this version which made me debate between three and four stars for this book.This is Prabhupada's translation. He is best known as the Founder and/or person who brought the Hare Krishna form of Vasinavism to the United States. The only issue I take with it is that at times he can be rather controversial in his interpretive purports of the vers I love the Bhagavad Gita. It offers something for everyone, no matter what your religous/spritual persuasion might be. However, I had mixed feelings about this version which made me debate between three and four stars for this book.This is Prabhupada's translation. He is best known as the Founder and/or person who brought the Hare Krishna form of Vasinavism to the United States. The only issue I take with it is that at times he can be rather controversial in his interpretive purports of the verses naturally injecting his personal opinions that may or may not be accurate to the meaning of the verse. However, whether in agreeance with him or not, Prabhupada is still a person who deserves respect and the translations of the Gita passages themselves are some of the more personal and clear. This is a review of the hardbound edition, which makes a lovely showpiece. All in all worth reading for the great translation, and worth owning for the durable beautiful hardbound edition which also has color photo/art inserts. Prabhupada's purports and interpretations are interesting to look at as well... so long as you don't take his interpretation as law and you form your own opinions. Overall, a translation worth having.
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  • Alex
    January 1, 1970
    The Bhagavad Gita is the most famous part of The Mahabharata, India's national epic. It's a dialogue between the warrior Arjuna and the god Krishna. They're standing between two armies; Arjuna has friends and relatives on both sides, and he asks Krishna whether he should fight. Their conversation immediately veers wildly off course, resulting in them talking philosophy for what must be hours right in the middle of a battlefield while all the other soldiers are probably like wtf dude, is this ser The Bhagavad Gita is the most famous part of The Mahabharata, India's national epic. It's a dialogue between the warrior Arjuna and the god Krishna. They're standing between two armies; Arjuna has friends and relatives on both sides, and he asks Krishna whether he should fight. Their conversation immediately veers wildly off course, resulting in them talking philosophy for what must be hours right in the middle of a battlefield while all the other soldiers are probably like wtf dude, is this seriously the best time for allegorical fig trees.red rover red roverThe decision comes down to dharma, which (very loosely) means innate duty. "It is the dharma of grass to grow, of birds to fly, and of warriors to fight," explains my introduction. This is basically Aesop's Farmer and the Viper parable (or the more modern scorpion-and-frog one). It more or less works out if you believe in reincarnation, but I don't and besides I disagree with the concept of warriors, so this is not my jam. Dharma will later be used to justify the caste system:Service to others, the innateAttribute of the class of serfs(18.44)And obviously that isn't going to speak to modern readers. Our ethics evolve but our texts keep saying the same thing, and that's the problem with taking ancient texts too seriously.But that's not to say that I found nothing valuable here. In the discussion of duty, Krishna says: Better to do one's own duty ineptly, than another's well.(III.35)I do my own duty ineptly all the time, so it's great to know that I'm nailing it. And there's a lot of talk about not being too attached to "sense-objects," which means your shit, so this is basically a very early argument for the Kondo method.And there's this, which is maybe the prettiest description of god I've ever read:This universe is strung on meas pearls are strung upon a thread.(VII.7)I don't believe, but I dig that.It's a pretty poem, and I'll take some of its ideas with me, and I'll leave some of them behind. That works, right?
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  • Riku Sayuj
    January 1, 1970
    Some glory in their birth, some in their skill, Some in their wealth, some in their body’s force, Some in their garments, though new-fangled ill, Some in their hawks and hounds, some in their horse; And every humor hath his adjunct pleasure, Wherein it finds a joy above the rest. But these particulars are not my measure; All these I better in one general best. Thy love is better than high birth to me, Richer than wealth, prouder than garments' cost, Of more delight than hawks or horses be; And h Some glory in their birth, some in their skill, Some in their wealth, some in their body’s force, Some in their garments, though new-fangled ill, Some in their hawks and hounds, some in their horse; And every humor hath his adjunct pleasure, Wherein it finds a joy above the rest. But these particulars are not my measure; All these I better in one general best. Thy love is better than high birth to me, Richer than wealth, prouder than garments' cost, Of more delight than hawks or horses be; And having thee, of all men’s pride I boast;Wretched in this alone, that thou mayst take All this away, and me most wretched make.~ Sonnet 91 - Shakespeare's Sonnets
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  • Robert
    January 1, 1970
    It's our expectations that make us unhappy. As Gandhi explained, the Gita is built around the idea that we are not entitled to the fruits of our actions. It's the expectations we form from our actions that lead us astray. It's enough to act according to your yoga. Simply act, without having expectations of what our action will get us.We have two yogas we can practice: the yoga of action or the yoga of contemplation. Once you understand what your yoga is, then you can act accordingly within your It's our expectations that make us unhappy. As Gandhi explained, the Gita is built around the idea that we are not entitled to the fruits of our actions. It's the expectations we form from our actions that lead us astray. It's enough to act according to your yoga. Simply act, without having expectations of what our action will get us.We have two yogas we can practice: the yoga of action or the yoga of contemplation. Once you understand what your yoga is, then you can act accordingly within your nature. Our happiness should derive from the successful practice of our yoga, not from the results we think it should bring us. That stuff about a thousand noonday suns, and being Death, Shatterer of Worlds is just crazy scary to impress the great unwashed about how serious Krishna is about this shit. Focus on your yoga, dude.
