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The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita - A Commentary for Modern Readers

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The Bhagavad Gita tells the story of how Arjuna, the great warrior, is seated in his chariot about to engage in battle, when he sees his own kinsmen and his revered teacher arrayed in battle against him, and feels that he cannot fight. It is then that Krishna, the Cosmic Lord, comes to counsel him. Arjuna represents the human soul seated in the chariot of the body and Kris The Bhagavad Gita tells the story of how Arjuna, the great warrior, is seated in his chariot about to engage in battle, when he sees his own kinsmen and his revered teacher arrayed in battle against him, and feels that he cannot fight. It is then that Krishna, the Cosmic Lord, comes to counsel him. Arjuna represents the human soul seated in the chariot of the body and Krishna is the inner Spirit, the God within, who is there to consel him. Today we see humanity divided against itself and threatened with nuclear war and mutual destruction. No political means are adequate to deal with this problem, and many are driven to despair. It is then that the message of the Gita comes to teach us that it is only when we rise above human schemes and calculations and awake to the presence of the indwelling Spirit that we can hope to find the answer to our need.


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The Bhagavad Gita tells the story of how Arjuna, the great warrior, is seated in his chariot about to engage in battle, when he sees his own kinsmen and his revered teacher arrayed in battle against him, and feels that he cannot fight. It is then that Krishna, the Cosmic Lord, comes to counsel him. Arjuna represents the human soul seated in the chariot of the body and Kris The Bhagavad Gita tells the story of how Arjuna, the great warrior, is seated in his chariot about to engage in battle, when he sees his own kinsmen and his revered teacher arrayed in battle against him, and feels that he cannot fight. It is then that Krishna, the Cosmic Lord, comes to counsel him. Arjuna represents the human soul seated in the chariot of the body and Krishna is the inner Spirit, the God within, who is there to consel him. Today we see humanity divided against itself and threatened with nuclear war and mutual destruction. No political means are adequate to deal with this problem, and many are driven to despair. It is then that the message of the Gita comes to teach us that it is only when we rise above human schemes and calculations and awake to the presence of the indwelling Spirit that we can hope to find the answer to our need.

30 review for The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavad Gita - A Commentary for Modern Readers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kalli

    This is not a book you read in once. Everyday I red a few pages and thought about it, wrote about it and talked about it. It was part of my yoga teacher training and I got a questionnaire with it that made me think even more and deeper about it. This book changed my way of living in a very positive way. I also often use it as a reference for my philosophical theme.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lily

    Arjuna, you ask so many questions!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brieanne Tanner

    Swami Satchidananda's commentary provides an almost cliffnote like feel. Having visited Yogaville in 2010, I felt connected to this version and needed some of the overexplaining as a Westerner. My favorite line in the book is Chapter 4:23. "When you let go of all attachments and experience liberation, your mind becomes absorbed in the truth. Then everything you do becomes a sacrifice and all your karmas melt away." Highly Recommended to any yoga practitioners seeking to decode the real Bhagavad Swami Satchidananda's commentary provides an almost cliffnote like feel. Having visited Yogaville in 2010, I felt connected to this version and needed some of the overexplaining as a Westerner. My favorite line in the book is Chapter 4:23. "When you let go of all attachments and experience liberation, your mind becomes absorbed in the truth. Then everything you do becomes a sacrifice and all your karmas melt away." Highly Recommended to any yoga practitioners seeking to decode the real Bhagavad Gita.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Eve

    the war is in your mind.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Reed

