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.

Programme information and audio


  • 1. At 09:08am on 31 Mar 2011, paul wrote:

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

  • 2. At 09:45am on 31 Mar 2011, Rodney C Compton wrote:

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

  • 3. At 10:01am on 31 Mar 2011, Barry Spivack wrote:

    As Mathew Bragg said a terrific programme. Only quibble was Jessica's description of Yoga/meditation. The Gita certainly introduced the distinction between yoga/meditation for the recluse and the householder but it is not to do with intention. This is a view that is about 40 years out of date and certainly not in our time.

    I suspect Jessica does not have first hand experience of yoga/meditation (and we are not talking hatha yoga here) and is not familiar with the scientific research on meditation. The experience of meditation produces measureable influences on the physiology which leads to changes outside of meditation based on psychophysiolgical changes which are not to do with changing intentions or making a mood.

    How about a programme on research on meditation? The only problem is that the best experts are not Brits but Americans but it could be another terrific programme.

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  • 4. At 10:56am on 31 Mar 2011, hmhscholar wrote:

    I really enjoyed the balanced, wide-ranging discussion which included the importance of being able to access the original text through the Sanskrit. Melvyn could easily have another session giving us more about specific philosophical ideas expressed in the Gita and how they might still be seen in society, particularly in the west, today.

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  • 5. At 11:11am on 31 Mar 2011, Rodney C Compton wrote:

    It was a shame they did not get around to modern day India. I love the philosophy and I love the people, but what it has left as a legacy in this material age is a tide of poverty. Only a blindfolded godhead could countenance such a condition

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  • 6. At 2:07pm on 31 Mar 2011, Simmyb wrote:

    Fantastic programme which I just happened to catch by chance.

    Any chance you can continue with the theme at some stage as there seems to be a lot more you can explore. I couldn't believe how quickly the time went and was left wanting more!

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  • 7. At 6:42pm on 31 Mar 2011, junemitchell wrote:

    I thought this was a terrific programme. Having been a yoga practitioner and teacher since the late l970s, my ears pricked up when I heard that In Our Time was covering the Bhagavad Gita this morning and I thought all the presenters were absolutely excellent and gave such good information and insight. I was driving into Perth to teach a class as I was listening and when I arrived I discovered that quite a few of our yoga class had been doing the same and we all thought the programme so interesting - thank you.

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  • 8. At 6:58pm on 31 Mar 2011, David wrote:

    Two curious things about the dating of the story of Krishna is that (1) the date for its origin is always vague. In the past it was claimed to be 600 BCE. Some Hindu priests claimed it provided the model for Christ of the Jews, however unlikely that may seem to Jews or Christians. Nowadays apparently it has moved to 300 BCE to 300 CE according to the panel. The BBC plumps for 200 BCE (why?). Other careful studies make it several centuries later. The dating is of interest because early Christian writers say that large parts of the subcontinent from Ceylon to NW India were converted with many churches active since the days of the apostle Thomas and those some call the Nestorians.

    The second curious thing is that the Hindu histories claim, with some justification, a careful study of astronomy and dates. Why did Christianity die out in later times, when other areas it was also suffering in the Dark Ages? In Europe Constantine's version became a State-imposed religion, crushing out competitors including the authentic one. The nineteenth century historian and mathematician John Bentley was suspicious of parallels Krishna/ Christ and other details in the Gita. He asked for the horoscope of Krishna. He showed that the birth of Krishna could not have been born earlier than 600 of our common era.

    The same phenomenon of some half converted natives absorbing some of the Christian story, whether personalities or newly revealed moral values, and creating religious myths is apparent in other geographic areas. The programme on China about Hong Xiuquan of the Taiping Rebellion gave an interesting example of religious opportunism/ syncretism. In the first century Roman Empire, Greece, Samaria and Egypt the technique was well known. It consisted of religious opportunists taking aspects of Christianity in order to found their own movements based on syncretising Christ with pagan theologies. Simon Magus was one. The most potent source of imitation is the truth, not falsehood. No one passes off paste as a falsified diamond.

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  • 9. At 8:06pm on 31 Mar 2011, cprobinson wrote:

    Ashoka might have been mentioned. Ashoka was an emporer of India who converted to Buddhism around 265 BC after being appalled by the destuction of one of his own military campaigns. After listening to the programme, it struck me that the Gita could have been subtitled, 'Where Ashoka got it Wrong.' Thoughts anyone?

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  • 10. At 10:48pm on 31 Mar 2011, cprobinson wrote:

    No thoughts?

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  • 11. At 11:34pm on 31 Mar 2011, cherubino wrote:

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  • 12. At 11:35pm on 31 Mar 2011, cherubino wrote:

    The guests were very interesting.

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  • 13. At 11:37pm on 31 Mar 2011, cherubino wrote:

    The guests were very good. The presenter, so-so. Might it not be time to start sliding in a new presenter, so that when Bragg is no longer capable, there is someone with experience to take over?

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  • 14. At 09:57am on 01 Apr 2011, Rodney C Compton wrote:

    Melvyn is In Our Time!

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  • 15. At 10:03am on 01 Apr 2011, Professor Ranjan Banerjee wrote:

    Melvyn Bragg should be congratulated for this absolutely fascinating and thought-provoking programme on the Bhagavad Gita. Whilst listening to the programme, I was completely engrossed. The points which came out very well during the conversation are: (i) Krishna's teaching on unattached karma (work or activity without attachment), (ii) The right and necessity to work, but not to have any aspiration or desire to gain the fruits of the work, (iii) Contradictions of human feelings towards righteousness and (iv) Connection between body, mind and the so-called spirit or soul. However, some simple-minded questions as given below could have been asked which might have brought quite a lot from the eminent contributors. These questions are much more profound than they apparently look.

    Q1: Was lord Krishna advocating violence in the battle of Kurukhestra? Was he really asking Arjuna to literally kill?

    Q2: Was lord Krishna impartial and even-handed or did he take side?

    Q3: Did lord Krishna try his level best to stop the war? If "yes", did he fail to stop the war? Was the war inevitable or could it be avoided?

    Q4: Lord Krishna supplied some soldiers and arms to the wrong side (the Kouravas) which he knew will be used against the Pandavas. Why did he do it? Was it not hypocritical?

    Q5: Lord Krishna promised that he would not take up arms in the battle of Kurukhestra, but will simply act as a Charioteer for Arjuna. Did he keep his promise? Certainly not. What does it mean?

    Q6: Was Lord Krishan's death accidental?

    Q7: Lord Krishna knew that the Jadu Dynasty (to which he belonged) would be destroyed, but he did not try to prevent it. Why? (Analogy: Christ knew that one of his disciples would betray him and yet he did not take any preventive action.)

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