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Bhagavadgita or the Song Divine

The Appeal of the Gita

  Bhagavadgita is one of the most popular texts of the world. It also holds the reputation for being one of the few books which have been translated in to many different languages of the world. In India, the awareness of the Gita can be traced back as far as one can trace back events in time. The Gita as Indians know it today, is the substance of the commentary written by Sri. Sankara, one of the greatest saints ever known on earth. It is known that Adi Sankaracharya, as he is referred to, lived more than two thousand five hundred years ago and propagated the Dharmic principles of the Vedic Religion, all over the country. It is also known that in his introduction to the commentary of the Gita he refers to the misinterpretation of the text, thus making it known that there have been earlier interpretations as well.

  It is generally accepted that Sankara's interpretation is probably the one that has brought to humanity, an organized approach to dealing with the meaning of the seven hundred Slokas that he identified from the one hundred thousand Slokas of the Mahabharata. Sankara's commentary continues to be the authoritative one to this day, though there have been several others which simplify the concepts to conform to the level of understanding of the world by people of this generation.

  The earliest of the tributes paid to the greatness of Gita is ascribed to Warren Hastings, the first Governor General of British India (1773-1785) who wrote an introduction to the first ever translation of the work into English. In his introduction to the translation by Charles Wilkins (1784), Hastings has said that "Works such as the Gita would live long after the British Dominion of India has ceased to exist".

  In recent times, at the very first success of the Atomic Bomb at the New Mexico  test site, Robert Oppenheimer, one of the chief architects of the Manhattan Project, is known to have recalled something from the Gita. There are many references to this quote seen on the web but it is virtually impossible to get at the original verse, for Oppenheimer had formulated the sentence from two different verses. Do a search in the  "Search the text of Gita" for the English words "thousand" and "death". You will be able to locate the verses easily. The link is on the right.

  Gita deals with a universal problem of mental conflict, one of a sudden inability to face a situation against one's social or moral duty. As long as humanity will exist, so will this conflict. Gita provides the solution to rationalize the thoughts and bring the human being into what several scholars have called "a moral equilibrium" that  removes the conflict. That is why Gita holds a universal appeal for all people, a message that applies even today in the context of the Information Technology driven world, as a working User Manual for ready reference on all aspects of life on this earth.

  Written in beautiful Sanskrit, Gita is a Paradise for the linguistic scholar. The eighteen chapters of the Gita, very appropriately divided into different "Yogas" encompass about six thousand words, which constitute a basic vocabulary for any person desiring to learn the scriptures of India. The pages here at the "acharya.iitm.ac.in" site are unique in presenting the wordlist and the meaning of each word through a translation of the slokas into English.


The structure of Gita

Principal Teachings of the Gita

Summary of the chapters

The significance of eighteen
Concepts covered by Gita

Browse the text of Gita

View a Sloka

Search the text of Gita


Linguistic analysis of Gita

Gita wordlist
(Alphabetical listing of all the words in Gita Useful for those learning Sanskrit)

Gita for the day
(Read a Sloka chosen at random)


Gita on the web
(other reference links)

Gita Modern site

 The Gita Supersite set up by IIT Kanpur

(Set up by the Bhagavad-Gita Trust, USA)


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   Majestic is the scene at Rishikesh, where the holy Ganga enters the plains. Several Ashrams are situated on the banks of the river.

Today is Jun. 15, 2024
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