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  • Justin Evans
    January 1, 1970
    Friends, why do you love this book? This book is awful. It's very smart, yes, and of course a great classic. But I want you to imagine a dialogue between Jesus and Charlemagne in which Charlemagne says he doesn't want to kill all the Germans because, well, they're his relatives, and it seems a bit silly. And Jesus counters this by saying I AM FREAKING GOD DO WHAT THE F*** I TELL YOU YOU HAVE NO OPTION ANYWAY LOOK I HAVE STARS IN MY BELLY!!!! and follows it up by saying that he, Jesus, determines Friends, why do you love this book? This book is awful. It's very smart, yes, and of course a great classic. But I want you to imagine a dialogue between Jesus and Charlemagne in which Charlemagne says he doesn't want to kill all the Germans because, well, they're his relatives, and it seems a bit silly. And Jesus counters this by saying I AM FREAKING GOD DO WHAT THE F*** I TELL YOU YOU HAVE NO OPTION ANYWAY LOOK I HAVE STARS IN MY BELLY!!!! and follows it up by saying that he, Jesus, determines everything and there is no free will but you *should* do the following things in order to really get to know Jesus. Now, obviously I'm being polemical here. The BG has some very nice individual moments; it's a philosophical masterpiece akin to Boethius or Job; and, most remarkably for me, it essentially says that everything a benighted Westerner like myself thinks of when I think of Hinduism is wrong. The step from polytheism to monotheism is pretty much the greatest intellectual leap ever made, and who the heck am I to say that someone who makes that leap thousands of years before I was even born is only worth three stars? Someone who thinks that determinism makes no sense in a religion, that Krishna is kind of a self-centered lunatic ("I AM THE CLARIFIED BUTTER! I AM THE HERB!"), and that justifying war by saying that if you're a warrior, you're logically compelled to kill your kin and besides, we have no option, is horrific. And yet the hippies love this stuff. Almost as if they were really just repressing their inner Charles Manson.
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  • Kris
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this teaching in one long, lovely sitting...after having practiced the Ashtanga Yoga Primary series, sitting in a cafe with my jasmine tea while a thunderstorm pounded outside. A powerful read/lesson. I've tried to read other translations before, but Mitchell's really resonated with me."...The undisciplined have no wisdom, no one-pointed concentration;with no concentration, no peace;with no peace, where can joy be?When the mind constantly runsafter the wandering senses,it drives away w I enjoyed this teaching in one long, lovely sitting...after having practiced the Ashtanga Yoga Primary series, sitting in a cafe with my jasmine tea while a thunderstorm pounded outside. A powerful read/lesson. I've tried to read other translations before, but Mitchell's really resonated with me."...The undisciplined have no wisdom, no one-pointed concentration;with no concentration, no peace;with no peace, where can joy be?When the mind constantly runsafter the wandering senses,it drives away wisdom, like the windblowing a ship off course..."-Bhagavad Gita (2.66-67)
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  • Andrew
    January 1, 1970
    The Bhagavad is one of the greatest works of literature. Here it is tenderly and lovingly mangled from its original by a sectarian and abusive translator who, while offering the "original" sanskrit, still departs wildly from it in his purports. What the book gains from is an immense popularity due it's publishers fervent marketing of the book, free copies, etc.
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  • Bruce
    January 1, 1970
    The Gita, a part of the much larger Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, was no doubt based on ancient oral tradition, much recent scholarship concluding that the approximate date of written composition was the first century CE. The immediate story involves an extended philosophical conversation between the Pandava general, Arjuna, and his charioteer Krishna, who is in actuality the Supreme Being Himself, immediately before a monumental battle, a battle that Arjuna is hesitant to wage because it involve The Gita, a part of the much larger Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, was no doubt based on ancient oral tradition, much recent scholarship concluding that the approximate date of written composition was the first century CE. The immediate story involves an extended philosophical conversation between the Pandava general, Arjuna, and his charioteer Krishna, who is in actuality the Supreme Being Himself, immediately before a monumental battle, a battle that Arjuna is hesitant to wage because it involves fighting against friends and kin.The argument of the work proceeds in a more cyclical than linear fashion, and it revolves around issues of duty, freedom through the disciplines of action, understanding, and devotion, relinquishment of attachment to the results of action, the meaning of life, and the nature of ultimate reality. It rejects the concept of a transcendent divine reality outside of or beyond immanent reality and expresses an understanding of cosmic unity that is itself divine.The poetry of this work is itself moving, and Mitchell has done a good job of transmitting its grandeur. Another translation that I like is that by Barbara Stoler Miller, and it is in fact useful to explore this great work by reading, comparing, and enjoying a number of different translations, each highlighting different aspects and nuances of the work.It is certainly possible and valuable to read the Gita primarily intellectually to gain insights into concepts and traditions different from the more definitively theistic traditions known in the West. It is an even more profound experience to read the work by entering in as much as possible to its own worldview, reading it in a sense meditatively, in which case one’s own mind and understanding are expanded and deepened, the result being that one can never quite view the world and reality the same afterward....It's one day after I wrote the review above, and I've just completed rereading Barbara Stoler Miller's translation. Miller’s translation may be a bit more faithful to the original, as I am led to believe. Nonetheless, as I mentioned yesterday, which one a reader chooses may be a matter of personal preference. And, of course, each different translation provides a different “take” on the original. That being said, each of these two translators has provided an interesting introduction to the text, and again these differ and highlight different aspects and interpretations.
