#AtoZChallenge Book Review Inspiration

Bhagavad Gita

Bhagavad Gita Vishwarupam

B is for the Bhagavad Gita. This is a beautiful book and an ancient Sanskrit text which dates back 5000 years and forms 700 verses in the epic Mahabharata. Poetic and lyrical, the Bhagavad Gita is also called the Song of the Divine One where Arjuna represents Man and Krishna represents God.

The actual content is a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield at Kurukshetra, just before the war is about to begin. Arjuna is confused and in a dilemma about fighting against his loves ones and possibly killing them in the process. Krishna, his charioteer, motivates him by pointing out his duties as a Kshatriya warrior and Prince, drawing from examples and analogies from Vedanta philosophy.

 Bhagavad gita

 

As Arjuna asked questions Krishna answered them and thus was born The Gita as we know it. In course of his discourse, Krishna reveals that he is the Supreme Being and blesses Arjuna with a glimpse of his divine form.

Bhagavad Gita Krishna

I grew up with the Bhagavad Gita as a part of my routine since my Grandmother read it almost every day and I was privileged to listen to her perceptions of the text mixed with wisdom. And the most important learning was that There is Only One God.

But how do we know that? Is there proof? I believe there is. In spite of the Big Bang Theory, I am convinced that creation is a work of a supreme  being. We see creation in the form of life in various forms and species. There is the Sun that shines down on everyone with the same love, rising and setting. Seasons come and go. (Not saying I am thrilled with the hot sweaty weather where I live right now…still)

I think of irreversible processes such as the cow eating grass and water and producing milk. And man transforms this one product into several others. Trees and plants bear fruits and vegetables.

Then we have those events /calamities that we call Acts of God – earthquakes, floods, hurricanes.

Many aspects related to the functioning of our Universe are mysteries and it is easier to attribute these to a higher power.

There are the things we do not have control over – like old age, death and disease. (No – forget the anti-aging creams – they just don’t cut it!)

I am sure you’ve contemplated on all these things too.

Should you read the entire Bhagavad Gita to benefit from its teachings?

It is not mandatory to read the entire 700 verses (though it makes for a wonderful read) to glean the spiritual wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita.

One of the unique teachings of the Bhagavad Gita is the Karma theory. (I am saving that up for another post!) I secretly think of it as Tit for Tat as in “As you sow, so shall you reap” Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Sound familiar?

A quick summary of the Bhagavad Gita

Okay – let me try to summarize the Bhagavad Gita for you. It teaches one how to live, how to do one’s duty, taking on the pressures of life and living purposefully and responsibly. It teaches one to live with self-discipline, a stable mind and detachment.

  • Each one of us is spiritual. Our spiritual self is immortal and indestructible
  • Our monkey mind is full of desires, thoughts and feelings. Often this can lead to conflicting emotions and egoistic thinking. Eventually this results in an unstable mind. Self-discipline can help overcome this and achieve a serene, tranquil mind.
  • We must not be attached to the outcome while doing our duty. The wise man acts without attachment. I confess that this one is a tough baby for me. I have miles to go before I finally sleep.

कर्मणये वाधिकारस्ते मां फलेषु कदाचन । मां कर्मफलहेतुर्भू: मांते संङगोस्त्वकर्मणि ।।

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter II, Verse 47.

Translated, this means:
Your right is to work only,
But never to its fruits;
Let not the fruits of action be thy motive,
Nor let thy attachment be to inaction.

  • Self-realization and true peace comes only when one has self-control. This is also about letting go of all attachment.
  • Treat all beings equally
  • God lives in each one of us. Meditation and Yoga are excellent practices to appreciate this. This one I like. I see the divine in everyone.
  • Surrender to God with devotion
  • Recognize and overcome the three “gunas” – sattva, rajas and tamas to attain salvation. Sattva has to do with all that is pure, Rajas is to do with passion and Tamas with ignorance.

In short, it is all about doing one’s duty with a sense of detachment, self-discipline and a steady mind, letting go of egoism and all those other negative qualities. It is also about not worrying about the outcome and surrendering to the Supreme Power.

“Do your duty to the best of your ability without worrying about the results. Perceive that God is present equally in all beings and treat all beings equally.”

To me, this beautiful book is a spiritual awakening.

What do you think of the Bhagavad Gita’s teachings?

Today’s free download:

Feel like reading the Bhagavad Gita? Here is a simple version you can download for free courtesy the International Gita Society.

