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Literature Study GuidesThe Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita | Study Guide


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Years Written

c. 1st–2nd century CE


Epic Poem


Philosophy, Religion

At a Glance

The Bhagavad Gita is part of the larger Indian epic called the Mahabharata, one of the most beloved epic tales of all time in India and particularly important to many Hindu sects. (Hinduism, a polytheistic Indian religion, advocates that truth is found in multiple sources.) Indeed, the Bhagavad Gita has moved from the status of epic or legend to religious text in many communities. The conversation that unfolds between Krishna and Arjuna is widely viewed as a metaphorical commentary on spirituality, as Krishna explains to Arjuna the necessity of acting on the battlefield while detaching himself from the consequences of the fighting. Hindu religious scholars and devotees study the Bhagavad Gita to gain insight into the nature of divinity, the human spirit, and the concepts of dharma (duty according to custom or law) and karma (cosmic force generated by one's actions and related to the Hindu belief in reincarnation) as essential to living in the world as they are to Arjuna in the epic.

Perspective and Narrator

In the Bhagavad Gita, a third-person narrator relates a lengthy conversation between Prince Arjuna and the deity Krishna, who represents the god Vishnu, through the perspective of the poet Sanjaya.

About the Title

Bhagavad Gita is a Sanskrit term that translates as "Song of God" or "Song of the Blessed One." In the poem, Krishna gives spiritual and practical advice to the warrior Prince Arjuna.


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