It is dawn, just before the start of an epic war. Two armies comprising nearly four million soldiers fill a vast battlefield. Warrior elephants – their armored tusks glistening in the sunlight – trumpet and stomp the ground. Horses tethered to gold-plated chariots pull at their reins, anxious for the attack. Soldiers beat drums, rattle spears, ready bows and arrows. Between the two armies, noble prince Arjuna looks out from his chariot and envisions the destruction to come. This war is a last chance for his family to regain the kingdom stolen from them fourteen years before by ruthless cousins. Yet, in these final moments, he falters. He turns to his friend and mentor Krishna, who serves as Arjuna’s charioteer, and confesses to feelings of horror over the lives that will be lost and shame over his participation. What follows is a two-hour dialogue, known as the Bhagavad Gita, or “Song of the Supreme Person,” one of the world’s most renowned testimonies to the transformative power of love. In this highly readable introduction to India’s classic yoga text, scholar-practitioner Joshua M. Greene has created a bridge between the Gita’s millennial wisdom and the world we know. Through crisp renderings of verses and insightful commentary, the author sheds a bright light on profound concepts. In the tradition of theologians writing for uninitiated readers, he has provided a compulsively readable edition of the Gita, one that lures readers into the very human dimension of its sacred teachings.
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