Stephen Mitchell is widely known for his ability to make ancient masterpieces thrillingly new, to step in where many have tried before and create versions that are definitive for our time. His celebrated version of the Tao Te Ching is the most popular edition in print, and his translations of Jesus, Rilke, Genesis, and Job have won the hearts of readers and critics alike. Stephen Mitchell now brings to the Bhagavad Gita his gift for breathing new life into sacred texts.
The Bhagavad Gita is universally acknowledged as one of the world's literary and spiritual masterpieces. It is the core text of the Hindu tradition and has been treasured by American writers from Emerson and Thoreau to T. S. Eliot, who called it the greatest philosophical poem after the Divine Comedy. There have been more than two hundred English translations of the Gita, including many competent literal versions, but not one of them is a superlative literary text in its own right.
Now all that has changed. Stephen Mitchell's Bhagavad Gita sings with the clarity, the vigor, and the intensity of the original Sanskrit. It will, as William Arrowsmith said of Mitchell's translation of The Sonnets to Orpheus, "instantly make every other rendering obsolete."
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
August 26, 2002
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Bhagavad Gita by Stephen Mitchell
King Dhritarashtra said:
In the field of righteousness, the field of Kuru, tell me, Sanjaya, what happened when my army and the Pandavas faced each other, eager for battle?
The poet Sanjaya said:
Seeing the ranks of the Pandavas' forces, Prince Duryodhana approached his teacher, Drona, and spoke these words: "Look at this great army, led by the son of Drupada, your worthy pupil. Many great warriors stand ready to do battle, many great archers, men as formidable as Bhima and Arjuna: Yuyudhana, Virata, the mighty Drupada, Dhrishtaketu, Chekitana, the heroic king of Benares, Purujit, Kuntibhoja, Shaibya that bull among men, bold Yudhamanyu, Uttamaujas famous for his courage, the son of Subhadra, and the sons of Draupadi, all of them great warriors. Now, most honored of priests, look at the great men on our side, the leaders of my army: you, first of all, then Bhishma, Karna, the always-victorious Kripa, Ashvatthama, Vikarna, the son of Somadatta, and many other heroes--all of them skilled in war and armed with many kinds of weapons--who are risking their lives for my sake. Limitless is this army of ours, led by Bhishma; but their army, led by Bhima, is limited. Wherever the battle moves, all of you must stand firm and make sure that Bhishma is well protected."
Then Bhishma, the aged grandfather of the Kurus, roared his lion's roar and blew a powerful blast on his conch horn, and Duryodhana's heart leapt with joy. Immediately all the conches blared, and the kettledrums, cymbals, trumpets, and drums: a deafening clamor. Standing in their great chariot yoked with white horses, Krishna and Arjuna blew their celestial conches: Krishna blew the conch called "Won from the Demon Panchajanya"; Arjuna blew "God Given"; ferocious, wolf-bellied Bhima blew the mighty conch called "King Paundra"; Prince Yudhishthira blew "Unending Victory"; Nakula and his twin, Sahadeva, blew "Great Noise" and "Jewel Bracelet"; the king of Benares that superb archer, the great warrior Shikhandi, Dhrishtadyumna, Virata, the unconquerable Satyaki, Drupada, Draupadi's sons, the huge-armed Abhimanyu--all of them, O King, blew their conches at once. The uproar tore through the hearts of Dhritarashtra's men and echoed throughout heaven and earth.