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  • Bionic Jean
    January 1, 1970
    This is a simplified version of the Bhagavad Gita (Sanskrit: भगवदगीता) or “Song of the Lord”. The work is often referred to simply as the “Gita”. Prashant Gupta begins,“Here is the “Song Divine” or “Bhagwad Gita” for our young readers who resemble Arjuna in so many respects. It will serve them as a permanent and trustworthy companion in performing their various vocations and duties in life. It will lift them up in moments of depression.”The Bhagavad Gita is a commentary on the “Upanishads”. Ther This is a simplified version of the Bhagavad Gita (Sanskrit: भगवद्गीता) or “Song of the Lord”. The work is often referred to simply as the “Gita”. Prashant Gupta begins,“Here is the “Song Divine” or “Bhagwad Gita” for our young readers who resemble Arjuna in so many respects. It will serve them as a permanent and trustworthy companion in performing their various vocations and duties in life. It will lift them up in moments of depression.”The Bhagavad Gita is a commentary on the “Upanishads”. There are about 108 of these Upanishads altogether: chapters which deal with the ultimate reality of life and death. The Gita has been described as the “milk of the Upanishads”, where the “Upanishads” are the “cows”.First Prashant Gupta explains the concept of “Gita” as the Divine Mother, who looks after the welfare and uplifting of all humanity:“Lord Krishna has milked these treasure houses of supreme wisdom [the “Vedas”] for the benefit of mankind. The Gita is the nectar, like milk, which can be consumed easily by one and all ... perfect and balanced food ... easily digestible ... if it remains undigested it becomes poison ... when the body becomes a victim of disease, the mind too loses its capacity to think clearly ... the intellect gets clouded as did happen with Prince Arjuna on the battle field of Kurukushetra.” Thus we start with a metaphor, and learn that the entire work is presented in metaphor. Prashant Gupta rejects the idea that the Bhagavad Gita speaks only to those of the Hindu faith:“The Gita does not belong to any particular religion ... [It] is the Bible of mankind. Nowhere does the word ‘Hindu’ occur in it. It talks to man as such. He who reads it is uplifted to a higher realm of happiness ... The Gita does not differentiate between and man and man on the basis of caste, colour, creed, religion or sex. So the Christians, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Zoroastrians and the Hindus can derive eternal and everlasting happiness and bliss by pondering over the verses of the Gita.”The Universal Self seated in the heart of all beings There are 18 “Upanishads” (chapters) comprising 700 “slokas” (verses) in the Bhagavad Gita: a scripture or Bible which is part of the Hindu epic the “Mahabharata”. The “Mahabharata” is an ancient text predating the Christian era, thought to be written by the Sage Vyasa Veda, somewhere between the fifth century and the second century BCE. Prashant Gupta tells us that the Bhagavad Gita is:“the essence of the four Vedas and the sweet kernel of the “Mahabharata” which is known as the Fifth Veda”. It occurs in the middle of the “Mahabharata” epic. Furthermore, he says, it tells us how to live upon this Earth: how to behave and act with others, and how to perform our duties as human beings in different walks of life:“Do you know the literal meaning of the word ‘Krishna’? It means that which is lying dormant or hidden in the innermost dark recesses of your heart. Krishna means black and dark. The Krishan consciousness is lying dormant within us ... it is none but Lord Krishna who pervades every atom of the Universe. He is there in the wind, in the oceans, on the earth, in the sky and in the sun. The neutrons and the protons are actually activated by the magic of His presence. He is the Presiding Deity of the Whole Universe ... He alone is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent.”“The Gita is there to move us from darkness to light; from falsehood to truth, and from death to Immortality!”Prashant Gupta explains the “Mahamantra” - “TAT-TWAM-ASI” or “That Thou Art”. “Twam”: the soul “Tat”: God. “You are that - God and nothing else”.There are three steps: 1. “I am His”2. “He is Mine”3. “He and I are One”Prashant Gupta briefly tells the background story of the characters who will appear in the Bhagavad Gita.King Yudhishthir, the Dharamraja, ruled over the powerful kingdom of Indraprastha. He was helped by his four brothers; they were the five sons of Pandu and therefore called the “Pandavas”, and were very righteous and virtuous. But their cousin Duryodhana was jealous, and wanted to rule the kingdom for himself. His uncle Shakuni, too, was greedy and cunning. He persuaded his nephew to play a game of dice, saying that he would make the dice fall in such a way that Duryodhana would always win.Duryodhana adopted this plan, and one by one all the brothers gambled away their fortunes, until eventually the entire kingdom was lost, and the brothers became slaves:“This episode teaches us a great lesson. One must never gamble as there is no limit to the loss one may suffer in it.”But yet another dice game was played, as Shakuni pretended to promise the chance for King Yudhishthir to win back the kingdom. Of course this game was lost too, and the five brothers were all further exiled for twelve years.The Pandavas underwent great ordeals, but each stayed on the path of “dharma” (righteousness), and all five brothers returned in the thirteenth year.The first “sloka” (verse) of the Bhagavad Gita, describes Khurukshetra as Damarkshetra; the Karva and Pandava armies are arrayed against each other ready to fight. This description is highly symbolic. The battlefield represents the human body or heart, and the war being fought is the battle in each one of us, between the forces of good and evil in our hearts.The main stories in the “Mahabharata” up to now have been covered in this book. Sanjaya, the counsellor of the Kuru king Dhritarashtra, returns from the battlefield and narrates the details of the “Mahabharata” war. He tells what has happened to Dhritarashtra, the blind king. Duryodana (the nephew, who years earlier had usurped the kingdom) praised his own army, and asked all of them to protect the great warrior Bhishma, and the battle commenced:“Arunja requested Lord Krishna to drive forth his chariot between the two armies so that he may behold with whom he is going to fight.”When he realises that his enemies are his own relatives, friends, and