WHAT IS THE BHAGAVAD GITA?
(FOR 200-HOUR YOGA TEACHER TRAINEES)
~ What is the Bhagavad Gita?
~ When was the Bhagavad Gita Written & by Whom?
~ Why is the Bhagavad Gita Considered Such an Important Text?
~ What does the Bhagavad Gita Teach Us About Yoga?
~ What Are Some of the Most Essential Teachings of the Bhagavad Gita?
~ How Might I Use These Teachings in My Life, Practice, and Teaching?
What is the Bhagavad Gita?
What, you don’t know? What!?!?!?
It’s only one of the greatest masterpieces of world spiritual literature, ranking up there with the Bible, Qur’an, & the Hobbit! It’s only read and loved by millions and millions of people the world over, particularly the Hindu faithful in India. It’s only one of the most profound presentations of yoga that we might ever find within the covers of one book! It’s only the very scripture that Thoreau called “stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy,” Hesse called it “a beautiful revelation of life’s wisdom,” and Gandhi called it a source of comfort form him in troubled moments! And you didn’t know that yet?
What’s up with dat?
Seriously, it’s something definitely worth reading and exploring, which is why we’re here, right?
If you haven’t yet read the Gita (as it’s affectionately called), I recommend the translation and commentary by Eknath Easwaran (click HERE) to start. Keep in mind that there are many translations of the Bhagavad Gita out there now, and some of them are better than others. The one that I’m currently using for putting together this section is Winthrop Sargeant’s “The Bhagavad Gita” (SUNY Press), because it’s a more complete work intended for the serious student of the Gita.
Let’s start with the basics…
First, the name. Bhagavan = Lord, God.
Gita = Song
Put the two together you get Bhagavad Gita,
the Song of God.
Why is it the Song of God?
Because in it, Krishna, who is considered to be God (an avatar/incarnation of Vishnu, the Preserver/Sustainer, but also the Supreme Godhead), gives the deeper teachings of Yoga to Arjuna, a great warrior who is about to fight a terrible battle against his own kinsmen.
What are some of those teachings?
When Was the Bhagavad Gita Written, and By Whom?
Good question! Go figure! First, though, who is it that wants to know? What if this ancient scripture is really not so ancient? What if it’s just a fairy tale, never really happened? What if the text was altered so much over time that the original message is now lost? If so, would that give us just the excuse we need to ignore its message? And what if I were to tell you that revelations such as this one are still occurring, even to this day, and that there are contemporary books that we can date with equally profound messages? It’s important to transcend the illusion of time here. This is a timeless message. It is timeless, and yes, it was meant for a particular time and particular culture. The deeper message of the work is universal, applying in all times and places. Remember this saying: “Just because it never happened doesn’t mean it ain’t true!”
Ok, that rant out of the way, tradition has it that the actual war about which the Gita relates started on February 20, 3102 B.C. Most academic scholars, on the other hand, say the date is more like 800 B.C (Georg Feuerstein suggested 1500 B.C.) Most scholars seem to think that the work itself was composed sometime between 500 and 200 B.C. (i.e., before the time of Jesus), with interpolations (additions) to the text added later by those with a stake in promoting a certain message.
Why is the Bhagavad Gita Considered So Important?
Another good question! Who really knows?
That said, generally what I have found is that when someone or something reaches let’s say global recognition, there’s something very powerful about it, something of truly great quality that transcends the norm. Today, a song or artist will achieve such global status, for example, when their CD or video goes “viral.” You can’t fool people in this regard – they will always be able to recognize greatness and celebrate it through that recognition. So the Bhagavad Gita is perhaps so popular because it is a work of such rare quality, such profundity that speaks on some of the most key issues regarding spiritual life.
There are other reasons, too, that this work has received both top critical and popular reviews.
