Dear reader, who am I to present to you this great Song of God? I can give you my name, but this book is exactly about answering this question properly. It is about Lord Krishna explaining to His friend Arjuna who he and He Himself really is. That knowledge would give Arjuna the strength and the resolve to know and to defeat his enemies. The crisis of Arjuna is that of identity: Who am I, what am I to do, how am I to see things, what is my nature, what is the right attitude? How to attain peace ànd the victory? We as readers are that Arjuna, and I as a translator/interpreter/concatenator was in the same position. I was faced with many Bhagavad Gîtâs that I, honestly, truly couldn't read all properly. First of all it is a heavy piece of philosophy actually, with which it is difficult to identify oneself. Second of all were most Gîtâs available cut into an enormous heap of philosophical fragments in studies of detail, from which the original course of reasoning became completely obscure. It was not difficult to understand what the preaching was all about, but what did the book say itself? How could I listen to the original speaker and pick it up from the heart as one usually does, following the reasoning in a book? In a book I normally want to listen to what the speaker has to say, anything in the way between me and the speaker is a hindrance. Thus can all the culture of belief and interpretation be experienced as a hindrance, or a problem of the purity of the medium between oneself and the Lord of Wisdom. I could ask myself: Am I listening to Vyâsadeva, the writer, to Sañjaya, the reporter of this discussion Vyâsa introduces as a speaker, or to Krishna, the one that is speaking to us actually? Am I listening to the spiritual teacher introducing me into this knowledge, interpreting and translating it to me and his understanding and to me and his social and personal ego-interest, to the religion of social convention keeping up the good attitude or am I just studying a medium on itself, like a material book or a modern internetpage that depends on its own material conditions managed by a publisher or webmaster?

Thus this presentation of the Gîtâ is an effort to reconstruct what actually was said by Lord Krishna. I kept, translating, as close to the Sanskrit as possible trying not to add, nor to omit a single word, so that the words Vyâsadeva, the original author, used, can be appreciated as from him. On the battlefield of Kurukshetra just before the great war of the Mahâbhârata Krishna spoke these to Arjuna at the end of an era of Vedic culture that left us with the nature of what we now know as modern time and by Hindus is called Kali-Yuga, the Iron age of Quarrel. I have called this Gîtâ, the Gîtâ of Order because that was what I longed for and that was what my original purpose and belief in God was: To get everything, everyone, the world and myself in order. So, I studied what the tradition said, I remembered what I learned from modern science, philosophy and the spiritual teachings and last but not least I wanted to see my own modern/postmodern experience reflected too without falling into the selfhood of ego. From the tradition itself I learned that its approach of proper reference does not really differ from the method of modern natural science also founded on proper reference. Sañjaya could be a pure medium for the words of Krishna, because he was a loyal pupil of Vyâsadeva. So I too could be a pure medium if I would follow the same method. Thus this Gîtâ does not stand on itself but is directly born from a previous version, a line of disciplic succession, the tradition; nay it also originated from all the versions and the whole discussion entertained at the present time. I understood I had to cope with the whole confusion in this field. I had to choose: There are so many Gîtâs and thus so many traditions of learning to respect. There is the Gîtâ of S'ankarâcârya, the Gîtâ of Maharishi Yogi, the Gîtâ of S'rî Yukteswar, the Gîtâ of the American Gîtâ Society, the Gîtâ of W.Q. Judge of Theosophy, the Gîtâ of the internet-site for it, the Gîtâ of the Hare Krishnas and even a Gîtâ presented on television.

I concluded, remembering of what I had understood thus far, that if one is not of sacrifice, that one hasn't really understood the purport of what the Lord tries to tell us. Therefore I could skip all Gîtâs that were not offered on the internet. Gîtâs not shared with the world cannot be considered as to be of good will towards the world, I could maintain as a new norm to a new medium. The knowledge of God is the property of God and not of a bookseller or institute of learning. So all claims of proprietorship or slackness in offering, were disqualified. That left me with the only recently available Gîtâ of Theosophy, the always available Gîtâ of the American Gîtâ Society, a recently from the Internet withdrawn version of the Gîtâ from Vaishnavas in India (at the end of this translation not mentioned in the reference-links at the bottom of the page anymore), the Internet-site from another branch of western Vaishnavas for it and the original Hare Krishna Gîtâ of Swami Prabhupâda's western ISKCON-math school of Vaishnavism. The last two Gîtâs became my stronghold of study as they were the only ones meeting the scientific demand of proper reference to the original Sanskrit, word for word. From them I could, together with the Sanskrit dictionary and a basic course in Sanskrit, reconstruct the original course of reasoning as it is offered here. As such I am a follower of this Vaishnav' culture and a pupil (of a pupil of) the âcârya (teacher, guru, by example) that introduced this method of respect for the tradition in our Western Culture. The other Gîtâs so became just a second opinion to find out what the discussions of translation in the world were really all about, while I meanwhile kept to the siddhânta, or end-conclusion of Vedic study of the leading acâryâs.

