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The Bhagavadgita in the Mahabharata [Paperback]

J. A. B. van Buitenen
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 15, 1981 0226846628 978-0226846620 0
No other Sanskrit work approaches the Bhagavadgita in the influence it has exerted in the West. Philosophers such as Emerson and the other New England Transcendentalists were deeply affected by its insights, a dozen or more scholars, including Annie Besant and Mahatma Gandhi, have attempted its translation, and thousands of individuals struggling with the problems divided loyalties have found comfort and wisdom in its pages.

The Bhagavadgita ("Song of the Lord") tells of the young and virtuous Prince Arjuna who is driven to lead his forces into battle against an opposing army composed of close relatives and others whom he loves. The Lord Krsna, appearing in the poem as Arjuna's friend and charioteer, persuades him that he must do battle, and we see Arjuna changing from revulsion at the thought of killing members of his family to resignation and awareness of duty, to manly acceptance of his role as warrior and defender of his kingdom.

The Bhagavadgita is a self-contained episode in the Mahabharata, a vast collection of epics, legends, romances, theology, and metaphysical doctrine that reflects the history and culture of the whole of Hindu civilization. The present edition forms a part of J. A. B. van Buitenen's widely acclaimed translation of this great work. Here English and Sanskrit are printed on facing pages, enabling those with some knowledge of Sanskrit to appreciate van Buitenen's accurate rendering of the intimate, familial tone and directness of the original poem.

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Language Notes

Text: English --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 183 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (September 15, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226846628
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226846620
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #317,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best! March 7, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
J.A.B. van Buitenen's translation has an illuminating clarity and is excellent for a first time read, especially for readers with a western background. The transliteration is on the left-page side and the English on the right. There is also an indepth scholarly introduction and many useful footnotes.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Translation of this Classic September 25, 2009
By Reader
This is the finest English-language translation of the Bhagavadgita that I have ever had the pleasure to read. It is clear, reads elegantly and pelucidly, and gives the reader a roman-letter version of the Sanskrit text on facing pages. The introductory notes are illuminating as well, firmly setting the Gita within the frame and context of The Mahabharata for the reader -- this is helpful to no end. Every other English-language version of the Gita that I've read is hide-bound in comparison -- ham-fisted, hijacked by the "translator's" own agenda, or somehow tangled up and tripping over itself in one way or another. Here we have the elegant and respectful scholarship of J A B van Buitenen -- his work is lit up from within. There is humility and wonder in the weaving of his translation and he allows the Gita to truly shine and sing out with as little disturbance as possible in the move across into English. An astounding work of craftsmanship, spiritual humility, and scholarship. As much as possible while moving from one language to another, he lets the Gita sing for itself. Thank you, van Buitenen -- you may no longer be with us, but your work lives and breathes on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing translation May 31, 2014
By Lola J
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
J. A. B. van Buitenen gives a very readable and clearly translated dialog. It is especially useful that the Sanskrit is on the facing page (using the English alphabet so those of us that can not read Devanagari can still get a sense of the Sanskrit dialog). The introduction/foreward is especially informative and provides an appropriate "set-up" for the text. This translation is useful for those new to the Bhagavadgita (as the English translation reads very clearly and simply) and those of us undertaking a scholarly study of the text.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Met my needs March 25, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'd never read this, and wanted to, so I got this after reading several reviews of other options. It gave me what I wanted at a reasonable price.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars satisfied October 5, 2011
By nkotb
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I received this item in a a timely fashion and am reading it right now. The packaging was very good and protected the book well.
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