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Bhagavadgita As It Was (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: UAG432
Publisher: Publication Scheme, Jaipur
Author: P.L. Bhargava
Language: Sanskrit Text with English Translation
Edition: 2008
ISBN: 8186782818
Pages: 129
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 320 gm
Book Description

As is well known, there are six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy, the Sankhya system of Kapila, the Yoga System of Patanjali, the Nyaya system of Gautama, the Vaišesika system of Kanada, the Vedanta system of Bådarayana and the Mimämsä system of Jaimini. The Sänkhya and Mimamsã are atheistic, but the other four are monotheistic.

The Bhagavad-Gita is influenced by the Sänkhya system as far as its belief in the two primeval elements of Prakrti or Nature and Purusa or Soul is concerned. In other respects, it bears the influence of the Yoga system of Patanjali and to a much larger extent, the Vedanta system of Bädarāyana.

In these pillars of the Vedanta system of philosophy are, in chronological order, the Upanişads, the Brahmasutras of Badarāyana and the original Bhagavad-Gita. These pillars are technically known as the Prasthanatrayi or the triple foundation. The three great Ācāryas, Sankara, Rāmānuja and Madhva all wrote commentaries on these three categories of works. Since the period when the sutra or aphoristic style was in vogue lasted from about 700 B.C. to 200 B.C., the date for the Brahmasutras could not have been earlier than 700 B.C. If so, the original Bhagavad-Gita consisting of twelve chapters, which mentions the Brahmasutra in chapter 13, verse 5, must have been composed not earlier than 600 B.C. Krsna, to whom the teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita have been attributed, is first mentioned in the Chandogya Upanishad where his teacher Ghora Angirasa teaches him the same principles as are enshrined in the Bhagavad-Gita. The period of the Upanishads lasted from around 1100 B.C. to 700 B.C. Krsna is well known to have lived in the 12th century B.C., so it is not surprising if the Chåändogya Upaniṣad mentions him.

The question arises as to how Krsna could have given such a long sermon on the eve of the famous Bharata war as is found in the original Bhagavad-Gita. It appears that in the original Jaya composed by Vyasa in about 1100 BC, the teachings of Krsna to Arjuna were contained only in a few verses and, à course of time, they were spun out on the basis of his well known teachings. There is no doubt that he was a great teacher and is regarded by Panini to have founded a sect, which was known as Vasudevaka after his name Väsudeva. The original Bhagavad-Gita consisting of twelve chapters formed part of the second edition of the Jaya poem composed in about 600 B.C. This version came to be known as Bharata and consisted of 24,000 verses. The present Bhagavad-Gita consisting of eighteen chapters formed part of the final version of the Mahabharata which was edited around the first century B.C. and contained 100,000 verses. About this time, the Väsudevaka sect came to be known as Bhagavata as proved by the pillar erected at Besnagar in Madhya Pradesh by Heliodorus, a Greek devotee of Krsna. In later times, this sect came to be called the Vaisnava sect.

An effort has been made in the following pages to give an authentic translation of the original Bhagavad-Gita along with annotations where necessary. One thing needs to be said here. The word Deva has been translated as "Shining One" by Dr. Annie Besant on the basis of its etymology, since it is derived from the root "div" which means "to shine". This translation, however, does not make the meaning of the word Deva quite clear and Dr. Besant herself was compelled to translate the word Devas as Gods in verse four of the seventeenth chapter. Swami Prabhupada, on the other hand, gave the meaning demigod to this word. This meaning, however, is also inappropriate since there are only 33 Devas analogous to the 33 Yazatas (Skt. Yajatas) of Avesta and there is no room. for demigods. The Devas of the Vedic religion are ministering intelligences roughly equivalent to the angels of the Semitic religions and subordinate to the Supreme Being. It would therefore be best to leave this word untranslated.


The Bhagavad-Gita is universally acknowledged as a great book, full of noble teachings and edifying thoughts. The orthodox Hindus believe that the words attributed to Krsna in this work actually emanated from his mouth. Although Krsna, son of Vasudeva and Devaki, appears to have been a historical person who was in all probability identical with Krsna, son of Devaki, mentioned in the Chandogya Upanishad, no sober historian will be prepared to concede that the Bhagavad-Gita contains the actual words spoken by Krsna to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. The view generally held by scholars is that it is the composition of a poet who wanted to epitomize the teachings attributed to Krsna. While subscribing to this view, the present writer has, after a patient and critical study of this work, come to the conclusion that a considerable part of the Bhagavad-Gita in its present form consists of additions and interpolations, since this part is inconsistent with the rest of the work which must have been the original Bhagavad-Gita This may sound heresy, but the risk is worth taking if it leads to the discernment of truth.

Almost each one of the great teachers of the world has suffered deification at the hands of his followers, and Krsna too could not escape this fate. It is certain that Krsna was originally a human teacher who was later deified. The Chandogya Upanishad mentions Krsna, son of Devaki, as a disciple of the sage Ghora Angirasa without any claim to divinity. The Bhagavad-Gita in its present form consists of two clear-cut parts, one of which, barring a few sporadic verses which can be shown to be interpolated, regards Krsna as a human teacher, while in the other part Krsna claims to be the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God in almost every verse. The difference between the two parts, moreover, is not confined to Krsna's utterances but extends to Arjuna's mode of addressing Krsna. Thus while in one part Arjuna always addresses Krsna by his name or one of his well-known epithets as Acyuta, Kesava, Govinda, Madhusudana, Janardana, Madhava, Värsneya, Hrsikeśa and Keśinisūdana, it is only in the other part that he addresses him as Purusottama, Bhūtabhāvana, Bhūteśa, Devadeva, Jagatpati, Parameśvara, Viśveśvara, Ananta, Devesa, and Jagannivasa-all names of the Supreme Being. The part in which Krsna claims to be God and is addressed as such by Arjuna consists of Chapters VII to XII. In the remaining twelve chapters which must have formed the original Bhagavad-Gita only a few verses lay claim to the divinity of Krsna and these, as we shall presently see, are clearly interpolated. The numbering of chapters and verses in the following description has been done as the Bhagavad-Gita is printed today in its popular version.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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