The Bhagavad Gita Book Summary - The Bhagavad Gita Book explained in key points
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The Bhagavad Gita summary

Vyasa

Explore the Timeless Wisdom of This Hindu Scripture

4.4 (159 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

The Bhagavad Gita is a sacred Indian text that conveys a conversation between Prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna. It offers profound wisdom on duty, morality, and the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment.

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    The Bhagavad Gita
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    The struggle for the kingdom of Bharata

    The battlefield that Arjuna surveys at the beginning of the Bhagavad Gita is called Kurukshetra, about a hundred miles north of today’s New Delhi. It is, in short, a real place. But its geography is secondary. As Gandhi put it in the twentieth century, Kurukshetra is located in every human soul, for it is there that the eternal battle of good and evil is fought. 

    That is indeed the more significant battlefield in the Bhagavad Gita, but we need some context before we get to that. Although it stands alone, the work recounts one episode of a larger story. That story is told in the 200,000-verse epic known as the Mahabharata, which recounts the civil war in the ancient kingdom of Bharata in today’s northern India. 

    It starts with the death of Bharata’s king. Two camps form around his potential successors. On one side is the king’s younger brother, Pandu; on the other, his older brother, Dhritarashtra, who assumes the throne despite his blindness – a condition Pandu’s supporters argue should disqualify him. In the ensuing struggle, the followers of Pandu, known as Pandavas, are exiled for thirteen years. When they return to stake their claim to the throne, war breaks out. 

    Both camps rush to assemble allies across India, and both court Krishna, the ruler of a kingdom with links to both sides. Krishna, an enlightened monarch who cherishes fairness, says he’ll serve the Pandavas personally, but send his armies to fight for their enemies. Vowing not to touch a weapon, he acts as the charioteer for his friend, Arjuna, the Pandavas’ greatest warrior. 

    Arjuna never doubted the righteousness of the Pandavas’ cause – until the day of the battle. After telling Krishna to steer the chariot into the no-man’s land between the two armies, he’s overcome by the momentousness of what lies ahead – the bloody conclusion to a fratricidal civil war. “Oh, what a crime we are about to commit,” he says, “from our desire to enjoy kingship, we are ready to kill our kinsmen.” 

    His taste for battle gone, he throws aside his bow and slumps into the chariot. 

    If the Pandavas are to triumph, they need Arjuna, so Krishna tries to persuade him to take up his arms again. He succeeds: when we take our leave of Arjuna at the end of the Bhagavad Gita, we see him joining the battle. But the hundreds of lines of verse spoken by Krishna before that add up to much more than an ad-hoc pep talk for a doubtful soldier. 

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    What is The Bhagavad Gita about?

    The Bhagavad Gita is a self-contained episode of the Mahabharata, an epic poem about the devastating rivalry between two clans for control of the kingdom of Bharata in ancient India. Composed around the third century BCE, the 700 verses of the Bhagavad Gita explore questions of social and religious duty, the nature of human action, and our relationship to God. For many readers, scholars, and believers, it is the quintessential religious text in Hinduism. 

    The Bhagavad Gita Review

    The Bhagavad Gita is a timeless philosophical text that offers profound insights into life's big questions. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It presents ageless wisdom that provides guidance on finding purpose and achieving spiritual fulfillment.
    • Combining ancient teachings with practical advice, it offers practical ways to navigate life's challenges and achieve inner peace.
    • With its courageous exploration of moral dilemmas, it sparks introspection and encourages readers to reflect on their own values.

    Who should read The Bhagavad Gita?

    • Seekers exploring Eastern spirituality
    • History buffs interested in India and its religions
    • Curious minds open to ancient insights 

    About the Author

    There is no definitive answer to the question of who composed the Bhagavad Gita. Some believe it has divine authorship; others attribute it to Vyasa, a sage credited with authoring both the Mahabharata, including the Bhagavad Gita. Most scholars believe that it is the work of multiple reciter-poets working in an oral tradition dating back to the eighth century BCE. 

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    The Bhagavad Gita FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Bhagavad Gita?

    The main message of The Bhagavad Gita is finding one's duty and understanding the path to self-realization.

    How long does it take to read The Bhagavad Gita?

    The estimated reading time for The Bhagavad Gita varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Bhagavad Gita a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Bhagavad Gita is worth reading for its profound insights on life, spirituality, and personal growth. It offers valuable wisdom for navigating challenges.

    Who is the author of The Bhagavad Gita?

    The author of The Bhagavad Gita is Vyasa.

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