Bhagavad-gītā As It Is

Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 1972 MacMillan Edition Cover.

Table of contents

From the back cover

“By bringing us a new and living interpretation of a text already known to many A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda has increased our understanding manyfold.” Professor Edward C. Dimock, Jr.
Department of South Asian Languages and Civilization
University of Chicago

A masterpiece of scriptural literature, Bhagavad-gita is a sacred “song” in the form of a battlefield dialogue between the Lord Sri Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, His friend and disciple. Kṛṣṇa, acting as Arjuna’s adviser, instructs him in the science of self-realization, teaching him how to live as a devotee of the Lord and to thus reach the eternal spiritual world while continuing to perform his earthly duties. Srila Prabhupada’s Gita, completely new in its authenticity, is addressed to all humanity, for it clearly teaches the purpose of the human form of life—to cultivate spiritual knowledge. This edition of the work presents this knowledge as it was originally handed down, without being adulterated by philosophical interpretation. It is fully indexed and cross-referenced and is illustrated with forty-four magnificent full-color paintings—original works painted especially for this volume to depict events in the Gita and exemplify the teachings of Kṛṣṇa. Containing the original Sanskrit text, Roman transliterations, English synonyms, translation and commentary, Bhagavad-gita As It Is is the most complete and authoritative transmission of this timeless scripture in print and the only one that does not obscure the true spirit of Kṛṣṇa’s teachings. 

HIS DIVINE GRACE A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPĀDA, the leading exponent of the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the West and the world’s most distinguished teacher of Vedic religion and thought, is the author of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Kṛṣṇa and many other English versions of Vedic literature. He is a fully self-realized devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa and is the latest disciple in a succession that originally began with Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is the founder and spiritual master of the international Society for Krishna Consciousness, which now has centers in major cities throughout the world. 


“No work in all Indian literature is more quoted, because none is better loved, in the West, than the Bhagavad-gītā. Translation of such a work demands not only knowledge of Sanskrit, but an inward sympathy with the theme and a verbal artistry. For the poem is a symphony in which God is seen in all things. … The Swami does a real service for students by investing the beloved Indian epic with fresh meaning. Whatever our outlook may be, we should all be grateful for the labor that has lead to this illuminating work.” Dr. Geddes MacGregor, Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Philosophy,
University of Southern California

“The Gītā can be seen as the main literary support for the great religious civilization of India, the oldest surviving culture in the world. The present translation and commentary is another manifestation of the permanent living importance of the Gītā.” Thomas Merton, Theologian 

“I am most impressed with A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda’s scholarly and authoritative edition of Bhagavad-gītā. It is a most valuable work for the scholar as well as the layman and is of great utility as a reference book as well as a textbook. I promptly recommend this edition to my students. It is a beautifully done book.” Dr. Samuel D. Atkins, Professor of Sanskrit,
Princeton University

“… As a successor in direct line from Caitanya, the author of Bhagavad-gītā As It Is is entitled, according to Indian custom, to the majestic title of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. The great interest that his reading of the Bhagavad-gītā holds for us is that it offers us an authorized interpretation according to the principles of the Caitanya tradition.” Olivier Lacombe, Professor of Sanskrit and Indology,
Sorbonne University, Paris

“I have had the opportunity of examining several volumes published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust and have found them to be of excellent quality and of great value for use in college classes on Indian religions. This is particularly true of the BBT edition and translation of the Bhagavad-gītā.” Dr. Frederick B. Underwood, Professor of Religion,
Columbia University

“… If truth is what works, as Pierce and the pragmatists insist, there must be a kind of truth in the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, since those who follow its teachings display a joyous serenity usually missing in the bleak and strident lives of contemporary people.” Dr. Elwin H. Powell, Professor of Sociology,
State University of New York, Buffalo

“There is little question that this edition is one of the best books available on the Gīta and devotion. Prabhupāda’s translation is an ideal blend of literal accuracy and religious insight.” Dr. Thomas J. Hopkins, Professor of Religion,
Franklin and Marshall College

“The Bhagavad-gītā, one of the great spiritual texts, is not as yet a common part of our cultural milieu. This is probably less because it is alien per se than because we have lacked just the kind of close interpretative commentary upon it that Swami Bhaktivedanta has here provided, a commentary written from not only a scholar’s but a practitioner’s, a dedicated lifelong devotee’s point of view.” Denise Levertov, Poet 

“The increasing numbers of Western readers interested in classical Vedic thought have been done a service by Swami Bhaktivedanta. By bringing us a new and living interpretation of a text already known to many, he has increased our understanding manyfold.” Dr. Edward C. Dimock, Jr.
Department of South Asian Languages and Civilization, University of Chicago

“The scholarly world is again indebted to A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. Although Bhagavad-gītā has been translated many times, Prabhupāda adds a translation of singular importance with his commentary…” Dr. J. Stillson Judah, Professor of the History of Religions and Director of Libraries,
Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California

“Srila Prabhupāda’s edition thus fills a sensitive gap in France, where many hope to become familiar with traditional Indian thought, beyond the commercial East-West hodgepodge that has arisen since the time Europeans first penetrated India.” 

“Whether the reader be an adept of Indian spiritualism or not, a reading of the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is will be extremely profitable. For many this will be the first contact with the true India, the ancient India, the eternal India.” Francois Chenique, Professor of Religious Sciences,
Institute of Political Studies, Paris, France

“As a native of India now living in the West, it has given me much grief to see so many of my fellow countrymen coming to the West in the role of gurus and spiritual leaders. For this reason, I am very excited to see the publication of Bhagavad-gītā As It Is by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda. It will help to stop the terrible cheating of false and unauthorized ‘gurus’ and ‘yogis’ and will give an opportunity to all people to understand the actual meaning of Oriental culture.” Dr. Kailash Vajpeye, Director of Indian Studies,
Center for Oriental Studies, The University of Mexico

“… It is a deeply felt, powerfully conceived and beautifully explained work. I don’t know whether to praise more this translation of the Bhagavad-gītā, its daring method of explanation, or the endless fertility of its ideas. I have never seen any other work on the Gīta with such an important voice and style. … It will occupy a significant place in the intellectual and ethical life of modern man for a long time to come.” Dr. Shaligram Shukla, Professor of Linguistics,
Georgetown University

“I can say that in the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is I have found explanations and answers to questions I had always posed regarding the interpretations of this sacred work, whose spiritual discipline I greatly admire. If the aesceticism and ideal of the apostles which form the message of the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is were more widespread and more respected, the world in which we live would be transformed into a better, more fraternal place.” Dr. Paul Lesourd, Author, Professeur Honoraire,
Catholic University of Paris