More About The Bhagavad-gita

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The Bhagavad-gita ("Song of God") is a conversation between the military commander Arjuna and his friend and charioteer Krishna, before the onset of the historic Battle of Kurukshetra. Topics they discuss include the immortality of the self, the ultimate goal of life, the perfection of yoga, and the original relationship between the self and the Supreme Self.

The Gita appears as a central chapter in the epic Mahabharata, which chronicles the history of greater India up to the start of the current Kali-yuga, the "age of quarrel," circa 3000 BCE. Kurukshetra is now a district in the state of Haryana, India.

As the conversation begins, Arjuna decides to walk away from battle rather than fight with those who had cheated his family of their kingdom. Krishna then enlightens Arjuna about the science of the self, the essence of dharma ("duty"), and the ultimate goal of life. Krishna reveals His identity as the Supreme Being, explaining that He had planned the battle, as well as pre-ordained the outcome. Finally, Arjuna surrenders to Krishna's supreme will and decides to fight.

In the Gita, Krishna explains the difference between spirit and matter, the goal of the yoga system, how one's vision becomes distorted by attachment to temporary things, and the superiority of devotional service to the Supreme Being to any other process of self-realization.

In the 1960s, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada wrote the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, with English translation, Sanskrit transliteration, word-for-word synonyms, and commentary. His philosophical conclusions represent those of the succession of teachers (gurus) coming down through disciplic succession from Krishna Himself. Perhaps not surprisingly therefore, Bhagavad-gita As It Is is unique among Gita translations as inspiring hundreds of thousands of its readers to take up the path of Krishna consciousness, or devotional service to Krishna (bhakti-yoga).

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QT About Bhagavad Gita

  • Setting the scene - a look at the historical and political context in which the Battle of Kurukshetra took place and the Bhagavad-gita was spoken.
  • The Bhagavad-gita As It Is - the version of the Gita which has enhanced the spiritual lives of so many of its readers.
  • Chapter Summary - a bird's eye view of the topics covered in the Bhagavad-gita.
  • Read/listen/study - additional online resources for exploring this great literature.

We like to quote our sources. This page is based on the following:

  • Bhagavad-gita, 11.55, Purport:

    "The Bhagavad-gita is meant to show how one can understand his spiritual existence and his eternal relationship with the supreme spiritual personality and to teach one how to go back home, back to Godhead. . ."

  • Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.4.25, Purport:

    "The purpose of the Mahabharata is to administer the purpose of the Vedas, and therefore within this Mahabharata the summary Veda of Bhagavad-gita is placed. . . the philosophy of the Vedas in the form of the Bhagavad-gita, is spoken by the Lord Sri Krishna. . . The Bhagavad-gita is the essence of all Vedic knowledge."

  • Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Introduction:

    "The Bhagavad-gita is the narration or the philosophy on the science of God, spoken by Krishna Himself. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the narration about the activities and transcendental pastimes of Krishna."

  • Scholars' Appreciations of Bhagavad-gita As It Is:

    "If truth is what works. . .there must be a kind of truth in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, since those who follow its teaching display a joyous serenity usually missing in the bleak and strident lives of contemporary people."