Monday, October 31, 2011

Bhagavad Gita

RADHE KRISHNA 01-11-2011

Bhagavad Gita

Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
Translated by Alladi Mahadeva Sastry
Published by Samata Books, Chennai [with commentary of Adi Shankara in English] 


1. What did Pandu's sons and mine do when they assembled together on the sacred plain of Kurukshetra, eager for battle, O Samjaya?

2. Having seen the army of the Pandavas drawn up in battle-array, prince Duryodhana then approached his teacher and spoke (these) words:

3. O teacher, look at this grand army of the sons of Pandu, marshaled by thy talented pupil, the son of Drupada.

4. Here are heroes, mighty archers, equal in battle to Bhima and Arjuna; Yuyudhana Virata, and Drupada, the master of a great car (maharatha).

5. Dhrishtaketu, Chekitana, and the valiant king of Kasi, Purujit and Kunti Bhoja, and that eminent man Saibya;

6. The heroic Yudhamanyu and the brave Uttamaujas; the son of Subhadraand the sons of Draupadi, all masters of great cars (maharathas).

7. But know, O best of the twice-born, who are the most distinguished among us, the leaders of my army; these I name to thee by way of example.

8. Thyself and Bhishma, and Karna, and also Kripa, the victor in war, Asvathaman and Vikarna, and also Jayadratha, the son of Samadatta.

9. And many other heroes who have given up their lives for my sake, fighting with various weapons, all well-skilled in battle.

10. This army of ours protected by Bhisma is inadequate, whereas that army of theirs which is under the protection of Bhima is adequate.

11. And therefore do ye all, occupying your respective positions in the several divisions of the army, support Bhisma only.

12. His mighty grandsire, (Bhisma), the oldest of the Kauravas, in order to cheer him, sounded on high a lion's roar and blew his conch.

13. Then, all at once, conches and kettle-drums, cymbals, drums and horns were played upon, and the sound was a tumultuous uproar.

14. Then, too, Madhava and the son of Pandu, seated in a grand chariot yoked to white horses, blew their celestial conches.

15. Hrishikesa blew the Panchajanya; and Arjuna blew the Devadatta. Bhima, (the doer) of terrible deeds, blew his great conch Paundra.

16. Prince Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, blew the Anantavijaya, while Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughosha and the Manipushpaka.

17. The King of Kasi, an excellent archer, Sikhandin, the master of a great car, Dhrishtadyumna and Virata, and the unconquered Satyaki;

18. Drupada and the sons of Draupadi, O Lord of earth, and the son of Subhadra, of mighty arms, all together blew their respective conches.

19. That tumultuous sound rent the hearts of (the people) of Dhritarashtra's party, making both heaven and earth resound.

20-22. Then seeing the people of Dhritarashtra's party regularly marshaled, while the discharge of weapons began, Arjuna, the son of Pandu, whose ensign was a monkey, O King of earth, took up his bow and said thus to Krishna:
O Achyuta (Immortal), place my chariot between the two armies that I may just see those who stand here desirous to fight, and know with whom I must fight in this strife of battle.

23. I will observe those who are assembled here and are about to engage in battle desirous to do service in war to the evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra.

24-25. O descendant of Bharata, Hrishikesa (Krishna) thus addressed by Gudakesa (Arjuna) stationed that excellent car between the two armies in front of Bhisma and Drona and all the rulers of earth, and said: O son of Pritha, look at these assembled Kauravas. 

26-27. Then the son of Pritha saw arrayed there in both the armies fathers and grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons and comrades, father-in-law and friends.

27-28. When the son of Kunti saw all the kinsmen standing, he was overcome with deepest pity and said thus in sorrow:

28-29. Seeing these kinsmen, O Krishna, arrayed and desirous to fight, my limbs droop down, and my mouth is dried up. A tremor comes on my body and my hairs stand on end.

30. The Gandiva slips from my hand and my skin is intensely burning. I am also unable to stand and my mind is whirling round, as it were.

31. And, O Kesava, I see omens foreboding evil. Nor do I see any good from killing my kinsmen in battle.

32. I desire not victory, O Krishna, nor kingdom, nor pleasures. Of what avail is dominion to us, O Govinda? Of what avail are pleasures and even life?

33-34. They for whose sake dominion, enjoyments and pleasures are sought by us are here standing, having staked their life and wealth; teachers, fathers, sons as well as grandfathers; maternal uncles, father-in-law grandsons, brothers-in-law as also (other) relatives.

35. These, O slayer of Madhu, I do not wish to kill, though they kill me, even for the sake of dominion over the three worlds; how much less, for the sake of the earth!

36. O Janardana, what delight shall be ours after killing the sons of Dhritarashtra? On killing these felons, sin only will take hold of us.

37. We had then better not slay our own kinsmen, the sons of Dhritarashtra; for, how can we be happy, O Madhava, after slaying our own people?

