THE BHAGAVAD GITA
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© March 2019, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
One of the holiest books in many Oriental nations such as India and parts of China is the Bhagavad Gita. The words mean the song of God. It is a fairly short book and it is written as the story of a warrior.
It is an important book for several billion people around the world, so it is good to be somewhat familiar with it.
The Bhagavad Gita is the story of a great warrior who is about to enter into battle. He is riding in a chariot and his driver is Krishna, which means God in Sanskrit. So he has God as his chariot driver, and therefore he knows he will win the battle and save his nation.
Just before the battle begins, he asks his driver to move him to the middle of the battlefield so that he can easily see the enemy lined up ready to fight. To his horror and dismay, he notices that some of his friends, and even some of his relatives are among the enemy.
He recoils and begins to weep. He knows he will win, but he does not want to see anyone hurt, especially his former friends and family relatives.
He reacts by insisting that God explain to him why he must fight this battle. He also asks other questions about life. This is the story of the Bhagavad Gita in a nutshell.
A very short book. Unlike the Western Bible or Koran, the Bhagavad Gita is very short and concise. The answers to the questions that are asked can be difficult to understand because they are given in a way that each person can understand them at different levels depending upon one’s religious training and general intellectual sophistication.
Which translation of the book is best? There are literally hundreds of translations of the Bhagavad Gita available in English and other Western languages. We don’t like most of them. One that we do like because it is simple is by Yogi Ramacharaka. It is beautifully written and simple in its writing style, uplifting to read, and delightful.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAIN TRUTHS IN THE BOOK?
While the book is filled with tidbits of knowledge and wisdom, some will be found odd to Westerners. One idea is the perpetual nature of the soul, another idea that is definitely understood in Western Biblical literature. However, it is explained more fully in the Bhagavad Gita – how it works, why and so on.
Another truth that may seem unusual is the concept of karma. However, the idea is mentioned many times in the Bible. The passages include, “As you sow, so shall you reap” and “As you do unto the least of them, so you do unto me”. It is the same idea just expressed differently.