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Books > Hindu > Gita > Bhagavad > The Bhagavad Gita : A New Translation and Study Guide
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The Bhagavad Gita : A New Translation and Study Guide
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The Bhagavad Gita : A New Translation and Study Guide
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About the book

The Bhagvat Gita, which was spoken perhaps five thousand years ago and has existed in its written form for over two thousand years, has continued to inspire new generations of seekers in the East and West for centuries. Gandhi in the East and Thoreau, Emerson, Einstein, and others in the West found within its pages deep wisdom, comfort, and contemporary applications to their lives and times.

The Gita stands alongside the Bible, Dhammapada, Dao De Jing, Qur’an, and other significant sacred books as a universal source teaching that transcends sectarian religions. In addition, the Bhagavad Gita—along with the Yoga Sutras—is one of the two primary foundational books of the yoga path, aspects of which have become popular in the West in recent decades.

Profound and illuminating, The Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation and Study Guide will enhance the experience of this fundamental text for modern readers from all walks of life— from students to any individual seeking a deeper understanding of the foundations of yoga.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

About the Author

Nicholas Sutton is a professor and director at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, an academy for the study of Hindu cultures, societies, philosophies, religions, and languages. He received his PhD from Lancaster University, writing his doctoral thesis on the Mahabharata, and he currently writes and tutors online courses on Hindu religious traditions. He is the author of Religious Doctrines in the Mahabharata and The Yoga Sutras: A New Translation and Study Guide.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

Preface

In this book, I have undertaken a detailed study of the Bhagavad gita and the principal ideas it presents to its readers. As the Gita is a relatively short work of 18 chapters and 700 verses, it might seem that this is a far easier task than would be the case for a lon- ger text such as the Mahabharata or the Ramayana. I have not, how- ever, attempted a verse by verse consideration of the Bhagavad-gita and have chosen instead to adopt a thematic approach aimed at establishing and exploring the main themes of the discourse and the principal ideas presented in each chapter.

The Bhagavad-gita appears as a section of the Bhishma-parvan, the sixth book of the Mahabharata, at the point just prior to the 18-day battle at Kurukshetra. In this conflict the hopes of the Pandava faction rest largely on the martial prowess of Arjuna, the third of thefive Pandava brothers. At the start of the Bhagavad-gita, however, we find the hero disconsolate and unwilling to wage war against his own family members. It is at this point that Krishna, his cousin and charioteer, begins to offer instruction to Arjuna. The initial intention of the discourse is to persuade Arjuna that waging war is not necessarily an act of wickedness, but the full treatise goes far beyond this initial thesis, developing into a thoroughgoing exposition of belief and practice that has had an immeasurable influence on the forma- tion of Hindu religious doctrines.

I will consider the Bhagavad-gita chapter by chapter and try to establish the main ideas it pursues in its teachings, thereby seeking to identify the full significance of this famous scripture. At certain points, attention will be drawn to significant Sanskrit terms, and some use will be made of three traditional commentaries on the Gita, namely those of Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, and Madhvacharya. I will also try to expand the discussion so that at certain junctures it will be possible to reflect on the contemporary significance of the teachings and of how they can be of relevance to the modern world.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

Introduction

In the introduction, the position of the Gita within the Mahabharata and its status within the Hindu tradition will be considered before looking briefly at some of the views of contemporary schol- ars. We will then turn our attention to the Gita’s opening chap- ter with a consideration of Arjuna’s lamentation, which prompts Krishna to begin his teachings. Moving on to Chapter 2 we begin with a review of Krishna’s initial responses to Arjuna’s refusal to fight and in particular the way in which he emphasises the eternal nature of the living being. We then move on to concentrate on the idea of karma-yoga, which Krishna offers as a direct response to Arjuna’s fear of sinful action. This notion is particularly important in Hindu religious thought, as it reveals how a person can simul- taneously fulfil his social obligations whilst striving to attain the highest spiritual goals.