First of all, it’s dramatic and epic, and we all love that. It’s a story, but it’s really not a story – it’s just a dialogue between the Godman Krishna and his friend/student, Arjuna. Yet in that dialogue is some very very profound philosophy, stuff that still holds up to this very day. Universal issues like War & Peace, Duty, the Spiritual Path, Meditation, Devotion, Metaphysics, the Way to Wisdom and God-Realization…It’s all in there, all in this small little book that might take a night to read but a lifetime to assimilate and truly understand.
Why do I personally find it to be so worth reading (and writing about)? Well, like any great work of art, it speaks on many levels. One is just the issue of war and peace, and how Krishna (God, remember) almost unbelievably counsels Arjuna to fight and kill others, in this case his own kinsmen.
Why would God do such a thing?
Krishna presents an argument for a “Just War,” or why sometimes war IS justified. Yet on an even deeper level, the Bhagavad Gita teaches the way of the yogi, the evenmindedness with which the true yogi sees and acts. According to Krishna’s words to Arjuna, the true yogi views everything the same – pleasure and pain, “good” fortune, “bad” fortune, war, peace, friend, enemy, Brahmin, outcaste, pure, impure – it’s all one, there’s no difference, no separation. So this gives me a bit of a mirror or measure by which I can witness my own progress in transcending duality. Am I finding things of this world bothering me? Which of my buttons keep getting pushed, and why? Where is my practice going astray, what am I missing? What am I still attached to that needs to be let go of, where does my ego still have a stake firmly planted and is not budging? What are my personal demons that need to be slain, etc., etc. etc. Anyway, that’s why it’s helpful for me. And if you should need some more inspiration to take this all a bit more seriously and dive into it, here’s what some wise guys have said about this work over the millennia…
In Praise of the Gita
“When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.” ~ Albert Einstein
“The Bhagavad-Gita has a profound influence on the spirit of mankind by its devotion to God which is manifested by actions.” ~ Dr. Albert Schweizer
“The Bhagavad-Gita is the most systematic statement of spiritual evolution of endowing value to mankind. It is one of the most clear and comprehensive summaries of perennial philosophy ever revealed; hence its enduring value is subject not only to India but to all of humanity.” ~ Aldous Huxley
“The Bhagavad-Gita is a true scripture of the human race a living creation rather than a book, with a new message for every age and a new meaning for every civilization.” ~ Rishi Aurobindo
“In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad-Gita, in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seems puny and trivial.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
“The marvel of the Bhagavad-Gita is its truly beautiful revelation of lifes wisdom which enables philosophy to blossom into religion.” ~ Herman Hesse
“The Bhagavad-Gita calls on humanity to dedicate body, mind and soul to pure duty and not to become mental voluptuaries at the mercy of random desires and undisciplined impulses.”
“When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad-Gita and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. Those who meditate on the Gita will derive fresh joy and new meanings from it every day.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad-Gita. It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.”
“The Bhagavad-Gita is an empire of thought and in its philosophical teachings Krishna has all the attributes of the full-fledged montheistic deity and at the same time the attributes of the Upanisadic absolute.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“In order to approach a creation as sublime as the Bhagavad-Gita with full understanding it is necessary to attune our soul to it.” ~ Rudolph Steiner
“From a clear knowledge of the Bhagavad-Gita all the goals of human existence become fulfilled. Bhagavad-Gita is the manifest quintessence of all the teachings of the Vedic scriptures.” ~ Adi Sankara
“The secret of karma yoga which is to perform actions without any fruitive desires is taught by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
Watch! Robert Oppenheimer quotes Bhagavad Gita
Does all this make any kind of BiG difference for you? : )
Essential Quotes from the Gita
(Wait, got a little time on your hands? You’re gonna need it, this is rather lengthy!)
What is Yoga?
