Poised for the biggest battle of his life with the hopes of millions of people resting on him to lead them to victory in a war for justice, the great hero Arjuna suddenly reels and begins to falter and tremble. The real magnitude of the situation and ghastly consequences of impending war hit him with full force. To fight for justice, Arjuna will have to likely kill all these men, many if not most of whom are his friends, teachers, and kin who were and still are very near and dear to him. Arjuna is completely confused, overwhelmed, in denial and paralysed. To escape the situation, he ponders giving it all up to go live his life as a recluse in a forest. It is at this moment that Krishna – The Cosmic Consciousness, the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who had so far been acting as Arjuna’s friend and charioteer reveals His true identity. He leads Arjuna through a discussion of the karma, jnana and bhakti yogas, revealing the nature of divinity, humankind’s ultimate destiny, and the purpose of mortal life.
Who should read this book?
Does your mind seem like a battlefield struggling to make decisions?
Looking for ways to overcome self-doubt and anxiety?
Can’t quite figure out your purpose in life and how and why everything exists?
Want to go deeper in the perfection of Yoga?
Wish to live a more authentic and truly fulfilling life in tune with your real self?
Wonder about death, what it means and how to boldly face the inevitable?
We’ve selected three passages to give you a sample right now. Pick one and get a feel for the book, explore its philosophy, presentation and message to see if it resonates with you.
Bhagavad-gītā is also known as Gītopaniṣad. It is the essence of Vedic knowledge and one of the most important Upaniṣads in Vedic literature. Of course there are many commentaries in English on the Bhagavad-gītā, and one may question the necessity for another one. This present edition can be explained in the following way. Recently an American lady asked me to recommend an English translation of Bhagavad-gītā. Of course in America there are so many editions of Bhagavad-gītā available in English, but as far as I have seen, not only in America but also in India, none of them can be strictly said to be authoritative because in almost every one of them the commentator has expressed his own opinions without touching the spirit of Bhagavad-gītā as it is.
The spirit of Bhagavad-gītā is mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā itself. It is just like this: If we want to take a particular medicine, then we have to follow the directions written on the label. We cannot take the medicine according to our own whim or the direction of a friend. It must be taken according to the directions on the label or the directions given by a physician. Similarly, Bhagavad-gītā should be taken or accepted as it is directed by the speaker Himself. The speaker of Bhagavad-gītā is Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He is mentioned on every page of Bhagavad-gītā as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavān. Of course the word bhagavān sometimes refers to any powerful person or any powerful demigod, and certainly here bhagavān designates Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa as a great personality, but at the same time we should know that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as is confirmed by all great ācāryas (spiritual masters) like Śaṅkarācārya, Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Nimbārka Svāmī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and many other authorities of Vedic knowledge in India. The Lord Himself also establishes Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the Bhagavad-gītā, and He is accepted as such in the Brahma-saṁhitā and all the Purāṇas, especially the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, known as the Bhāgavata Purāṇa (kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam). Therefore we should take Bhagavad-gītā as it is directed by the Personality of Godhead Himself.
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What you will learn
- Familiarizing oneself with the characters, plot, and themes of the Bhagavad Gita.
- Exploring the concept of dharma and its role in our lives.
- Gaining insight into the importance of meditation and mindfulness.
- Exploring the concept of karma and its role in shaping one's life.
- Examining the relevance of the Bhagavad Gita in daily life and how it can help you live to your highest potential.
- Learning about the various schools of Vedic philosophy and how they relate to the Bhagavad- gita.
- Understanding the nature of the self (atma) and the ultimate reality (Brahman).
- Learning about the different yogas (spiritual paths) described in the Bhagavad Gita, such as Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga.
- Understanding the relationship between action and detachment in the Bhagavad Gita.
- Learning about the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita related to social justice, duty, and morality.
Meet Srila Prabhupada
Srila Prabhupada is the founder acharya (spiritual head) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Srila Prabhupada not only brought bhakti yoga and the Hare Krishna maha-mantra to the western world but also circled the globe 14 times on lecture tours, bringing the teachings of Krishna and the Bhagavad-gita to thousands of people on six continents.
Men and women from all backgrounds and walks of life came forward to accept this message, and with their help, Srila Prabhupada established ISKCON centers and projects throughout the world. His edition of ‘Bhagavad-gita – As it Is’ is the highest-selling version of the Gita globally, having sold more than 30 million copies in 55 different languages to date.
30+ Million Copies sold in 55 languages worldwide
Some quotes from the Bhagavad-gita
One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. (18.54)
The Supreme is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy. (18.61)
As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones. (2.22)
In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear. (2.40)
The Vedas mainly deal with the subject of the three modes of material nature. Rise above these modes, O Arjuna. Be transcendental to all of them. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties for gain and safety, and be established in the Self. (2.45)
What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage. (2.69)
The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature. (3.27)
Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kuntī, that state he will attain without fail. (8.6)
Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me clearly what is best for me. (2.7)
O son of Kuntī, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed. (2.14)
Humility; pridelessness; nonviolence; tolerance; simplicity; approaching a bona fide spiritual master; cleanliness; steadiness; self-control; renunciation of the objects of sense gratification; absence of false ego; the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease; detachment; freedom from entanglement; even-mindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events; constant and unalloyed devotion to Me; aspiring to live in a solitary place; detachment from the general mass of people; accepting the importance of self-realization; and philosophical search for the Absolute Truth – all these I declare to be knowledge, and besides this whatever there may be is ignorance. (13.8-12)
He who is temperate in his habits of eating, sleeping, working and recreation can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system. (6.17)
From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one falls down again into the material pool. (2.63)
Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. (3.21)