Friday, October 16, 2009

Bhagavad Gita- A Book Review

I like reading different "scriptures" finding mostly the same wisdom expressed in different ways.  I've read the Dhammapada, the Tao Te Ching and I just recently finished reading the Bhagavad Gita.  The Bhagavad Gita is an ancient Hindu writing.  Mythically, it's a dialog between a warrior (Arjuna) about to enter battle and God (Krishna) incarnated as Arjuna's friend and companion.  The translation I read by Eknath Easwaran was fantastic. Click here for a link to the Amazon page:  The Bhagavad Gita.  He took about 70 pages just to introduce the scriptures so you would have an underestanding of the context and the terminology which can get a bit technical.  Each chapter is preceded by an introduction that tells  you what you are about to read.

The scriptures themselves are profound in my opinion.  The advice that Krishna gives Arjuna is about the spiritual path to enlightenment.  He pretty much recommends a middle path, not one of ascetism or of non-action but one of right action and devotion.  If I had to say one thing that I got out of it that stood out more than any others was doing right just for the sake of doing right.  Non-attachment to results is the goal.  I won't attempt to sum up the scriptures themselves because I know I could not do them justice.  But, if you are interested in the Bhagavad Gita, I cannot imagine there being a much better translation.
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Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I have a copy round here somewhere. I may need to crack it open again. It's been many years.

kc bob said...

"He pretty much recommends a middle path"

..I think that I might like him.. being the moderate kind of guys that I am :)

Brian said...


I'm not sure whether you'd like the book or not. Personally, I believe that G-d has spoken to multiple people in multiple cultures at multiple times and is still speaking. Therefore, I would not expect to find one set of scriptures (the Bible) but many. I believe the Bhagavad Gita was divinely inspired.

I'm a big proponent of the Middle Way. Neither ascetism nor overindulgence is the way to discover the Kingdom. I believe both Jesus and the Buddha showed this with their lives. The Bhagavad Gita talks about several different approaches to discovering ones true Self. The one that really jumped out at me was simply unselfish action, doing what is the right thing to do. But, doing it without being attached to the outcome without regard for what it's going to do for us or even certain of what it will do for others.


kc bob said...

What do you think these guys meant when they said:

“Hell has three gates: lust, anger, and greed” -Bhagavad Gita

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.” -Buddha

Do you think they believed in hell? I have not read their stuff but I'd be interested in your impressions on their thinkings on the afterlife.

Really not wanting a discussion of ECT.. just wondering how these folks jive with your thoughts on hell.

Brian said...

Short answer, Bob. No. Not the Christian hell of a place of external conscious torment by an outside force or being. Temporary "hells" or states of mind created by wrong thinking, yes.

Buddhists talk of hellish realms (whether these are real or metaphors depends on whom you ask). But, the realms are not permanent and you are not sent there by another being nor are you tormented by anything or anyone other than your wrong thinking.

Don said...

I've been meaning to get a copy of the "Gita", but had trouble deciding on a translation (sort of like finding the right Bible translation, huh? lol!) Thanks for the recommendation. I'll check it out.

Don said...

Got the "Gita" yesterday. Started it already.

Brian said...


Let me know what you think of it. I'd love to discuss it with you.