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Penguin Classics The Bhagavad Gita Hardcover – Aug 23 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 124 pages
  • Publisher: Viking UK (Aug. 23 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670084166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670084166
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.2 x 20.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #424,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Juan Mascaro read Modern and Oriental Languages at Cambridge, lectured in Oxford and eventually became Professor of English at Barcelona University. He has translated the Upanisads and the Bhagavad Gita. He died in 1987.

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Amazon.com: 63 reviews
208 of 210 people found the following review helpful
One of the more attractive versions for the general reader. March 15 2001
By tepi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Juan Mascaro's edition of the Gita is undoubtedly one of the more attractive versions for the general reader who is approaching the Gita for the first time. Mascaro, besides being a Sanskrit scholar, is a sensitive translator who clearly resonates to the Gita. He tells us that the aim of his translation is "to give, without notes or commentary, the spiritual message of the Bhagavad Gita in pure English." To suggest just how well he has succeeded, here is his rendering of Verse II.66:
"There is no wisdom for a man without harmony, and without harmony there is no contemplation. Without contemplation there cannot be peace, and without peace can there be joy?"
Many readers will probably be content to remain with Mascaro, and it certainly seems to me that his translation reads beautifully and that a fair number of his verses have never been bettered by others. But the Gita is not quite so simple as it may sometimes appear. If we want to arrive at a fuller idea of just what the Gita means by "wisdom," "harmony," "contemplation," "peace," and so on, we will need to consult other and fuller editions.
There are many editions which, besides giving a translation of the Gita, also give a full commentary such as the excellent one by Sri Aurobindo in his 'Bhagavad Gita and Its Message' (1995). Others, besides giving a commentary and notes, also give the Sanskrit text along with a word-by-word translation. Some of these even include the commentary of the great Indian philosopher, Shankara (c. + 788 to 820), such as the very fine edition by Swami Gambhirananda (Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1995, which may be available through the Vedanta Press, CA). Here is the latter's English rendering of Verse II.66:
"For the unsteady there is no wisdom, and there is no meditation for the unsteady man. And for an unmeditative man there is no peace. How can there be happiness for one without peace?"
This may not seem to have carried us much beyond Mascaro until we start looking at Shankara's commentary, of which the following provides a taste:
"Ayuktasya, for the unsteady, for one who does not have a concentrated mind; na asti, there is no, i.e. there does not arise; buddhih, wisdom, with regard to the nature of the Self; ca, and; there is no bhavana, meditation, earnest longing for the knowledge of the Self; ayuktasya, for an unsteady man. And similarly, abhavayatah, for an unmeditative man, who does not ardently desire the knowledge of the Self; there is no shantih, peace, restraint of the senses. Kutah, how can there be; sukham, happiness; ashantasya, for one without peace? That indeed is happiness which consists in the freedom of the senses from the thirst for enjoyment of objects; not the thirst for objects - that is misery to be sure. The implication is that, so long as thirst persists, there is no possibility of even an iota of happiness!" (page 112-3).
For anyone who would like to see a full treatment of the language of the Sanskrit text, there is Winthrop Sargeant's stupendous labor of love, 'The Bhagavad Gita' (SUNY, 1984) which offers a complete grammatical description of every single Sanskrit word in the text, along with much else.
Finally, for anyone who would like to look at a first-rate study of the Gita, there is Trevor Leggett's 'Realization of the Supreme Self - The Yoga-s of the Bhagavad Gita' (Kegan Paul International, 1995). This is a superb work with an intensely practical bent which sees the Gita, not so much as a metaphysical treatise but as a book of practical instruction. I used to think I knew the Gita before I discovered Leggett!
But despite the great wealth of available editions, of which I've mentioned only a few here, I still find myself returning to Mascaro from time to time. A perfect translation of the Gita into English is probably unattainable, but Mascaro seems to have come as close as anyone is ever likely to do. His version has a tendency to send down roots and grow in the mind.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
This is a beautiful, pure, simple translation of a classic. Nov. 9 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Juan Mascaro's translation of the famous Bhagavid Gita, the song of our Lord, is truly beautiful, and breathes purity, simplicity, spirituality, and insight throughout. This is one of the classic scriptures of Hinduism, along with the Upanishads and the Ramayana....and tells the tale - against a backdrop of "earthly battle" - of the soul's battle to find God, and to manifest His will on this earth. It is exceptionally clear, and explains the nature of the human being, HOW one should live one's life (work, food, thoughts, associations, etc.), the nature of meditation, how to become enlightened, the nature of God, and what constitutes a holy man. I want to quote some of the beauty of the phrases, but without the book immediately in front of me, fear I will misquote. But it is a book of poetry, an explanation of the right attitude to work, action, thoughts, enlightened men, God, oneself, where the vehicle of the battle is just that - a vehicle used to convey these ancient, and in the East very well understood, and timeless truths.
55 of 61 people found the following review helpful
Simple and effective June 15 2001
By racx - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Juan has done a fantastic job of translating the Gita into such concise writing. Every verse interpreted (though it biased towards Juan's opinion or philosophies) was succinct and did not require the reader to crack his/her head over the meaning. For me it was certainly an excellent introduction to the marvellous poem. Another version by Ramanand Prasad is more in depth and profound in it's translation. The free version by him could be found at [...] Here's an example of the two contrasting profundity and distinctive styles of translations:
For verse 2:27 Juan's translation was :
Set thy heart upon thy work, but never on its reward. Work not or a reward; but never cease to do thy work.
as for the one by Ramanand Prasad, it came out as :
You have Adhikaara over your respective duty only, but no control or claim over the results. The fruits of work should not be your motive. You should never be inactive. (2.47) (The word Adhikaara means ability and privilege, prerogative, jurisdiction, discretion, right, preference, choice, rightful claim, authority, control.)
A reader wishing to venture into the depths of the Gita should consider reading this version by Juan as an overview of it.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Good Prose Rendering Sept. 12 2000
By "gsibbery" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mascaro's translation, while widely acknowledged as not the most accurate, is a very good introduction to the Gita. The style is prose throughout, which brings out none of the Gita's beauty, but as for as understanding goes, there few deficiencies here. This should probably not be one's sole resource in studying the book, but fortunately, ther is no commentary so that the reader is left to make up his or her own mind about the value of the book. Nearly all the Sanskrit words have been translated, so that the feeling or reading something "foreign", common to students of the Gita, is noticeably absent. The introductory essay is helpful, but not essential to the understanding of the Song. All in all, a good attempt, but for a better rendering, try Ramanand Prasad's translation, as it is a bit more modern and moves easier than this one.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Self-Realization July 21 2009
By Glenn Leary - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Bhagavad-Gita or, The Song Celestial (From the Mahabharata).

This is an excellent treatment of millenia-old Hindu religious thought for the modern day thinking man. The main body of the book is Lord Krishna's explanation to his life-long friend and champion archer Arjun of life's purpose. I heartily recommend it to any reader interested in obtaining an overview of one of India's greatest philosophical works!

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