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Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation

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4.34  ·  Rating details ·  302 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Stephen Mitchell is widely known for his ability to make ancient masterpieces thrillingly new, to step in where many have tried before and create versions that are definitive for our time. His celebrated version of the Tao Te Ching is the most popular edition in print, and his translations of Jesus, Rilke, Genesis, and Job have won the hearts of readers and critics alike. ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 10th 2000 by Harmony
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Average rating 4.34  · 
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Darwin8u
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"I am death, shatterer of worlds,
annialating all things"
(11.32).
- Bhagavad Gita, tr Stephen Mitchell

description

I’ll review later as it sinks deeper in.
I need some time to chew on it.
And, yes, perhaps just let go and
let the book be --
what it already is.
Maughn Gregory
When the warrior Arjuna, "overwhelmed with dread and pity" at the prospect of going to war against an army that includes many of his own relatives, teachers and friends, drops his weapons and refuses to fight, his charioteer reveals himself to be Lord Krishna, who, in a long moment removed from time, teaches Arjuna "about life and deathlessness, duty, nonattachment, the Self, love, spiritual practice, and the inconceivable depths of reality." (15)

The Bhagavad Gita was the book of scripture from
...more
Irene
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
As part of my 200 YTT, I was assigned to read Stephen Mitchells' translation of the Bhagavad Gita, otherwise termed by my teacher as "Gita for Dummies" for its accessibility. What I also enjoyed about this translation is Mitchell's introduction and the Appendix for including Gandhi's thoughts about the message of the Gita. They helped to informed my reading of the Gita.

The Bhagavad Gita means "The Song of God" and it is an excerpt from a much larger Hindu epic written in Sanskrit, Mahabharata.
...more
Laura
May 18, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: sacred-texts
If you are new to the Bhagavad Gita, perhaps you shouldn't let my stingy rating dissuade you from reading this translation. It has its charms. Mitchell provides a simple, elegant version of the Gita, presented in short, powerful stanzas. Perhaps the biggest draw is its accessibility. You certainly won’t need to consult a glossary or an encyclopedia to get something out of this, nor will you require any background knowledge of the Hindu epics. Mitchell clearly seeks to capture the universal ...more
Marianne
Feb 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
I'm hoping another translation will be better. Any recommendations?
Chelsea Lawson
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I tried reading the Bhagavad Gita once before and it didn't click so I put it down midway through. This translation was fantastic. An inspiriting philosophy wrapped up in a rich story.

Some highlights (slightly reworded) that I will "meditate deeply upon, then act as [I] think best," as instructed in the last chapter:
- Know what your duty is and do it without hesitation.... You have a right to your actions, but never to your actions' fruits. Act for the action's sake. Do not be attached to
...more
David
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This seemed to me a beautiful translation. I will be reading another as well, though, for some alternative perspective. Many beautiful passages and also so many resonances with other ancient religious texts I’ve read.
Steve
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Re-read for school. A most accessible translation. Still, I get more out of the Tao Te Ching and The Dhammapada.
Dennis Littrell
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Intelligent, accessible and beautifully presented

First of all this is a beautiful book. The design by Barbara Sturman in which the text is presented in a handsome wine/purple font set in wide margins with the chapter titles in a contemporary font of soft vermillion suggests reverence for the Gita while hinting of a twenty-first century Western appreciation. There is a ribbon sown into the binder for keeping your place.

Second, the emphasis is on the text of the Gita itself garlanded by Mitchell's
...more
Yoo-Yoo
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Can one really rate a religious text? My rating is for the poetic translation, the insightful foreword that helped put this work in context, and the inclusion of Mahatma Gandhi's essay "The Message of the Gita", as an appendix. These really helped to deepen my understanding of the Gita.
Brian Wilcox
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, nontechnical rendition of this devotional classic. I especially liked how the verse flowed freely, smoothly. Having read this work shortly after its publication, I much enjoyed returning to listen to it, and I found Mitchell's reading well-done.

As trained in translation myself, I am acutely aware that something, sometimes much, is lost in more free translations, even as in any translation, even the most literal. The something gained in this work makes this worth a read, especially
...more
Julian Abagond
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Stephen Mitchell's translations tend to be loosey-goosey, but good for a book from a religion you know little about. But maybe he makes the Bhagavad Gita seem too much like the New Testament in Hindu clothing. It kind of came off that way to me.
lyle
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self, yoga
“Thus, many forms of worship may lead to freedom, Arjuna. All these are born of action. When you know this, you will be free.

