The Bhagavad Gita

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Nilgiri Press, 2007 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 296 pages
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The Bhagavad Gita, “The Song of the Lord,” is the best known and most read of all the Indian scriptures, featured on college reading lists, quoted in yoga magazines, found in all good libraries and bookstores, and recognized as part of the wisdom literature of all time. Easwaran held the Gita to be India’s greatest gift to the world, and he found in it his most profound source of inspiration. He started teaching classes on the Gita in Berkeley in the sixties, and continued to bring his unfailing enthusiasm to a wide audience throughout his life. Readers have always appreciated the authenticity of his translation, which regularly tops the bestseller list of its genre and has consistently been the bestselling book for Nilgiri Press. 

The Gita opens, dramatically, on a battlefield. Prince Arjuna, a great warrior and a man of principle, is about to face the treacherous relatives who have deprived his elder brother of his crown. Just as the battle is about to begin, however, Arjuna collapses in his chariot, his bow falling to his side, unable to face the inevitable slaughter ahead of him. 

Arjuna’s struggle is profoundly modern. He has lost his way on the battlefield of life, and turns to a higher, spiritual power to find the path once again. About to go into the fight of his life, he asks direct, uncompromising questions of his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna. Acting as Arjuna’s friend and charioteer, Krishna is in reality the Lord himself. In seven hundred verses of sublime instruction, Krishna talks of living and dying, of loving and working, of the nature of the soul and the paths we can take to realize our true Self, our true stature.

For, as Easwaran points out, the Gita is not what it seems – it’s not a dialogue between two mythical figures at the dawn of Indian time. “The battlefield is a perfect backdrop, but the Gita’s subject is the war within, the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage” to live a life that is meaningful, fulfilling, worthwhile. Arjuna represents each of us, every person of action and principle today. Krishna is not an external deity “but the spark of divinity that lies at the core of the human personality.” And this is no external dialogue, but one that takes place within us as we struggle, like Arjuna, to do what is right.

Easwaran’s genius is to show us that the Gita is not just a text that is interesting historically and culturally – it’s a practical manual, a book of choices, that offers guidance for whatever challenges we face. It places human destiny entirely in human hands. The range of paths the Gita describes for spiritual realization – of action, wisdom, devotion, and meditation – is broad enough to appeal to all our different personalities. Great figures like Gandhi turned to the Gita again and again, and so can we.


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This is a very readable interpretation of the Gita. The language is modern and does not use the King James Version grammar of "Thee, Thy, Thou" that are distracting in other interpretations. I have read Gandhi's and Yogananda's version of the Gita and struggled through them due to language. I prefer Easwaran.
What is missing is an easily consumable list of characters and their meaning. I know there are different interpretations of which emotions/mental components the characters represent, but I prefer Yogananda's so I copied the diagram from Yogananda's book and used it as a bookmark in Easwaran's.

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The Bhagavat Gita
Only finished reading the sample copy but its so relaxing and has self realizing texts. Will be buying full version and can't wait to read it all.

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About the author (2007)

Eknath Easwaran (1910 – 1999) is respected around the world as an authentic guide to timeless wisdom, and as the author of Passage Meditation, which brings universal truths into daily life. In 1961 he founded the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, which carries on his work with publications and retreats.


      More than 1.5 million of Easwaran’s books on spiritual living are in print, and his translations of the Indian spiritual classics (The Bhagavad Gita, The Upanishads, and The Dhammapada) are the bestselling editions in English.


      A gifted teacher who lived for many years in the West, Easwaran lived what he taught, giving him enduring appeal as a teacher and author of deep insight and warmth.



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