Bhagavad Gita for Children and Beginners – (links directly to the pdf file):

This is in the form of a dialogue between a child and his Grandmother and is a very enjoyable read.

a-to-z-letters-b #AtoZChallenge

You can also buy the Bhagvad Gita by R R Verma here

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65 Comments

  • Reply
    Corinne Rodrigues
    April 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    The Bhagavad Gita is often quoted in for management/ strategic planning too. We have one brought out by ISKCON at home. I confess that I haven’t read all of it, but the parts that I have read do appeal to me.
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 12:18 pm

      That’s the best thing about the Bhagavad Gita, Corinne. It can be read in parts. I’ve enjoyed the stories that go with the verses. Thank you for commenting!
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  • Reply
    Suzy
    April 2, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Awesome Vidya. One of my favourite books. Our Gita has so much wisdom. The Mahabharata and Ramayana are my favourite epics. And Lord Ram is my eternal hero. Love the pics. Jai Sri Krishna, Jai Sri Ram.
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      Same here, Suzy. We grew up listening to stories from these epics. My son enjoys sketching scenes from these stories and I have stacks of his art at various ages. Jai Sri Krishna indeed! 🙂
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  • Reply
    Vibhu
    April 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    I am a noob when it comes to the Gita. However, one of the concepts that I cant shake out of my mind is how similar the Big Bang Theory and the day of Brahma is. Approximate the dates of the BBT and the last start of Brahma’s day, and they seem to be near each other. Food for thought eh ?

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      Yes, Vibhu! Even though I’ve grown up listening to this (and you know I am talking about decades here) I am nowhere close to “knowing” the Gita. What you say about the day of Brahma vis-a-vis the BBT is amazing. 🙂 But then, when we delve into any of these epics, it is easy to get lost in them. For instance, before I wrote this post, I browsed through a few verses – and found it fascinating that the wisdom contained is so universal and often quite logical.
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  • Reply
    Ruchira
    April 2, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    You have summarized the Geeta so beautifully and succinctly. Bhgawad Geeta has wisdom that helps us in each stage of life. I haven’t read it fully but I have read chapters that i think are useful to me right now and have written down points that I can go over again and again !
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      Thanks, Ruchira. I was a little nervous writing this post – I mean, the Gita is so huge and how could I hope to encapsulate it in such few words? The great thing is the learning. 🙂
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  • Reply
    blogwatig
    April 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Haven’t read it. The closest I came to it has been in the Mahabharat TV Series. Someday, maybe.

    Religion is quite intriguing, I feel, as a topic.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm

      Religion is definitely intriguing, Vinita. Especially the similarities. 😀 I believe in the policy of ONE. I believe the Mahabharata is still being telecast. 😀 I quite enjoy catching the random episode.
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  • Reply
    Preetilata
    April 2, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    A very informative post. Loved your thoughts on it.
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  • Reply
    Shail
    April 2, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    “Many aspects related to the functioning of our Universe are mysteries and it is easier to attribute these to a higher power.”
    This sentence contains more than what its obvious meaning. But I will leave it for another day 🙂
    Have you heard Yesudas singing the second chapter of Bhagvad Gita? It is awesome.
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 12:29 pm

      Shail, I am curious to hear more about your thoughts on that sentence. 😀

      Yesudas singing anything is honey poured into the ears. And devotional? Divine! 🙂
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  • Reply
    sridevi
    April 2, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    On most mornings I listen to Ghantasala reciting Bhagwadgeeta in his rich sonorous voice . To me perhaps Bhagwadgeeta is more about spiritualism and living rather than religion 🙂 Lovely post …could relate with this at many levels 🙂
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      I feel the same way, too, Sridevi – spiritual rather than religious. Ghantasala is great.

      Thank you!
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  • Reply
    Damyanti
    April 2, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    It is so hard to summarize the Geeta, and you’ve managed so well, Vidya.

    Damyanti @Daily(w)rite
    Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2013

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      Damyanti, honestly I was nervous to write this post but went ahead and wrote it anyway. 😀 Thank you for your kind words!
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  • Reply
    Shannon
    April 2, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Beautiful post Vidya…thanks so much for sharing! I have never heard this story before…very interesting!
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      Thank you, Shannon. The beauty of the Gita is its universal teachings. Anyone can relate to it. There are so many simple versions to enjoy. Check out the download link. It is an easy read!