Evenness of Mind
~ “Fixed in yoga, perform actions, having abandoned attachment, Arjuna, and having become indifferent to success or failure. It is said that evenness of mind is yoga [samatvam yoga uchyate].” (II.48)
Yoga is Skill in Action
~ “He whose wisdom is established casts off, here in the world, both good and evil actions; therefore devote yourself to yoga! Yoga is skill in action [yogah karmasu kaushalam].” (II.50)
True Renunciation is Yoga
~ “That which they call renunciation (samnyaasam), know that to be yoga, Arjuna. Without renouncing selfish purpose, no one becomes a yogin.” (VI.2)
At the Beginning is Like Poison, But in the End Like Nectar
“That [abhyasa, or yoga practice] which in the beginning is like poison, but in the end like nectar…That happiness, born from the tranquility of one’s own mind, is declared to be sattvic.” (XVIII.37)
Who is the True Yogi/Sage?
~ “Here there is a single resolute understanding, Arjuna. The thoughts of the irresolute have many branches and are, indeed, endless.” (II.41)
~ “When he leaves behind all desires emerging from the mind, Arjuna, and is contented in the Self by the Self, then he is said to be one whose wisdom is steady [stithaprajnas].” (II.55)
~ “He whose mind is not agitated in misfortune, whose desire for pleasures has disappeared, whose passion, fear, and anger have departed, and whose meditation is steady, is said to be a sage.” (II. 56)
“He who is without attachment on all sides, encountering this or that, pleasant or unpleasant, neither rejoicing nor disliking; his wisdom stands firm.” (II.57)
Not Bound by the Senses
“And when he withdraws completely the senses from the objects of the senses, as a tortoise withdraws its limbs into its shell, his wisdom stands firm.” (II.58)
“The turbulent senses carry away forcibly the mind, Arjuna, even of the striving man of wisdom.”
“For a man dwelling on the objects of the senses, an attachment to them is born. From attachment, desire is born. From desire, anger is born. From anger arises delusion. From delusion, loss of memory. From loss of the memory, destruction of discrimination. From destruction of discrimination one is lost. [But] With the elimination of desire and hatred, even though moving among the objects of the senses, he who is controlled by the Self, by self-restraint [vidheyaatmaa], attains tranquility [prasaadam].” (II. 62-64)
Delighted in the Self Alone
“He whose delight is only in the Self [aatma], whose satisfaction is in the Self, and who is content only in the Self – for him the need to act does not exist…He has no purpose at all in action, or in non-action, and he has no need of any being for any purpose whatsoever.” (III. 17-18)
“He who finds his happiness within, his delight within, and his light within – this yogin attains the bliss of Brahman, becoming Brahman [Brahmanirvaanam, Brahmabhuutas – extinction of the small self, absorption in the Great Self].” (V.26)
Sees Action in Inaction, And Inaction in Action
“He who perceives inaction in action, and action in inaction, is wise [buddhimaan] among men. He is a yogi and performs all actions.” (IV.18)
Content & Constant
“Content with whatever comes to him, transcending the dualities (i.e. pleasure, pain, etc.), free from envy, constant in mind whether in success or failure – even though he [the yogi/sage] acts, he is not bound.” (IV.22)
Sees Only the Self/Brahman Everywhere
“Brahman is the offering, Brahman is the oblation poured out by Brahman into the fire of Brahman. Brahman is to be attained by him who always see Brahman in action.” (IV.24)
“The wise see the same (atman) in a Brahman endowed with wisdom and cultivation, in a cow, in an elephant, and even in a dog or in an outcaste.” (V.18)
“He who is equal-minded [samabuddhir] toward friend, companion, and enemy; who is neutral among enemies and kinsmen; and who is impartial among the righteous and also among the evil, is to be distinguished among men.” (VI.9)
“He who is disciplined by yoga sees the Self present in all beings, and all beings present in the Self.
He sees the same (Self – atman) at all times [samadarshana].”
