Bhagavad-Gita

Translations

The first English translation of the Bhagavad Gita was published by Charles Wilkins in 1785.[249] The Wilkins translation had an introduction to the Gita by Warren Hastings. Soon the work was translated into other European languages such as French (1787), German, and Russian. In 1849, the Weleyan Mission Press, Bangalore published The Bhagavat-Geeta, Or, Dialogues of Krishna and Arjoon in Eighteen Lectures, with Sanskrit, Canarese and English in parallel columns, edited by Rev. John Garrett, and the efforts being supported by Sir. Mark Cubbon.[250]

In 1981, Larson stated that "a complete listing of Gita translations and a related secondary bibliography would be nearly endless".[251]:514 According to Larson, there is "a massive translational tradition in English, pioneered by the British, solidly grounded philologically by the French and Germans, provided with its indigenous roots by a rich heritage of modern Indian comment and reflection, extended into various disciplinary areas by Americans, and having generated in our time a broadly based cross-cultural awareness of the importance of the Bhagavad Gita both as an expression of a specifically Indian spirituality and as one of the great religious "classics" of all time."[251]:518

According to Sargeant, the Gita is "said to have been translated at least 200 times, in both poetic and prose forms".[252] Richard Davis cites a count by Callewaert & Hemraj in 1982 of 1,891 translations of the Bhagavad Gita in 75 languages, including 273 in English.[253] These translations vary,[254] and are in part an interpretative reconstruction of the original Sanskrit text that differ in their "friendliness to the reader",[255] and in the amount of "violence to the original Gita text" that the translation does.[256][note 19]

The translations and interpretations of the Gita have been so diverse that these have been used to support apparently contradictory political and philosophical values. For example, state Galvin Flood and Charles Martin, these interpretations have been used to support "pacifism to aggressive nationalism" in politics, from "monism to theism" in philosophy.[261] According to William Johnson, the synthesis of ideas in the Gita is such that it can bear almost any shade of interpretation.[262] A translation "can never fully reproduce an original and no translation is transparent", states Richard Davis, but in the case of Gita the linguistic and cultural distance for many translators is large and steep which adds to the challenge and affects the translation.[263] For some native translators, their personal beliefs, motivations, and subjectivity affect their understanding, their choice of words and interpretation.[264][265][266] Some translations by Indians, with or without Western co-translators, have "orientalist", "apologetic", "Neo-Vedantin" or "guru phenomenon" bias.[251]:525–530

