1.”The marvel of the Bhagavad-Gita is its truly beautiful revelation of
life’s wisdom which enables philosophy to blossom into religion.”
– Herman Hesse (1877-1962), German poet and novelist, awarded the Nobel
Prize for literature in 1946,
2.”In the great book of India,the Bhagavad-gita, an empire spoke to us,
nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene,
consistent, the voice of an old intelligence, which in
another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed
of the questions that exercise us.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson Eminent American Thinker
“If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky
that would be like the splendour of the Mighty One…”
(Robert Oppenheimer, 1904 – 1967, quoting the Bhagavad Gita)
4.”In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal
philosophy of the Bhagavat Geeta, since whose composition years of the
gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and
its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is
not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its
sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well
for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Brahmin, priest of
Brahma, and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the
Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his
crust and water—jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his
master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The
pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.”
-Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American Philosopher, Unitarian,
social critic, transcendentalist and writer. It was Ralph Waldo Emerson
who aroused in him a true enthusiasm for India.
5.”The Gita is one of the clearest and most comprehensive summaries of
the Perennial Philosophy ever to have been made. Hence its enduring
value, not only for Indians, but for all mankind. . . . The
Bhagavadgita is perhaps the most systematic spiritual statement of the
-Aldous Huxley very beautifully remarked.
6.”Warren Hastings, while forwarding a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita [by
Wilkins] to the chairman of the East India Company, in course of an
introduction stated that the work was “a performance of great
originality, of a sublimity of conception, reasoning and diction almost
unequalled, and single exception among all the known religions of
mankind of a theology accurately corresponding with that of the
Christian dispensation and most powerfully illustrating its fundamental
doctrines.” (OP. cit., 33).
7.Well aware of the Gita’s universal bearing, Hastings included a
prophetic expression in his preface:
“The writers of the Indian philosophies will survive when the British
Dominion in India shall long have ceased to exist, and when the sources
which it yielded of wealth and power are lost to remembrance.”
8.As one scholar has written:
“No text could, by its profound metaphysics and by the prestige of its
poetic casting, more irresistibly shake the hold of the tradition of a
-(Raymond Schwab, The Oriental Renaissance: Europe’s
Discovery of India and the East, 1680-1880, New York: Columbia
University Press, 1984, 161)
9.In 1832, a French translation of the Bhagavad-Gila was made directly
from the Sanskrit by Jean-Denis Languinais and published posthumously.
Languinais had written of the “great surprise” it was “to find among
these fragments of an extremely ancient epic poem from India. . . a
completely spiritual pantheism. . . and. . . the vision of all-in-God .
. .-“(Art, Culture and Spirituality: A Prabuddha Bharata Centenary
10.Jacob Wilhelm Hauer (1881–1962), a modem German Indologist,
afforded the Bhagavad-Gita, a pivotal role in the spiritual life of
Germany. An official interpreter of faith in Germany, Hauer described
the Gita, as “a work of imperishable significance” that offers:
11.”not only profound insights that are valid for all times and for all
religious life, but it contains as well the classical presentation of
one of the most significant phases of lndo-German religious history. .
. .It shows us the way as regards the essential nature and basal
characteristics of Indo-Germamic religion. Here Spirit is at work that
belongs to our Spirit.
– (S. Radhakrishnan in his Introductory Essay to
The Bhagavad-Gita, eleventh impression 1997, New Delhi: Harper Collins
Publishers India, 1993, p. 11)
12.-Hauer declared the central message of the Gita:
“We are not called to solve the meaning of life but to find out the
Deed demanded of us and to work and so, by action, to master the riddle
of life.” (op. cit., p. 11)
13.-Thoreau paid ardent homage to the Gita and the philosophy of India
in A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers:
“Most books belong to the house and streets only, . . . .But this . . .
. addresses what is deepest and most abiding in man. . . . Its truth
speaks freshly to our experience. [the sentences of Manu] are a piece
with depth and serenity and I am sure they will have a place and
significance as long as there is a sky to test them by.”
“all my interest in the Aryan is . . .Wilkin’s Bhagavat Geeta;
Burnouf’s Bhagavat Purana;, and Wilson’s Vishnu Purana—yes and a few
15.He credited a work he had read in his youth for the spark of
enthusiasm he received for the Gita: “I remember I owed my first taste
for this fruit to Cousin’s sketch (Victor Cousin’s Cours des
Philosophies), in his first lecture, of the dialogue between Krishna
and Arjoon, and I still prize the first chapters of Bhagavat as
(Letters of Emerson, VI:246; I:322-3).
16.”The Gita is one of the clearest and most comprehensive one, of the
summaries and systematic spiritual statements of the perennial
philosophy ever to have been done”
17.”It is a deeply felt, powerfully conceived and beautifully explained
work. I don’t know whether to praise more this translation of the
Bhagavad-gita, its daring method of explanation, or the endless
fertility of its ideas. I have never seen any other work on the Gita
with such an important voice and style. . . . It will occupy a
significant place in the intellectual and ethical life of modern man
for a long time to come.”