38-39. Though these, whose intelligence is stricken by greed, perceive no evil in the extinction of families and no sin in treachery to friends, yet, O Janardana, should not we, who clearly see evil in the extinction of a family, learn to refrain from this sinful deed?

40. On the extinction of a family, the immemorial dharmas of that family disappear. When the dharmas disappear, impiety (adharma) overtakes the whole family.

41. By the prevalence of impiety, O Krishna, the women of the family become corrupt. Women corrupted, there will be intermingling of castes (varna-samkara), O descendent of Vrishnis.

42. Confusion of castes leads the family of these destroyers of families also to hell; for, their forefathers fall (down to hell), deprived of the offerings of pinda (rice-ball) and water.

43. By these evil deeds of the destroyers of families, which cause the intermingling of castes, the eternal dharmas of castes and families are subverted.

44. We have heard, O Janardana, that necessary is the dwelling in hell of the men whose family dharmas are subverted.

45. Alas! We have resolved to commit a great sin, in as much as we are endeavoring to slay our kinsmen out of a craving for the pleasures of dominion.

46. It would be better for me, if the sons of Dhritarashtra, with arms in hand, should slay me unarmed and unresisting in the battle.

47. Having said thus, Arjuna, sorrow-stricken in mind, cast aside his bow and arrows in the midst of the battle and sat down in the chariot.


1. To him who was thus overcome with pity and afflicted and whose eyes were full of tears and agitated, the destroyer of Madhu spoke as follows:

2. Whence in (this) perilous strait has come upon thee this weakness cherished by the unworthy, debarring from heaven and causing disgrace, O Arjuna?

3. Yield not to unmanliness, O son of Pritha. It does not become thee. Cast off this base weakness of heart and arise, O tormentor of foes.

4. O slayer of Madhu, how shall I assail in battle with arrows Bhishma and Drona, who are worthy of worship, O slayer of enemies.

5. Better indeed in this world to live even upon alms than to slay the teachers of high honor. But, were I to slay these teachers, I should only in this world enjoy the pleasures of wealth, delights stained with blood.

6. And we know not which is the better alternative for us; nor do we know whether we shall conquer them or they will conquer us. Even the sons of Dhritarashtra, after killing whom we do not wish to live, stand arrayed against us.

7. My heart contaminated by the taint of helplessness, my mind confounded about Dharma, I ask Thee: tell me what is absolutely good. I am Thy pupil. Instruct me, who have sought Thy grace.

8. I do not indeed see what can dispel the grief which burns up my senses, even after attaining unrivalled and prosperous dominion on earth or even lordship over gods.

9. Having spoken thus to Hrishikesa, Gudakesa, the tormenter of foes, said to Govinda, 'I will not fight' and verily remained silent

10. To him who was grieving in the midst of the two armies, O descendant of Bharata, Hrishikesa as if smiling, spoke these words:

11. For those who deserve no grief thou hast grieved and words of wisdom thou speak. For the living and for the dead the wise grieve not.

12. Never did I not exist, nor thou, nor these rulers of men; and no one of us will ever hereafter cease to exist.

13. Just as in this body the embodied (Self) passes into childhood and youth and old age, so does He pass into another body. There the wise man is not distressed.

14. The sense-contacts it is, O son of Kunti, which causes heat and cold; pleasure and pain; they come and go, they are impermanent. Endure them bravely, O descendant of Bharata.

15. That wise man whom, verily, these afflict not, O chief of men, to whom pleasure and pain are same, he for immortality is fit.

16. Of the unreal no being there is; there is no non-being of the real. Of both these is the truth seen by the seers of the Essence.

17. But know that to be imperishable by which all this is pervaded. None can cause the destruction of That, the Inexhaustible.

18. These bodies of the embodied (Self) who is eternal, indestructible and unknowable are said to have an end. Do fight, therefore, O descendant of Bharata.

19. Whoever looks upon Him as the slayer and whoever looks upon Him as the slain, both these know not a right. He slays not, nor is He slain.

20. He is not born, nor does He ever die; after having been, He again ceases not to be; nor the reverse. Unborn, eternal, unchangeable and primeval, He is not slain when the body is slain.

21. Whoso knows Him as indestructible, eternal, unborn and inexhaustible - How, O son of Pritha, and whom does such a man cause to slay and whom does he slay?

22. Just as a man casts off worn-out clothes and puts on others which are new, so the embodied (self) casts off worn-out bodies and enters others which are new.

23. Him weapons cut not, Him fire burns not and Him water wets not; Him wind dries not.

24. He cannot be cut, nor burnt, nor wetted, nor dried up. He is everlasting, all-pervading stable, firm and eternal.

25. He, it is said, is un-manifest, unthinkable and unchangeable. Wherefore, knowing Him to be such, thou hast better grieve not.

26. But even if thou thinks of Him as ever being born and ever dying, even then, O mighty-armed, thou ought not to grieve thus.

