Comments on The Bhagavad Gita

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the contents and influence of the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most revered texts of Hinduism.

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  • 30. At 12:57pm on 04 Apr 2011, EEye wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 31. At 1:01pm on 04 Apr 2011, EEye wrote:

    You’ve done it again, Melvyn. Sanskrit is _not_ the source of English. That is like saying that Shakespeare lived 400 years ago so he must be my ancestor.
    When, at the end of the 18th century, William Jones noted the similarities between Sanskrit, Greek and Latin, he only suggested a common origin. At the time, Sanskrit was the oldest known Indo-European language (although that term was not yet in use). The Sanskrit texts are difficult to date: they go back to the second millennium BC, but not necessarily very early in that millennium. In the middle of the 20th century, the decipherment of the Linear B tablets showed recognisable Greek in use in the mid-second millennium BC. Earlier in the century the Hittite language had been found to be Indo-European too. The Hittite tablets can be dated more accurately, and are quite possibly earlier than any Sanskrit text. This evidence alone makes it difficult for Sanskrit to be the ‘parent’ of any languages further west.
    The early stages of the Indo-European language family go well back into prehistory and are therefore the subject of much theory with very little evidence. However, the diversification of the ‘Proto-Indo-European’ language into its major branches must have been complete well before the end of the third millennium BC. The process cannot be tracked step by step via written records, so must be inferred from later evidence. For example, Sanskrit and the Germanic branch, to which English belongs, are on opposite sides of the centum-satem divide. (Look it up in Wikipedia.)
    If the relationship between Sanskrit and English must be expressed in familial terms, the two languages might be tenth cousins six times removed. (Choose your own numbers.)

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  • 32. At 2:41pm on 04 Apr 2011, Ken Thompson wrote:

    I had intended to email the Index below to Melvyn Bragg after the excellent broadcast last Thursday, but was unable to do so, technical problem! The Gita is a practical guide to living a happy and healthy life, and by using the appropriate verses it can give you a insite into a direction or action to take to resolve a situation.
    I just wanted to pass this onto Melvyn Bragg.

    Many thanks

    Ken Thompson

    Bhagavad-Gita Index - Compiled by Ken Thompson
    ATTACHMENT C18/26-28 OM C8/12 13
    AUTHORITY C16/23-24 ONENESS C18/20-22
    BALANCE C2/47-48 C5/27-29 PLEASURE C18/36
    DEATH C2/11-17 QUALITIES C16/2-3
    FAITH C17/3-4 SACRIFICE C17/11-13
    GIVING C17/20-22 C18/5-6 SELF HARMONY C4/36-37
    HARMONY C17/17-19 SPEECH C17/15
    HATHA YOGA C6/10-14 C17/17-19 SPIRITS C17/4
    HEAVEN & HELL C16/1-23 STEADINESS C18/33-35
    INNER LIGHT C18/72 STUDENTS C15/11 C16/1-3
    KARMA C18/60 TRUE SELF C6/5
    MANY PATHS C13/24-25 VISHNU C10/25
    BREATH C4/29 C5/27-29 C15/14 CHANGE BY EXAMPLE C3/25-26, 29
    FOOD C6/16-17 C17/8-10 C18/52 DIFFICULTY OF THE PATH C7/3
    GURUS C3/21-29 C14/21-25 C15/11 C16/1-3
    LOVE C4/11 C6/7-13, 31 C7/16 C8/22 C9/13-14 C11/53-54 C12/2 C13/9-11 C18/52-55, 64-71
    MASTER C4/34 C6/47 C7/19
    NON-ATTACHMENT C6/32 C12/18-20 C13/8-11 C18/26-28
    REINCARNATION C2/12-13 C4/5, 31 C6/40-47 C16/20 C17/28
    SENSE WITHDRAWAL C2/58-72 C6/4
    SOME TEACHERS C13/32 C9/25 C13/24-25 C18/23-32
    TEACHERS C6/32 C9/25 C13/24-25 C14/24
    THREE GUNAS C13/19 C14/5-27 C18/31-32
    THE PATH C2/39-50 C7/1-30 C8/3-28 C10/19-42 C11/55 C13/12-18
    WISDOM C4/33-44 C17/30-33 C18/31-33
    WORK C4/16-23, 41-42 C5/7-17 C13/31-34 C18/2-12, 23-25, 45-48
    CONCENTRATION & MEDITATION C5/27-29 C6/10-15, 18-32, 35 C10/17 C12/9-12 C17/16
    FOLLOW SPIRIT NOT A MASTER C8/3-28 C9/25-29, 34 C12/2-8 C16/24 C18/64-71
    OVERCOMING MATERIAL PLANE C2/42 C13/20-30 C18/20-22

    These verses are taken from the translation by Juan Mascaro, first published Penguin Classic 1962.

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  • 33. At 09:14am on 05 Apr 2011, Mike Cross wrote:

    A terrific edition of the programme indeed. As a follower of the Buddha's teaching, I found explanations of the original meaning and evolution of meaning of Sanskrit terms like dharma and yoga to be particularly helpful. One of the contributors, Jessica Frazier spoke about how the Bhagavad Gita was part of a historical development in which meaning of yoga changed from something that was essentially an ascetic practice to something that was not necessarily an ascetic practice. I wonder if Jessica is familiar with the distinction that the Sanskrit poet and teacher Ashvaghosha draws in his epic poem Saundara-nanda between ascetic practice (which he refers to as tapas) and true practice (which is refers to as yoga).

    Ashvaghosha who was writing in roughly the same era as the Bhagavad Gita was written, would surely be a worthy subject for a future programme, with Richard Gombrich and Linda Covill being the obvious scholars to invite as contributors.

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  • 34. At 9:24pm on 05 Apr 2011, Frank wrote:

    Just wonder what happened to the comments I made last week.

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