In the realm of timeless Hindu scriptures, the Bhagavad Gita stands as a revered text, resonating with wisdom and guidance that has inspired individuals worldwide. Comprising 700 verses written in Sanskrit, the Gita has earned widespread respect and serves as a profound source of inspiration for many.
Bhagavad Gita is a small part of India’s great epic Mahabharata which is a saga of the history of ancient India in which important aspects of human life are described in great detail. Mahabharata, with about 110,000 verses, is seven times larger than the world’s epic texts of Iliad and Odyssey combined and three times larger than the Bible. In fact, it is a complete library of many sagas. In the sixth book of the epic, just before the start of great battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, is the plot of the Bhagavad Gita. Bhagwan Krishna, who became Arjuna’s charioteer in the battlefield of Kurukshetra, saw him trapped in temptation and apprised him of his karma and duty and confronted him with the reality of life. Bhagavad Gita is a source of inspiration for millions of people around the world. Originally written in Sanskrit, the Gita, which has 700 shlokas, is still a guidebook for the people to decide how to understand the difference between right and wrong and live life properly. According to scriptural beliefs and scholarly chronology, Bhagwan Krishna gave Arjuna knowledge of Geeta on the day of Margashirsha Shukla Paksha Ekadashi 5,1 59 years ago.
Bhagavad Gita is one of the most widely respected Hindu scriptures in existence and has been a source of inspiration for many people. Written in Sanskrit, its 700 verses are often quoted by many great personalities, who believe that the Gita has been a guiding force in their lives. It’s no surprise that the wisdom of Bhagavad Gita has inspired countless people throughout history. After all, it has been the most popular story in India for countless generations. There are many famous personalities from all around the world who have said that this book entirely transformed their life!
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist, who developed “theory of relativity”, one of the two pillars of modern physics. His work is also known for its influence on philosophy of science. He was also quite impressed by the teachings of Bhagwan Krishna and has quoted that, “When I read the Bhagavad Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.” We cannot even imagine up to which level this book has inspired him to work harder. These were a few of many personalities who found answers to their questions while going through this book.
Henry David Thoreau
An American naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher, Thoreau is a leading transcendentalist. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay “Civil Disobedience” (originally published as “Resistance to Civil Government”). The American poet was deeply influenced by Indian philosophy and spiritual thought. In his noted book titled Walden, he referenced the Bhagavad Gita in many instances. In the very first chapter of the book he writes: “How much more admirable is the Bhagavad Gita than all the ruins of the East.”
J Robert Oppenheimer
The American theoretical physicist, Oppenheimer is known as the father of the atomic bomb and was involved in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in Japan, during the Second World War. He had read the Bhagavad Gita in Sanskrit and remarked that while witnessing the first atomic bombing, he was reminded of the words from the Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna persuades Arjuna to do his duty. He said: “Now I have become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Citing it later as one of the most influential books to shape his philosophy of life, Oppenheimer later recalled that, while witnessing the explosion of the Trinity nuclear test, he thought of verses from the Bhagavad Gita.
Sunita Lyn was an American astronaut and United States Navy officer. The American astronaut, with Indian roots, holds the record for longest spacewalk time for a woman. When she was heading out on her expedition as a member of the International Space Station (ISS), she carried a Ganesha idol and a copy of the Bhagavad Gita with her in space. In her words: “Those are spiritual things to reflect upon yourself, life, the world around you and see things the other way. I thought it was quite appropriate,”She said.She also added that the book also enlightened her about the thing she was doing and the reason for doing it and helped her clear thoughts about the purpose of her life.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the US.
Emerson gradually moved away from the religious and social beliefs of his contemporaries, formulating and expressing the philosophy of transcendentalism in his 1836 essay “Nature”. Following this work, he gave a speech entitled “The American Scholar” in 1837, which Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. considered it to be America’s “intellectual Declaration of Independence.”
He was introduced to Indian philosophy while reading the works of French philosopher Victor Cousin. His words about the scripture are: “I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad Gita. It was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.”
Annie Besant was a British socialist, theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer, orator, educationist, and philanthropist. She was also interested in reading about Indian philosophy. Her translated work of the Bhagavad Gita is titled ‘The Lord’s Song’. The text from her book reads:”That the spiritual man need not be a recluse, that union with the divine life may be achieved and maintained in the midst of worldly affairs, that the obstacles to that union lie not outside us but within us such is the central lesson of the Bhagvad Gita.”
Philip Glass is an American composer and pianist. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century. Glass’s work has been associated with minimalism being built up from repetitive phrases and shifting layers. Glass describes himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures”, which he has helped evolve stylistically.
The American composer who’s often referred to as one of the most influential musicians of the late 20th century cited the Bhagavad Gita in one of his works. He composed an Opera, titled Satyagrah, which is loosely based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi and contains text from the Bhagvad Gita that is sung in Sanskrit during the performance.
It’s an unconventional opera in which singers don’t converse with each other, but sing passages from Bhagavad Gita. There is no linear narrative and the audience can only see quotes from the Gita being projected onto a concave screen behind the stage, instead of a word for word translation.