In considering Chapter 3 we can look in further detail at Krish- na’s explanation of karma-yoga and then note the progression in the teachings from karma-yoga, concluded in Chapter 5, to the expla- nation of dhyana presented in Chapter 6. Here, we find another form of spirituality advocated by the Bhagavad-gita, the process of meditational yoga by which one acquires direct perception of the inner self, the atman, a realisation that leads to liberation from the cycle of rebirth.

After this discussion of meditational yoga, we proceed further into the main body of our text, at this point noting how from Chap- ter 7 onwards the direction of the discourse changes dramatically. The opening six chapters focused on the ways in which an individual could pursue the path of renunciation whilst fulfilling social obli- gations, but from the beginning of Chapter 7 onwards we now find a switch in emphasis towards providing an understanding of the nature of God and of the power of divine grace. In the middle sec- tion (Chapters 7-12) of the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna not only teaches Arjuna about the nature of the Supreme Deity but also reveals that he himself is that Deity. And in response to Arjuna’s prayer, he also manifests his divine identity as that which is all things, the unseen presence of God pervading the entire creation.

After the great revelation of the divine in Chapter 11 and the emphasis placed on devotion to God, Chapters 13-16 diversify the Gita’s teachings and cover a variety of topics that serve to reinforce the teachings that have gone before. One common theme running through these later chapters is the emphasis on Samkhya ideas, the philosophical system that seeks to define the material mani- festation and to establish the distinctive identity of the individual soul in all beings. In our sixth chapter, we will consider the ways in which Krishna employs concepts derived from the Samkhya system to add greater depth to his teachings.

In reviewing the final two chapters of the Gita (17 and 18), we again find a diversity of ideas, including an exploration of the way the gunas, the three inherent qualities of matter, can be identified within this world. The Bhagavad-gita ends its teachings by revisit- ing the main ideas it has presented earlier, finally concluding with a renewed emphasis on the importance of devotion and the power of divine grace in saving the devotee from rebirth.

**Contents and Sample Pages**











The Bhagavad Gita : A New Translation and Study Guide

Item Code:
NAT946
Cover:
HARDCOVER
Edition:
2019
Publisher:
ISBN:
9781683837336
Language:
ENGLISH
Size:
9.50 X 6.50 inch
Pages:
302 (19 B/W illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 0.87 Kg
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$36.00
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About the book

The Bhagvat Gita, which was spoken perhaps five thousand years ago and has existed in its written form for over two thousand years, has continued to inspire new generations of seekers in the East and West for centuries. Gandhi in the East and Thoreau, Emerson, Einstein, and others in the West found within its pages deep wisdom, comfort, and contemporary applications to their lives and times.

The Gita stands alongside the Bible, Dhammapada, Dao De Jing, Qur’an, and other significant sacred books as a universal source teaching that transcends sectarian religions. In addition, the Bhagavad Gita—along with the Yoga Sutras—is one of the two primary foundational books of the yoga path, aspects of which have become popular in the West in recent decades.

Profound and illuminating, The Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation and Study Guide will enhance the experience of this fundamental text for modern readers from all walks of life— from students to any individual seeking a deeper understanding of the foundations of yoga.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

About the Author

Nicholas Sutton is a professor and director at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, an academy for the study of Hindu cultures, societies, philosophies, religions, and languages. He received his PhD from Lancaster University, writing his doctoral thesis on the Mahabharata, and he currently writes and tutors online courses on Hindu religious traditions. He is the author of Religious Doctrines in the Mahabharata and The Yoga Sutras: A New Translation and Study Guide.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

Preface

In this book, I have undertaken a detailed study of the Bhagavad gita and the principal ideas it presents to its readers. As the Gita is a relatively short work of 18 chapters and 700 verses, it might seem that this is a far easier task than would be the case for a lon- ger text such as the Mahabharata or the Ramayana. I have not, how- ever, attempted a verse by verse consideration of the Bhagavad-gita and have chosen instead to adopt a thematic approach aimed at establishing and exploring the main themes of the discourse and the principal ideas presented in each chapter.