27. To that which is born, death is indeed certain; and to that which is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, about the unavoidable thing, thou ought not to grieve.

28. Beings have their beginning unseen, their middle seen, and their end unseen again. Why any lamentation regarding them?

29. One sees Him as a wonder; and so also another speaks of Him as a wonder; and as a wonder another hears of Him; and though hearing, none understands Him at all.

30. He, the embodied (Self) in every one's body, can never be killed, O descendant of Bharata. Wherefore thou ought not to grieve about any creature.

31. Having regard to thy own duty also, thou ought not to waver. For, to a Kshatriya, there is nothing more wholesome than a lawful battle.

32. Happy Kshatriya, O son of Pritha, find such a battle as this, come of itself, an open door to heaven.

33. Now if thou wouldst not fight this lawful battle, then having abandoned thy own duty and fame, thou shall incur sin.

34. People, too, will recount thy everlasting infamy; and to one who has been esteemed, infamy is more than death.

35. The great car-warriors will think thou hast withdrawn from the battle through fear; and having been hitherto highly esteemed by them, thou wilt incur their contempt.

36. Thy enemies, too, scorning thy power, will take many abusive words. What is more painful than that?

37. Killed, thou wilt reach heaven; victorious, thou wilt enjoy the earth. Wherefore, O son of Kunti, arise, resolved to fight.

38. Then, treating alike pleasure and pain, gain and loss, success and defeat, prepare for the battle and thus wilt thou not incur sin.

39. This, which has been taught to thee is wisdom concerning Sankhya. Now listen to wisdom concerning Yoga, which possessing thou shall cast off the bond of action.

40. There is no loss of effort here, there is no harm. Even a little of this devotion delivers one from great fear.

41. Here, O son of Kuru, there is one thought of a resolute nature. Many-branched and endless are the thoughts of the irresolute.

42-44. No conviction of a resolute nature is formed in the mind of those who are attached to pleasures and power and whose minds are drawn away by that flowery speech which the unwise - enamored of Vedic utterances, declaring there is nothing else, full of desire, having svarga as their goal - utter, (a speech) which promises birth as there ward of actions and which abounds in specific acts for the attainment of pleasure and power, O son of Pritha.

45. The Vedas treat of the triad of the gunas. Be, O Arjuna, free from the triad of the gunas, free from pairs, free from acquisition and preservation, ever remaining in the Sattva and self-possessed.

46. What utility there is in a reservoir by the side of an all-spreading flood of water, the same(utility) there is in all Vedas for an enlightened Brahmana.

47. Thy concern is with action alone, never with results. Let the fruit of action be not thy motive, nor let thy attachment be for inaction.

48. Steadfast in devotion do thy works, O Dhananjaya, casting off attachment, being the same in success and failure. Evenness is called Yoga.

49. Verily action is far inferior to devotion in wisdom (buddhi-yoga), O Dhananjaya. In wisdom (buddhi) seek thou shelter. Wretched are they whose motive is the fruit.

50. He who is endued with wisdom casts off here both good deeds and bad deeds. Wherefore apply thyself to devotion. In regard to actions devotion is a power.

51. For, men of wisdom cast off the fruit of action; possessed of knowledge (and) released from the bond of birth, they go to the place where there is no evil.

52. When thy mind shall cross beyond the mire of delusion, then wilt thou attain to a disgust of what is yet to be heard and what has been heard.

53. When thy mind, perplexed by what thou hast heard, shall stand firm and steady in the Self, then wilt thou attain Yoga.

54. What, O Kesava! Is the description of one of steady knowledge, who is constant in contemplation? How does one of steady knowledge speak, how sit, how move?

55. The Lord said: When a man, satisfied in the Self alone by himself, completely casts off all the desires of the mind, then is he said to be one of steady knowledge.

56. He whose heart is not distressed in calamities, from whom all longing for pleasures has departed, who is free from attachment, fear and wrath, he is called a sage, a man of steady knowledge.

57. Whoso, without attachment anywhere, on meeting with anything good or bad, neither exults nor hates, his knowledge becomes steady.

58. When he completely withdraws the senses from sense-objects, as the tortoise (withdraws) its limbs from all sides, his knowledge is steady.

59. Objects withdraw from an abstinent man, but not the taste. On seeing the Supreme, his taste, too, ceases.

60. The dangerous senses, O son of Kunti, forcibly carry away the mind of a wise man, even while striving (to control them).

61. Restraining them all, a man should remain steadfast, intent on Me. His knowledge is steady whose senses are under control.

62. When a man thinks of objects, attachment for them arises. From attachment arises desire; from desire arises wrath.

63. From wrath arises delusion; from delusion, failure of memory; from failure of memory, loss of conscience; from loss of conscience he is utterly ruined.

64. He attains peace, who, self-controlled, approaches objects with the senses devoid of love and hatred and brought under his own-control.

