The Bhagavad Gita: Pocket Edition

The Bhagavad Gita: Pocket Edition

by Swami Nikhilananda

The Bhagavad Gita, an important Hindu scripture, is one of the outstanding religious classics in the world. Its unique feature is the emphasis given to the discharge of duties, irrespective of their nature, as an effective discipline for the realization of God. The stage set for the teaching was a battlefield; the aspirant, a warrior chief, was blessedSee more details below


The Bhagavad Gita, an important Hindu scripture, is one of the outstanding religious classics in the world. Its unique feature is the emphasis given to the discharge of duties, irrespective of their nature, as an effective discipline for the realization of God. The stage set for the teaching was a battlefield; the aspirant, a warrior chief, was blessed there with the vision of the Universal Spirit. The teacher was Sri Krishna, the Lord Himself incarnated in a human body. The Lord teaches through The Gita that if a man performs his duties, surrendering the fruit to God and discarding all selfish motives, he gains purity of heart and achieves ultimate liberation. It is knowledge of God that gives man the strength to face calmly and cheerfully the duties of life. The Gita shows the way to spiritualize life and illumine even its drab and grey phases with the radiance of the Spirit. The book also treats of such metaphysical problems as the nature of the universe, God, the soul, the hereafter. It lays down practical spiritual disciplines which can be followed by all, irrespective of faith and creed.
The teachings of The Gita determined the spiritual culture of India during the many centuries from the close of the Upanishad period to the rise of Buddhism. Even today its influence on the spiritual life of India remains undiminished. The Gita inspires millions of Hindus in their search after God and Truth, and shows the way to the realization of peace and blessedness. The present translation, it is hoped, will help make this universal teaching available to the Western readers in this time of confusion and spiritual need.

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Editorial Reviews

The first really readable, authoritative English translation of one of the world's oldest and greatest religious classics.

Product Details

Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York
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Edition description:
Pocket Edition
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4.30(w) x 6.10(h) x 0.80(d)

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Chapter II - The Way of Ultimate Reality.

Verse 54 - Arjuna said: What, O Kesava, is the description of the man of steady wisdom merged in samadhi? How does the man of steady wisdom speak, how sit, how move?

Verse 55 - The Lord said: O Partha, when a man completely casts off all the desires of the mind, his Self finding satisfaction in Itself alone, then he is called a man of steady wisdom.

Verse 56 - He who is not perturbed by adversity, who does not long for happiness, who is free from attachment, fear, and wrath, is called a muni of steady wisdom.

Verse 57 - He who is not attached to anything, who neither rejoices nor is vexed when he obtains good or evil - his wisdom is firmly fixed.

Verse 58 - When he completely withdraws the senses from their objects, as a tortoise draws in its limbs, then his wisdom is firmly fixed.

Verse 59 - The objects of the senses fall away from a man practising abstinence, but not the taste for them. But even the taste falls away when the Supreme is seen.

Verse 60 - The turbulent senses, O son of Kunti, violently carry off the mind even of a wise man striving for perfection.

Verse 61 - The yogi restrains them all and remains intent on Me. His wisdom is steady whose senses are under control.

Verses 62-63 - When a man dwells on objects, he feels an attachment for them. Attachment gives rise to desire, and desire breeds anger. From anger comes delusion; from delusion, the failure of memory; from the failure of memory, the ruin of discrimination; and from the ruin of discrimination the man perishes.

Verse 64 - The man of self-control, moving among objects with his senses under restraint, and free from attachment and hate, attainsserenity of mind.

Verse 65 - In that serenity there is an end of all sorrow; for the intelligence of the man of serene mind soon becomes steady.

Verse 66 - The man whose mind is not under his control has no Self-Knowledge and no contemplation either. Without contemplation he can have no peace; and without peace, how can he have happiness?

Verse 67 - For even one of the roving senses, if the mind yields to it, carries away discrimination as a gale carries away a ship on the waters.

Verse 68 - Therefore, O mighty Arjuna, his wisdom is steady whose senses are completely restrained from their objects.

Verse 69 - In that which is night to all beings, the man of self-control is awake; and where all beings are awake, there is night for the muni who sees.

Verse 70 - Not the desirer of desires attains peace, but he into whom all desires enter as the waters enter into the ocean, which is full to the brim and grounded in stillness.

Verse 71 - That man who lives completely free from desires, without longing, devoid of the sense of "I" and "mine," attains peace.

Verse 72 - This is the Brahmic state, O son of Pritha. Attaining it, one is no longer deluded. Being established therein even in the hour of death, one attains final liberation in Brahman.

Thus in the Bhagavad Gita, the Essence of the Upanishads, the Science of Brahman, the Scripture of Yoga, the Dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the Second Chapter, entitled: The Way of Ultimate Reality

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What People are saying about this

William Ernest Hocking
May this majestic poem find its way into the familiar literary friendship of many readers and contribute to the sense of spiritual kinship with the most gifted people of Asia, akin to us both in blood and in language.
John Haynes Holmes
Here is a translation which seems to meet every test of literature and learning. I have been reading it with ease and unflagging delight. At last I seem to have found the Gita and to know why it is so great. Swami Nikhilananda is to be congratulated and thanked for his great achievement. Every student of religion and lover of the spirit stands in his debt. -
—(John Haynes Holmes, Unity.
Samuel H. Goldenson
I was deeply moved by the noble insistence upon spiritual inwardness that runs through the book.
—( Samuel H. Goldenson, Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El, New York).
Somerset Maugham
I have found your introduction and the translation of Sankara's preface extremely interesting and your synopsis of the story of the Mahabharata seems to me very useful in preparing the reader and setting him clear on the scene. I am convinced that this edition of yours will be valuable to all students of that extraordinary book. - W. Somerset Maugham
Irwin Edman
The Bhagavad Gita is one of the great documents of the human spirit. Insofar as an outsider can judge, this translation of Swami Nikhilananda and his introduction make it a more communicable and intelligible vehicle of the great Hindu tradition than to a Western reader it generally appears.
—( Irwin Edman, Professor of Philosophy in Columbia University)
Stark Young
This translation and commentary of the great Indian classic has the same brilliant ease and almost incredible sense of rightness and, as it were, natural clarity that characterized Swami Nikhilananda's volume, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.
—(Stark Young, The New Republic.)

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