The Bhagavad-gita appears as a section of the Bhishma-parvan, the sixth book of the Mahabharata, at the point just prior to the 18-day battle at Kurukshetra. In this conflict the hopes of the Pandava faction rest largely on the martial prowess of Arjuna, the third of thefive Pandava brothers. At the start of the Bhagavad-gita, however, we find the hero disconsolate and unwilling to wage war against his own family members. It is at this point that Krishna, his cousin and charioteer, begins to offer instruction to Arjuna. The initial intention of the discourse is to persuade Arjuna that waging war is not necessarily an act of wickedness, but the full treatise goes far beyond this initial thesis, developing into a thoroughgoing exposition of belief and practice that has had an immeasurable influence on the forma- tion of Hindu religious doctrines.

I will consider the Bhagavad-gita chapter by chapter and try to establish the main ideas it pursues in its teachings, thereby seeking to identify the full significance of this famous scripture. At certain points, attention will be drawn to significant Sanskrit terms, and some use will be made of three traditional commentaries on the Gita, namely those of Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, and Madhvacharya. I will also try to expand the discussion so that at certain junctures it will be possible to reflect on the contemporary significance of the teachings and of how they can be of relevance to the modern world.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

Introduction

In the introduction, the position of the Gita within the Mahabharata and its status within the Hindu tradition will be considered before looking briefly at some of the views of contemporary schol- ars. We will then turn our attention to the Gita’s opening chap- ter with a consideration of Arjuna’s lamentation, which prompts Krishna to begin his teachings. Moving on to Chapter 2 we begin with a review of Krishna’s initial responses to Arjuna’s refusal to fight and in particular the way in which he emphasises the eternal nature of the living being. We then move on to concentrate on the idea of karma-yoga, which Krishna offers as a direct response to Arjuna’s fear of sinful action. This notion is particularly important in Hindu religious thought, as it reveals how a person can simul- taneously fulfil his social obligations whilst striving to attain the highest spiritual goals.

In considering Chapter 3 we can look in further detail at Krish- na’s explanation of karma-yoga and then note the progression in the teachings from karma-yoga, concluded in Chapter 5, to the expla- nation of dhyana presented in Chapter 6. Here, we find another form of spirituality advocated by the Bhagavad-gita, the process of meditational yoga by which one acquires direct perception of the inner self, the atman, a realisation that leads to liberation from the cycle of rebirth.

After this discussion of meditational yoga, we proceed further into the main body of our text, at this point noting how from Chap- ter 7 onwards the direction of the discourse changes dramatically. The opening six chapters focused on the ways in which an individual could pursue the path of renunciation whilst fulfilling social obli- gations, but from the beginning of Chapter 7 onwards we now find a switch in emphasis towards providing an understanding of the nature of God and of the power of divine grace. In the middle sec- tion (Chapters 7-12) of the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna not only teaches Arjuna about the nature of the Supreme Deity but also reveals that he himself is that Deity. And in response to Arjuna’s prayer, he also manifests his divine identity as that which is all things, the unseen presence of God pervading the entire creation.

After the great revelation of the divine in Chapter 11 and the emphasis placed on devotion to God, Chapters 13-16 diversify the Gita’s teachings and cover a variety of topics that serve to reinforce the teachings that have gone before. One common theme running through these later chapters is the emphasis on Samkhya ideas, the philosophical system that seeks to define the material mani- festation and to establish the distinctive identity of the individual soul in all beings. In our sixth chapter, we will consider the ways in which Krishna employs concepts derived from the Samkhya system to add greater depth to his teachings.

In reviewing the final two chapters of the Gita (17 and 18), we again find a diversity of ideas, including an exploration of the way the gunas, the three inherent qualities of matter, can be identified within this world. The Bhagavad-gita ends its teachings by revisit- ing the main ideas it has presented earlier, finally concluding with a renewed emphasis on the importance of devotion and the power of divine grace in saving the devotee from rebirth.

**Contents and Sample Pages**











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