A sample of English translations of the Bhagavad Gita[251]
Title Translator Year
The Bhagavat geeta, or Dialogue of Kreeshna and Arjoon in Eighteen Lectures with Notes Charles Wilkins 1785
Bhagavad-Gita August Wilhelm Schlegel 1823
The Bhagavadgita J.C. Thomson 1856
La Bhagavad-Gita Eugene Burnouf 1861
The Bhagavad Gita[note 20] Kashninath T. Telang 1882
The Song Celestial[note 21] Sir Edwin Arnold 1885
The Bhagavad Gita[note 22] William Quan Judge 1890
The Bhagavad-Gita with the Commentary of Sri Sankaracarya A. Mahadeva Sastry 1897
Young Men’s Gita Jagindranath Mukharji 1900
Bhagavadgita: The Lord's Song L.D. Barnett 1905
Bhagavad Gita[note 23] Anne Besant and Bhagavan Das 1905
Die Bhagavadgita Richard Garbe 1905
Srimad Bhagavad-Gita Swami Swarupananda 1909
Der Gesang des Heiligen Paul Deussen 1911
Srimad Bhagavad-Gita Swami Paramananda 1913
La Bhagavad-Gîtâ Emile Sénart 1922
The Bhagavad Gita according to Gandhi[note 24] Mohandas K. Gandhi 1926
The Bhagavad Gita W. Douglas P. Hill 1928
The Bhagavad-Gita Arthur W. Ryder 1929
The Song of the Lord, Bhagavad-Gita E.J. Thomas 1931
The Geeta Shri Purohit Swami 1935
The Yoga of the Bhagavat Gita Sri Krishna Prem 1938
The Message of the Gita (or Essays on the Gita) Sri Aurobindo, edited by Anilbaran Roy 1938
Bhagavadgita[note 25] Swami Sivananda 1942
Bhagavad Gita[note 26] Swami Nikhilananda 1943
The Bhagavad Gita Franklin Edgerton 1944
The Song of God: Bhagavad Gita Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood 1944
The Bhagavad Gita Swami Nikhilananda 1944
The Bhagavadgita S. Radhakrishnan 1948
God Talks with Arjuna Paramhamsa Yogananda 1955
The Bhagavadgita Shakuntala Rao Sastri 1959
The Bhagavad Gita Juan Mascaro 1962
Bhagavad Gita C. Rajagopalachari 1963
The Bhagavadgita Swami Chidbhavananda 1965
The Bhagavad Gita[note 27] Maharishi Mahesh Yogi 1967
The Bhagavadgita: Translated with Introduction and Critical Essays Eliot Deutsch 1968
Bhagavad-gita As It Is A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada 1968
The Bhagavad Gita R.C. Zaehner 1969
The Bhagavad Gita: A New Verse Translation Ann Stanford 1970
The Holy Gita, Translation & Commentary Swami Chinmayananda 1972
Srimad Bhagavad Gita Swami Vireswarananda 1974
Bhagavad Gita: A Verse Translation[note 28] Geoffrey Parrinder 1974
The Bhagavad Gita Kees. W. Bolle 1979
The Bhagavad Gita Winthrop Sargeant (Editor: Christopher K Chapple) 1979
The Bhagavadgita in the Mahabharata J.A.B. van Buitenen 1981
The Bhagavad-Gita Winthrop Sargeant 1984
Srimad Bhagavad Gita Bhasya of Sri Samkaracharya A.G. Krishna Warrier 1984
The Bhagavadgita Eknath Easwaran 1985
Srimad Bhagavad Gita Swami Tapasyananda 1985
Bhagavad Gita Srinivasa Murthy 1985
The Bhagavad-Gita: Krishna's Counsel in Time of War Barbara Stoler Miller 1986
Bhagavad-Gita Raghavan Iyer 1986
The Bhagavad-Gita Ramananda Prasad 1988
Bhagavad-Gita for You & Me M.S. Patwardhan 1990
Bhagavad Gita Antonio T. De Nicholas 1991
Bhagavad Gita Sachindra K. Majumdar 1991
Bhagavad Gita O.P. Ghai 1992
Ramanuja Gita Bhashya Swami Adidevananda 1992
Gita Bhashya Jagannatha Prakasha 1993
Bhagavad Gita: Translation & Commentary Richard Gotshalk 1993
The Bhagavad Gita[note 29] P. Lal 1994
The Bhagavad-Gita W.J. Johnson 1994
Bhagavad Gita (The Song of God) Ramananda Prasad 1996
Bhagavad Gita[note 30] Vrinda Nabar and Shanta Tumkur 1997
The Living Gita: The Complete Bhagavat Gita: A Commentary for Modern Readers Swami Satchidananda 1997
Bhagavad-Gita Satyananda Saraswati 1997
Bhagavad-Gita with the Commentary of Sankaracarya Swami Gambhirananda 1998
Bhagavad Gita, With Commentary of Sankara Alladi M. Sastry 1998
Transcreation of the Bhagavad Gita Ashok K. Malhotra 1998
You Know Me: The Gita Irina Gajjar 1999
The Bhagavad Gita, Your Charioteer in the Battlefield of Life R.K. Piparaiya 1999
The Bhagavad Gita, an Original Translation V. Jayaram 2000
Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners Jack Hawley 2001
Bhagavad Gita[note 31] Rosetta Williams 2001
The Bhagavad Gita of Order Anand Aadhar Prabhu 2001
Bhagavad Gita: The Song Divine Carl E. Woodham 2001
The Bhagavat Gita (as part of the Wisdom Bible) Sanderson Beck 2001
Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation Stephen Mitchell 2002
Bhagavad Gita As a Living Experience Wilfried Huchzermeyer and Jutta Zimmermann 2002
Bhagvad Gita Alan Jacobs 2002
Bhagavad Gita: Translation and Commentary Veeraswamy Krishnaraj 2002
The Bhagavad Gita Richard Prime 2003
The Sacred Song: A New Translation of the Bhagavad Gita for the Third Millennium McComas Taylor and Richard Stanley 2004
The Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation George Thompson 2008
The Bhagavad Gita, A New Translation Georg Feuerstein 2011
The Bhagavad Gita: A Text and Commentary for Students Jeaneane D. Fowler 2012
The Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation Gavin Flood, Charles Martin 2012
Bhagavad Gita: Rhythm of Krishna (Gita in Rhymes) Sushrut Badhe 2015
Philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita Keya Maitra 2018
The Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1 to 13 – English .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Lock-green.svg")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg")right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}ISBN 978-93-87578-96-8 Ravi Shankar 2018
The Bhagavad Gita[note 32] Bibek Debroy 2019
The Teachings of Bhagavad Gita: Timeless Wisdom for the Modern Age[267] Richa Tilokani 2021

According to the exegesis scholar Robert Minor, the Gita is "probably the most translated of any Asian text", but many modern versions heavily reflect the views of the organization or person who does the translating and distribution. In Minor's view, the Harvard scholar Franklin Edgerton's English translation and Richard Garbe's German translation are closer to the text than many others.[268] According to Larson, the Edgerton translation is remarkably faithful, but it is "harsh, stilted, and syntactically awkward" with an "orientalist" bias and lacks "appreciation of the text's contemporary religious significance".[251]:524

The Gita in other languages

The Gita has also been translated into European languages other than English. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in the Mughal Empire, multiple discrete Persian translations of the Gita were completed.[269] In 1808, passages from the Gita were part of the first direct translation of Sanskrit into German, appearing in a book through which Friedrich Schlegel became known as the founder of Indian philology in Germany.[270] The most significant French translation of the Gita, according to J. A. B. van Buitenen, was published by Emile Senart in 1922.[271] Swami Rambhadracharya released the first Braille version of the scripture, with the original Sanskrit text and a Hindi commentary, on 30 November 2007.[web 4]

The Gita Press has published the Gita in multiple Indian languages.[272] R. Raghava Iyengar translated the Gita into Tamil in sandam metre poetic form.[273] The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust associated with ISKCON has re-translated and published A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's 1972 English translation of the Gita in 56 non-Indian languages.[274][275][note 33] Vinoba Bhave has written the Geeta in Marathi language as Geetai i.e. Mother Geeta in the similar shloka form.

Paramahansa Yogananda's commentary on the Bhagavad Gita called God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita has been translated into Spanish, German, Thai and Hindi so far. The book is significant in that unlike other commentaries of the Bhagavad Gita, which focus on karma yoga, jnana yoga, and bhakti yoga in relation to the Gita, Yogananda's work stresses the training of one's mind, or raja yoga.[278]


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