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The Bhagavad-Gita: A New Translation
Synopses & Reviews
The Bhagavad-Gita, the "Song of God," is not only one of the most revered texts of Hinduism, but of world literature and spirituality in general. Its 700 verses make up a small part of the great Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, of which it can be said to be the heart. It consists of a dialogue between the warrior Arjuna and Krishna, avatar (incarnation) of the god Vishnu, about action and nonaction, knowledge and love. The Gita is revered as a concise expression of Hindu philosophy, as a work of profound poetry, and as a guide to enlightened living. It is one of the most often translated of spiritual texts, and, as is the case with other texts of its stature, new translations tend to enhance rather than exhaust our understanding of it, revealing new facets of its wisdom with each iteration.
This fresh translation stands out from the many others first of all in its careful faithfulness to the original language, but also for the extensive tools for understanding it provides. It is accompanied by detailed explanatory notes, as well as by the entire Sanskrit text on facing pages—both in the original Devanagri alphabet and in a romanized version that allows the reader to approximate the sounds of this work that began with oral recitation (a pronunciation guide is also provided). Also included is a literal, word-for-word translation for comparison; extensive material on the background, symbolism, and influence of the Gita; and an exhaustive glossary of terms. It's like a course on the Bhagavad-Gita in a book.
The seven hundred verses of the Bhagavad-Gita have, for more than two millennia, served as a guide to liberation through a life of knowledge, devotion, and action without attachment to results. The influence of this most renowned of all the Hindu scriptures has spread far beyond its religion of origin to inspire figures as diverse as Mohandas Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Aldous Huxley, and C. G. Jung. This fresh translation stands out from all the others first of all for its careful faithfulness to the original language, but also for the extensive tools for understanding it provides, which include: detailed explanatory notes, the entire Sanskrit text on facing pages—both in the original Devanagari alphabet as well as in a romanized version that allows the reader to approximate the sounds (a pronunciation guide is provided)—a word-for-word translation for comparison, an exhaustive glossary, and a wealth of essays on the Gita’s background, symbolism and influence. This Gita is an excellent resource for serious students, but it’s also the perfect version for first-time readers who want to approach the text with understanding.
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