65. In peace there is an end of all his miseries; for, the reason of the tranquil-minded soon becomes steady.

66. There is no wisdom to the unsteady, and no meditation to the unsteady, and to the un-meditative no peace; to the peace-less, how can there be happiness?

67. For, the mind which yields to the roving senses carries away his knowledge, as the wind (carries away) a ship on water.

68. Therefore, O mighty-armed, his knowledge is steady whose senses have been entirely restrained from sense-objects.

69. What is night to all beings, therein the self controlled one is awake. Where all beings are awake, that is the night of the sage who sees.

70. He attains peace, into whom all desires enter as waters enter the ocean, which, filled from all sides, remains unaltered; but not he who desires objects.

71. That man attains peace, who, abandoning all desires, moves about without attachment, without selfishness, without vanity.

72. This is the Brahmic state, O son of Pritha. Attaining to this, none is deluded. Remaining in this state even at the last period of life, one attains to the felicity of Brahman.


1. If it be thought by Thee that knowledge is superior to action, O Janardana, why then dost Thou, O Kesava, direct me to this terrible action?

2. With an apparently perplexing speech, Thou confuses as it were my understanding. Tell me with certainty that one (way) by which I may attain bliss.

3. In this world a two fold path was taught by Me at first, O sinless one: that of Sankhyas by devotion to knowledge and that of Yogins by devotion to action.

4. Not by abstaining from action does man win action-less-ness, nor by mere renunciation does he attain perfection.

5. None, verily, even for an instant, ever remains doing no action; for every one is driven helpless to action by the energies born of Nature.

6. He who, restraining the organs of action, sits thinking in his mind of the objects of the senses, self-deluded, he is said to be one of false conduct.

7. But whoso, restraining the senses by mind O Arjuna, engages in Karma-Yoga, unattached, with organs of action, he is esteemed.

8. Do thou perform (thy) bounden duty; for action is superior to inaction. And even the maintenance of the body would not be possible for thee by inaction.

9. Except in the case of action for Sacrifice's sake, this world is action-bound. Action for the sake there of, do thou, O son of Kunti, perform, free from attachment.

10. Having first created mankind together with sacrifices, the Prajapati said, By this shall ye propagate; let this be to you the cow of plenty.

11. With this do ye nourish the Gods and the Gods shall nourish you; thus nourishing one another, ye shall attain the supreme good.

12. Nourished by the sacrifice, the Gods shall indeed bestow on you the enjoyments ye desire. Whoso enjoys - without offering to Them - Their gifts, he is verily a thief.

13. The righteous, who eat the remnant of the sacrifice, are freed from all sins; but sin do the impious eat who cook for their own sakes.

14. From food creatures come forth; the production of food is from rain; rain comes forth from sacrifice; sacrifice is born of action;

15. Know thou that action comes from Brahman and that Brahman comes from the Imperishable. Therefore, the all-pervading Brahman ever rests in sacrifice.

16. He who follows not here the wheel thus set in motion, who is of sinful life, indulging in senses, he lives in vain, O son of Pritha.

17. That man, verily, who rejoices only in the self, who is satisfied with the Self, who is content in the Self alone - for him there is nothing to do.

18. For him, there is here no interest what ever in what is done or what is not done. Nor is there in all beings any one he should resort to for any object.

19. Therefore, without attachment, constantly perform the action which should be done; for, performing action without attachment, man reaches the Supreme.

20. By action only, indeed, did Janaka and others try to attain perfection. Even with a view to the protection of the masses thou should perform (action).

21. Whatsoever a great man does, that alone the other men do; whatever he sets up as the standard, that the world follows.

22. I have nothing whatsoever to achieve in the three worlds, O son of Pritha, nor is there anything unattained that should be attained; yet I engage in action.

23. For, should I not ever engage in action, unwearied, men would in all matters follow My path, O son of Pritha.

24. These worlds would be ruined if I should not perform action; I should be the cause of confusion of castes and should destroy these creatures.

25. As ignorant men act attached to work, O Bharata, so should the wise man act, unattached from a wish to protect the masses.

26. Let no wise man cause unsettlement in the minds of the ignorant who are attached to action; he should make them do all actions, himself fulfilling them with devotion.

27. Actions are wrought in all cases by the energies of Nature. He whose mind is deluded by egoism thinks 'I am the doer'.

28. But he who knows the truth, O mighty-armed, about the divisions of the energies and (their) functions, is not attached, thinking that the energies act upon the energies.

29. Those deluded by the energies of Nature are attached to the functions of the energies. He who knows the All should not unsettle the unwise who know not the All.

30. Renouncing all action in Me, with thy thought resting on the Self, being free from hope, free from selfishness, devoid of fever, do thou fight.

31. Men who constantly practice this teaching of Mine with faith and without caviling, they too are liberated from actions.

32. But those who, carping at this, My teaching, practice it not - know them as deluded in all knowledge, as senseless men doomed to destruction.

