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The Bhagavad Gita

A text and commentary for students

In the series Religious Beliefs & Practices

Jeaneane Fowler was formerly Head of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Wales, Newport, and later an Honorary Research Fellow. Her publications include Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices (Choice Outstanding Title, 1997); with books in the same series on Humanism, Chinese Religions, Tai Chi, Nichiren Daishonin: Buddhism in Wales, and books on the Philosophy of Hinduism and the Philosophy of Taoism.

Jeaneane Fowler provides a text and detailed commentary on this important Hindu scripture, which is a dialogue between Arjuna the man and Krishna the God. Major Hindu concepts are examined in depth, and the background to the Gita is presented in a comprehensive introduction.

Yoga is the key feature of the Gita but it has its own interpretation of what that yoga should be: thus, yoga features not only in each of the pathways of knowledge, desireless action and devotion, but in the way in which the divine is understood. The chapters of the Bhagavad Gita therefore describe Arjuna's despondency followed by The Yoga of Sankhya, Action, Knowledge, Renunciation, Meditation, Knowledge and Realization, the Imperishable Brahman, Royal Knowledge and Royal Mystery, Manifestation, the Vision of the Universal Form, Devotion, the Differentiation of the Kshetra and Kshetrajna, the Differentiation of the Three Gunas, the Supreme Purusha, the Differentiation of the Divine and the Demonic, the Differentiation of the Threefold Shraddha and, finally, The Yoga of Liberation and Renunciation. The book also contains detailed notes to the Gita chapters, a Further Reading section, a combined Glossary and Index of Sanskrit Terms, and an Index of English words.

The cover of the book is replete with symbolism. Krishna is always represented as blue in colour, hence the colour of the hands in the cover design. The chariot of Krishna and Arjuna is to be seen in the motif at the base, while the triple motif symbolizes the triple paths of the Gita – action without desire for results, knowledge and devotion. There are also three strands that make up all phenomena – light and radiance, energy, and inertia, as well as three aspects of the divine in the Gita – the totally transcendent Absolute, the manifest deity that is also the essence of all things, and the personal God to whom devotion can be given. The main image of Krishna is superimposed on the roots of the ashvattha tree that features in chapter 15: its branches reach down into the earth and its roots ascend upwards and it represents phenomenal existence.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-520-5
Hardback Price: £15.00 / $22.95
Release Date: February 2012
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-346-1
Paperback Price: £15.00 / $12.95
Release Date: February 2012
Page Extent / Format: 336 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Preface and Acknowledgements

Veda: knowledge
Vedic religion
The Bhagavad Gita
Nature of the text
Date and historicity
Translators and commentators

Themes in the Gita:
The nature of God
The nature of the self: atman
The empirical self
The nature of the world

Means to God

The genealogical backdrop

1 Arjuna's Despondency
2 The Yoga of Sankhya
3 The Yoga of Action
4 The Yoga of Knowledge
5 The Yoga of Renunciation
6 The Yoga of Meditation
7 The Yoga of Knowledge and Realization
8 The Yoga of the Imperishable Brahman
9 The Yoga of Royal Knowledge and Royal Mystery
10 The Yoga of Manifestation
11 The Yoga of the Vision of the Universal Form
12 The Yoga of Devotion
13 The Yoga of the Differentiation of the Kshetra and the Kshetrajna
14 The Yoga of the Differentiation of the Three Gunas
15 The Yoga of the Supreme Purusha
16 The Yoga of the Differentiation of the Divine and the Demonic
17 The Yoga of the Differentiation of the Threefold Shraddha
18 The Yoga of Liberation and Renunciation


Further Reading
Glossary and Index of Sanskrit Terms
Index of English Words

Reviewed by Arvid Sharma, Birks Professor of Comparative Religion at McGill University, Montreal, in International Journal of Hindu Studies

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