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The Bhagavad Gita by Anonymous
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The Bhagavad Gita

by Anonymous

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English (55)  Italian (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (59)
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Enlightenment is an unachievable goal. Renounce one's desire for enlightenment.

translation by Swami Prabhavananda -
From Chapter VI: The Yoga of Meditation
the words of Sri Krishna:

He who does the task
Dictated by duty,
Caring nothing
For fruit of the action,
He is a yogi,
A true sannyasin.
But he who follows
His vow to the letter
By mere refraining:
Lighting no fire
At the ritual offering,
Making excuse
For avoidance of labor,
He is no yogi,
No true sannyasin.
...
Earth, stone and gold seem all alike to one who has mastered his senses.
...
Now that he holds it
He knows this treasure
Above all others:
Faith so certain
Shall never be shaken
By heaviest sorrow.
To achieve this certainty is to know the real meaning of the word yoga. It is the breaking of contact with pain. You must practice this yoga resolutely, without losing heart. Renounce all your desires, forever. They spring from willfulness.
  maryoverton | Apr 15, 2014 |
I've read this translation, along with Easwaran's three volume commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, more than once. I don't really understand it, but I can see why this is a classic text of world spirituality. What I don't understand is what I need to understand better. ( )
  YesNoMaybe | Feb 22, 2014 |
The Bhagavad-Gita, subtitled, Krishna’s Counsel in Time of War, if taken literally, is a little difficult to abide with. A young prince, Arjuna, is on a battlefield, but sees “no good in killing my kinsmen in battle”, and thus lays down his arms. This seems like a very good and enlightened thing to do. However, the lord Krishna, in the form of his charioteer, then instructs him through various teachings that it’s his sacred duty to fight, that he must do so, and in the end Arjuna agrees; his “delusion is destroyed”, something we may have difficulty accepting.

Along the way Krishna flexes his might, pointing out in one chapter that among other things he is Vishnu, Shiva, the Ganges, “the thunderbolt among weapons”, death, “indestructible time”, “the dice game of gamblers”, “everywhere at once”, “the beginning, middle, and end of creations”, etc etc. This heavy-handed commanding of Arjuna, similar to God in the Old Testament with Abraham and Job, is also off-putting at first glance.

One asks, how can this be a spiritual book, versus an alternate story which might have Arjuna remaining a nonviolent pacifist to the very end, accepting whatever punishment from this overbearing God that resulted?

One must read the Gita as countless others have throughout history, as a parable. I believe the “time of war” is the war within one’s own heart in times of difficulty, which are inescapable in life; the enemies one must kill are the desires and attachments which lead to suffering. The way to overcome these is through discipline and a sense of detachment from one’s emotions. This includes losing one’s fear even of death, since it is inevitable for all things, and in fulfilling one’s sacred duties (one’s Dhama) without regard for rewards or consequences. It takes discipline and a steadfastness to do this, but it’s through these means that one can have a tranquil mind, and transcend the limitations of worldly existence.

I believe the reason Krishna “flexes his muscles” in the text is to remind us that these things we feel, these powerful emotions which seem so important and like the entire world to us when we feel them, are nothing when compared against the eternity of time and the infinity of space. When put in that context, one sees that we shouldn’t concentrate on them, that they (and we ourselves) are meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but we can ironically use this knowledge to become stronger, and to overcome suffering.

Doing one’s sacred duty may in fact require one to be nonviolent, and it’s notable that Gandhi and other spiritual men have appreciated the Gita. As Thomas Merton wrote: “Arjuna has an instinctive repugnance for war, and that is the chief reason why war is chosen as the example of the most repellent kind of duty. The Gita is saying that even in what appears to be the most ‘unspiritual’, one can act with pure intentions and thus be guided by Krishna consciousness. This consciousness itself will impose the most strict limitations on one’s own use of violence because that use will not be directed by one’s own selfish interests, still less by cruelty, sadism, and blood-lust.”

It’s an impressive text at 2200-2500 years old, and also poetic. I still recall reading the line “I see…the moon and sun in your eyes” while camping in Yosemite National Park long ago, and thinking of it as recently as this past week. Oppenheimer is famous for having quoted the Gita when he saw the first nuclear test: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”. I don’t think it’s necessarily the pinnacle of philosophical or religious works, but it is profound and certainly worth reading.