teachers Prince Arjuna is filled with doubts. In despair he turns to his guide and charioteer, Lord Krishna (“God Incarnate Lord Shri Krishna”) for advice: Lord Krishna urges Arjuna to fulfil his duty as a warrior and establish “Dharma”, (righteousness, or holy duty). The warrior’s dharma is heroism. Energy, dedication and self-sacrifice, is the dharma of the “Kshatriya” (warrior). Krishna responds to Arjuna's confusion and moral dilemma, explaining Arjuna’s duties as a warrior and prince by elaborating on a variety of philosophical concepts, through the form of stories. These stories are allegorical, and similar to parables. This section comprises the Bhagavad Gita. Thus the Bhagavad Gita is a narrative, presented as a dialogue between the Pandava prince Arjuna and Krishna’s response via a series of battle stories:“A great symbolism goes on in the Gita in almost every verse. It conveys a deeper message than what it seems to deliver in a literal sense.”So, in metaphor, Arjuna (representing the ego) sits back in his chariot (representing the human body) and abandons his “Gandiva” or bow, (metaphorically giving up all instruments and tools of activity). The white horses (representing our five sense-organs: the ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose, enabling us to gain knowledge - to hear, touch, see taste and smell) are held back well under control by the pulled reins (the mind). This enables the Charioteer (the Pure Intellect, or our higher self, represented by Lord Krishna) to guide Arunja (the ego) to be victorious in the battle of Mahabharta, (just as we will each be victorious in the battle of our life and gain divine strength).“Dharma” has a number of meanings. Fundamentally, it means “what is right”. At the start Krishna responds to Arjuna's despondency by asking him to follow his “swadharma”, or the dharma which belongs to a particular individual. Traditionally every person is believed to be unique in nature. It is Arjuna’s true inner nature to be a warrior, and that is why it is right for him to fight for what is right. “Dharma” is his way to establish righteousness.The idea that we all have our own “swadharma” is inherent in the caste system. Prashant Gupta explains about dharma, and the basis of the caste system:“Each one of us has been alloted a battlefield of our own to act ... the field of our duty. If I am a man of learning and love knowledge above everything else, my battlefield is confined to books, schools, colleges, students, debates, discussion, reading, writing, preaching and the like. I cannot and should not go to the cricket-field as a batman to get my head struck with a bouncer.”I smiled broadly at this part, and hope it finally justifies my skiving off sport at school (although I suspect not). But I interpret this to mean “follow your own star” - a predisposition rather than a strict predestiny. “To begin with, the so-called caste system was perfectly scientific in its approach. It was based upon the physical, mental and intellectual abilities of the persons concerned. Birth alone was not the deciding factor but the worth of an individual was to decide whether he should be called a ‘Brahman’ or a ‘Vaishya’ or a ‘Sudra’ or a ‘Kshatriya’.”A Brahman is a learned person, interested in gaining more knowledge and teaching. A Sudra is interested in serving others. A Vaisha is a trader, who knows the secrets of trade and agriculture: “interested in worldly possession from the core of his heart”. A Kshatriya can defend the weak, the innocent and the poor, and has a mission to eliminate exploitation, injustuce, tyranny, torture and crimes from society.The concept of “caste” therefore, originally meant the character or characteristics of the individual. “One could change his caste by changing his character through tireless efforts.”Throughout the story we see diverging attitudes concerning the different methods of attaining “moksha” or liberation. Liberation is not something that can be acquired or reached. The goal of “moksha”, is something that is always present as the essence of the self, and can be revealed by deep intuitive knowledge. It can be viewed as a synthesis of knowledge, devotion, and desireless action, forming what is appropriate for each person. The Bhagavad Gita was introduced to the world through Sanjaya, who sees and knows all the events of the battlefield. Sanjaya is Dhritasashtra’s advisor and also his charioteer.The Bhagavad Gita presents a synthesis of the concept of Dharma and yogic ideals. “Yoga” means a joining together, and in the Bhagavad Gita it refers to the skill of union with the ultimate reality, or the Absolute: “The Gita joins us with the Supreme Reality which has no beginning and end. That is why the Gita has been called Yoga Sastra.” Another interpretation of the word “yoga”, since the root meaning is “yoking” or “preparation”, could be “spiritual exercise”, conveying the various nuances in the best way.The setting of the Bhagavad Gita in a battlefield, is usually interpreted as an allegory for the ethical and moral struggles of the human life. Its call for selfless action inspired many leaders of the Indian Independence Movement. Mahatma Gandhi, called the “father” of the Indian Nation and the architect of its Independence, referred to it as his “spiritual dictionary”:“The Gita is my mother. I lost my earthly mother who gave me birth long ago. But this eternal mother has completely filled her place by my side ever since. She has never changed; she has never failed me. Whenever I am in difficulty or distress, I seek refuge in her bosom.”There is evidence to show that old manuscripts originally had 745 verses, rather than 700. These Upanishads - the verses themselves - are composed with similes and metaphors. They are poetic, using mostly the range and style of the Sanskrit “chandas”, a particular poetic metre.The Sanskrit editions of the Bhagavad Gita name each chapter as a particular form of yoga. Each of the eighteen chapters is designated as a separate yoga because each chapter, like yoga, “trains the body and the mind”. These eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad Gita can be seen as a progressive order, by which Krishna leads Arjuna up the ladder of Yoga from one rung to another. Prashant Gupta says that the Bhagavad Gita offers a practical approach to liberation in the form of “Karma yoga”. To follow the path of Karma yoga, action is necessary. However, the action is to be undertaken without any attachment to the work or desire for results. The work is done for itself, and not for any rewards. The object of the Bhagavad Gita is to show the best way for each individual to attain self-realisation. This can be achieved by selfless action, and controlling all mental desires and tendencies to enjoy sensory pleasures. When we dwell on things of the material world - sensory things - we become attached to them. From this springs desire, and anger when they are not realised. This results in bewilderment, then loss of memory, and the destruction of intelligence. Thus, he says, we perish.Desire, the Bhagavad Gita says, degrades you:“The moment you desire, you plan your downfall. It is our desire that invites all our worries, agonies, sufferings, headaches, heartaches and hellish turmoils. That is why Lord Krishna lays the greatest stress on desireless or unattached Action throughout the whole Gita. It is known as Karmyoga or the Yoga of selfless Action.”