This-end conclusion was devised by S'rî Krishna-Caitanya (born 1486), a great devotee and âcârya of Lord Krishna who was recognized as Bhagavân, an original incarnation of the Supreme Lord. His descend in the sixteenth century meant a reform of the Vedic culture that declared an end to the false authorities of religion and the caste-system. The siddhânta was formulated as acinthya-bheda-abheda-tattva, meaning: The Lord is the inscrutable unity in diversity. With this conclusion all differences of age and vocation were subjected to ones individual devotion to the Lord as the binding force, as expressed in ones level of transcendence, of spiritual yogic control and stability of selfrealization over the material conditioning, and ones mode of commitment, or experience with the culture of devotion. In other words: one needs to be above the material motive and one needs a certain experience in Yoga and devotional service before one can reliably speak of and live with the contents of e.g. this book. To be merely an expert in Sanskrit or to be a religious authority from an institute of learning is thus not enough. One also has to realize oneself independently relating to the Lord, what the story of God, His story, with this yoga is all about.

So what is the story about? It is taken from the epic the Mahâbhârata that is about the great war that ended the so-called Dvâpara Yuga or era of Vedic culture. The Kurudynasty (see family tree) in conflict meets on the battlefield. The main-characters speaking, Krishna and Arjuna, are nephews in a long line of Vedic succession in dynasties of nobility that ruled Bhârata-varsha, India, with the knowledge of Bhagavân, the Supreme Lord who takes different forms in different incarnations (called avatâras) throughout history. Christian readers also should see Lord Jesus Christ as a type of such an incarnation of the Original Personality of Godhead that is the Supreme Lord, be it that Lord Jesus does not represent a Vedic descent of the Supreme Lord, but is an incarnation to the specifics of the Jewish culture of God. Krishna's father Vasudeva was the brother of Queen Kuntî also called aunt Prithâ often mentioned in this Gîtâ. Arjuna, with his four brothers called the Pândavas, was born from King Pându and Queen Kuntî in the Kurudynasty. Pându had a blind brother called Dhritarâshthra who himself had a hundred sons called the Kauravas. Pându died young and the sons of Pându were raised by their uncle together with their nephews the Kauravas. This family bond ran into a terrible fugue over a game of dice with which the Kauravas denied the Pândavas the right to their piece of the common heritage. Especially seeing how well they did before the fugue gave rise to all kinds of bad character. Because of the -prepared- game of dice they were banned for the wilderness for a thirteen years. When after that period they were told that they hadn't perfectly performed according the rules and thus had their exile extended, the limit was reached: Never would Yudhishthhira, Arjuna, Bhîma, Nakula and Sahadeva, the Pândavas, get their kingdom back this way. Because of this injustice they then met at Kurukshetra, a holy place of pilgrimage, for battle. Arjuna seeing all his nephews, uncles and other family members on the battlefield collapses: He doesn't want to fight anymore and calls for his friend and nephew Krishna, who assists him as his charioteer, for help. Then Krishna manifests His true nature before Arjuna. He tells him that it is according to his nature as a ruler that he must fight and then explains to him how to attain to the transcendental position of selfrealization that is needed to be in control above the modes of material nature and all the character of man belonging to it and thus be assured of the victory. Krishna identifies Himself as Vishnu, the Maintainer, the one of goodness and explains to Arjuna that he should see Him as the Sun and the Moon; the order of nature, as the taste of water, the divinities and the Time itself. He also tells him that this type of knowledge is personal and confidential. This cannot be told to people adverse to the science of yoga of Him which Krishna explains in the underlying eighteen chapters of the Gîtâ.

The yoga of Krishna is divided in three main portions in this book: Karma- bhakti- and jñânayoga. First of all there is the karmic point of view: Through proper action and analysis one realizes ones connectedness, realigning oneself (through religion, re-ligare, realigning, called dharma or proper action) with the original person that is the Lord and the true self as well as with the objective of the Absolute of the Truth of the manifest complete of the material universe. This unwinding of the illusioned state achieved by abandoning profitmotivated labor or karma is attained by detachment and meditation. Next, in the second section on Bhakti-yoga, Krishna explains what it means to attain to the transcendental position: Without developing fortitude in devotional service or bhakti-yoga one can be enlightened - for a while, but one is not liberated, one does not attain to the stability of wisdom in good habits of respect that one is seeking. Krishna then explains Arjuna about His personal nature and how he should recognize Himself in His different identities. Arjuna's gates of perception are then, on his own request, broken open by Krishna who shows him His Universal Form, the complete of His personal nature. From then on Arjuna does no longer doubt the divinity of his friend and does he excuse himself for having treated Him as a normal mortal being in the past. In the last six chapters on the Yoga of Spiritual knowledge or jñâna yoga Krishna explains how, with the difference between the knower and the known, the divisions of nature in three modes lead to different kinds of sacrificing and personal duty. Explaining the difference between the divine and the godless nature He then tells Arjuna finally how through renunciation, its threefold nature and its service with the divisions of society, one attains to the ultimate of liberation under the condition of respecting Him as the ultimate order and nature of the Absolute Truth of the soul.

More about the antecedents of the culture of devotion and spiritual knowledge, Krishna's life and the reality of our modern lives, is explained in the S'rîmad Bhâgavatam, also offered by me on the internet at, which can be considered the Krishna-Bible on the life and times of the Lord and His devotees, to which this sermon of the Lord on the battlefield is the abstract or introduction.

In delight of service to the Lord and His devotees, I wish you and all of your relatives a sound progress on the spiritual path and all the happiness and glory of selfrealization that is possible within this human life.

With all respects, Anand Aadhar Prabhu, March 2001



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Production and copyright of this translation: Anand Aadhar Prabhu                   

The original texts and word for word-translations                   
are of Swamî Prabhupâda and                   
©1989, of The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust                   



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