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on 4 July 2006
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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on 26 November 2010
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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on 18 November 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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This is an especially natural and graceful translation somewhere between poetry and prose by a man who really understands the message of the Gita. This can be seen from reading Eknath Easwaran's wise and penetrating Preface written especially for this, the Vintage Spiritual Classics Edition, edited by John F. Thornton and Susan B. Varenne for Vintage Books.

Easwaran shows that the differing paths to self-realization and liberation that the Gita presents are a comprehensive whole. "The thread through Krishna's teaching, the essence of the Gita, can be given in one word: renunciation. This is the common factor in the four yogas" (p. xxxviii). Easwaran goes on to explain that what is being renounced is not material, although on first blush it seems that way. What is renounced are the fruits of action. Renunciation is not only the essence of karma yoga, but the essence of the bhakti, jnana and raja yogas that Krishna presents as well. The key is an amazing spiritual and psychological insight into human nature: we are miserable when we are concerned with the results of what we do, but we are freed when we devote the fruits of our work to God. What is renounced is also the delusion of a material self that acts, the famous slayer and the slain. Unlike some other, rather foolish, translations that try to find some artificial substitute for the word "yoga," an endeavor entirely alien to the Gita, Easwaran embraces the understanding. He writes, "the Gita is Brahmavidyayam yogashastra, a textbook on the supreme science of yoga" (p. xxxvi)

It is also clear from what Easwaran writes in the Preface that he understands meditation and the path of moksha gained when one is beyond the pair of opposites that dominate our material existence. Easwaran knows because he himself is a long time practitioner of meditation, which is one of the ways of liberation (raja yoga). So many writers on spirituality and on the practice of yoga really do not know meditation, but Easwaran clearly does. Easwaran also understands that the insights of the Gita can be found in other mystical traditions, including those of Meister Eckhart, St. Catherine of Genoa, Ruysbroeck, St. Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi, and others.

Easwaran also makes the important point that the Gita is not the sole property of any one point of view. "The Gita does not present a system of philosophy. It offers something to every seeker after God, of whatever temperament, by whatever path" (p. xxxv).

Easwaran writes, "to understand the Gita, it is important to look beneath the surface of its injunctions and see the mental state involved. Philanthropic activity can benefit others and still carry a large measure of ego involvement. Such work is good, but it is not yoga. It may benefit others, but it will not necessarily benefit the doer" (p. xxxix). This represents a profound insight into the nature of karma yoga, an understanding that comes only after years of study and practice.

Finally Easwaran knows something others don't know (even though this is central to Krishna's teaching), that the Gita, through the practice of yoga, frees one from the fear of death. When one "realizes that he is not a physical creature but the Atman, the Self, and thus not separate from God...he knows that, although his body will die, he will not die...To such a person, the Gita says, death is no more traumatic than taking off an old coat." (pp. xxiv-xxv).

There are ten pages of notes that follow the translation in which the shades of meaning of various concepts like dharma, karma, yoga, sannyasa, etc., and some other ideas are discussed. There is a guide to pronunciation and a glossary of Sanskrit words. This quality paperback is handsomely designed from cover to font, and the translation is one of my favorites.

--Dennis Littrell, author of "Yoga: Sacred and Profane (Beyond Hatha Yoga)"
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on 3 September 2008
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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on 23 September 2013
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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on 1 December 2012
I have only just begun this book but to date if fulfills my expectations. Eknath Easwaran is a beautiful writer, I am familiar with a lot of his work.I have attempted to read other translations of the Gita and have found it difficult but this one presents the work in a style that will be easily undersood by Western readers. If you are interested in the Gita - buy it
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on 22 September 2015
I am from India and knew about Gita since childhood. As a child in a Hindu Bramhim family could recite some shlokas by heart. However I never had a complete understanding of the Gita as a whole along with the background of several philosophical concepts. Eknath Easwaran has explained it so lucidly this book that doesn't remain an ancient text with unrelated story but becomes very contemporary and applicable in today's day and age. In his book, Krishna doesn't remain some remote mystic God but your inner self, Arjuna is your mind and the battleground of Kurukshetra is your life.
Each chapter (adhyaya) has beautiful commentary to understand the purpose and the central idea. The shlokas are translated in order to convey deeper meaning. It shows author's study of the Indian philosophy and power to articulate difficult ideas in simple but flowing language.
Overall I am very happy with this purchase.
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on 10 August 2010
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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on 11 January 2010
A small easy to read introduction to Bhagavad Gita, good expainations and you can dip in and out of the book
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