“The moment we work with the motive or desire of getting a reward, efficiency in work is lost ... ‘Get lost in your work!’ If the secret of work, or Karmyoga is properly understood and digested, a player will become a better player, a teacher will become a better teacher, a doctor will become a better doctor, a cook will become a better cook and a warrior shall shine forth the mightiest one as happens in the case of Arunja.”“When a sensible man ceases to see different identities, which are due to different material bodies, he attains to the Brahman conception. Thus he sees that beings are expanded everywhere.”“One who knowingly sees this difference between the body and the owner of the body and can understand the process of liberation from this bondage, also attains to the supreme goal.”OM - omnipresence of GodThe Bhagavad Gita is one of the hardest books to interpret. There are differences even in describing where it comes in “The Mahabharata”: the fifth “Veda”, or treasure house of wisdom (a sort of holy text book). It is sometimes said that the “Veda” is eternal. The word “Veda” derives from “Vid”, to know. Clearly this word too has nuances of meaning. It can mean a holy instruction manual, or both the knowledge of Divinity lurking inside us, and the technique for bringing it out to be manifested. When it is said to be “eternal”, it indicates the Divine Spark within and without, which Prashant Gupta likens to electricity, which is there whether we have discovered it or not.There are numerous commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita, each differing from the rest in one essential point or another. I enjoyed this book, but even though it is intended as a simple explanation I still floundered, much as young Arunja, finding the esoteric concepts incredibly difficult to grasp, and alien to Western philosophical tradition. Some, such as the fall of “Bishma”, where Arunja seemed to hide behind a woman, “Shikhandin”, so that his enemy would be too chivalrous to strike at him, seemed to me the opposite of noble behaviour. Clearly I have not picked up all the connotations here. Plus, as always in religious scriptures, the names of people, tribes, cultures and concepts can seem overwhelming to someone not inculcated into the religion or belief system from birth, and the endless battles rather monotonous. I have attempted to distil what I feel is the author’s personal take on the Bhagavad Gita in this review. For example, he says:“I do not believe that Krishna transformed Himself into His Cosmic Form, but He only helped Arujna to gain the necessary inward adjustments so that he might see what was already there in Krishna.”In this book Prashant Gupta has attempted to explain the difficult Eastern philosopical concepts using simple and familiar language:“The mystery surrounding religion has been revealed in such a way as will be of practical importance in the work-a-day world for one and all. A loving and careful study of this work shall confer happiness and prosperity on the readers. Lord Krishna is ever smiling to bless them!”This is a worthy attempt at a beginners’ guide, and it is a very attractive book. The text is in 44 chapters, varying in length from half a side to a dozen or more pages. The illustrations by shri N.K. Vikram are quite beautiful, using traditional Hindu stylised images and vivid authentic colours. There are plenty of them, each filling slightly over half a page of this large format book. The book ends with a couple of pages of “pearls of wisdom” or maxims derived from the Gita.“The Gita is the greatest philosphical poem of the world. This song divine is being sung in every heart ceaselessly, but we have no ears to listen to it. The ears and all other senses need to be tuned to catch the divine message being delivered within our own bosoms.”“The publisher hopes and trusts that the readers of the Bhagwad Gita shall inherit the best in Indian culture and Sanatam Dharma. They will prove and asset to themselves as well as to the entire humanity.”(“Sanatam Dharma” or हिन्दू धर्म, “eternal order”, is an alternative name for the Hindu religion.)“‘Keep smiling’ seems to be Krishna’s philosophy expressed in two words”“Desireless activity will lead to self-realisation and bliss.”“Work is worship”.
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  • Olivier Delaye
    January 1, 1970
    This was a dense albeit intriguing read that, in all honesty, was a bit of a slog to get through. Even after listening to it twice (I know, I tend to do that to myself!), I’m not sure whether I grasped the full meaning of it with all its spiritual/religious ins and outs. And this is coming from a yoga and meditation devotee who’s read the Bible, the Quran, and the Torah. I seldom read poetry but when I do I always try to go for the crème de la crème, and even if the Bhagavad Gita is certainly th This was a dense albeit intriguing read that, in all honesty, was a bit of a slog to get through. Even after listening to it twice (I know, I tend to do that to myself!), I’m not sure whether I grasped the full meaning of it with all its spiritual/religious ins and outs. And this is coming from a yoga and meditation devotee who’s read the Bible, the Quran, and the Torah. I seldom read poetry but when I do I always try to go for the crème de la crème, and even if the Bhagavad Gita is certainly that, I guess I was just expecting more from it. Like, more enlightenment or something. But, hey, maybe I should give it another go another time, and maybe then I will have a different opinion about it. Books are like people. You can only welcome them into your life when the time is right and you are ready to do so.