Better than any ritual is the worship achieved through wisdom; wisdom is the final goal of every action, Arjuna.”


“He who eats too much food or too little, who is always drowsy or restless, will never succeed in the yoga of meditation.

For the man who is moderate in food and pleasure, moderate in action, moderate in sleep and waking, yoga destroys all sorrow.

With a mind
...more
Theophilos
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Bewildered by endless thinking, entangled in the net of delusion, addicted to desire, they plunge into the foulest of hells."

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this translation of the Bhagavad Gita. I am a Religion & Philosophy major at my university and this was my first encounter with any form of Hindu scriptures and found myself enlightened by a lot of the ideologies contained within this text! It was also a very short and easy to read message which provided a lot of wisdom that I could take
...more
Smoppet
May 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: religion
I liked this translation. It was easy to read. I liked the inclusion Gandhi's essay. My criticisms here are of the message of the text, not the translation.

Treat all beings with compassion (You still need to go to war with those guy tho, Arjuna)

Reject all the things that make you human, and once you've successfully done this, you will realize that everything is one in the same. You'll have the same reaction to anything; good or bad. This is peace and god. You've become a mindless shell.
...more
Jey Kalimuthu
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jose Robles
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book at a bookstore in Ojai, Ca (how fitting) because the title sounded so familiar. I started reading it on the car ride back to Los Angeles, which is about 2 hours away, and I was amazed at how far I got. I picked this book up and put it down for several days after because I really wanted to take in what I was reading because I felt like it was talking to me and telling me to let go of so many things. I took a bunch of pictures of certain parts I felt really resonated with me ...more
Lindsey
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
“You have a right to your actions, but never to your actions’ fruits. Act for the action’s sake. And do not be attached to inaction.”

“Without concern for results, perform the necessary action; surrendering all attachments, accomplish life’s highest good.”

Originally read during my YTT 200 classes, but I reread this week for the purpose of applying it to what’s currently going on in life. I’m so glad I did!
David
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am certain that this text can be understood in many different ways by people of different natures and will also have different meanings at different points over the course of a given individual’s life. But, it seems to me on my reading to urge us to build a life around looking deeply into yourself to find that the peace which surpasses all understanding is already present within you. In my view, if there is a single universal religious truth, this is it.
MGMaudlin
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
I did not want it to end. While the translation made accessible the deep wisdom in this ancient teaching story, I wish Mitchell's accompanying essay was twice as long since he does a masterful job allowing us to appreciate the hidden layers in it.
Daniel
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent timeless translation.
Martha
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy
One of the most beautiful and profound things I've ever read that left me in awe, feeling in communion with the Divine.
Carol
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've read quite a few different translations, and this one is my favorite. Written in plain, everyday English rather than the often Shakespeare-esque style which only bogs down other translations.
KAREN
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am still digesting this book, which I read as part of a yoga teacher training. I am currently reading a different version. This is a book that I will come back to, time and time again.
Andrea Gwynnel
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent poetic telling of Arjuna's difficult journey, guided by the ever present Lord Krishna. This is written as it was intended... as an epic song.
Mounir Bashour
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great translation.
Kate Finkelstein
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beautiful poetry, am looking forward to studying it as part of yoga training.
Angelina Werner
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Great book, impressive teachings, and above all: understandable translation. Thank you, Mr. Mitchell.
Rachel
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Part of my Yoga Teacher Training
Carrie Bays
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So beautiful
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Stephen Mitchell was educated at Amherst College, the Sorbonne, and Yale University, and de-educated through intensive Zen practice. He is widely known for his ability to make old classics thrillingly new, to step in where many have tried before and to create versions that are definitive for our time. His many books include The Gospel According to Jesus, The Second Book of the Tao, two books of ...more
“As unnecessary as a well is to a village on the banks of a river, so unnecessary are all scriptures to someone who has seen the truth.” 0 likes
“The self is a friend for him who masters himself by the Self; but for him who is not self-mastered, the self is the cruelest foe.” 0 likes
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