Exploring the Bhagavad Gita

Philosophy, Structure and Meaning

Exploring the Bhagavad Gita LOOK INSIDE
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  • Ithamar Theodor, University of Haifa, Israel
  • The Bhagavad Gita is a unique literary creation but deciphering its meaning and philosophy is not easy or simple. This careful study of the Bhagavad Gita approaches the ancient text with a modern mind and offers a unifying structure which is of a universal relevance. Combining the philosophical-theoretical with the ethical-practical, Ithamar Theodor locates his study within comparative theology and identifies the various layers of meaning. The full text of the Bhagavad Gita is presented in new translation, divided into sections, and accompanied by in-depth commentary. This book makes the Bhagavad Gita accessible to a wide variety of readers, helping to make sense of this great spiritual classic which is one of the most important texts of religious Hinduism.
  • Contents: Preface; General introduction; Setting the scene; The soul, Dharma and liberation; The path of enlightened action – part I; The supreme person's descent; The path of enlightened action – part II; The path of classical Yoga; The vision of the supreme – part I; Quitting one's body, the ephemeral and eternal worlds; The vsion of the supreme – part II; Arjuna's change of heart and the divine manifestations; The cosmic revelation; Stages of devotion; The vision of the supreme in the heart; The 3 gunas; The journey from bondage to liberation; The divine and the demonic; The manifestation of the 3 gunas in human life; Summary and conclusion: taking refuge in Krishna alone; Glossary; Bibliography; Index.
  • About the Author: Ithamar Theodor is a graduate of the University of Oxford and a life member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. He has published a Bhagavad Gita translation and commentary in Israel in Modern Hebrew, and is currently working at the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Haifa, as well as the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
  • Reviews: Prize: Winner, DANAM-TakshaShila Book Award for excellence in Indic Studies, 2013.
    Prize: Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award for 2011

    This is potentially one of the most significant books to emerge in recent times on how to read the Gita, for it provides a clear way forward to make coherent sense of one of the most important yet methodologically intractable texts of religious Hinduism. I found this book an illumining experience.
    Julius Lipner, University of Cambridge, UK

    A fascinating book which throws new light on the Gita, and should help to make it more accessible to those who wish to read this great spiritual classic.
    Keith Ward, University of Oxford, UK

    Ithamar Theodor approaches the ancient Bhagavad Gita with a modern mind and finds much in it that deserves our attention. Locating his study within Comparative Theology and identifying the various layers of meaning in the text will help those unacquainted with it to find their way through this complex classic. Combining the philosophical-theoretical with the ethical-practical the author shows the universal relevance of the Gita's teaching. Since Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan nobody has offered as penetrating a study of this classic as Ithamar Theodor has done.
    Klaus Klostermaier, University of Manitoba, Canada

    'Theodor wrote with a fine mind and a great heart, both of which are essential for delving into this ancient work's profound teachings. A fine glossary, bibliography, and index enhance the book's value. Summing Up: Highly recommended.'

    ‘Theodor’s study, translation, and commentary of the Bhagavad Gita is destined to assume an important place in the scholarship devoted to the epic text. This necessarily means that future scholars will have to consider Theodor’s study or be considered deficient in their scholarship. In summary, Theodor gives his reader much to admire, think about, and appreciate.’
    Journal of Hindu Studies

    ‘Theodor’s most unique and compelling contribution in this book is his presentation of the Gıta ’s theology as a clear, three-tiered system of spiritual progress… this metaphor proves to be a remarkably productive tool for reading and teaching the Gıta . Theodor frames his work through pedagogical concerns, and his book is wholly successful in this regard. The three-tiered metaphor serves as the foundation for teaching the more challenging content of the Gıta-in particular, the three gunas-in a manner that is both accessible to undergraduates and clearly relatable to contemporary theological concerns.’
    Religious Studies Review