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The Bhagavad Gita

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 31 March 2011

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Bhagavad Gita.

The Bhagavad Gita, a 700-verse section of the Sanskrit epic the Mahabharata, is one of the most revered texts of Hinduism. Written in around 200 BC, it narrates a conversation between Krishna, an incarnation of the deity, and the Pandava prince Arjuna. It has been described as a concise summary of Hindu theology, a short work which offers advice on how to live one's life.

The Gita is also a philosophical work of great richness and influence. First translated into English in the 18th century, it was quickly taken up in the West. Its many admirers have included Mahatma Gandhi, whose passion for the work is one reason that the Bhagavad Gita became a key text for followers of the Indian Independence movement in the first half of the twentieth century.

With:

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad
Professor of Comparative Religion and Philosophy at Lancaster University

Julius Lipner
Professor of Hinduism and the Comparative Study of Religion and Fellow of Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge

Jessica Frazier
Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and Lecturer in Religious Studies at Regent's College, London

Producer: Thomas Morris.

  • FURTHER READING

    Mascaro, Juan, ‘The Bhagavad Gita’ (Penguin Books, 1962, numerous reprints/editions)

    Theodor, Ithamar, ‘Exploring the Bhagavad Gita’ (Ashgate, 2010)

    Lipner, Julius, ‘Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices’ (2nd edition, Routledge, 2010, ch.8)

    Gandhi, M. K., ‘The Bhagavad Gita According to Gandhi’ (North Atlantic Books, 2009)

    Lipner, Julius, ‘The Bhagavad Gita for Our Times’ (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)

    Malinar, A., ‘The Bhagavadgita: Doctrines and Contexts’ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)

    Robinson, C. A., ‘Interpretations of the Bhagavadgita and Images of the Hindu Tradition’ (London: Routledge)

    Sharma, Arvind, ‘The Hindu Gita: Ancient and Classical Interpretations of the Bhagavadgita’ (La Salle, Open Court Publishing Ltd, 1986)

    Van Buitenen, J.A.B., ‘The Bhagavadgita in the Mahabharata’ (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981)

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