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Gita in verse-an introduction.

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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 their religion. 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 encyclopedical 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 Adhi Sankara, who proved that this great book provided support to his interpretation of Hindu philosophy of Advaitha (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 by 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 in to 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 a solace in the Bhagavagītā 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 Bhagavagītā. 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.
Please read my transltion in www.celextel.org, Ramachander
Is it true No non hindus can be converted to Hinduism according to Bagavat geetha? if this is true where can we find that portion in Bagavat geetha?


Dear baludec48,

Was there a concept of 'non-Hindu' when Sri Krishna was instructing Arjuna which is known as Bhagavat Geetha?


Dear friends,
There was a concept of people who did not believe in the percepts of Vedas , even in the Vedas. This continued.As far as I know Gita does not mention anything about conversion. Ramachander
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