      🙂
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Dialogues From WithinMy Profile

  • Reply
    Shilpa Garg
    April 2, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    The knowledge, wisdom, lessons, learnings from Bhagwavad Gita are so immense and can be applied in our day to day lives… your summary of Gita… super like.
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  • Reply
    Priya Sreeram
    April 2, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    a big hug vidya- such a divine post; crisp n spot on. I always remember the gita saaransh – jo hota hai woh acche ke liye hota hai ; tum kya laaye jo kho gaya, jo aaj tumhara hai , woh kal kisi ka tha aur kal kisi aur ka ho jayega. Gita is indeed the spiritual awakening for aall humans 🙂
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm

      Thanks, Priya. Accepting what you quoted is a huge step to spiritualism. Beautiful words. 🙂 Bon Appetit for the soul!
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  • Reply
    Chandra Senan
    April 2, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Dear Vidya,

    Excellent article as usual and privileged to have read it. You captured the essence of the Gita in a couple of pages – no mean feat – together with your take on the various issues involved.

    The following exhortation is awesome but incredibly difficult to live up to:
    Your right is to work only,
    But never to its fruits;
    Let not the fruits of action be thy motive,
    Nor let thy attachment be to inaction.

    This is one of my all-time favourites:
    You are what your deep, driving desire is.
    As your desire is, so is your will.
    As your will is, so is your deed.
    As your deed is, so is your destiny.

    – Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

    Thank you and keep on blogging,

    Chandra Senan

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Welcome, and thank you, Chandra. Great to see you here. The verses you quoted are perhaps the most popular (and profound) in the Gita.

      When I started writing the post, I wasn’t sure I would do justice to such an epic. But I wanted to try, anyway. The truth is I love the book and that fueled me.

      Thank you so much for stopping by. I appreciate your constant encouragement!
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  • Reply
    Carolyn Hughes
    April 2, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    This is such a beautiful post Vidya! And I’ve learnt so much from your description of these spiritual teachings. Wonderful my friend 🙂
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  • Reply
    janu
    April 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    It is amazing that it is relevant even today.

  • Reply
    Pattu
    April 2, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    A very nice post Vidya.
    What can one say about this great book?

    I am sad that our country is so full of such great wisdom, which we flaunt at every opportunity .

    But as a nation we see everyday , in every sphere moral decline. What a tragedy.
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      That is the sad thing, Pattu. So much to preach, so little practice. Just opening the newspaper is enough to make one crazy.

      Nice to see you! 🙂
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  • Reply
    sharmila
    April 2, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    I regularly attended Gita recitation classes in my neighbourhood when I was in school.Although the main attraction was the prasadam back then but the teachings have stayed with me.Priceless words of wisdom..
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      Interesting, Sharmila. In fact, my “bhakti” for Hanuman began with the tamarind rice prasadam at our local temple! Whatever the route, the destination is enjoyable. 😀
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  • Reply
    Sulekha Rawat
    April 2, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    A very informative and interesting post about Bhagavad Gita. I have downloaded the pdf and saved your post too. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Roshni
    April 3, 2013 at 1:47 am

    Lovely, Vidya! How well you summarized it!
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  • Reply
    Jodi @ Heal Now
    April 3, 2013 at 3:00 am

    I read it when I was studying to be a yoga teacher and I remember being confused that it was a war scene and Krishna was saying fight when I think of promoting peace. I think I will pick it up again and look deeper in. I love the bullet points you list as they are all part of my sprituality.
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      Thank you, Jodi! 🙂 Your confusion is quite common, given the venue for the teaching. But that is precisely what makes it appropriate too, because that’s when Arjuna needed the motivation to go forth and do his duty.

      You’ll enjoy the book 😀 Each time I read a few verses, I see it in a different light.
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  • Reply
    Glynis Jolly
    April 3, 2013 at 6:20 am

    I think many people have a difficult time with “We must not be attached to the outcome while doing our duty.” Most people are so interested in the outcome that they lose so much of what they could gain from the process.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      Glynis, Sometimes I have a problem with that, depending on the situation. 🙂 Very tough to be completely detached. But we get there, slowly, when we open our minds. Thank you for your valuable insight!
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  • Reply
    Aparna
    April 3, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I had heard about bhagvad gita and also seen the Mahabharatha on TV when we were quite young. Now, after so many years, I downloaded the book and will start reading. Thanks for the link

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      You are welcome, Aparna! I am so glad you visited! Thank you for your comment! I remember how the TV serial ruled our lives. 🙂
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  • Reply
    Rahul
    April 3, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Imagine I got my first copy of Bhagavad Gita in school in Class VII for first position. It has been with me ever since as a guide:)

  • Reply
    Rhonda @Laugh Quotes
    April 3, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    One of the best things about the challenge is reading blogs and meeting people I wouldn’t normally come across. Today I learned about the the Bhagavad Gita, really interesting and such wonderful messages. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.

