Bhagavad Gita


It is hard to imagine a more beautiful and epic poem than the Bhagavad Gita (gita means song).

Its theme is a dialogue between Arjuna and Lord Krishna, as they drive a chariot between two parts of an extended family, about to go to war. Arjuna tells Lord Krishna that he has no heart to kill people who are his own blood, and Krishna tells him not to be silly, that he should go calmly into war, because no matter what he does in life, his fate is not his own to command, but rather Lord Krishna's.

Anyway, once the warmongering is over, it gets much better. Arjuna starts to ask questions about life, what makes a good man (not person as usual in the great religions) etc. Some of the most interesting passages in it are where Krishna says that no matter what god one prays to, they will, in the end, come to Krishna. Quite refreshing to see the more relaxed nature of other gods of polytheistic religions, it's a pity the followers of Hinduism aren't always so relaxed about those worshipping other gods.

I have read two versions, the happy modern version, and also a version translated and published in 1885, which I adore because it in many places is written in poetry, I would imagine much more like the original.

Yes, it is another weird religious book telling you how to live your life with little evidence as to why one should do so, but it manages to do it in a wise and beautiful way.

"Fearlessness, singleness of soul, the will always to strive for wisdom, opened hand and governed appetites, and piety, and love of lonely study, humbleness, uprightness, heed to injure nought which lives, truthfulness, slowness unto wrath, a mind that lightly letteth go what others prize, and equanimity and charity which spieth no man's faults; and tenderness towards all that suffer; a contented heart. fluttered by no desires; a bearing mild, modest and grave, with manhood nobly mixed, with patience, fortitude, and purity; An unrevengeful spirit never given to rate itself too high; - such be the signs..of him whose feet are set on that fair path which leads to heavenly birth".

There is good in this book, even if many people have been killed in its name. Highly recommended.

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