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The Bhagavad Gita (Classic of Indian Spirituality) [Paperback]

Eknath Easwaran
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 Jun 2007 Classic of Indian Spirituality
The Bhagavad Gita, "The Song of the Lord," is probably the best known of all the Indian scriptures, and Easwaran's clear, accessible translation is the best-selling edition. The Gita opens dramatically, with prince Arjuna collapsing in anguish on the brink of a war that he doesn't want to fight. Arjuna has lost his way on the battlefield of life, and turns to his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, the Lord himself. Krishna replies in 700 verses of sublime instruction on living and dying, loving and working, and the nature of the soul. This book includes an extensive and very readable introduction, which places the Gita in its historical setting, explains the key concepts, and brings out the universality of its teachings. Individual chapter introductions prepare the reader for the main themes, and notes, a Sanskrit glossary, and an index are included. Although the battlefield is a perfect backdrop, for Easwaran the Gita's subject is the war within, the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage. Arjuna's dilemma is acutely modern, and the Gita's message remains as relevant for us now as it was for ancient India.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Nilgiri Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (30 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586380192
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586380199
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.2 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eknath Easwaran (1910-1999) is respected around the world as one of the twentieth century's great spiritual teachers and an authentic guide to timeless wisdom. Although he did not travel or seek large audiences, his books on meditation, spiritual living, and the classics of world mysticism have been translated into twenty-six languages. More than 1.5 million copies of Easwaran's books are in print.

His book Meditation, now titled Passage Meditation, has sold over 200,000 copies since it was first published in 1978. His Classics of Indian Spirituality - translations of The Bhagavad Gita, The Dhammapada, and The Upanishads - have been warmly praised by Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions, and all three books are bestsellers in their field. The Nilgiri Press editorial team, under the supervision of Easwaran's wife, Christine Easwaran, continues to publish new books and talks, drawing on the vast archive of Easwaran's unpublished transcripts.

A gifted teacher who lived for many years in the West, Easwaran lived what he taught, giving him enduring appeal as a teacher and author of deep insight and warmth.

Easwaran's mission was to extend to everyone, "with an open hand," the spiritual disciplines that had brought such rich benefits to his own life. For forty years he devoted his life to teaching the practical essentials of the spiritual life as found in every religion. He taught a universal message that although the body is mortal, within every creature there is a spark of divinity that can never die. And he taught and lived a method that any man or woman can use to reach that inborn divinity and draw on it for love and wisdom in everyday life.

Whenever asked what religion he followed, Easwaran would reply that he belonged to all religions. His teachings reached people in every faith. He often quoted the words of Mahatma Gandhi, who influenced him deeply: "I have not the shadow of a doubt that every man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith."

Eknath Easwaran (1910-1999) was born into an ancient matrilineal family in Kerala state, South India. There he grew up under the close guidance of his mother's mother, Eknath Chippu Kunchi Ammal, whom he honored throughout his life as his spiritual teacher. From her he learned the traditional wisdom of India's ancient scriptures. An unlettered village woman, she taught him through her daily life, which was permeated by her continuous awareness of God, that spiritual practice is something to be lived out each day in the midst of family and community.

Growing up in British India, Easwaran first learned English in his village high school, where the doors were opened to the treasure-house of English literature. At sixteen, he left his village to attend a nearby Catholic college. There his passionate love of English literature intensified and he acquired a deep appreciation of the Christian tradition.

Later, contact with the YMCA and close friendships within the Muslim and Christian communities enriched his sense of the universality of spiritual truths. Easwaran often recalled with pride that he grew up in "Gandhi's India" - the historic years when Mahatma Gandhi was leading the Indian people to freedom from British rule through nonviolence. As a young man, Easwaran met Gandhi and the experience of sitting near him at his evening prayer meetings left a lasting impression. The lesson he learned from Gandhi was the power of the individual: the immense resources that emerge into life when a seemingly ordinary person transforms himself completely.

After graduate work at the University of Nagpur in Central India, where he took first-class degrees in literature and in law, Easwaran entered the teaching profession, eventually returning to Nagpur to become a full professor and head of the department of English. By this time he had acquired a reputation as a writer and speaker, contributing regularly to the Times of India and giving talks on English literature for All-India Radio.

At this juncture, he would recall, "All my success turned to ashes." The death of his grandmother in the same year as Gandhi's assassination prompted him to turn inward.

Following Gandhi's inspiration, he became deeply absorbed in the Bhagavad Gita, India's best-known scripture. Meditation on passages from the Gita and other world scriptures quickly developed into the method of meditation that today is associated with his name.

Eknath Easwaran was Professor of English Literature at the University of Nagpur when he came to the United States on the Fulbright exchange program in 1959. Soon he was giving talks on India's spiritual tradition throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. At one such talk he met his future wife, Christine, with whom he established the organization that became the vehicle for his life's work. The mission of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, founded in 1961, is the same today as when it was founded: to teach the eight-point program of passage meditation aimed at helping ordinary people conquer physical and emotional problems, release creativity, and pursue life's highest goal, Self-realization.

After a return to India, Easwaran came back to California in 1965. He lived in the San Francisco Bay Area the rest of his life, dedicating himself to the responsive American audiences that began flowing into his classes in the turbulent Berkeley of the late 1960s, when meditation was suddenly "in the air." His quiet yet impassioned voice reached many hundreds of students in those turbulent years.

