Bhagavad-gītā As It Is

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

Table of contents

  1. Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetraplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 1: Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra

    As the opposing armies stand poised for battle, Arjuna, the mighty warrior, sees his intimate relatives, teachers and friends in both armies ready to fight and sacrifice their lives. Overcome by grief and pity, Arjuna fails in strength, his mind becomes bewildered, and he gives up his determination to fight.
  2. Contents of the Gītā Summarizedplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 2: Contents of the Gītā Summarized

    Arjuna submits to Lord Krishna as His disciple, and Krishna begins His teachings to Arjuna by explaining the fundamental distinction between the temporary material body and the eternal spiritual soul. The Lord explains the process of transmigration, the nature of selfless service to the Supreme and the characteristics of a self-realized person.
  3. Karma-yogaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 3: Karma-yoga

    Everyone must engage in some sort of activity in this material world. But actions can either bind one to this world or liberate one from it. By acting for the pleasure of the Supreme, without selfish motives, one can be liberated from the law of karma (action and reaction) and attain transcendental knowledge of the self and the Supreme.
  4. Transcendental Knowledgeplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 4: Transcendental Knowledge

    Transcendental knowledge—the spiritual knowledge of the soul, of God, and their relationship—is both purifying and liberating. Such knowledge is the fruit of selfless devotional action (karma-yoga). The Lord explains the remote history of the Gita, the purpose and significance of His periodic descents to the material world, and the necessity of approaching a guru, a realized teacher.
  5. Karma-yoga — Action in Kṛṣṇa Consciousnessplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 5: Karma-yoga — Action in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness

    Outwardly performing all actions but inwardly renouncing their fruits, the wise man, purified by the fire of transcendental knowledge, attains peace, detachment, forbearance, spiritual vision and bliss.
  6. Sāṅkhya-yogaplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 6: Sāṅkhya-yoga

    Astanga-yoga, a mechanical meditative practice, controls the mind and the senses and focuses concentration on Paramatma (the Supersoul, the form of the Lord situated in the heart). This practice culminates in samadhi, full consciousness of the Supreme.
  7. Knowledge of the Absoluteplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 7: Knowledge of the Absolute

    Lord Krishna is the Supreme Truth, the supreme cause and sustaining force of everything, both material and spiritual. Advanced souls surrender unto Him in devotion, whereas impious souls divert their minds to other objects of worship.
  8. Attaining the Supremeplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 8: Attaining the Supreme

    By remembering Lord Krishna in devotion throughout one's life, and especially at the time of death, one can attain to His supreme abode, beyond the material world.
  9. The Most Confidential Knowledgeplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 9: The Most Confidential Knowledge

    Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Godhead and the supreme object of worship. The soul is eternally related to Him through transcendental devotional service (bhakti). By reviving one's pure devotion one returns to Krishna in the spiritual realm.
  10. The Opulence of the Absoluteplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 10: The Opulence of the Absolute

    All wondrous phenomena showing power, beauty, grandeur or sublimity, either in the material world or in the spiritual, are but partial manifestations of Krishna's divine energies and opulence. As the supreme cause of all causes and the support and essence of everything, Krishna is the supreme object of worship for all beings.
  11. The Universal Formplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 11: The Universal Form

    Lord Krishna grants Arjuna divine vision and reveals His spectacular unlimited form as the cosmic universe. Thus He conclusively establishes His divinity. Krishna explains that His own all-beautiful humanlike form is the original form of Godhead. One can perceive this form only by pure devotional service.
  12. Devotional Serviceplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 12: Devotional Service

    Bhakti-yoga, pure devotional service to Lord Krishna, is the highest and most expedient means for attaining pure love for Krishna, which is the highest end of spiritual existence. Those who follow this supreme path develop divine qualities.
  13. Nature, the Enjoyer, and Consciousnessplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 13: Nature, the Enjoyer, and Consciousness

    One who understands the difference between the body, the soul and the Supersoul beyond them both attains liberation from this material world.
  14. The Three Modes Of Material Natureplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 14: The Three Modes Of Material Nature

    All embodied souls are under the control of the three modes, or qualities, of material nature: goodness, passion, and ignorance. Lord Krishna explains what these modes are, how they act upon us, how one transcends them, and the symptoms of one who has attained the transcendental state.
  15. The Yoga of the Supreme Personplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 15: The Yoga of the Supreme Person

    The ultimate purpose of Vedic knowledge is to detach one self from the entanglement of the material world and to understand Lord Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who understands Krishna 's supreme identity surrenders unto Him and engages in His devotional service.
  16. The Divine And Demoniac Naturesplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 16: The Divine And Demoniac Natures

    Those who possess demoniac qualities and who live whimsically, without following the regulations of scripture, attain lower births and further material bondage. But those who possess divine qualities and regulated lives, abiding by scriptural authority, gradually attain spiritual perfection.
  17. The Divisions of Faithplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 17: The Divisions of Faith

    There are three types of faith, corresponding to and evolving from the three modes of material nature. Acts performed by those whose faith is in passion and ignorance yield only impermanent, material results, whereas acts performed in goodness, in accord with scriptural injunctions, purify the heart and lead to pure faith in Lord Krishna and devotion to Him.
  18. Conclusion — The Perfection of Renunciationplugin-autotooltip__small plugin-autotooltip_bigBhagavad-gītā As It Is 18: Conclusion — The Perfection of Renunciation

    Krishna explains the meaning of renunciation and the effects of the modes of nature on human consciousness and activity. He explains Brahman realization, the glories of the Bhagavad-gita, and the ultimate conclusion of the Gita: the highest path of religion is absolute, unconditional loving surrender unto Lord Krishna, which frees one from all sins, brings one to complete enlightenment, and enables one to return to Krishna's eternal spiritual abode.

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. 

Reviews

“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