“The sage who highest aim is release; whose senses, mind and intellect are controlled; from whom desire, fear, and anger have departed; is forever liberated.” (V.28)
(See also: VI.32)
The True Sage/Yogi is Rare
“Of thousands of men, scarcely anyone strives for perfection [siddhaye/siddhi]; even of the striving and perfected [siddha], scarcely anyone knows Me in truth.” (VII.3)
“Alike toward enemy and friend, the same in honor and disgrace, alike in cold and heat, pleasure and pain, freed from attachment, indifferent to blame or praise, silent, content with anything whatever, homeless, steady-minded, full of devotion; this man [or woman] is dear [priya] to me.” (XII.19)
“Absence of pride, freedom from hypocrisy, non-violence, patience, rectitude, service of the teacher, purity, constancy, self-restraint, indifference to the objects of the sense, and absence of egotism; keeping in view the evils of birth, death, old age, disease, and pain; non-attachment, absence of clinging to son, wife, home, and so on…constant even-mindedness [samachittatvam] toward desired and undesired events, and unswerving devotion to Me with single-minded yoga, frequenting secluded places, distaste for the society of men, constancy in knowledge of the supreme Spirit, observing the goal of knowledge of truth – this is declared to be true knowledge. Ignorance [ajnaanam] is what is contrary to this.” (XIII.7-11]
[See also end of Chapter XIV; beginning of XVI)
Methods of Yoga
Be Unattached to Action
“…Constantly unattached, perform that action which is your duty. Indeed, by performing action while unattached, man attains the Supreme.” (III.19)
“Men who constantly practice this teaching of Mine, believing, not sneering, are also released form the bondage of actions.” (III.31)
“I Am Not the Doer.”
“’I do not do anything.’ Thus, steadfast in yoga, the knower of truth should think, whether seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, walking, sleeping, breathing, talking, excreting, grasping, opening the eyes and shutting the eyes, believing ‘The senses abide in the objects of the senses.’”
End the Cycle of Rebirth
“They whose minds are absorbed in that (i.e. the Supreme), whose selves are fixed on that, whose basis is that, who hold that as the highest object, whose evils have been shaken off by knowledge [jnana] – go to the end of rebirth.” (V.17)
How to Meditate
“The yogin should concentrate constantly on the Self, remaining in solitude, alone, with controlled mind and body, having no desires and destitute of possessions…Establishing a firm seat for himself in a clean place, not too high, not too low, covered with a cloth, an antelope skin, and kusha grass…There, having directed his mind to a single object, with his thought and the activity of the senses controlled, seating himself on the seat, he should practice yoga for the purpose of self-purification. Holding the body, head and neck erect, motionless and steady, gazing at the tip of his own nose and not looking in any direction…with quieted mind, banishing fear, established in the brahmacharin vow of celibacy, controlling the mind, with thoughts fixed on Me, the yogin should sit, concentrated, devoted to me…Little by little, he should come to rest, with the intellect [buddhi] firmly held. His mind having been established in the Self, he should not think of anything…Whenever the unsteady mind, moving to and fro, wanders away, he should restrain it and control it in the Self.” (VI.10-14, etc.)
Be Indifferent to Worldly Objects
“Without doubt, O Arjuna, the mind is unsteady and difficult to restrain; but by practice, Arjuna, and by indifference to worldly objects, it is restrained…I agree that yoga is difficult to attain by him whose self is uncontrolled; but by him whose self is controlled, by striving, it is possible to attain through proper means.” (VI.35-36)
Constantly Think of God
“He who thinks of Me constantly, whose mind does not ever go elsewhere, for him, the yogin who is constantly devoted, I am easy to reach, Arjuna.” (VIII.14)
Practice Until One’s Dying Moment
“And at the hour of death, he who dies remembering Me, having relinquished the body, goes to My state of being. In this matter there is no doubt…Moreover, whatever state of being he remembers when he gives up the body at the end, he goes respectively to that state of being, Arjuna, transformed into that state of being…Therefore, at all times meditate on Me, with your mind and intellect fixed on Me. In this way, you shall surely come to Me.” (VIII.5-7; see also continuation)
Easier to Worship God in Manifest than Unmanifest Form
“The trouble of those whose minds are fixed on the unmanifest is greater, for the goal of the unmanifest is attained with difficulty by embodied beings.” (XII.5)
Renunciation of the Fruit of Action is the Highest
“Knowledge [jnana] is indeed better than practice [abhyasa]; meditation [dhyana] is superior to knowledge; renunciation of the fruit of action is better than meditation. Peace immediately follows renunciation.”
