The Bhagavad Gita is often regarded as the Bible of India. With a gripping story and deeply compelling message, it is unquestionably one of the most popular sacred texts of Asia and, along with the Bible and the Qur'an, one of the most important holy scriptures in the world.
Part of an ancient Hindu epic poem, the dialogue of the Bhagavad Gita takes place on a battlefield, where a war for the possession of a North Indian kingdom is about to ensue between two noble families related by blood. The epic's hero, young Prince Arjuna, is torn between his duty as a warrior and his revulsion at the thought of his brothers and cousins killing each other over control of the realm. Frozen by this ethical dilemma, he debates the big questions of life and death with the supreme Hindu deity Krishna, cleverly disguised as his charioteer. By the end of the story, Eastern beliefs about mortality and reincarnation, the vision and practice of yoga, the Indian social order and its responsibilities, family loyalty, spiritual knowledge, and the loftiest pursuits of the human heart are explored in depth. Explaining the very purpose of life and existence, this classic has stood the test of twenty-three centuries. It is presented here in a thoroughly accurate, illuminating, and beautiful translation that is sure to become the standard for our day.
Graham M. Schweig is the author and translator of Dance of Divine Love: The Råsa Lîlå of Krishna. After completing graduate work at the University of Chicago and Harvard University, he became associate professor of religious studies at Christopher Newport University and visiting associate professor of Sanskrit at the University of Virginia. Schweig was recently a Visiting Fellow of Hindu studies at Oxford University, and has been accepted as a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University. He has traveled to India several times where for one year, under a Smithsonian Institution-funded grant, he researched ancient handwritten manuscripts. Since an early age, Schweig has practiced various forms of meditational and devotional yoga.