The Bhagavad Gita

An extract from the worlds greatest book; The Maharbarata

Arjuna seeking answers from Lord Krishna

The Bhagavad Gita (भगवद्गीता)(often referred to as 'the Gita') translates as "Song of the Lord" - Gita means song and Bhagavad means God. It is an eternal message of spiritual wisdom from ancient India and a 700 verse extract from the Hindu epic scripture; The Mahabharata (chapters 23–40).

Regarded as one of the world’s most valued scriptures, the story line of Bhagavad Gita  is set in the narrative framework of a dialogue between the Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer, Lord Krishna. The conversation takes place as Arjuna faces his duty as a warrior to fight the Dharma Yudhha, a righteous war between the Pandavas and Kauravas* at Kurukshetra, a city in the north Indian state of Haryana.

Arjuna expresses his concerns and is counselled by Lord Krishna enabling him to "fulfil his duty as a warrior to establish Dharma." Yet this setting (in a battlefield) is interpreted as an allegory for the ethical and moral struggles we all face in everyday life. As such, it is one of the most important texts in the history of literature and philosophy as it offers a guide on how to achieve a self-sufficient life.

It is thought that Lord Krishna was born in 3227 BC and that he died in 3102 BC in the Hindu lunisolar calendar. Given all the literature and historical evidence there is little doubt that he was a real life person who attained divine status. Similarly, Arjuna is evidentially real and some people today claim ancestry.

The dialogue as well as a guide to resolving our problems is also seen as a concise guide to Hindu philosophy helping people to understand concepts like Dharma and reaching out to humanity to incite a better life for everyone and promoting peaceful coexistence.

"It is far better to live your own life imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection."

The Bhagavad Gita offers such comfort and insight into life enlightenment that it's regarded with a great deal of respect by thinkers and followers of all faiths. It directs its readers towards a fulfilling and joyous life and the translation by Sir Edwin Arnold that I prefer having read several versions rings true to the original.

“In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Bramin, priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Translations by Sir Edwin Arnold
Print copy
Google archive various formats
Free Audio book
Other Print - Hard copy versions

*The Pandavas and Kauravas are large family clans who as in all wars are so opposed to each others ideas that they fight.


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