    Rhonda @Laugh-Quotes.com
    AtoZ #42
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Thank you Rhonda! Yes, I believe that is the best part of the Challenge too! 🙂 Do check out the book download.
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Dialogues From WithinMy Profile

  • Reply
    G Angela
    April 3, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Very inspiring Vidya ! I loved the way you summarized it, I have not read Bhagavad Gita, and I was happy to hear it from you, thanks for sharing !

  • Reply
    Betsy/Zen Mama
    April 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Vidya,
    I’ve always wanted to read the Bhagavad Gita! I think I’ll try the download for children and beginners. You have a wonderful way of writing and describing that doesn’t make it seem too overwhelming a subject!
    Thanks Vidya!
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 4, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      Thank you, Betsy! I am very interested in what you think of the book! I know you will love the part about “letting go of the outcome” 🙂 Hugs!
      Vidya Sury recently posted…Dialogues From WithinMy Profile

  • Reply
    Vrindavan
    April 4, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Very beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your inspirations and such a nice summary of the Gita. I’m actually writing a blog on the teachings of the Gita myself. A personal challenge of writing my reflections on every single verse. I’m in the middle of Chapter 2 now! 😀 I’d be so honoured if you checked it out and please feel free to comment: http://www.gitaasitis.com

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 5, 2013 at 11:21 pm

      Hi Vrndavana Vinodini! (Such a pretty name I had to address you by it fully!) Just visited your blog – and it is beautiful. You’ve taken on a glorious, if huge task and I’ll be looking forward to reading it as you write. I just subscribed to your email updates!

      I am very glad you found my blog! Let’s keep in touch!
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      • Reply
        Vrindavan
        April 5, 2013 at 11:26 pm

        Hi Vidya, I too am so happy to have found your blog! Thank you so much for your blessings and encouragement! Looking forward to keeping in touch. 😀
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  • Reply
    Sandra Pawula
    April 5, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    Beautiful! These essence of the Gita is very in line with my spiritual tradition. Although Buddhism doesn’t believe in a single creator, I can understand the sense of “there is only one good” reflecting the true divine nature that exists within us all. It’s such a gift to have key principles explained to us in short form. Thank you!
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  • Reply
    L.G. Keltner
    May 11, 2013 at 5:37 am

    I read a large portion of the Bhagavad Gita in a college philosophy class, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I think you did a fantastic job of presenting it.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 11, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      Thank you, Keltner! The Bhagavad Gita is a masterpiece that provokes thought and a variety of perceptions! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sebastian Aiden Daniels
    May 14, 2013 at 1:34 am

    Thank you for this post Vidya. I have read the Tao Te Ching, the I Ching, some things by Confucius, and some Buddhist texts, but never the Bhagavad Gita. It sounds similar to them in some ways. I think I am going to pick it up at the bookstore because I’d like a personal copy for my library. Once again, Thanks. I would not have ran into learning about this text if it wasn’t for your blog : D.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 14, 2013 at 8:50 am

      Sebastian, I am honored to introduce the Bhagavad Gita to you. It is something that one can read for a lifetime. I’d love to know when you get the book – perhaps you will post your perceptions from time to time. Do visit this fabulous blog – http://www.gitaasitis.com by Vrindavana – she does a daily post on the Gita, verse by verse.

      Have a lovely day!
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      • Reply
        Sebastian Aiden Daniels
        May 14, 2013 at 9:18 am

        Thank you so much for the reference to that blog. I checked it out and I am adding it to my blogs to follow bookmark. I think it will be cool to read verses each day from it and gain a person’s personal perceptions of it.

        I will let you know.

  • Reply
    michael latham
    June 30, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Bhagavad Gita provides detailed instruction on the science of the soul. Lord Sri Krishna explains to His dear friend Arjuna the position of the soul, material nature, and the difference between the two.
    The most authorized version of Bhagavad Gita As It Is can be obtained at
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    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      June 30, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      Thank you, Michael! The Bhagavad Gita is a beautiful experience!

  • Reply
    Recipe For Happiness - Vidya Sury
    June 16, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    […] one below, on the left is Hanuman, off to enjoy an adventure. To the right is the scene from the Bhagavad Gita where Lord Krishna speaks to Arjuna on the battlefield. (Click any picture to […]

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