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Bhagavad Gita with Commentaries

Edition and commentaries by Vladimir Antonov

© Vladimir Antonov, 2010.


The Bhagavad Gita — or, in translation from Sanskrit, the Song of God — is the most important part of the Indian epic poem Mahabharata. The latter describes events that took place about 5000 years ago.

The Bhagavad Gita is a great philosophical work that played the same role in the history of India, as the New Testament did in the history of the countries of the European culture. Both these books powerfully proclaim the principle of Love-Bhakti as the basis of spiritual development of man. The Bhagavad Gita also presents us with a complete notion about such fundamental problems of philosophy as what is man, what is God, what is the meaning of human life, and what are the principles of human evolution.

The main hero of the Bhagavad Gita is Krishna — an Indian raja and an Avatar — an embodiment of a Part of the Creator, Who gave to people through Krishna the greatest spiritual precepts.

Philosophical truths are expounded in the Bhagavad Gita in the form of a dialogue between Krishna and His friend Arjuna before a military combat.

Arjuna had been preparing for this righteous battle. But when the day of the battle came and Arjuna with his army was standing in front of the warriors of the adverse party, he recognized among them his own kinsmen and former friends. And he, being provoked to it by Krishna, began to doubt his right to participate in the battle. He shared these doubts with Krishna.

Krishna reproached him: watch how many people gathered here to lay down their lives for you! And the encounter is unavoidable*! How can you, who brought these people here to die, leave them at the very last moment!? Since you, a professional warrior, took up arms, then fight for the righteous cause. And understand that the life of each of us in the body is but a short period of the true life! Man is not a body and does not die with the death of the body. And in that sense, no one can kill and no one can be killed!

Arjuna, intrigued by these words of Krishna, asked Him more and more questions. And from Krishna’s answers it becomes clear that the Path to Perfection goes not through killing but through Love — Love, at first, for the manifested aspects of God-Absolute and then for the Creator Himself.

These answers of Krishna are the essence of the Bhagavad Gita — one of the greatest — by the profoundness of wisdom and the breadth of the fundamental problems covered — books existing on the Earth.

There are several translations of the Bhagavad Gita into Russian language. Among them, the translation by A.Kamenskaya and I.Mantsiarly [38] reproduces the meditative aspect of the Krishna’s sayings best. Yet, for many verses of the text, the translation is incomplete.

The translation by V.S.Sementsov [57] is a successful attempt to reproduce the poetic structure of the Sanskrit Bhagavad Gita. The text in this form, indeed, flows like a song. But the exactness of the translation in some cases got worse.

The advantage of the translation made by the Society for Krishna’s Consciousness is that it is accompanied by the Sanskrit text (including transliteration). But the content is extremely distorted.

The translation made under the editorship of B.L.Smirnov [59] is supposed — according to the intention of the translators — to be highly exact. Yet, its language is somewhat “dry”. But, as it happened to the all mentioned translations, many important statements of Krishna were not understood by the translators and thus were translated incorrectly. Among such typical errors is the interpretation of the word Atman as “smaller than the smallest”, and not as “subtler than the subtlest”; or translation of the word buddhi as “supreme mind”, “pure thought”, etc., and not as “consciousness”. Only the translators who have mastered the highest levels of yoga can avoid such errors.

Here the readers are presented with a new edition of the translation of the Bhagavad Gita, made by the compiler of this book.



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