33. Even the man of knowledge acts in conformity with his own nature; (all) beings follow (their) nature; what shall coercion avail?

34. Love and hate lie towards the object of each sense; let none become subject to these two; for, they are his enemies.

35. Better one's own duty, though devoid of merit, than the duty of another well discharged. Better is death in one's own duty; the duty of another is productive of danger.

36. But by what dragged on, O Varshneya, does a man, though reluctant, commit sin, as if constrained by force?

37. It is desire, it is wrath, born of the energy of Rajas, all-devouring, all sinful; that, know thou, is the foe here.

38. As fire is surrounded by smoke, as a mirror by rust, as the foetus is enclosed in the womb, so is this covered by it.

39. Covered, O son of Kunti, is wisdom by this constant enemy of the wise, in the form of desire, which is greedy and insatiable.

40. The senses, mind and reason are said to be its seat; veiling wisdom through these, it deludes the embodied.

41. Therefore, O lord of the Bharatas, restrain the senses first, do thou cast off this sinful thing which is destructive of knowledge and wisdom.

42. They say that the senses are superior; superior to the senses is mind; superior to mind is reason; one who is even superior to reason is He.

43. Then knowing Him who is superior to reason, subduing the self by the self, slay thou, O mighty-armed, the enemy in the form of desire, hard to conquer.

Bhagavad Gita [Verses]
Bhagavad Gita
Song of the Lord [In English Verses]
Translated by P. R. Ramachander

Chapter-1: Arjuna's State of Grief
Chapter-2: Way of Discriminative Logic
Chapter-3: Way of Action
Chapter-4: State of Action, Wisdom and Renunciation
Chapter-5: Renunciation of Action
Chapter-6: Art of Meditation
Chapter-7: Knowledge and Realization
Chapter-8: Non Decaying Ultimate Spirit
Chapter-9: Active Knowledge which is the Secret
Chapter-10: Manifestations of God
Chapter-11: Seeing of the Universal Form
Chapter-12: Path of Devotion
Chapter-13: Discrimination between Arena and Performer
Chapter-14: Three Quality States
Chapter-15: Knowledge of Supreme Being
Chapter-16: Division of Divine and Demonic Attributes
Chapter-17: Three Kinds of Faith
Chapter-18: Way to Renunciation and Relinquishment

An Introduction to Bhagawad Gita [A translation in to free verse]:

The followers of Sanathana Dharma (otherwise called as Hindus) did not fall back on any single prophet or a single book as the basis of the irreligion. Right from the beginning, this religion (thought process) had a pluralistic view. On one hand the religion appeared to depend on rituals, prayers and rites and on the other hand it appeared to depend on a very democratic exchange of philosophic ideas between the teacher and the student as in the Upanishads, which were at the end of the Vedas. Not all Upanishads were discussion of philosophy and many of them did indeed discuss rituals and prayers to individual God. The sum total of the Hindu philosophic thought was individual research aided under the direction of the Guru. The thought process slipped down to worship of individual gods and epic stories (Puranas) about the Gods were written down.

The person who compiled and systematized all the religious knowledge contained in the initial Vedas as well as the stories of Individual Gods was a sage called Veda Vyasa. (Veda means knowledge and Vyasa means essay writer.) He compiled the information available on different Gods in to 18 epics besides compiling the four Vedas. The most encyclopedic epic of them all was called the Mahabharata. The main theme of this epic was the struggle for supremacy in India by the hundred sons of King Drutharashtra (called Kauravas) and the 5 sons of his younger brother Pandu called the Pandavas. At the end of struggle is a war between them. On the first day of the war, Arjuna the most valorous among the Pandava brothers appeared in the battle field driven by Lord Krishna who is his cousin, mentor and guide. But once Arjuna faced the prospect of killing his own cousins aided by his teachers, uncle and grandfather, he suddenly felt aghast and decided that, even starving to death would be a better option than killing them all. Lord Krishna then advises him (possibly the first recorded psychological counseling). Arjuna is not easily convinced. The next 700 stanzas of conversation between them in the battle field is Bhagawad Gita (The song of the Lord). Apart from simple advice to him, that Arjuna should fight, Lord Krishna summarizes the entire Hindu thought process on Sanathana Dharma in these 700 verses. By the blessing of Veda Vyasa all these was seen and heard by Sanjaya (collector and reporter) to Drutharashtra and were called the Bhagawad Gita. This was considered as a summary of Hindu religious thought and was revered by all Hindus. For a long time, this state of thought existed. 