Follow the Golden Rule
“Seeing indeed the same Lord (Self/God) established everywhere, he does not injure the Self by the self. Thereupon he goes to the supreme goal.”
Krishna’s Final Advice to Arjuna
“Fix your mind on Me, worshipping Me, sacrificing to Me, bowing down to Me. In this way you shall come truly to Me, I promise, for you are dear to me…Abandoning all duties, take refuge in me alone. I shall liberate you from all evils; do not grieve.” (XVIII.65-66)
Obstacles to Yoga
Don’t Delude Yourself
“He who sits, restraining his organs of action, while in his mind brooding over the objects of the senses, with a deluded mind, is said to be a hypocrite.” (III.6)
“Actions in all cases are performed by the qualities of material nature [gunas]. He whose mind is confused by egoism imagines, “I am the doer.” (III.27)
Do Your Own Duty
“Better one’s own duty [swadharma] though deficient than the duty of another well performed. Better is death in one’s own duty. The duty of another invites danger.” (III.35; also XVIII.47)
“As fire is obscured by smoke, and a mirror by dust, as the embryo is enveloped by the membrane, so the intellect is obscured by passion…therefore, restraining the senses, O Arjuna, kill this demon which destroys knowledge and discrimination.” (III.38+41)
Be Content Only with the Eternal
“Pleasures born of contact, indeed, are wombs (i.e. sources) of pain, since they have a beginning and an end (i.e. are not eternal), Arjuna. The wise man is not content with them.” (V.22)
Walk The Middle Path
“Yoga is not eating too much, nor is it not eating at all; and not the habit of sleeping too much, and not keeping awake either, Arjuna…For him who is moderate in food and diversion, whose actions are disciplined, who is moderate in sleep and waking, yoga destroys all sorrow.” (VI.16-17)
The Fallen Yogi
“Arjuna, neither here on earth nor in heaven above is there found to be destruction of him [who strives for yoga]; no one who does good goes to misfortune, My son…Attaining the worlds of the meritorious, having dwelt there for endless years, he who has fallen from yoga is born again in the dwelling of the radiant and the illustrious…Or he may be born in the family of wise yogins; such a birth as this is very difficult to attain in the world…There he regains the knowledge derived from a former body, and he strives onward once more toward perfection, Arjuna…” (VI.40-43)
Difficult to Transcend Illusion
“Divine indeed is this illusion [maya] of Mine made up of the three qualities, and difficult to penetrate; only those who resort to Me transcend this illusion.”
Binding Nature of the Gunas
“Sattva, rajas, tamas, thus, the qualities born of material nature, bind fast in the body, O Arjuna, the imperishable embodied One (the atman)… Of these, sattva, free from impurity, illuminating and free from disease, binds by attachment to happiness [sukhasangena – attachment to the good] and by attachment to knowledge [jnanasangena], Arjuna…know that rajas is characterized by passion arising from thirst and attachment. This binds fast the embodies one, Arjuna, by attachment to action [karmasangena]…Know indeed that tamas is born of ignorance, which confuses all embodied beings. This binds fast, Arjuna, with negligence, indolence, and sleepiness…When an embodied being transcends these three qualities, which are the source of the body, released from birth, death, old age, and pain, he attains immortality.” (XIV.5-10, etc.]
