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The Bhagavad Gita (Penguin Classics) Paperback – October 28, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140447903
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140447903
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.7 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Laurie L. Patton, is Winship Distinguished Research Professor and Chairperson (1996). She earned her B.A. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. For several years during the last two decades she has made her Indian home in Pune, Maharashtra. Her scholarly interests are in the interpretation of early Indian ritual and narrative, comparative mythology, literary theory in the study of religion, and women and Hinduism in contemporary India. Laurie L. Patton, Winship Distinguished Research Professor and Chairperson (1996). She earned her B.A. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. For several years during the last two decades she has made her Indian home in Pune, Maharashtra. Her scholarly interests are in the interpretation of early Indian ritual and narrative, comparative mythology, literary theory in the study of religion, and women and Hinduism in contemporary India.

Customer Reviews

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See all 13 customer reviews
This book is a treasure to have.
Marc M. Mahan
I also sensed that contemporary students will "see themselves" in the text, which is exactly what the translator's intent is.
Sharmila Jha
Also, the introduction is written very well.
Ilker Temizer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Gindin on August 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
This translation is truly excellent. I have been studying the Gita for 20 years or so and have been teaching it as part of Indian philosophy courses for the last few years. In terms of a balance between accuracy and poetic power, this is the best there is as far as I'm concerned. Patton should be truly commended for her inspired, hard and circumspect work here. Going through the text together with the Sanskrit will show you how interesting and well-grounded her translation is, and also how it mirrors the poetry of the original. it is also admirably honest- she does not whitewash the text or leave out important words and phrases, unlike Mascaro or Mitchell. Her reading is also not sectarian, unlike the absolute worst english translation out there, that of Shrila Prabhupada, with its ironic titile "The Bhagavad Gita As It Is". Any one with a knowledge of Sanskrit, even a poor one like mine, can see how misleading and biased his dogmatic translation and commentary is.

Anyway, for a serious student of the Gita, this is the one. I would also recommend reading through Georg Feuerstein's translation, Ram Dass' commentary "Paths to God", Gurchand Das' "The Difficulty of Being Good" (on the Mahabharata), Gandhi on the Gita, and Eknath Easwaran's 3 volume commentary.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Sharmila Jha on August 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a fabulous translation. It is lucid, poetic, and grounded in the scholarship in a helpful but not overpowering way.
Patton's introduction is a thoroughgoing history of the text, and at last there is a poetic sensibility which grounds the epic prose in a bardic voice. I also sensed that contemporary students will "see themselves" in the text, which is exactly what the translator's intent is. I am a copy writer for a large company and know what it takes to make such works accessible and inspiring at the same time. I bought this for my college-aged sons and they loved it.
We are reading it out loud when they are home on break. You will enjoy this book. it's fresh and traditional all at once.
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Ilker Temizer on July 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
The reason I read the Bhagavad Gita is, probably like many other people, because Robert Oppenheimer (the director of the Manhattan project at Los Alamos labs during World War 2) recites lines from it after he witnesses the Trinity explosion -- the first nuclear blast.

I was somewhat unsatisfied with the translation of Laurie Patton. I am unable to judge the academic quality of this translation, nor will I be able to put it into context with respect to many other earlier attempts. However, I somehow never got the sense that I was reading a great epic, a work that had shaped the lives of millions in a sense. Nevertheless, several philosophical themes such as "to let go of clinging to the fruits of action (the consequences of action)", "action vs non-action" come through clearly in the translation. Also, the introduction is written very well. In particularly the opening words "The Gita is about a decision. Above all, it is about a decision to go to war." would be the best way to summarize this epic in such a short form.

The Bhagavad Gita (literally meaning "Song of the Blessed One") is about the warrior Arjuna trying to find a reason for why he should be fighting against his relatives and friends. The god Krishna motivates Arjuna by encouraging/urging/forcing him to act because it is his duty to do so, but that he should not worry about the possible consequences of his action (such as him killing his friends) because he has no control over such consequences -- rather fate does. Action, consequences of action and fate ... these are the three major issues.

Going back to the Oppenheimer story, I would like to suggest the article: "The Gita of J. Robert Oppenheimer" by James A. Hijiya (Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol.144, No. 2, June 2000).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Spider Monkey on January 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
This version of 'The Bhagavad-Gita' not only has the beautiful and inspiring spiritual poem encapsulating the dialogue between Arjuna and Krishna, but it also has an excellent, explanatory introduction. The introduction makes the themes and inner message of the poem more accessible and helps you to a deeper appreciation of this classic text. Easily re-read again and again the Bhagavad-Gita manages to mix deep spiritual insight with flowing and captivating verse. If you are looking for a version of this stunning work then this is as good a place to start as any, the scholarly introduction alone makes up the purchase price and you get this beautiful work to enhance your life on each reading.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By snowshoez on October 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
the bhagavad gita is a hindu text that promises to confound the modern western-thinking individual on his or her first reading. upon becoming more familiar with the terms and concepts used, the second or third read may well probe more fruitful in terms of their reflection into the nature of mankind, and his relationships with life and death, pain and pleasure, and other dualities that surround our self-concepts today.
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By Janusz Kuzbik on July 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Awesome read
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By Cassandra on July 29, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book. Perfect condition
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