The Bhagavad Gita by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa

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 M...

Title:The Bhagavad Gita
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0140449183
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:160 pages

The Bhagavad Gita Reviews

  • Michael
    Oct 12, 2009

    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.

  • Karla Becker
    Apr 02, 2012

    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,

  • Francisco
    Nov 22, 2012

    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.

  • Holly
    Jan 26, 2013

    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)

  • Warwick
    Dec 07, 2014

    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

    (the poem is just one small part of the vast

    ), 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:

    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

    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…

    Yes, but unfortunately also – as with all religions – the badness of those who are bad.

  • Riku Sayuj
    Jan 15, 2015

    To know how we should approach the great Classical works of antiquity, we can look to Ben Jonson’s formulation in "Discoveries":

    To know how we should approach the great Classical works of antiquity, we can look to Ben Jonson’s formulation in "Discoveries":

  • Nandakishore Varma
    Feb 05, 2015

    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):

    -

    And Krishna did so.

    But Arjuna, seeing all his favourite authors arrayed against him, was suddenly loath to fight.

    he said.

    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):

    -

    And Krishna did so.

    But Arjuna, seeing all his favourite authors arrayed against him, was suddenly loath to fight.

    he said.

    And he threw his pen down.

    Krishna smiled and stood up.

    -

    Hearing this, Arjuna was heartened. He picked up his pen, and started to review with renewed vigour.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    Jun 24, 2016

    سرود خدایان هندو Bhagvad - gita, Anonymous,

    عنوان: 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؛

    نامهای فارسی: بگودگیتا، باگاوادگیتا

    مهمترین 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 18 فصل (فصلهای بیست و پنج تا چهل و دوم بخش ششم ماهابهاراتا) و حدود 700 بیت است،

    سرود خدایان هندو Bhagvad - gita, Anonymous,

    عنوان: 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؛

    نام‌های فارسی: بگودگیتا، باگاوادگیتا

    مهمترین 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 18 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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