The Threefold Gate of Hell – Lust, Anger, and Greed
“This is the threefold gate of hell, destructive of the self: Lust (kama, also “desire”), Anger [krodha], and Greed [lobha]. Therefore one should abandon these three.” (XVI.21)
Extreme Austerities Are Not Necessary
“Men who undergo terrible austerities [tapas] not enjoined by the scriptures, accompanied by hypocrisy and egotism, along with desire and passion…and also torturing Me thus within the body, know them to be of demoniacal resolves.” (XVII.5-6; see later in this chapter for sattvic austerities)
[See also Chapter XVI for the “Demoniacal” nature.]
Rajasic Renunciation is Not True Renunciation
“He who abandons action merely because it is difficult, or because of fear of bodily suffering, performs rajasic renunciation. He does not obtain the fruit of that renunciation.” (XVIII.8)
Who is Krishna?
“Although I am birthless and My nature is imperishable…Although I am the Lord of all beings, yet, by controlling my own material nature, I come into being by My own power.” (IV.6)
An Avatar – Upholds Dharma
“Whenever a decrease of righteousness exists, Arjuna, and there is a rising up of unrighteousness, then I manifest Myself. For the protection of the good and destruction of evil doers, for the sake of establishing righteousness, I am born in every age.” (IV.7-8)
Not Bound by Action
“Actions do not taint Me. I have no desire for the fruit of action. Thus he who comprehends Me is not bound by actions.” (IV.14; see also IX.9; XIII.28-31)
Nothing Higher than Krishna
“Nothing higher than Me exists, O Arjuna. On me all this universe is strung like pearls on a thread.” (VII.7)
“Men whose knowledge has been carried away by these and those desires, resort to other gods, having to this and that religious rite, constrained by their own material natures…Whoever desires to honor with belief whatever worshipped form, on him I bestow immovable faith…He who, endowed with this faith, desires to propitiate that form, receives from it his desires, because those desires are decreed by Me…But temporary is the fruit for those of small understanding. To the gods the godworshippers go; My worshippers come surely to Me.” (VII.20-23)
[See also the rest of Chapter 7 & Chapter 11]
All Things Are In God, But God Is Not In All Things
“This whole universe is pervaded by Me in My unmanifest aspect. All beings abide in Me; I do not abide in them.” (IX.4)
Krishna is Both Transcendent & Immanent
“Since I transcend the perishable and am higher than the imperishable, there I am, in the world, and in the Vedas, celebrated as the supreme Spirit [purushottama].” (XV.18)
No One is Ever Lost
“If even the evil doer worships me with undivided devotion, he is to be thought of as righteous [sadhu] for he has indeed rightly resolved…Quickly he becomes virtuous and goes to everlasting peace. Arjuna, know for certain that no devotee of Mine is ever lost.” (IX.30-31)
Brings Light to the Darkness
“To those who are constantly steadfast, those who worship Me with love, I give the yoga of discrimination by which they come to Me…Out of compassion for them, I, who dwell within their own beings, destroy the darkness [tamas] born of ignorance with the shining lamp of knowledge [jnana].” (X.10-11)
(See also Chapters 10, 11, especially 11)
Splendor of a Thousand Suns
“If a thousand suns (suryasahasrasya) should rise all at once in the sky, such a splendor would resemble the splendor of that great Being.”
(XI.12; verse that came to mind when Robert Oppenheimer witnessed the explosion of the first atom bomb in New Mexico.)
Can Only Be Known By Pure Devotion
“By undistracted devotion/worship/love [bhakti] alone can I be known, and be truly seen in this form, and be entered into, Arjuna…He who does all work for Me, considers Me as the Supreme, is devoted to Me, abandons all attachment, and is free from enmity toward any being, comes to Me, Arjuna.” (XI.54-55; see also next chapter where Krishna says that also those worship Krishna in the formless sense also attain him.)
Abides in the Heart of All Beings, Creator of Illusion
“The Lord abides in the hearts of all beings, Arjuna, causing all beings to revolve, by the power of illusion [maya], as if fixed on a machine [yantra].” (XVIII.61; Shankara commented: “Like puppets fixed to a merry-go-round)
QuestEssential Lessons of this Session
~ Please give yourself time and space to read, re-read, and digest the Bhagavad Gita, it will make more and more sense as you go along.