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  • Sidharth Vardhan
    January 1, 1970
    'Just do it and don't hope.' Rarely can we call a religious book over rated while being sympathetic to the religion itself (all religious books are by definition over rated, that is in their nature); but if there ever was one book that was most over rated it would be this one. The book gained popularity only during British rule.The book in its narrative smashes together glorifying accounts of Krishna and a wide array of Indian philosophies. With so much of subjects covered, the philosophy of 'Just do it and don't hope.' Rarely can we call a religious book over rated while being sympathetic to the religion itself (all religious books are by definition over rated, that is in their nature); but if there ever was one book that was most over rated it would be this one. The book gained popularity only during British rule.The book in its narrative smashes together glorifying accounts of Krishna and a wide array of Indian philosophies. With so much of subjects covered, the philosophy of this book is made so flexible and loose that you can read it to draw whatever conclusion you wish to draw.Arjun's killing of his relatives and Gandhi's path of non-violence - both find justification in the book. You can destroy the world if you do so selflessly. Robert Oppenheimer quoted it (wrongly) while he talked about the decision to drop atom bomb.'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.'The central idea that 'It is duty to act and the results are not to desired' is a good one and as near as truth we can get, when we are worried about success of actions (and is reason for all my stars).However, as to what actions must be taken (what is right thing to do?), the book is ambiguous.Krishna's answer to question of ethics is selfless action (there are others discussed too, but this one is most popular and only one I'll discuss). He wants you to do everything that is required of you (i.e., your Dharma, which by the way, is famously said to be 'subtle' somewhere else in Mahabharata) but take no enjoyment in actions. (Drink your whisky but try not to enjoy it.) Anything(good or bad), including murders is forgiven to those who act selflessly.And what is reward of being good(Krishna's definition)? Gita like all Hindu texts is based on this most pessimistic (and silent) assumption that there is something inherently wrong with world and one must get out of it as quickly as possible - and since God (with capital 'G') is continually recycling our souls, we must find our exit in methods told in the book itself. You follow Krishna's instructions and you are relieved of cruel world.Still, I suggest reading Gita if you base your life on Karma because chances are you don't understand it - most people take Karma to mean a balance of actions and reactions. Karma is far from Newton's third law; and you are not rewarded according to your actions. You may be a good guy and still suffer and you may be the bastard who own the wall street. Krishna was smart enough for to understand that.Nowhere Gita says you are center of world and the equations are build around you. It says, much like Adidas, 'Just do it'. In one sentence, we can summarize the whole book as 'Just do it and don't hope.' A nice thing to say if you friend wants to propose his love but not when he is planning to kill her upon being rejected.
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  • Aydin Mohseni
    January 1, 1970
    What struck me most about the Bhagavad Gita in comparison to the other religious texts with which I'm familiar, inter alia, the Bible and the Qur'an, was two-fold:Firstly that the Gita was written frankly for a more sophisticated audience (as the intricacy of the ontological explanations demonstrates).That is to say, where as the Old and New Testaments could be said to have been written fora semi-literate nomadic tribe, and the lowest-rung on the ladder of Roman society respectively, and the Qur What struck me most about the Bhagavad Gita in comparison to the other religious texts with which I'm familiar, inter alia, the Bible and the Qur'an, was two-fold:Firstly that the Gita was written frankly for a more sophisticated audience (as the intricacy of the ontological explanations demonstrates).That is to say, where as the Old and New Testaments could be said to have been written fora semi-literate nomadic tribe, and the lowest-rung on the ladder of Roman society respectively, and the Qur'an, again, for a predominantly non-literate society, the arguments and explanations provided by Sri Krishna to Arjuna in the Gita are transparently aimed at a more educated aristocratic or clerical class.And secondly, that while submission of spirit, and performance of social duty, in line with traditional religious best practices, are fundamental doctrines, that the focus on the individual free thought, and the multiplicity of paths to enlightenment are, for me, absolutely fascinating in their dramatic distance from the monotheistic traditions (which, perhaps, may also be attributed, to a good degree, to the first observation.)I'll be opening up the Ramayana soon, and am looking forward to digging deeper into the history, philosophy and practice of Hinduism.
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  • Wordsmith
    January 1, 1970
    If you did happen to read this sacred text, that has been around for centuries longer than some acknowledge as even a possible thing, then may I suggest the Rig Vedas. The Rig Veda Awesome reading. Such perfection. Also, many people are familiar with Autobiography of a Yogi But the book by Paramanhansa Yogananda that I always found inspiring, both awe and heart wise was:Where There is Light: Insight and Inspiration for Meeting Life's Challenges. Along with the The Tao of Physics by Fritjov Capra If you did happen to read this sacred text, that has been around for centuries longer than some acknowledge as even a possible thing, then may I suggest the Rig Vedas. The Rig Veda Awesome reading. Such perfection. Also, many people are familiar with Autobiography of a Yogi But the book by Paramanhansa Yogananda that I always found inspiring, both awe and heart wise was:Where There is Light: Insight and Inspiration for Meeting Life's Challenges. Along with the The Tao of Physics by Fritjov Capra, I was truly helped to see the possibilitiy of that microscopic infinite universe just out of sight of our ingrained perception. Truly eye-opening. And no small thing for a cynical skeptic.
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  • ZaRi
    January 1, 1970
    آدمی باید که خود، خود را رهایی بخشد،و مبادا که خود را خوار و زبون سازد؛چه، دوست و دشمنِ آدمی، «خودِ» اوست.هر که نفسِ خویش را رام کرده باشد، نفسِ وی یار او است،و آن که عنانِ خود به دست نفس سرکش داده باشد، نفس دشمن اوست.
