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The Bhagavad Gita The most important, the most influential, and the most luminous of all the Hindu scriptures. R.C. ZAEHNER Vivid literature, lofty philosophy the Bhagavad Gita distills the finest in Indias vast and varied culture. On the morning of battle, facing Armageddon, prince Arjuna loses his nerve and refuses to fight. Krishna knows better: Your very nature will drive you to fight. Your only choice is what to fight against. His advice gives an inspiring model of the man or woman of action the person who aims at goodness in a world of conflict and change. In this translation, the Gita stands out as a book of choicesdirect, practical, universal. The introduction sketches the background of the poem and gives clear, contemporary explanations of the basic ideas of Indian philosophy, karma, reincarnation, yoga, freedom. Separate chapter introductions outline the drama as it unfolds. The translation . . . is smooth, eloquent, and reliable . . . (1)would unhesitatingly recommend Easwaran to someone searching for the spirituality of the Gita. CHOICE Eknath Easwaran, writer, Fulbright scholar, and former professor of English literature, is at home in both English and Sanskrit. He brings to this translation 25 years experience of teaching the Gita to an American audience.Excerpt: The "Bhagavad Gita" sometimes called "The Lord's Lay," or the "Message of the Master," is an episode of the great Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, in the Sixth (or "Bhishma") Parva. It enjoys the highest esteem among the Hindu people, and is constantly quoted there as a great authority regarding doctrine. Its philosophy embodies the prevailing Hindu beliefs, as expounded by the Brahmans, and in its teachings it subtly blends into a harmonious whole the varying points of doctrine of Patanjali, Kapila and of the Vedas. It is supposed to have been written by Vyasa whose personality is veiled in doubt for of the time of his existence in the world no record seems to have been kept. To the reader who finds in this marvelous dialogue merely the record of a literal conversation dressed up in fancy by the Oriental imagination, the real beauty and purpose of the teaching is lost.