~ The Bhagavad Gita (“Song of God”) is a profound explanation of yoga (“the knowledge more secret than all that is secret”) by Lord Krishna (God incarnate) to the great warrior, Arjuna, in the context of a great battle that Arjuna is about to fight. Krishna first explains to Arjuna why it is his duty (dharma) to fight this battle, even though he will be killing his own friends and family.
~ Krishna speaks to Arjuna of 4 distinct paths of yoga – Karma Yoga (the Yoga of Selfless Action), Jnana Yoga (the Yoga of Discriminative Knowledge), Bhakti Yoga (the Yoga of Love and Devotion), and Raja Yoga (the Yoga of Meditation) – and how he might integrate all of these paths together. When we realize that we are all Arjuna, then we understand that this teaching was/is intended for each and every one of us.
1) True or False. In the children’s rhyme that goes “little boy blue and the man in the moon,” Krishna is little boy blue and Arjuna is the man in the moon (or the rabbit ; ).
2) True or False. According to tradition, the Bhagavad Gita took place approximately 5000 years ago.
3) The Bhagavad Gita talks about different paths of yoga, namely 4 major ones. What are they?
4) True or False. The Bhagavad Gita is so much like the Bible that the 23rd section of it begins, “The Lord is my Cowherd, I shall not want…”
5) Why does Arjuna not want to go to battle at the outset of the Bhagavad Gita? If you were Krishna, what would you say to him?
6) How could Gandhi be such a fan of the Bhagavad Gita if he was all about ahimsa (nonviolence)?
7) What are the qualities of a true yogi (or person of wisdom/sage) according to the Gita?
8) Why should we even care about the Bhagavad Gita anyway? Does reading it or knowing about it really change anything for us?
Sources & Resources to Further Thy Quest
Articles & Essays
Gandhi on the Gita
The Historical Context of the Bhagavad Gita
Site with Articles & Audio on the Gita
The Bhagavad Gita & It’s Teachings, by Georg Feuerstein (in his Yoga Philosophy and History Manual)
Full Audio on Youtube
Sanskrit and English Versions
Bhagavad Gita Animated Film for Kids
Bhagavad Gita in English
Bhagavad Gita in Hindi
Ekhart Tolle on the Bhagavad Gita
Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Intro to the Gita
Some Good Gita Translations I Have Checked Out
[Note: Don’t believe the Amazon haters (if you tend to read the negative reviews first, as I do), most of them have some kind of axe to grind or agenda to push. These are all worthy translations.]
Juan Mascaro. The Bhagavad Gita. This is the first translation of the Gita I ever read so I am partial to it; that said, it’s a very good one.
Barbara Stoller-Miller. The Bhagavad-Gita: Krishna’s Counsel in the Time of War.
Winthrop Sargeant. The Bhagavad Gita.
Swami Satchidananda. The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita – A Commentary for Modern Readers.
Paramahamsa Yogananda. The Bhagavad Gita: God Talks with Arjuna.
Ps. By the way, I don’t generally recommend the Hare Krishna version of this work because to me it feels too sectarian and tends to put down others who don’t believe the way they do. That said, please make your own decision.
Free Online Translations
Edwin Arnold Translation (very good!)
Lars Martin Fosse
Bhagavad Gita Simplified!
(With Pictures : )
Also highly recommended
Ram Dass’ book “Paths to God: Living the Bhagavad Gita”
Krishna Das ~ “Mere Gurudev”
George Harrison ~ “Gopala Krishna”
“Hare Krishna Mantra”
Jagit Singh ~ “Hey Govind Hey Gopal: Jai Shri Krishna”
ShyamDas “Hari Bol”
Ammachi “Sri Krishna Sharanam Amma”
HARI OM TAT SAT
(see end of Chapter XVII)