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  • Manab
    January 1, 1970
    সেদিন এক ধারমিক মুসলমান বনধু আমারে একগাদা জঞান দিয়ে গেলো, কেনো কাজ করে যেতে হবে ইতংবিতং, এই বই খুলে দেখি, এ মাঃ, এখানেও ত তাই লেখা।বারো টাকা মূলয দিয়ে ইঁদুরে কাটা এ বই কিনতে হইলো। কিনতেই হইত, কারণ ইশারউডের অনুবাদ বাঁধায়ে রাখার মত সুনদর। এই লোকের কিছু গলপ পড়ার ভাগয হইছিলো এককালে, কিনতু এইখানে তার কাজ চমকে দেয়ার মতন। গীতার কিছু অংশ আমার ভালো লাগে না, লাগবার কথাও ছিলো না, এই যেমন অরজজুনের বিশবরূপ দরশন। তারপরেও, কাজ করে যা না বাবা, এসব কথা অনেকে বলবেন আরে মিয়া এইসব ত জানা কথা, মানি যে এসব জানা কথা, সেদিন এক ধার্মিক মুসলমান বন্ধু আমারে একগাদা জ্ঞান দিয়ে গেলো, কেনো কাজ করে যেতে হবে ইতংবিতং, এই বই খুলে দেখি, এ মাঃ, এখানেও ত তাই লেখা।বারো টাকা মূল্য দিয়ে ইঁদুরে কাটা এ বই কিনতে হইলো। কিনতেই হইত, কারণ ইশারউডের অনুবাদ বাঁধায়ে রাখার মত সুন্দর। এই লোকের কিছু গল্প পড়ার ভাগ্য হইছিলো এককালে, কিন্তু এইখানে তার কাজ চমকে দেয়ার মতন। গীতার কিছু অংশ আমার ভালো লাগে না, লাগবার কথাও ছিলো না, এই যেমন অর্জ্জুনের বিশ্বরূপ দর্শন। তারপরেও, কাজ করে যা না বাবা, এসব কথা অনেকে বলবেন আরে মিয়া এইসব ত জানা কথা, মানি যে এসব জানা কথা, নিশ্চয়ই, কিন্তু তবুও, পড়তে ভালো লাগে, কাজ করে যেতে হবে, এইসব ফল টল,তবে গীতা কতখানি প্রায়োগিক, এ প্রশ্ন তোলা যায়। মানে আসলেই আশা টাশা বাদ দিয়ে কদ্দূর কী — সাহিত্য হিসাবে যদি বলি, আগে পড়া গীতার দুইটা অনুবাদের চেয়ে অনেক ভালো এইটা। আগেরগুলায় টীকা ছিলো, তথ্যবিভ্রাট ছিলো না (এখানে আছে কিছু), কিন্তু এই অনুবাদে কোথাও ছন্দোবদ্ধ পদে, কোথাও বা আবার গদ্যে শ্রীকৃষ্ণের মুখ থেকে ইংরেজিতে যে বাক্য সব বের হয়েছে – তাদেরকে পড়ে যেমনটা লেগেছে, সংস্কৃতটা ভালোমত জানা থাকলে মূল গীতা পড়ে আমার এরকমই লাগত মনে হয়।এর বেশি একটা অনুবাদ বিষয়ে কী করে বলি। কী যে লিখছে বেটারা।ইঁদুর কোণা দিয়ে অনেকখানি খেয়ে রাখলেও অক্ষরগুলায় খুব বেশি কামড় দেয় নাই, কে জানে, হয়ত দিতে পারে নাই।(এই সংস্করণ অনলাইনে পাওয়া যায়, ঢুঁড়ে নিয়েন)
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  • Falguni78
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a way to live life..hence will be reading it forever...
  • Chandan Sharma
    January 1, 1970
    http://youreadireview.blogspot.in/THE BACKGROUND: There is no specific story of ‘The Gita’; the different teachings of Lord Krishna to Arjuna have been assembled into a separate book from the Hindu epic ‘Mahabharata’. Krishna, who was considered as the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, acted as the charioteer of his best friend and cousin ‘Arjuna’ (who has been addressed as ‘Partha’). While biggest armies ever stood ready to fight each other, Arjuna was haunted by the guilt of killing his own rela http://youreadireview.blogspot.in/THE BACKGROUND: There is no specific story of ‘The Gita’; the different teachings of Lord Krishna to Arjuna have been assembled into a separate book from the Hindu epic ‘Mahabharata’. Krishna, who was considered as the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, acted as the charioteer of his best friend and cousin ‘Arjuna’ (who has been addressed as ‘Partha’). While biggest armies ever stood ready to fight each other, Arjuna was haunted by the guilt of killing his own relatives, teacher and friends. He dropped his bow named ‘Gandiva’ and seemed succumbed to the situation. Krishna, understanding his situation and for the sake of motivating him, narrated very long teachings and told him about the reality of Yoga, soul, life, death and reincarnation.THE BELIEFS: Before we get into the beliefs of ‘The Gita’, it is essential to know few facts about the narrator. Apart from the fact that he was the incarnation of Vishnu, he was known to be very tactful and mischievous god, someone like ‘Loki’ from norse mythology. Though unlike ‘Loki’ Krishna used his tact and tricks for goodness but as we all know the victorious is never villain because he supervises the facts and history being written in his era. Who knows if ‘Loki’ could have won the battles against ‘Thor’ then he may have projected himself as the good one and Thor as the villain. ‘कर्मणयेवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन’ is one of the most famous lines from the book. It says that you should do your duties and not worry about the results. This line has been misinterpreted and has been misunderstand by many people. It seems as the basic principle on which corporate works. They want us to do our work and forget about the incentives. But in book, Krishna suggests Arjuna that you should not associate yourself with the result because whatever which happened, is happening or will happen is due to me (the supreme power), hence you should not accuse yourself for any of the incidents occurring or which is about to take place. There are numerous teachings in this book which tells us about life and death. Many of the teachings are relevant and many of them seem just literature and unpractical. THE CONCLUSION: This book has been rewritten and translated in many languages, and every time it happens, new meanings of the ‘Shlokas’ and new facts are unearthed. Actually ‘The Bhagavad Gita’ is like a mirror. You see what you wish to. If you want to run away from your daily routine forever and be a ‘Sanyasi’ you will see ‘Vairagya’ in the book. If you are a warrior then you will see justification of murdering people in it. Even if you are a thief or criminal, you see your actions as that of god’s, you are just medium. So, it works like a mirror and everyone who reads it, derives his own meanings. In