Things changed with the writing of a commentary to this great work by Adi Sankara, who proved that this great book provided support to his interpretation of Hindu philosophy of Advaita (non dualism). The great Ramanuja who came out with a different philosophy called Visisthadvaitha (specialized non dualism) again wrote a commentary and claimed that Gita supported his system of philosophy. It was again followed by another interpretation to gather support to the philosophy of Dwaitha (dualism) propounded by sage Madhwa. After this period Bhagawad Gita became the most important religious book of Hindus. Several more commentaries and translations to Indian languages followed. The great commentators were Abhinava Guptha, Nimbarka, Vallabha and Gnaneswar in Marathi etc. The book became so popular in the Hindu psyche that, Hindus took oath on Bhagawad Gita like Christians took oath on Bible. In 1785 Charles Wilkins published an English translation of the Bhagavad Gita, which was the first time that a Sanskrit book had been translated directly into a European language. In 1808 passages from the Gita were part of the first direct translation of Sanskrit into German, appearing in a book through which Friedrich Schlegel, who became known as the founder of Indian philology in Germany. Edwin Arnold was the first one to publish a translation into English verse in 1885. Many commentaries and translations followed with great regularity. Mahatma Gandhi who also wrote a commentary was so impressed by this great work that he wrote: "I find solace in the Bhagavad Gita that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount. When disappointment stares me in the face and all alone I see not one ray of light, I go back to the Bhagavad Gita. I find a verse here and a verse there and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming tragedies - and my life has been full of external tragedies - and if they have left no visible, no indelible scar on me, I owe it all to the teaching of Bhagawad Gita".

The first chapter of Gita details the back ground circumstances, which lead to this teaching. In the second chapter Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that he should fight because It is his duty and that by killing a body he does not kill a soul and the highest form of action is when action is done without bothering about the fruits of such action. In this connection he also tells him that inaction is a great sin. Later at the request of Arjuna he explains about the difference between, deeds which take you to heaven but you are reborn later and that deed which once for all merges you with the lord. Some of the prominent approaches explained by him are:

1. Doing action without bothering about fruits of such action.
2. Simple and steadfast devotion, surrendering all results to him.
3. Physical meditation of the highest order by which one becomes him.
4. The path through intelligent search of the God.
5. Simple and pure renunciation.

During this discussion, he also shows him his supreme form, tells him, in which beings his presence will be felt more, the differences between the three states of Sathwa, Rajas and Thamas, the differences between the four varnas and so on. In short it is concise encyclopedia of all that for which Hinduism stands for.

Thousands of translations, interpretations and commentaries of the Bhagawad Gita in English as well as various other languages are already available. As mentioned before Edwin Arnold attempted to do a translation in English verse. Recently a similar effort was made by Sanderson Beck. The present translation is done in free English verse in as simple language as possible. I have tried to understand what has been written in Gita and wrote what I have understood, after reading various translations and commentaries, in a simple verse form. Not being a great scholar, I have not attempted for a commentary on what is the implication of each verse. 

I dedicate my translation to the lay English reader interested in Hindu philosophy with a request to him to treat this translation as an appetizer. I am hoping that my effort would make him read several, more scholarly commentaries on Gita by very great souls and try to clear his various doubts. I am making this request because I have still not understood the treasure house of Gita and am doing exactly that.

Given below are what great people all over the world told about Bhagawad Gita from a collection published by Sri M. P. Bhattathiri (

When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous. [Albert Einstein]

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] 

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 seem puny and trivial. [Henry David Thoreau] 

The Bhagavad-Gita has a profound influence on the spirit of mankind byits devotion to God which is manifested by actions. [Dr. AlbertSchweitzer] 

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. [Sri Aurobindo] 

The idea that man is like unto an inverted tree seems to have been current in by gone ages. The link with Vedic conceptions is provided by Plato in his Timaeus in which it states behold we are not an earthly but a heavenly plant. This correlation can be discerned by what Krishna expresses in chapter 15 of Bhagavad-Gita. [Carl Jung] 

The Bhagavad-Gita deals essentially with the spiritual foundation of human existence. It is a call of action to meet the obligations and duties of life; yet keeping in view the spiritual nature and grander purpose of the universe. [Nehru] 

The marvel of the Bhagavad-Gita is its truly beautiful revelation of life's wisdom which enables philosophy to blossom into religion. [Herman Hesse]

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. [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 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 was spoken by Lord Krishna to reveal the science of devotion to God Which is the Essence of all spiritual knowledge. The Supreme Lord Krishna's primary purpose for descending and incarnating was to relieve the world of any demoniac and negative, undesirable influences that are opposed to spiritual development, yet simultaneously it is His incomparable intention to be perpetually within reach of all humanity. [Ramanuja]

The Bhagavad-Gita is not separate from the Vaishnava philosophy and the Srimad Bhagavatam fully reveals the true import of this doctrine which is transmigration of the soul. On perusal of the first chapter of Bhagavad-Gita one may think that they are advised to engage in warfare. When the second chapter has been read it can be clearly understood that knowledge and the soul is the ultimate goal to be attained. On studying the third chapter it is apparent that acts of righteousness are also of high priority. If we continue and patiently take the time to complete the Bhagavad-Gita and try to ascertain the truth of its closing chapter we can see that the ultimate conclusion is to relinquish all the conceptualized ideas of religion which we possess and fully surrender directly unto the Supreme Lord. [Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati]