Quotes:
On doing one’s duty, without regard for the results; just doing it:
“Be intent on action,
Not on the fruits of action;
Avoid attraction to the fruits
And attachment to inaction!”

On enlightenment:
“Truly free is the sage who controls
His senses, mind, and understanding,
Who focuses on freedom
And dispels desire, fear, and anger.”

On love:
“O Arjuna, only by the
unswerving love of a human heart,
can my supreme state be seen,
and known, and attained.” ( )
2 vote gbill | Jan 12, 2014 |
"The most important, the most influential, and the most luminous of all Hindu scriptures (R.C. Zaehner, from the back cover)." Included in our Quaker library with other texts which offer openings into several of the world's most influential spiritual traditions. ( )
  strawberrycreekmtg | Jan 8, 2014 |
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. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (107 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anonymousprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bhagavad-Gitasecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arnold, EdwinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edgerton, FranklinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huxley, AldousIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Isherwood, ChristopherTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, W. J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mascaró, JuanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, Barbara StollerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prabhavananda, SwamiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, HustonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
To the memory of Swami Turiyananda who was regarded by his master Sri Ramakrishna as a perfect embodiment of the renunciation which is taught in the Bhagavad-Gita
First words
Nowadays, it is becoming fashionable to translate the world's great books into some form of Basic English, or everyday speech. (Translators' Preface)
O Sanjaya, tell me what happened at Kurukshetra, the field of dharma, where my family and the Pandavas gathered to fight.
PREFACE to the Nabar/Tumkur edition: Several translations and commentaries on the Bhagavadgītā exit, many of them comprehensive and thorough.
INTRODUCTION to the Nabar/Tumkur edition:

The Bhagavadgītā in Indian Life:

The first thing about the Bhagavadgītā that any non-Hindu or non-Indian needs to understand is that it incorporates what my broadly be termed the Hindu view of life more than any other extant Hindu text.
FIRST WORDS of the Nabar/Tumkur edition:

Chapter I

Yoga of the Hesitation and Dejection of Arjuna

Dhṛtarāṣṭra said:

O Sañjaya, what did my sons and the sons of Pāṇḍu do when, desiring war, they gathered together on the sacred field of Kurukṣetra?
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Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine The Bhagavad-Gita with The Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, which has extensive commentary.
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De Bhagavad Gita ('s Heren Lied) is een van de oudste en mooiste boeken uit de wereldliteratuur. Het is de bij bel voor de oosterling. De oorsprong van dit boek gaat terug tot voorboeddhistische tijden. De Gita en de belangrijkste Mahayana-geschriften hebben elkaar wederzijds beïnvloed, maar de ons bekende op schrift gestelde Gita-teksten dateren uit de tweede eeuw na Christus. De Bhagavad Gita is een deel van het beroemde Indische epos, Mahabharata. Het geeft het gesprek weer tussen Arjuna, de boogschutter, en zijn wagenmenner Krishna, de Heer. Arjuna staat vlak voor de grote veldslag tegen zijn bloedverwanten, leraren en vrienden. Bij het aanschouwen van de vijandelijke legerscharen, waaronder zich zo vele vrienden bevinden, raakt hij vertwijfeld. Hij wil de oorlog niet meer. Dan ontwikkelt zich het gesprek met Krishna. Arjuna ontvangt nu lering over het wezen van leven en dood. Door het inzicht wordt de strijder getransformeerd tot de wetende, de kenner, geheel toegewijd aan de Allerhoogste.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553213652, Paperback)

The Bhagavad-Gita has been an essential text of Hindu culture in India since the time of its composition in the first century A.D. One of the great classics of world literature, it has inspired such diverse thinkers as Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, and T.S. Eliot; most recently, it formed the core of Peter Brook's celebrated production of the Mahabharata.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:49 -0400)

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"The Bhagavad Gia is universally acknowledged as as one of the world's literary and spiritual masterpieces. It is the core text of the Hindu tradition...This translation sings with the clarity, the vigor, and the intensity of the original Sanskrit."--Cover p. 4.… (more)

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