Always a writer, Easwaran started a small press in Berkeley to serve as the publishing branch of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation. Nilgiri Press was named after the Nilgiris or "Blue Mountains" in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where Easwaran had maintained a home for some years. The press moved to Tomales, California, when the Center bought property there for a permanent headquarters in 1970. Nilgiri Press did the preproduction work for his first book, Gandhi the Man, and began full book manufacturing with his Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living in 1975.

In thousands of talks and his many books Easwaran taught passage meditation and his eight-point program to an audience that now extends around the world. Rather than travel and attract large crowds, he chose to remain in one place and teach in small groups - a preference that was his hallmark as a teacher even in India. "I am still an educator," he liked to say. "But formerly it was education for degrees; now it is education for living." His work is being carried forward by Christine Easwaran, who has worked by his side for forty years, by the students he trained for thirty years, and by the organization he founded to ensure the continuity of his teachings, the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
SRI KRISHNA CONSOLES and instructs Prince Arjuna as he is about to go into battle against family and friends to defend his older brother's claim to the ancient throne of the Kurus. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read 4 July 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm buying this as I'll soon have to give the library copy back! The library copy is ISBN 0-14-019008-2 which I hope is an older edition of the same text.

Arjuna asks questions that I think a lot of us do end up asking. The responses and Arjuna's followup questions are quite inspirational. Having Arjuna as a soldier makes things even more interesting. The soldier must deal with the moral questions of a job which involves killing.

I don't know whether I found this easier to read because I'd already learned a lot about the philosophy of yoga before I read it. A lot of yoga texts refer back to this, and for a yogi I think it is great to go back to the beginning and the original meanings of why we're doing all this. Eknath's text does introduce the concepts incredibly well, so the book should be able to stand out on its own without previous knowledge.

It also puts the different paths into perspective. Eknath's discussion covers other philosophies including Christianity in relation to this and allows you to see how much they all have in common.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish I could give it 10 Stars !! 10 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you have the chance to read only one book in your life, this should be the one you pick.
Just reading 2 pages from the beginning gives one a fresh outlook. Cannot recommend enough. Buy one today.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
This version is very readable, short and simple yet packed with concepts. You have to read this! There is a reason why this version is the most popular one especially for someone like me who doesn't know much on Hinduism.

I am looking to buy other versions now to understand this great work.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and helpful 26 Nov 2010
By Gemma
I'm studying to be a yoga teacher and I found this translation of the Bhagavad Gita very helpful due to the useful commentary that precedes each chapter.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bhagavad Gita 13 Mar 2011
By Lizzy
Very easy to follow i am only just starting my journey into this type of spiritual work. I think that this is a good translation of a very old and usfull text.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GITA FOR MODERN TIME 18 Nov 2009
Easy to understand with clear cut narration and in simple language. A great philosophy in a nutcell for a way of life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nice easy translation of an Indian Classic 27 May 2011
This book is such a pleasure to read. But more specifically this translation was easy to follow and so insightful. It was such a delight i went on to by his translation of the Upanishads with hope that this too will be enjoyable to read. Very highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jai Sri Krishna! 23 Sep 2013
By craig
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An excellent, must-read for anyone interested in eastern religions.

By far the best 'holy' text I have read. Not one single hint at aggression or intolerance, just sound advice for anyone trying to understand 'the distinctly other' and incorporate it into their lives.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bhagavad Gita..
Great & easy going read. Thanks!
Published 1 month ago by Pen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Inspiring
For anyone who wants to find a clear yet profound understanding of the wisdom in the Bhagavad Gita, this book is superb. Read more
Published 2 months ago by G. E. Currie
5.0 out of 5 stars A little treasure
If you are on a spiritual journey this is a lovely book to add to your collection. Beautifully translated. A joy to read.
Published 5 months ago by Sandra Vernal
1.0 out of 5 stars So it's all our own fault is it. What do they suppose a baby has...
I parted company from this book when it declared that karma is the result of some thought or action of our own. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Diane, Northern Ireland
5.0 out of 5 stars Really great read!
a nice intro to the Bhagvad Gita. It is not about religion as we know it today. It is guide to the ways of life.
Published 6 months ago by Dr Rohit Darji
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic interpretation
A must read for anyone looking for the metaphysical meaning that Hinduism has given to this world. It can be interpreted as one between 2 distinct persons. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars the Bhagavad Gita
A great edition of this book chosen based on the reviews of others. Arrived promptly and in good condition. Would recommend to others.
Published 7 months ago by Mrs J P Warner
4.0 out of 5 stars Great
It its great book to read if you have the time,also to understand ,I always love stories from the Gita,
learn so much more from this book .
Published 7 months ago by Eunice Johansen
4.0 out of 5 stars Very very great value for the great book
Delivery got few days delayed but it was really worth it.
This book every one should read it to have peace of mind & very essential to live in this planet
Published 8 months ago by Lalitha Thiagarajan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book.
I purchased this, in order to get an introduction to the Bhagavad Gita, as a Hindu who cannot read Hindi this is a great alternative to read and understand what the essence of the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by PSHARMA
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