The search for higher truth must be conducted in the midst of the forces of life, with all its demands and seductions. So teaches The Bhagavad Gita, an ancient text that has been called the quintessence of the spirituality of India. In it, the great warrior Arjuna contemplates the meaning of life, just moments before entering the battlefield. "Why do I exist? Why should I fight against my loved ones? And where shall I go after I die?" he asks himself in search for knowledge of the Absolute.
Recording (P)1987 by Audio Literature; Copyright ©1986 (Bantam) by Barbara Stoler Miller
"Hearing The Bhagavad Gita, rather than reading it, helps one understand why many cultures to this very day refuse to commit their sacred texts to writing, believing that script would profane them." (Huston Smith, author of The Religions of Man)
Lessons in living life
It reads like a modern day novel.
I stayed awake all night listening to the Bhagavad Gita
It makes me want to tackle additional indian classical literature
Waste of my money Im unable to listen to it. I was able to download all materials required but still no sound or any aspect of it working! Really upset!
This is both a brief and profound work requiring many readings and study. ?? I gave the "story" only one star but would have preferred to give none or rendered a "N/A" instead. ?? There is an element of a story partly because the Gita is a very small part of the largest epic ever written, The Mahabharata: Arjuna despairs of going to battle and killing his relatives; but Krishna, his charioteer, tells him to do his duty and fight. ??It is his dharma. ??... or he must perform his dharma because it is his duty. ??That's the story. ??Aside from this flippant "reductio ad absurdum," the Gita is a brief but profound instructional compendium of Hindu thought and yoga. ??It deserves repeated listenings and study. ??I strongly suspect that the original Sanskrit was much more poetic and beautiful to hear as well. As part of an epic, it was meant to be recited aloud or sung.
Needleman does not deliver a dramatic reading, but that's impossible to do with a text that has a minimal story line and is didactic by nature. This is not Genesis.
The publisher's summary mentions that the book was published in 1986 by Barbara Stoler Miller but fails to say that she is the translator. ??She is an excellent academic translator and not a Hindu devotee. ??For this reason, the approach to the poem formatted in quatrain stanzas in the printed version is academic and secular. ??It is a very accurate translation written by a religious scholar. ??However I quibble with some of her translations which are too dry and tend to miss the mark from the point of view of a devotee. ??At the end of the sixth teaching Krishna says in the Miller translation, "Be a man of discipline, Arjuna!" while in the Yogananda translation Krishna says, "Be thou, O Arjuna, a yogi!" ?? To my way of reakoning, the latter is more succinct and actually more understandable because it's more specific. Throughout Needleman's narration, I consciously had to substitute "yogi" for "man of discipline" and "yoga" for "discipline." This is a Hindu text after all where "yogi" is most appropriate and "discipline" is more suitable in self-help books and education.
This is scripture with many layers of meaning. On one level there is the "story" of Krishna admonishing Arjuna to find the courage to enter the fray of battle. On another the battle is a metaphor for spiritual warfare or struggle within oneself -- "jihad" in a different tradition. And yet on another level one finds in the Bhagavad Gita a religious sanction for the Indian caste system.
Everyone should expose oneself to this scriptural text sometime during their life if they are on the Socratic path of the examined life.
This translation of the Gita by Barbara Stoller-Miller is one of the three best modern scholarly translations, the others being those of Graham Schweig and W.J. Johnson. Free of denominational bias, Victorianisms, etc. The reading by Jacob Needleman is lifeless and devoid of dramatic interpretation; he thinks if you read as if you are depressed you are showing reverence for a sacred text..
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