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The Bhagavad Gita

A new poetic version

Keith Hill

Available to order from your favourite online store or bookshop.
On the battlefield of life, desiring to do our best, how should we act? Which values should we live by? What metaphysical outlook best explains what happens to us? How do we express our spiritual nature? And how can we stay spiritually focused in the whirl of daily activity?

Arjunaís searching questions, asked on the brink of a war he is loathe to fight, and Krishnaís profound answers, spoken in his chariot as they survey the battlefield on which thousands will soon die, offer timeless insights into the difficulties and wonders of human existence, making the Bhagavad Gita one of the great works of world spirituality.

Originally written in poetry, but commonly translated into English in prose, this version balances the need to present the Bhagavad Gitaís profound concepts precisely while reproducing the originalís dramatic and poetic power. This translation is especially successful in capturing the Bhagavad Gitaís shifts of tone, moving from vivid descriptions of the battlefield, to the precise reasoning of Krishnaís advice to Arjuna, to the sublime visionary intensity of Krishna as cosmic being. Endnotes and a glossary help readers unfamiliar with Indian culture understand the poemís mythological and philosophic references.

"An enthralling new rendering of a classic text that achieves the rare feat of balancing spiritual insight, poetic power and philosophic accuracy." — Peter Calvert, author of The Kosmic Web
160 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 inches / 140 x 216 mm
ISBN Paperback: 978-0-9951333-7-2
ISBN Hardcover: 978-0-9951333-9-6
ISBN Ebook: 978-0-9951333-8-9

Keith Hill is the award-winning author of The New Mysticism, The God Revolution and Striving To Be Human. This book is one of a series that presents classic spiritual texts reworked to inspire today's seekers.
Excerpt from Discourse Two
Sanjaya continued:
Then to Arjuna—sunk deep in sorrow,
heart awash, dark eyes with tears glazed—
Shri Krishna pronounced these words:

The Lord said:
How, at this imperilled time, have such strange
delusions engulfed you, which noble men
should shun, and lead to neither heaven nor fame?
Do not succumb to unmanliness, Arjuna.
It is dishonourable. Scorcher of enemies,
shake off this lowly faint-heartedness. Stand!

Arjuna responded:
Tell me, Krishna, how can I, with bow readied,
arrow cocked, kill both Bhishma and Drona,
who rather deserve my reverence than death?
Surely, I should rather live by begging than slay
these noble elders, for after their deaths
all my pleasures will be stained with blood.
I am blind. I cannot see which act is preferred:
to conquer them, or have them conquer us.
And Dhritarastra’s sons, whom if we killed
I could no longer live, stand before us now!
My being is paralysed with faint-heartedness.
My mind gnaws at duty. I implore you.
I am your disciple, placed in your hands.
Tell me how to act, and where my good resides.
For if I won an earthly kingdom and wealth,
or even obtained dominion of the gods,
yet still I know I would suffer this grief
which numbs me and desiccates my senses.

Sanjaya said:
Thus spoke Arjuna to Shri Krishna, great King,
and with a last, “I will not fight!” fell silent.
Then, great Dhritarastra, between both armies,
as if to mock the anguished Arjuna,
Shri Krishna spoke the following words.

The Lord said:
You grieve for those who require no grief,
confusing yourself with words of false wisdom;
wise men mourn neither living nor dead.
For there was never a time when I was not,
nor when you and these kings did not exist,
nor, hereafter, when we will cease to be.
The embodied passes from infancy to death,
just so it enters another body;
the wise are not deceived over this.
Heat and cold, pleasure and pain, each arise
when the senses and their objects meet.
But they are transitory. Transcend them, therefore.
That man to whom pain and pleasure are the same,
who, Arjuna, by these remains undisturbed,
becomes a candidate for immortality.
Nothing can come to be from non-being,
nor can what has existence cease to be;
this reality is perceived by those who know.
Understand, that which extends throughout
the entire cosmos is imperishable;
indestructible, none can destroy it.
The embodied is immeasurable,
eternal, imperishable; its bodies
finite only. Therefore, Arjuna, fight!
Ignorance grips both he who thinks this kills,
and he who believes this to be killed;
for, in truth, this neither kills nor is killed.
This is not born, nor can it die,
nor does it only become after birth.
Unborn, eternal, everlasting and ancient,
when the body is destroyed, it is not slain.
Arjuna, who knows this to be unborn,
imperishable, immutable and eternal,
how and whom can he possibly slay?
How and whom will he cause to be slain?
As we discard our worn out garments
to take up fresh clothes, so the embodied
discards worn out bodies and enters others new.
This, no weapons wound; this, no fire burns;
water cannot wet it, nor winds dry it.
It cannot be cut, burnt, wet or dried out;
it is eternal, omnipresent, constant,
immovable and everlasting.
Imperceptible by the senses, to the mind
inconceivable, it is called unchanging.
Knowing this, you therefore should not grieve.