The Mahabharata has all the essential ingredients necessary to evolve and protect humanity and that within it the Bhagavad-Gita is the epitome of the Mahabharata just as ghee is the essence of milk and pollen is the essence of flowers. [Madhvacarya] 

Yoga has two different meanings - a general meaning and a technical meaning. The general meaning is the joining together or union of any two or more things. The technical meaning is a state of stability and peace and the means or practices which lead to that state. The Bhagavad Gita uses the word with both meanings. Lord Krishna is a real Yogi who can maintain a peaceful mind in the midst of any crisis. [Mata Amritanandamayi Devi]

References Used:
1. Srimad Bhagawad Gita - Swami Swaroopananda - Advaita Ashram, Calcutta.
2. Srimad Bhagawad Gita - Swami Vireshwarananda - Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras.
3. Srimad Bhagwad Gita - Tamil - Anna - Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras.
4. Bhagwad Gita As It Is - Bhakthivedanta Prabhu Pada - Bhakthi Vedantha Book Trust.
5. Jnaneswari - Malyalam - Sri Chandra Shekhara Pillai - Jnanesawari Geetha Pracharana Prathishtan, Kahnakad, Kerala.
6. Song Celestial - Edwin Arnold - Roberts brothers, Boston.
7. Bhagwad Gita with Sankara's Commentary - Alladi Mahadeva Sastry - Samata Books, Chennai.
8. Bhagwad Gita - Ramanand Prasad - International Gita Society -
9. Bhagwad Gita - Sri Purohit Swami. 
10. Essays on Gita - William Quan Judge -
11. Bhagawad Gita - A Commentary in Tamil - Subrahmanya Bharathiar - Kavitha Publication, Madras.
12. Bhagawad Gita - Srinivas Fine Arts, Sivakasi.
13. Bhagwad Gita - Swami Shivanada Saraswathi -
14. Bhagwad Gita - Swami Chinamayanada - Chinmaya Mission, Bombay.
15. Bhagwad Gita - Jayaram V. 
16. Bhagwad Gita and Management - Bhattathiri M. P. 

Arjuna's State of Grief

[Drutharashtra, the blind and Pandu were brothers. Drutharashtra being elder was the king. He had 100 sons (kauravas). Pandu had five sons (Pandavas). The great epic Mahabharatha is the story of the rivalry between the Kauravas and Pandavas. After all possible methods have been tried to reconcile their conflict, a decision of war is arrived at. This war takes place in Kuru Kshethra (The land of the Kurus). Since Drutharashtra is blind, he cannot see. His mentor and progenitor Veda Vyasa, gives the power to see everything that happens in the battlefield to one Sanjaya (literally correspondent) and report it to Drutharashtra. Bhagwad Gita starts at this point. Arjuna whose chariot is being driven by Lord Krishna is aghast, when he realizes that to win the war he has to kill all the members of his family as well as his teachers. He feels that this is not the right thing to do. Chapter I of Bhagwad Gita ends with Arjuna expressing his inability to continue with the war. Seventeen chapters follow in which Lord Krishna convinces him that he must fight. During these teaching and discussion, all aspects of Indian philosophy are concisely presented.]

Drutharashtra asked:

Oh Sanjaya, what are my sons and Pandavas, who are eager to fight,
Doing in the holy battle field of Kursukshethra? 1

Sanjaya said:

After seeing the pandavas aligned in the battle field,
The King Duryodhana approached his teacher and asked? 2

I am seeing the great army of the sons of Pandu, my teacher,
Well arranged by the son of Drupada, who is your great disciple. 3

I am seeing among them great warriors like Bheema and Arjuna,
And also great warriors like Yuyudhana, Virata and Drupadha. 4
Yuyudhana - Sathyaki, the cousin of Krishna
Virata - The king of Virata country
Drupada - The father of Draupadi

Among them also are great heroes like Drushta Kethu, Chekithana
The King of Kasi and Purujit, Kunthi Bhoja and the great King Shaibhya. 5
Drushta Kethu - Son of Shishupala
Chekithana - A warrior from Vrushni clan
Purujit Kuntibhoja - Brother of Kunti
Shaibhya - Father in law of Yudhishtra

The very powerful Yudhamanyu and the great warrior Uthamoujas.
And sons of Darupadi and Subadhra, all of whom are great warriors. 6
Yudhamanyu and Uthamoujas - Two panchala warriors

Our army also has great warriors and I am listing them,
Oh great twice born, for your understanding. 7

You, Bheeshma.Karna, Krupa who is a war winner,
Aswathama, Vikarna and Soumadathi are among them. 8
Krupa - Another teacher, who is brother in law of Drona
Vikarna - Brother of Duryodhana
Soumadathi - Son of Somadatha.