whole book the narrator talks about ‘Yoga’ and its different forms but even though the teachings are clear, one can manipulate it for his own benefit. The three forms of ‘Yoga’, goodness, passion and ignorance are very confusing because no one other than you can judge your actions. The brain which controls the soul or the soul which supervises the brain will do everything which can make the body’s situation better without worrying about being good or bad and it will be considered as his ‘Karma’, seems strange. It is confusing for readers as how people rewriting ‘Gita’ differ from the original one (including Swami Prabhupada). For me ‘Gita’ is just a bunch of instructions given to Arjuna to make him fight. If Krishna talks about being ‘Yogi’ and not being materialistic then what was ‘the slaughtering’ of millions of people for just getting a piece of land. Whenever I read about ‘Duryodhna’ I feel bad because he was not an evil like Ravana, Kansa and many others. He was just a spoiled kid who eventually died because of his wrong beliefs.To conclude, I will suggest you that if you are going to read this, just be neutral and learn whatever you want to. Applying its all teachings in real life is almost impossible. So, try and develop your own outcomes with its guidance. It teaches you to be happy in whatever you do, small or big and don’t worry about its goodness and badness because the only one, who can judge you, is the soul which has the essence of god. All the Brahmins, judges, police, politicians, parents and teachers are the structures of this society not someone you should must obey to. The supreme power is soul and whatever he does, is eventually right (At least politicians would feel happy if they get such clean-chit).
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  • TAB
    January 1, 1970
    Let me explain, I hate writing in books. I think it sullies the text, I think it mires the next reader's experience and I think it aesthetically just doesn't look good. But never have I written more in a book then in this one. Written notes, underline, bracketed, I went off the rails on this one and why? Because I had to just to keep up? Partially but more than that; I think it was because I wanted to grow along with Arjuna in the book as Krishna dropped his wisdom on the both of us and to disti Let me explain, I hate writing in books. I think it sullies the text, I think it mires the next reader's experience and I think it aesthetically just doesn't look good. But never have I written more in a book then in this one. Written notes, underline, bracketed, I went off the rails on this one and why? Because I had to just to keep up? Partially but more than that; I think it was because I wanted to grow along with Arjuna in the book as Krishna dropped his wisdom on the both of us and to distinguish myself from Arjuna's whiny little self at the beginning. I did stop writing toward the end but my enjoyment of the text did not diminish for it.What I loved about this book, story, parable or what have you is that this is how I want to approach faith and religion. I think there are so many people that as Krishna points out get so caught up in the scripture that they miss the point. I realize at the same time though that accomplishing the goals of action without desire or thought of result is a true journey and a task far beyond me as I am now, but it's definitely worth striving for. It's better to do your duty poorly than someone else's duty exceptionally. I like that idea and I don't think it's individualistic because charity and worship and a part of it, but it's important to think of the Self rather than the self.This will not be a one-time read nor can it really if I want to really understand the whole thing. Admittedly the gunas are confusing as hell and a few other things but probably with time and further understanding of the world and its beautiful people I'll come to appreciate this book the more and more I read it.
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  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    بهاگاواد گيتا به معنای «سرود خداوند»، اسرارآمیزترین بخش از حماسه هندی ماهابهاراتا، مقدسترين كتاب آيين هندو و ومهمترین متن تاریخی ادبی و فلسفی جهان میباشد.این کتاب نایاب و بسيار كهن، حاوی شرح گفتگوی کریشنا(بزرگترين خدای آيين هندو) و كمانگيری اساطيری به نام آرجونا را نقل میکند. اين گفتگوها پيش از جنگ بزرگ "کوروشـِترا" انجام يافته و افزون بر رويدادهای مربوط به اين جنگ، مسائلی بنیادی همچون آفرینش جهان، سرنوشت انسان، سرشت ایزدی، راههای رسیدن به آسمان، گونههای مختلف یوگا، آرامش ذهن وعدم تعلق به اشیاء بهاگاواد گيتا به معنای «سرود خداوند»، اسرارآمیزترین بخش از حماسه هندی ماهابهاراتا، مقدس‌ترين كتاب آيين هندو و ومهمترین متن تاریخی ادبی و فلسفی جهان می‌باشد.این کتاب نایاب و بسيار كهن، حاوی شرح گفتگوی کریشنا(بزرگترين خدای آيين هندو) و كمانگيری اساطيری به نام آرجونا را نقل می‌کند. اين گفتگوها پيش از جنگ بزرگ "کوروشـِترا" انجام يافته و افزون بر رويدادهای مربوط به اين جنگ، مسائلی بنیادی همچون آفرینش جهان، سرنوشت انسان، سرشت ایزدی، راه‌های رسیدن به آسمان، گونه‌های مختلف یوگا، آرامش ذهن وعدم تعلق به اشیاء دنیوی توسط كريشنا بازگو می‌شود.نكته جالب در مورد بَهاگاواد گيتا ، شيوه شرح پرسش‌ها و پاسخ‌گویی كريشنا است كه پرسش و پاسخ‌های زرتشت با اهورامزدا دراوستا را همانند است و اين خود گويای اشتراك فرهنگ كهن ايرانی آريایی ميان ايرانيان و هنديان می‌باشد.
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