Falling Head-Over-Heels In Love with the Universe

Bhagavad Gita Mitchell

For those of you who have always wanted to absorb the spectacular wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita, but have found it difficult, I highly recommend Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation by Stephen Mitchell.  This is my fourth version and sixth reading of the Bhagavad Gita.  I have gotten a lot from all four versions, but Mitchell’s is clearly the most accessible and enjoyable, without sacrificing any of the meaning.

The Bhagavad Gita is quite literally about falling in love with the indescribable wonder of the universe, that is to say, God.  These two are synonymous in the Gita.  (Believe it or not, the text itself says that you can approach God as either an unfathomable cosmic life-force or as an intimate personal deity.  Either leads you to the same boundless love and joy.)

The Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutra are two of the most important ancient texts of Yoga.  They could not be more different.  The Yoga Sutra is mostly secular in nature, and mentions God only briefly and perfunctorily.  The Bhagavad Gita, in contrast, is literally “The Song of the Beloved Lord”, and most of the text is the voice of the awesome life-force of the universe itself.

The Yoga Sutra is a cookbook for achieving inner peace.  The Bhagavad Gita, in contrast, won’t settle for anything less than the ecstatic experience of the wondrous universe and our wondrous selves.  Put them together and you have the astounding whole of Yoga philosophy in two relatively short texts.

Try Mitchell’s version of the Bhagavad Gita.  You’ll be glad you did.

(A good companion for the Bhagavad Gita is
Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas and Best Quotations
at Elephant Journal.)


6 Responses to “Falling Head-Over-Heels In Love with the Universe”

  1. I agree, having struggled through a previous translation, I find Mitchell’s very accessible. Not being well versed in the Gita, I am happy to read that you feel it does not take away from the meaning of the original. It is an amazing work.

  2. Kate. Thanks for writing. It’s good to hear from others who are enjoying this wonderful book.

  3. [...] for a few volunteers to participate in an online book discussion.  We’ll read through the Bhagavad Gita together and discuss it on my Elephant Journal blog, with simultaneous posts to Yoga Journal [...]

  4. This was a great book. I totally suggest it. Thanks for the book review!

  5. You’re welcome, Diane. I hope you’re aware of “Gita Talk” at Elephant Journal–we’re discussing this book chapter by chapter together. http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/05/gita-god-and-gita-emotions/

  6. [...] Is it any wonder that many readers stop right there and say, “I don’t need this.  I’m going to find something more uplifting to read”?  It certainly doesn’t live up to the promise of  “Falling Head-Over-Heels-In-Love With The Universe”. [...]

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