There are many more warriors, who are prepared to sacrifice,
Their lives for my sake and they are well armed and experts in war. 9

The strength of our army lead by Bheeshma is beyond measure,
As against their limited strength, which is protected by Bhima. 10

(Can also mean
The strength of our army lead by Bheeshma is not sufficient,
As against their needed strength, which is protected by Bhima. 10)

And so please prepare your army and hold it in readiness,
And all of you at any cost protect the great Bheeshma. 11

Then the old man of the Kuru clan, the great Bheeshma,
Blew his conch like a roar of lion to reassure Him. 12

All of a sudden several conches, drums, cymbals and gongs,
Blew in unison, and that sound echoed and re-echoed and became great. 13.

Then Arjuna and Krishna sitting on a great chariot,
Drawn by white horses, blew their divine conches also. 14

Lord Krishna blew his conch called Pancha Janya, Arjuna blew his Devadatha
And the Bhima with fire in his stomach blew his conch poundram. 15

The king Yudhishtra, who is the son of Kunthi, blew his conch Anantha Vijaya,
Nakula his conch Sugosha and Sahadeva his conch Mani pushpaka. 16

The great archer Kashyapa, the great charioteer Shikandi,
Drushtadhyumna, Virata, Sathyaki who has never faced defeat, 17
The King Drupada, sons of Draupadi, the great son of Subadhra,
Blew their conches separately again and again. 18

That sound shattered the hearts of the sons of Drutharashtra,
And also echoed and re-echoed in the earth and the sky. 19

Seeing these state of affairs of the sons of Drutharashtra,
The hero with a monkey in his flag realizing that the time was ready for war,
Held his bow aloft and Oh king, told like this to Krishna. 20 

Arjuna said:

Please position this chariot in the middle of armies, oh Krishna,
So that I can see all those who have come ready for this battle,
Summoned by the evil minded sons of Drutharashtra,
And who have wished for this war and decide on all those 
Whom I should fight, when the war commences. 21-23

Sanjaya said:

The Lord Krishna, when told like this by Arjuna,
Took and placed the chariot in the middle of the armies,
And told him, Please see the great warriors,
Of the Kuru clan lead by Bheeshma and Drona. 24-25

After seeing his in-laws, friends in the two armies,
And also his grand father, his teacher, uncles, brothers,
Sons and grand sons, Arjuna was overcome with compassion,
And getting in to the clutches of sorrow, told the following words. 26

Arjuna said:

I am seeing my people here, Krishna, who are ready for the war,
My body becomes weak, my face becomes dry,
My body is entirely covered with sweat, my hairs stand erect,
My bow Gandiva is getting out of my grip,
My whole body burns and I am not able to even to stand erect.
My life seems to be leaving me and my mind gets upset. 27-30

I am seeing bad omens, Krishna which are counter productive,
I do not see anything which will lead me to fame,
By killing all these people who are my own people. 31

I do not desire victory Krishna, or country or pleasure,
What is the use in having this country Govinda,
And what is the use in having a pleasure filled life?
For what is the point in having a country or even life, after
Killing teachers fathers, sons, grand father,
Uncles, in laws, grand sons, brother in laws and all relatives. 
Even if they want to kill me. Oh killer of Madhu,
And even if I am going to be the king of the three worlds,
I am not interested in killing them for this trifle of land. 32-35

What happiness will I ever get by killing these sons of Drutharashtra,
For even though they deserve to be killed, only sin will get attached to me. 36

Oh Krishna, though the sons of Drutharashtra deserve to be killed, 
Since they are our relations, how can we get pleasure out of such an action? 
Though I am seeing that they do not realize in their mind,
The sin of destroying a family and treachery to their friends,
How can we who realize the sin which results in destruction of family,
Not know that we have to withdraw from committing such a sin? 37-38

When families are killed, the just life* of the society perishes,
And by the loss of just life, injustice tends to grow aloft. 39
* The actual word is Dharma

When injustice occupies the land, good women loose their virtue,
And when they loose their virtue, there is mixture of the castes. 40

The mixture of castes leads the families and 
Those who destroy them to hell, for their ancestors 
Will not be worshipped with rice balls and water. 41

Because of the sins of those who destroy families,
And those who lead to such a mixture of castes,
The just duties of the castes as also the families cease to exist. 42-43

Oh Krishna, I have heard that those who destroy,
The just duties of families live forever in the portals of hell. 44

Alas! We are just getting prepared to do a very great sin,
By killing our own people for the sake of ruling over a country. 45

If the armed sons of Drutharashtra kill me, who am not armed,
That would lead me to lot of useful pleasure. 46

Sanjaya said:

After telling thus Arjuna became extremely sad,
Divested himself of his arms and sat in his chariot.

Thus ends the First Chapter of Bhagawad Gita,
Which is the Essence of all Upanishads,
Which is the Science of the Eternal and Yoga,
And the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna,
Which is called Arjuna's State of Grief. 

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