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Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita is a 700-verse Hindu scripture in Sanskrit that is part of the Mahabharata, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. The Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Arjuna and Shri Krishna. At the start of the Dharma Yudhha (“righteous war”) between Pandavas and Kauravas, Arjuna is filled with moral dilemmas and despair about the violence and death the war will cause. Krishna convinces Arjuna to fight and kill his cousins and teachers in the war by explaining to him that it is his dharma, his “sacred duty”, to do so.

The Bhagavad Gita presents a synthesis of Hindu ideas about dharma, theistic bhakti, and the yogic paths to moksha. Its verses teach that the path to spiritual liberation is through disciplined action in the world, rather than through renunciation and withdrawal from it. The Gita upholds the essential ideas of Brahman and Atman while presenting a “non-dualistic” synthesis of Samkhya and Yoga darshan (philosophy). It is unique among the major world religious scriptures in that it does not advocate for any specific notion of deity, dogma, or ritual worship.

The Bhagavad Gita is revered as one of Hinduism’s holiest texts. It is traditionally attributed to the sage Vyasa, who also composed the Mahabharata, of which it is a part.

Important verses of the Gita

नैनं छिन्दन्ति शस्त्राणि नैनं दहति पावक: |

न चैनं क्लेदयन्त्यापो न शोषयति मारुत: ||

Gita 2.23

Weapons cannot shred the soul, nor can fire burn it. Water cannot wet it, nor can the wind dry it.

जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च |

तस्मादपरिहार्येऽर्थे न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि ||

Gita 2.27

Death is certain for one who has been born, and rebirth is inevitable for one who has died. Therefore, you should not lament over the inevitable.

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन |

मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ||

Gita 2.47

You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.

The main teachings of the Gita

The main teachings of the Gita can be summarized as follows:

1. Dharma, or righteous living, is the most important pursuit in life.

2. Arjuna should perform his dharma, or duty, without attachment to the results.

3. Krishna is the supreme Reality and the ultimate goal of all existence.

4. Devotion to Krishna is the surest path to liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

5. Action should be taken without attachment to the fruits thereof.

6. Renunciation of the fruits of action is the highest form of yoga, or union with the divine.

7. The 8-fold path of yoga (yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi) leads to liberation from the material world.

8. Self-knowledge is the key to liberation.

How the Gita can be applied to modern life

The Bhagavad Gita can be applied to modern life in a number of ways. For example, Gita’s emphasis on Dharma, or duty, can be applied to our modern-day responsibilities. The Gita also teaches the importance of detachment from the fruits of our actions, which can be applied to our modern-day goals and pursuits. Additionally, Gita’s message of selfless service can inspire us to be of service to others in our community.

Finally, Gita’s call to action can motivate us to take up our own spiritual practice and to live a life of integrity and purpose.

Importance of Gita in Hinduism

In the Gita, Krishna expounds on the Hindu concepts of dharma, karma, and reincarnation. He also describes the nature of the divine, the path to liberation, and the importance of yoga and meditation. The Gita is revered by Hindus as a sacred text and is seen as a source of wisdom and guidance. It is often recited and studied as a means of spiritual self-improvement and self-knowledge.

Conclusion:

The Bhagavad Gita’s verses have been highly praised, commented upon, and cited by a wide variety of thinkers and writers from ancient and medieval times through to the modern era.

Krishna, through the course of the Gita, teaches Arjuna to see the Dharma (“righteous duty, justice, virtue”) in what he is doing, and to act without attachment to the results, offering himself as an example.

There are many Bhagavad Gita translations but the one that stands out from the rest is “The Bhagavad Gita comes alive by Jeffrey Armstrong”

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Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the most frequently asked questions we come across.

What does the Bhagavad Gita say about the Vedas?

Gita keeps Vedas in reverence and draws most of its teachings from the Samkhya school of thought which also accepts the authority of Vedas.

Is the Bhagavad Gita included in the Vedas?

Gita as a whole is not included in Vedas because Vedas do not have stories or conversations, rather they have concepts that do not change over time. But most of the concepts talked about in Bhagavad Gita are taken from Vedas.

Is the Bhagavad Gita the summary of the Vedas?

Quite frankly it is not. But hear me out. Vedas are the source just like the sun is the source of light in the solar system but the moon is also illuminated from that very light that is emitted by the sun. The knowledgeable know Moon doesn’t have light of its own.

What is the difference between Bhagavad Gita and the Vedas?

Bhagavad Gita is in the form of a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield when he is not sure whether to fight or not. Krishna removes his dilemmas by telling him about the concepts of the Samkhya school of thought which is also derived from the Vedas.

Which one should be read first, the Vedas or the Gita?

Gita should be read first because Vedas is a vast ocean of knowledge and Gita is like a river that also flows into the same ocean i.e. it also has Vedas as its destination.

Which is the Bible of Hinduism? Bhagavad Gita or Vedas?

Vedas are the bible of Hindus if that’s what you’d like to call it. Unlike Bible, Vedas do not contain any stories or history/historical person. In addition, Vedas are very vast when compared to any other literature on the planet.

How are the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita similar and different?

Similarity:
Bhagavad Gita is in accordance with the Vedas.
It conveys the same knowledge that has been derived from Vedas
Differences:
Gita is a dialogue between two historical persons while Vedas are considered knowledge of the divine

Is the essence of Vedas and Bhagavad Gita one and the same?

Yes, it is but Bhagavad Gita is a very small subset of Vedas.

Which is superior, the Vedas or the Bhagavad Gita?

In terms of knowledge, Bhagavad Gita is very dilute when compared.

What book is harder to read, the Gita or the Vedas?

Vedas are not just harder to read but much harder to understand. You need to have knowledge of 6 Vedangas just to approach Vedas.

Who is the complete God according to the Gita and the Vedas?

Please read our blog about the Concept of God in Hinduism to know more.

Why is Gita more popular than Vedas or Upanishads?

Because it has been marketed well and many more people have marketed it than Vedas and Upanishads.

Does the Bhagavad Gita represent the short form of the Vedas?

No, it does not. Bhagavad Gita only tackles some concepts of Samkhya darshan and Yoga darshan. The darshan shastras look up to Vedas for guidance.

Do Vedas and Bhagavad Gita preach the same thing?

Only a small subset.

How does the Bhagavad Gita differ from the Upanishadic thought?

Upanishadic thought is the culmination of philosophy, not Vedas. So everything Bhagavad Gita talks about is there in Upanishads and more.

According to the Vedas and Geeta, who is the complete God?

Please read our post about the Concept of God in Hinduism.

Does the Bhagavad Gita contradict the Vedas?

Bhagavad Gita can not contradict the Vedas because if it does then that particular thing will be considered invalid.

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