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The Bhagavadgita, perhaps the greatest and most beautiful of the Hindu scriptures,
is the fourth part of the Mahabharata. It is among the more recent parts of
that work, dating from around the first or second century A.D. The Bhagavadgita
is mainly in the form of a dialogue between the warrior Prince Arjuna and his
friend Krishna (the earthly incarnation of the god Vishnu). The prince is engaged
in a brutal but just war and contemplates throwing down his weapons and giving
up his own life in order to avert more bloodshed. Krishna recalls Arjuna to
his sense of responsibility and reminds him that he must discharge his duty
as a warrior. " But if thou doest not this lawful battle, then thou wilt
fail thy duty and glory and will incur sin.”1
The conversation reveals not only Arjuna's moral dilemma about this battle,
but also a deeper need for certainty about matters spiritual. Noting this need
to understand, Krishna reveals himself as the god Vishnu. Their dialogue then
examines ethical questions, the nature of God, the nature of the soul, and the
ways in which man might best serve God and achieve immortality.
 Bhagavadgita 2:33.
Edgerton, Franklin, trans. The Bhagavad Gita. 2 vols. Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1946.
Prabhavananda, Swami and Christopher Isherwood, trans. The Bhagavad-Gita.
Hollywood: The Marcel Rodd Company, 1944.
Radhakrishnan, S., trans. The Bhagavadgita. New York: Harper and Brothers,
Prabhavananda, Swami and Christopher Isherwood, trans. The Song of God-Bhagavad
Gita. New York: A Mentor Book, 1954-55.
Vireswarananda, Swami, trans. Srimad-Bhagavad-Gita, Mylapore: Sri
Ramakrishna Math, 1948.
The biographical material about the author originally appeared on The
Goodrich Room: Interactive Tour website.