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The Bhagavad Gita

by Anonymous

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9,03489759 (3.95)125
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.… (more)
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» See also 125 mentions

English (72)  Spanish (7)  French (4)  Italian (2)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (89)
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
As someone reading the Bhagavad Gita for the first time, I can't recommend the Eknath Easwaran edition enough. ( )
  Blanchemare | Sep 14, 2022 |
Lyrically amazing but hard to understand without the rest of the Upanishads. ( )
  macleod73 | Sep 14, 2022 |
[English] The best Bhagavad Gita version I have ever read. Pure and clean. Winthrop Sargeant has done a wonderful work, due to his humbleness, he has received critiques. I am sure that after reading the text entirely, all the critiques vanish. An interlinear edition is indispensable in order to catch fully the information that the source aimed to transmit. Thanks Winthrop Sargent and Christopher Key Chapple.

[Italian] La migliore versione in assoluto che abbia mai letto della Bhagavad Gita. Un testo linguisticamente puro. Winthrop Sargeant ha fatto un gran lavoro e per la sua umiltà, ha ricevuto critiche che dopo aver letto il testo sarebbero sicuramente svanite. Una versione interlineare di testi profondi come questo sono la base per chi vuole, in un certo senso, arrivare all'informazione che voleva essere trasmessa dalla fonte. Grazie Winthrop e grazie Christopher Key Chapple.

( )
  giacomomanta | Aug 23, 2022 |
The Hindu spiritual classic, the Bhagavad Gita, is a dialogue between Lord Krishna, the supreme being and Arjuna, about spirituality. Arjuna is about to fight his relatives and does not want to do so. Krishna, disguised as his charioteer, exposes himself for who he truly is, the Lord of all. Covering basic topics of yogic philosophy, the Gita is still relevant for its wisdom, even today. ( )
  phoenixcomet | May 21, 2022 |
श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता*
Review of the Phoenix Books audiobook edition (2018 via Audible) narrated by the adaptor/translator Stephen Mitchell from the original Harmony hardcover (2000) translated from the original Sanskrit (circa 400 BCE)

[A 3.5 rating with reservations, as this is likely a 4 to 5, but an audiobook edition is not recommended if you have no prior familiarity with the text]

The Bhagavad Gita is now Book Six of the massive Indian national epic The Mahabharata, but it is thought to have been initially composed separately. The overall epic tells of a war** between rival clans of a royal family in Northern India and...
The Gita takes place on the battlefield of Kuru at the beginning of the war. Arjuna has his charioteer, Krishna (who turns out to be God incarnate), drive him into the open space between the two armies, where he surveys the combatants. Overwhelmed with dread and pity at the imminent death of so many brave warriors - brothers, cousins and kinsmen - he drops his weapons and refuses to fight. This is the cue for Krishna to begin his teaching about life and deathlessness, duty, nonattachment, the Self, love, spiritual practice, and the inconceivable depths of reality. - excerpt from the Introduction by translator Stephen Mitchell.
See image at https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-acbcc578866b03ca0604f9549b6f5ea2
Lord Krishna reciting the Baghavad Gita to Prince Arjuna on the Kuru Field of Justice. Image sourced from Quora.

I have a regular interest in ancient texts and picked up this audiobook through an Audible Daily Deal, thinking of it as a 'starter pack.' I remember enjoying Stephen Mitchell's adaptation of Gilgamesh: A New English Version (2006), but also remembered that many of Mitchell's translations are considered controversial in the sense that he doesn't fully read in all of the ancient languages such as Akkadian, Sumerian and in the present case Sanskrit, but rather that he crafts his adaptations based on reading several other translations of the work. This is something that he fully acknowledges in his note 'About the Translation' in the print copies of this work, but which is not included in the audiobook edition.

That is one of the issues about the audiobook. The 'About the Translation' explanation note is missing, the Introduction which provides needed context is unhelpfully placed at the very end (the audiobook is 3 hours, of which the first 2.5 hours is the Baghavad Gita, followed by a 1/2 hour Introduction), Notes are not included at all (although this is the usual standard in audiobooks) and a informative Appendix 'The Message of the Gita' by Mohandas K. Gandhi is also dropped. I know all of that because soon after starting the audiobook I realized that I'd need a text to follow and sourced the print version as well.

So all that being said, Stephen Mitchell does provide an excellent and calmly mannered reading of the text, perhaps too calm (I even got ASMR vibes at times) as I did find my mind wandering. If you are going to listen to audiobooks of the Bhagavad Gita, I would definitely recommend having a print edition close at hand to follow along.

Although this is my first time reading and listening to the Baghavad Gita, I've had a partial knowledge of its verses ever since I heard Philip Glass's opera Satyagraha*** (1979) which uses selections from the Baghavad Gita in the original Sanskrit as its text.

* Hindi Sanskrit, romanized as śrīmadbhagavadgītā, English translation 'The Song of the Blessed One.'
** It was a coincidence, but it somehow seems appropriate that I was reading/listening to the Gita while the current Ukrainian / Russian War (Feb 24, 2022 - ?) began, with its smaller Ukrainian forces defending against a massive Russian assault, somewhat in parallel with Prince Arjuna and his 4 brothers of the Pandavas clan vs. the hundreds of cousins in the 'evil' Kauravas clan.
*** Romanized from the Hindi Sanskrit सत्याग्रह, English translation 'Truth Force' or 'Insistence on Truth', the name for Mohandas Gandhi's pacifist resistance movement for Indian human rights and Indian independence.

Trivia and Links
There are 16 language translations of the Baghavad Gita available at Ghagavad Gita.org where you can also listen to audioclip readings of each verse.

The English language libretto of the Philip Glass opera Satyagraha is available at Met Opera here (opens as a pdf file). It does not provide cross-references as to which verses of the Baghavad Gita are used.

Soundtrack
I particularly enjoy the ascending voice patterns of the Act 3 Evening Song / Conclusion of the Philip Glass opera which you can listen to on YouTube here. The Conclusion has also been arranged for solo organ or solo piano, without the vocal text. ( )
  alanteder | Mar 3, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (76 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anonymousprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arnold, EdwinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Besant, Annie W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bhushan, AnnaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bisenieks, ValdisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chaudhuri, AmitIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edgerton, FranklinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fischer, LouisPostscriptsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flood, Gavin D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gansten, MartinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gnoli, RanieroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huxley, AldousIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Isherwood, ChristopherTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, W. J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jyväsjärvi Stuart, MariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martin, CharlesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mascaro, JaunTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, Barbara StollerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prabhavananda, SwamiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sargeant, WinthropTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, HustonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To the memory of
Swami Turiyananda
who was regarded by his master
Sri Ramakrishna
as a perfect embodiment of
that renunciation which is taught in the

Bhagavad Gita
For Gwenn
for her sense
of the ways we are
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, 4th edition, 1987)
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Please do not combine The Bhagavad-Gita with The Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, which has extensive commentary.
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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.

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Book description
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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