'I have heard the supreme mystery, yoga, from Krishna, from the lord of yoga himself.'
Thus ends the Bhagavad Gita
, the most famous episode from the great Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata
. In its eighteen short chapters Krishna's teaching leads the warrior Arjuna from perplexity to understanding and correct action, in the process raising and developing many key themes from the history of Indian religions.
The Bhagavad Gita
is the best known and most widely read Hindu religious text in the Western world. It considers social and religious duty, the nature of sacrifice, the nature of action, the means to liberation, and the relationship of human beings to God. It culminates in an awe-inspiring vision of Krishna as God omnipotent, disposer and destroyer of the universe.
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'an excellent primer in the Hindu belief system' (Daily Telegraph, October 1994