-Dr. Shaligram Shukla Professor of Linguistics, Georgetown University
18.”When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created
this universe everything else seems so superfluous.”
19.”When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face,
and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad-gita
and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the
midst of overwhelming sorrow. Those who meditate on the Gita will
derive fresh joy and new meanings from it every day.”
20.In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal
philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita, in comparison with which our modern
world and its literature seem puny and trivial.”
-Henry David Thoreau
21.Maharishi calls the Bhagavad-Gita the essence of Vedic Literature
and a complete guide to practical life. It provides “all that is needed
to raise the consciousness of man to the highest possible level.”
Maharishi reveals the deep, universal truths of life that speak to the
needs and aspirations of everyone.
-Maharshi Mahesh Yogi
22.The Gita was preached as a preparatory lesson for living worldly
life with an eye to Release, Nirvana. My last prayer to everyone,
therefore, is that one should not fail to thoroughly understand this
ancient science of worldly life as early as possible in one’s life.
– Lokmanya Tilak
The Geeta is not a holy book that belongs to any one individual, caste, group, school, sect, nation or time. It is rather a scripture for the entire world and for all times. It is for all, for every nation, every race, and for every man and woman, whatever be their spiritual level and capacity. Irrespective of this, however, just hearsay or someone’s influence should not be the basis for a decision that has a direct bearing upon one’s existence.Sri Krishn says in the last chapter of the Geeta that even just hearing its mysterious knowledge is indeed salutary. But after a seeker has thus learnt it from an accomplished teacher, he also needs to practice it and incorporate it into his own conduct and experience. This necessitates that we approach the Geeta after freeing ourselves from all prejudices and preconceived notions. And then we will indeed find it a pillar of light.
– Paramhans Swami Adgadanand jee,My spiritual mentor.
To regard the Geeta as just a sacred book is not enough. A book is at best a sign-post that guides readers to knowledge. It is said that one who has known the truth of the Geeta is a knower of the Ved-which literally means knowledge of God. In the Upanishad Brihadaranyak, Yagnvalkya calls the Ved “the breath of the Eternal.” But all the knowledge and all the wisdom that the Geeta embodies, we must always remember, comes to consciousness only within the worshipper’s heart.
Its universality makes the Geeta unique among the eminent sacred works of the entire world. That also makes it a yardstick by which the veracity of every corner can be tested and judged. So the Geeta is that touchstone that vindicates the substance of truth every where and also resolves disputes arising from their sometimes incompatible or even contradictory assertions.The uniqueness of the Geeta is that it rises above temporal questions and reveals the dynamic way by which man may achieve perfection of the Self and final absolution. There is not a single verse in the whole composition that is concerned with sustenance of physical life.On the contrary, each verse of the Geeta demands of its disciples that they equip themselves and get ready for the inner war-the discipline of worship and meditation. Instead of embroiling us in the irreconcilable contradictions of heaven and hell, it is concerned exclusively with demonstrating the way by which the Soul may attain to the immortal state after which there are no shackles of birth and death.
Men fall prey to doubts, not only because many different views are held on a given subject, but also because of the fact that the same principle is often enunciated in different ways and styles at different times. Quite a good many existing commentaries on the Geeta are touched by the current of truth, and yet if one of them-even a just and correct interpretation-is placed among a thousand other interpretations it is almost impossible to recognize it for what it is. Identification of truth is an onerous task, for even falsehood wears the “brows” of truth. The many expositions of the Geeta all profess that they represent truth even though they may not have any inkling of it. As against this, even when quite a good many interpreters did succeed in coming by this truth, for a number of reasons they were prevented from giving a public utterance to it.
The much too common inability to get at the meaning of the Geeta in its true perspective may be attributed to the fact that Sri Krishn was a yogi, an enlightened sage. Only another great and accomplished Soul-man of knowledge and discernment-who has gradually attained to the ultimate spiritual goal discoursed upon by Sri Krishn can realize and reveal the real intent of the Yogeshwar when he preached to his friend and disciple Arjun. What is within one’s mind cannot be fully expressed by mere words. While some of it is communicated by facial expression and gestures, and even by what is named “eloquent” silence, the rest that is still unexpressed is something dynamic and seekers can know it only through action and by actually aversing the path of quest. So only another sage who has himself trodden the path and arrived at Sri Krishn’s sublime state may know what the message of the Geeta really is.Rather than just reproducing lines from the scripture, he can know and demonstrate its intent and significance, for Sri Krishn’s insights and preceptions are also his insights and perceptions. Since he is a seer himself, he cannot only show the essence but also awaken it in others, and even prompt and enable them to embark on the way that leads to it.