    The Gita is perhaps my all-time favorite book, but I am not a fan of Satchidananda's commentary. His style reminds me somewhat of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in that his insight comes across as vague and "airy fairy." I prefer academic translations, as I've noticed western college professors remain keenly neutral when translating the original texts while also providing little to no subjective commentary. After all, it seems to me, when reading such an epic text as the Gita, the "true meaning" within The Gita is perhaps my all-time favorite book, but I am not a fan of Satchidananda's commentary. His style reminds me somewhat of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in that his insight comes across as vague and "airy fairy." I prefer academic translations, as I've noticed western college professors remain keenly neutral when translating the original texts while also providing little to no subjective commentary. After all, it seems to me, when reading such an epic text as the Gita, the "true meaning" within should be left for the reader to discover on his or her own; or, if further instruction is desired, a one-on-one visit with a devotee might be a more dynamic and intimate method of apprehension.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    In a language where the word for "yesterday" - "kal" - is the same as the word for "tomorrow," reading the Gita is certainly a window into the Hindu world view. In a language where the word for "yesterday" - "kal" - is the same as the word for "tomorrow," reading the Gita is certainly a window into the Hindu world view.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    Wow, I made so many highlights in this text and look forward to referencing it for many years to come. This version of the Bhagavad Gita is illuminated with a fantastic and very engaging commentary. I found the commentary so engaging because it's fairly opinionated. I'm reconciling the yogic philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita with the humanist point of views I've primarily investigated. They have tons of overlap and seem to deviate with how far they go past "dynamic individual will" into "divine wi Wow, I made so many highlights in this text and look forward to referencing it for many years to come. This version of the Bhagavad Gita is illuminated with a fantastic and very engaging commentary. I found the commentary so engaging because it's fairly opinionated. I'm reconciling the yogic philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita with the humanist point of views I've primarily investigated. They have tons of overlap and seem to deviate with how far they go past "dynamic individual will" into "divine will" It would be nice to see a student of Satchidananda undertake a new edition. There's a metaphor or two (using film photography) that may date it for readers born after 2000. But that shouldn't be a dealbreaker for anyone, that's just one page out of 300.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda

    A book to always look back at and review. Small sections at a time to better understand.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gabriella

    If you like yoga, or are interested in the spiritual/historical base of yoga read this book. This was a wonderful complete Bhagavad Gita with beautiful commentary focused on interpretation and relation of the wisdom and structure to more modern life. Will continue to re read this book every 5 years or so.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Edwards

    Living your yoga This books is wonderful. It's true to the essence of yoga, which is finding bliss or the peace within all of us. Yoga is ultimately about connecting with The Divine that resides within all beings. Namaste Living your yoga This books is wonderful. It's true to the essence of yoga, which is finding bliss or the peace within all of us. Yoga is ultimately about connecting with The Divine that resides within all beings. Namaste

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kaspars Laizans

    Gīta for the West? Got this version, because wanted some background info, otherwise specific terms and phrases are impossible to understand. What i got instead was a teacher telling his interpretation of the text. with poorly phrased examples and loads of misunderstood physics on his end

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jiajing

    The best translation and interpretation of Bhagavad-Gita. The stories and examples make the verses easy to understand. The author added his own philosophy. Some of them are inspiring, but some do not make much sense. Anyway it is an amazing book for yogis.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Not a book you can read in one sitting but picked up over time, and digested slowly, such an amazing book. Topics very well explained and applicable to everyone. Definitely a book you can reference again and again for helpful insight.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sabeen

    Absolutely Useful in understanding Bhagvad Gita.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cherie

    Great version of the BG - not only do you get the actual text of the BG, but great explanation in between. This is so excellent - will prob buy this one to keep for my collection.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    Excellent book. However I would recommend first reading through the Gita

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Be a good person - 10 ⭐️

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Always wanted to read the Bhagavad Gita, and I am certain that this is probably one of the easier texts to follow, but it just wasn't something I could sink myself into .. back to the Sutras for Me Always wanted to read the Bhagavad Gita, and I am certain that this is probably one of the easier texts to follow, but it just wasn't something I could sink myself into .. back to the Sutras for Me

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christina Laureen

    One of the best books that I have ever read and will read again and again. It is truly beautiful and enlightening. I believe that no matter what your religion or belief, everyone should read this book. It's a book on personal growth. Easy to follow, understand and connect with. Sri Swami Satchidananda did a great job breaking down the text. One of the best books that I have ever read and will read again and again. It is truly beautiful and enlightening. I believe that no matter what your religion or belief, everyone should read this book. It's a book on personal growth. Easy to follow, understand and connect with. Sri Swami Satchidananda did a great job breaking down the text.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ines

