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Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation Paperback – Aug 27 2002

3.6 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; Reprint edition (Aug. 27 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609810340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609810347
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

On the list of the greatest spiritual books of all time, the Bhagavad Gita resides permanently in the top echelon. This poem of patently Indian genius sprouted an immense tree of devotional, artistic, and philosophical elaboration in the subcontinent. The scene is a battlefield with the prince Arjuna pitted against his own family, but no sooner does the poem begin than the action reverts inward. Krishna, Arjuna's avatar and spiritual guide, points the way to the supreme wisdom and perfect freedom that lie within everyone's reach. Worship and be faithful, meditate and know reality--these make up the secret of life and lead eventually to the realization that the self is the root of the world. In this titular translation, Stephen Mitchell's rhythms are faultless, making music of this ancient "Song of the Blessed One." Savor his rendition, but nibble around the edges of his introduction. In a bizarre mixture of praise and condescension, Mitchell disregards two millennia of Indian commentary, seeking illumination on the text from Daoism and Zen, with the Gita coming up just shy of full spiritual merit. Perhaps we should take it from Gandhi, who used the Gita as a handbook for life, that it nourishes on many levels. --Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Mitchell must by now be accounted one of our generation!s heroic translators, having taken on the Book of Job, the Tao te Ching, and Genesis and done so much to popularize Rilke in English. Now he applies his considerable skill and sympathy to one of the most noted sacred texts of Asia, the Bhagavad Gita, and the results are very happy. He works in free-verse quatrains of about three beats per line, and his language flows with great naturalness. Inevitably, this text will remain both ancient and foreign to many modern readers, but Mitchell!s work goes a long way to making these words...[drive] away your ignorance and delusion. Highly recommended.
- away your ignorance and delusion. Highly recommended.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I am mesmerized as I read this book and find within it the common thread that joins all the great holy books of the world. It is beautifully put together and written in such a fashion that it is a pleasure read. I was concerned about another reviewer's comments about this being an "interpretation" rather than a "translation" of the Gita, and so I sat down and compared several chapters of this book to the translation by Sir Edwin Arnold is a more standard treatment of this text. I found that Stephen Mitchell's version was much more readable and understandable, and yet did not take anything away from the authenticity of the actual text. For anyone wishing to take a slightly different path leading to the nearness to God, I highly recommend picking up this book.
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By A Customer on Sept. 17 2003
Format: Paperback
I've been reading the Bhagavad Gita for almost 30 years. I compared this translation with several I have at home and was surprise with the quality and how the translator used poetry conveying in a precise manner the meaning of the Gita.
Some people complained in other reviews that the "translation cannot be a good one since the translator is not a religious person himself" (how do they know? just because he is not a HareKrishna or other religious group member?). Another reader accused him of trying to make an easy buck with this translation (Have you ever tried to translate the Gita in a poem form? Do you have any idea of the amount of work involved?) I really don't care about it.
This book is a good translation and a good poem.
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By A Customer on April 27 2001
Format: Hardcover
One of the things that irritated me about his particular "translation" was the fact that Mitchell admits in the book that he has a knowledge of only "rudimentary Sanskrit". If this is true, then I cannot have much faith in his "tranlsation". Still, to anyone who has read any of the other recent translations, there will be little of surprise here. Although Mitchell may not know Sanskrit, he apparently has relied on someone who does in order to get this "translation of a translation". One of the things that he mentions in this book that I agree with is that the first 12 chapers of the Gita and the last 6 chapters were written by different authors. In the first two thirds of the book, we see a kind, loving Krishna accepting all who try to reach him in any way they are able . . . even the sinful are seen as having a divine spark at their heart. This seems more in keeping with the earlier, Upanishadic tradition of advaita. The latter part of the book seems to have been written by some Samkhya philosopher bent upon classifyng everything according to the doctrine of the three Gunas. The latter part of the book is boring, repetitive, and seems to be on a considerably lower level than the rest of the book. Instead of the universal Krishna, we now have the angry god casting down the "evil" men again and again into infamy and who regards certain people as inherently demonic -- a stark contrast form the beginning chapters. Also of not is Gandhi's essay of Ahimsa and his view of how the Gita does not actually condone violence, but makes use of a war in order to present its message more clearly. Gandhi is not totally convincing in this, but it does provide a good counterpoint to those who use it as an excuse for violence and oppression in the name of god.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
The BHAGAVAD GITA "is a great religious poem," Ghandi wrote. "The deeper you dive into it, the richer the meanings you get" (p. 220). I was new to "The Gita," and I should have looked before I leaped into this edition.
I am not qualified to compare Mitchell's translation to any of the other two hundred English translations of the of The Gita published since it was written nearly two thousand years ago, nor am I qualified to discuss The Gita's path of self realization. But to me, it seems like this translation rarely goes more than ankle deep into The Gita's teachings. It is nevertheless a worthwhile book in at least two respects. It confronts its reader with the important question, "How should I live an authentic life?" It also shows that The Gita is intended to include all paths and all people, excluding no one from the boat of wisdom carrying us across "the sea of all sin" (4.36). Krishna says, "However men try to reach me,/ I return their love with my love;/ whatever path they may travel,/ it leads to me in the end" (4.11).
In his Introduction, Mitchell writes that The Gita can be read as an "instruction manual for spiritual practice," and as a "guide to peace of heart" (p. 23). The Gita tells us, "Though the unwise cling to their actions,/ watching for results, the wise/ are free from attachments, and act/ for the well-being of the whole world" (3.25). Although the path to self realization is not well defined in Mitchell's translation, reading any Gita is better than reading no Gita. As for me, I'm ready now to dive into a more meaningful Gita. Any recommendations?
G. Merritt
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Format: Hardcover
This is an English translation of a Hindu Poem written in Sanskrit which probably dates from 500 BC. The basis of the dating is the failure of the work to refer to Buddhism that has developed after.
The poem is basically the exposition of religious doctrine. The setting is a mythical battle. Two armies are drawn up to fight each other. Arjuna who is either the leader or champion of one army in a chariot takes up a position between the armies so that he can start firing arrows at the other side. The Hindu god Krishna drives his chariot. Arjuna is rendered powerless as he is eaten up by a moral crisis. As the other army contains so many of his relatives victory in battle can bring no honor for him. The honor would be eaten up by the moral evil of killing those who he should revere and protect. He turns to Krishna and asks for advice.
Krishna indicates to Arjuna that his role is to be a warrior. He should carry out his duty honorably and by doing so he acts morally. Krishna then explains that although Arjuna may kill people in battle he cannot destroy them. An explanation then occurs about the Hindu schema of the universe with the importance of reincarnation.
What then happens is an explanation of the Hindu religious scheme. The Gods exist to receive sacrifice and to receive prayer. They in turn have an obligation to intervene in the affairs of men providing rain and sunshine. The aim of men is to seek freedom from passion and the world. The poem is interesting as it sees the means of doing this as not simple or schematic but diverse.
When you consider the poem was written five hundred years before the Christian era the thing that strikes you about it is the clarity of the exposition and the sophistication of the dialogue.
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