Bhagavad Gita, Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda

Which version of the Bhagavad Gita to choose?



Swamis, throughout history, have made their own interpretations of the Bhagavad Gita

Video by Pedro Nonell about the versions of the Bhagavad Gita.

Bhagavad Gita in Spanish ¿Qué versión del Bhagavad Gita escoger? Bhagavad Gita in Portuguese Qual versão do Bagavadeguitá escolher?.

The last part of the Vedas makes up the Vedanta (“End of the Vedas”), and is considered the highest Vedic teachings. In chapter XV verse 15 of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna (the incarnation of knowledge) tells Arjuna that “He is the author of Vedanta.”

Sri Krishna: I am the author of Vedanta, from Me comes Knowledge, Bhagavad Gita XV-15

The Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras (very difficult to interpret) make up the triple canon of Vedanta philosophy. The Bhagavad Gita is the most accessible and practical of the three and represents the essence of the Vedas, Vedanta and Hinduism.

NOTE - error in the video. In the audio I said Yoga Sutras and I should have said Brahma Sutras.

In Hinduism there is no central authority, there is no equivalent of a Pope or a Vatican. Swami Vivekananda defined Hinduism, or rather Sanatana Dharma (the eternal religion)

Hinduism: accumulated treasure formed by spiritual laws discovered by different people. Swami Vivekananda

These Swamis, throughout history, have made their own interpretations of the Bhagavad Gita, which is why there is no single Gita, nor any version considered canonized, nor any Gita “As It Is”, there are as many Gitas as there have been commentators.

For Swami Sarvapriyananda (monk of the Ramakrishna Order):

«Surely the oldest, most extensive and profound commentary available of all is that of Adi Shankara (788-820), although it included comments from previous commentators, it was written within the framework of the Advaita Vedanta (non-dualistic) philosophy. 300 years later Ramanuja wrote his beautiful commentary on the Bhagavad Gita explaining it in the philosophical framework of Vashishtha Advaita Vedanta (qualified monism). 200 years later Madhva wrote his own commentary on the framework of dualistic Vedanta.

Some scholars criticize that Shankara's version tries to explain the Bhagavad Gita within the framework of Advaita Vedanta, stating that the principles of the Bhagavad Gita do not fully fit a dualistic view.

But the Bhagavad Gita cannot particularly fit into any of these frameworks since it is the origin of all these systems, the commentaries came after the Bhagavad Gita. That is, the harmonizing essence of the Bhagavad Gita allows all these philosophical frameworks to be included. Great Swamis have created their own philosophical systems within the framework of the Bhagavad Gita, and all of them are valid, we cannot say one is false and the other true.

And so until today. Swami Abedananda, who founded the New York Vedanta Society at the behest of Swami Vivekananda, also made an extensive and insightful commentary, although it is difficult to find in English. Swami Ranganath Ananda ji who was the 13th president of the Ramakrishna order, wrote an extensive three-volume commentary on the Bhagavad Gita.

There are comments in many Indian languages, and of course in English, Spanish or French. Yale University held a month-long camp in 2018 to collect all English translations of the Bhagavad Gita. And more commentators will come

Summarizing:

  1. There are commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita that are more accessible than others, some are introductory, and others go much deeper into its teachings
  2. The commentator can follow any of the Vedantic philosophies (dual, non-dual, qualified monism) defining the focus of the commentary

I would dare to add another factor. In the Bhagavad Gita, four paths or Yogas are mainly exposed: Path of action (Karma Yoga), Path of Devotion (Bhakti) or the Path of Knowledge (Jnana), all of them valid. Thus a commentator may primarily follow one of these paths and therefore reflect it in the approach of his comments.

Telugu recognition Pedro Nonell translation Bhagavad Gita

We work with two different versions of the Bhagavad Gita, one that is more accessible and has a Karma Yoga focus, and another that is deeper and has an eminently Jnana (path of knowledge) focus. I have translated both versions into Spanish. These versions are:

Advanced training and Master: include two versions of the Bhagavad Gita in Spanish (Pedro Nonell) Yoga Philosophy

1- Bhagavad Gita according to Gandhi, with comments by Mahadev Desai and Swami Sivananda.

  1. It is one of the most accessible and understandable versions of the Bhagavad Gita, it is ideal for entering into its profound wisdom
  2. The focus of this version is based mainly on Karma Yoga, the most accessible path for all humanity, the path of selfless action, of work for the good of humanity
  3. Gandhi recognized that the strategy of his non-violent struggle to achieve independence from the British Empire, the largest Ahimsa movement in human history, was based mainly on this version of the Bhagavad Gita. Later, this model of Gandhi, based on the Bhagavad Gita, influenced the peaceful independence of many of the English colonies in Africa and Asia. In some way this version of the Bhagavad Gita has outlined, to a greater or lesser extent, our current world

Bhagavad Gita Book (Yoga of Wisdom, Gandhi, Sivananda) Pedro Nonell
Buy Book

Example of Chapter XVIII of the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita: Yoga of Liberation through Renunciation

Bhagavad Gita (Chapter XVIII) Yoga of Liberation through Renunciation

2- Gita Makaranadam by Swami Vidya Prakashananda

Shlokas (verses) of the Gita Makaranadam by Swami Vidya Prakashananda

  1. It is a version unknown to the West, but recognized as having high educational value in India
  2. All verses are in Hindi, English and Spanish
  3. Each of the verses has extensive comments (some up to 4 pages) from the author
  4. In addition, comments by Swami Vivekananda are included in certain verses
  5. It also contains profound reflections by Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda or Swami Sarvapriyananda, in several of the verses of this version
  6. The focus of this version is mainly Jnana (based on knowledge and Vedanta), therefore it is one of the most profound versions of the Bhagavad Gita

(Chapter XVIII) Moksha Sannyasa Yoga (Gita Makaranadam, Vidyaprakashananda)

Comments Chapter Moksha Sannyasa Yoga. Gita Makaranadam, Swami Vidya Prakashananda

Comments Chapter Moksha Sannyasa Yoga. Gita Makaranadam, Swami Vidya Prakashananda

Comments Vivekananda Moksha Sannyasa Yoga. Gita Makaranadam, Swami Vidya Prakashananda

Namaste!!!

Download PDF (Es)

Workshop: Introduction to the Bhagavad Gita

Bhagavad Gita (Yoga Philosophy) Comments by Sri Swami Sivananda, Shankara

Course: Bhagavad Gita (according to Gandhi and comments by Sivananda).

Bhagavad Gita Course (Yoga Philosophy) according to Gandhi, comments Sivananda) in Spanish






(c) Gita Institute

Instagram Book The Yoga of Wisdom: Bhagavad Gita - Pedro Nonell Instagram

We do not use cookies
Top of page