    I had been meaning to read the Bhagavad Gita for a while, and chose this particular version because it was required for my yoga teacher training. I'm glad I started with this one, because the translation and commentary was extremely approachable. Swami Satchidananda does a great job passing down this ancient wisdom while putting it in terms of life in today's society. It doesn't feel distant or irrelevant to our current world. Swami Satchidananda tells us how to apply this to our lives, and brin I had been meaning to read the Bhagavad Gita for a while, and chose this particular version because it was required for my yoga teacher training. I'm glad I started with this one, because the translation and commentary was extremely approachable. Swami Satchidananda does a great job passing down this ancient wisdom while putting it in terms of life in today's society. It doesn't feel distant or irrelevant to our current world. Swami Satchidananda tells us how to apply this to our lives, and brings humor into it as well. The Gita is a fantastic text on how to live your life. What I love about it is that it really isn't specific to any particular religion/belief set. Anyone can get something out of it. One thing I disliked was that both the Gita and the commentary felt somewhat repetitive at times, but that's not a big deal- it highlights what the main take-away points are, and doesn't make it any less valuable of a book. As other reviewers have mentioned, it isn't a book you read just once. It's something I will definitely come back to throughout my life. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to grow.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shreyas Saxena

    I have been meaning to read Bhagavad Gita from my high-school. It is the holy book of Hindu religion. People generally confuse it with something highly mystic, and something involving blind faith in god. However, this one is different from the rest. In Gita, there is conversation between Krishna and Arjuna. Arjuna is in a battle-field but having second thoughts about fighting a war against his brothers. In this dilemma he approaches Krishna, who then gives him the distilled knowledge about life a I have been meaning to read Bhagavad Gita from my high-school. It is the holy book of Hindu religion. People generally confuse it with something highly mystic, and something involving blind faith in god. However, this one is different from the rest. In Gita, there is conversation between Krishna and Arjuna. Arjuna is in a battle-field but having second thoughts about fighting a war against his brothers. In this dilemma he approaches Krishna, who then gives him the distilled knowledge about life and the way to live. So essentially, Gita is more about how you should live/lead your life rather than blind faith :). The book is well organized, and has a good commentary about the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna. I took my time to read this book, at times stopping for a week or so. It is not too dense to read, but it was nice to absorb each chapter slowly and gradually. I highly recommend this book for a condensed introduction to Gita, the way of life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    (the person who originally posted this book on good reads misspelled Bhagavad Gita) Though a bit verbose and overly poetic in his explanations of the verses of the epic poem, Satchidananda is very good at making a very eastern philosophy accessible to the western mind. I would recommend this book to anyone who is unfamaliar with the BhagavadGita and would like a gentle, easy introduction to the philosophies and spiritual beliefs presented in this ancient and beautiful text.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    "The one who knows what is to be known, doesn't need scriptures. That's the essence of the 46th sloka. But that doesn't mean scriptures are unnecessary. They are something like a ladder. The one who has gone up doesn't need a ladder anymore. But what about the others still on the ground? They have to go up, too. So at least for their sake, keep the ladder." Sri Swami Satchidananda .....I'm still on the ground. "The one who knows what is to be known, doesn't need scriptures. That's the essence of the 46th sloka. But that doesn't mean scriptures are unnecessary. They are something like a ladder. The one who has gone up doesn't need a ladder anymore. But what about the others still on the ground? They have to go up, too. So at least for their sake, keep the ladder." Sri Swami Satchidananda .....I'm still on the ground.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    If you have not read these teachings, it is worth the time. Beautifully translated and a book where you should take your time to read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Annemarie

    hoping a session this weekend will provide a little more insight!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elynor

    Another required book for my yoga teacher training. Classic foundational text for yogis. The commentary from Satchidananda is very good as well, deepening the meaning of the slokas.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vikram Shah

    Amazing…Will change your life for the better… :-)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    One man's interpretation of one of the holy books of Hinduism. Very positive and enriching. One man's interpretation of one of the holy books of Hinduism. Very positive and enriching.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura Warner

    Challenging, but so worthwhile.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    As a beginner in this literature I'm finding it very helpful. The author makes it easy to understand with his commentary. As a beginner in this literature I'm finding it very helpful. The author makes it easy to understand with his commentary.

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