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The
Song Celestialor
Bhagavad-Gita


Pandavas, and this conversation is maintained in a war -chariot drawn up between
the opposing hosts.
The poem has been turned into French by Burnouf, into Latin by Lassen, into Ita lian
by Stanislav Gatti, into Greek by Galanos, and into English by Mr. Thomson and Mr
Davies, the prose transcript of the last-named being truly beyond praise for its
fidelity and clearness. Mr Telang has also published at Bombay a version in
colloquial rhythm, eminently learned and intelligent, but not conveying the dignity
or grace of the original. If I venture to offer a translation of the wonderful poem after
so many superior scholars, it is in grateful recognition of the help derived from their
labours, and because English literature would certainly be incomplete without
possessing in popular form a poetical and philosophical work so dear to India.
There is little else to say which the "Song Celestial" does not explain for itself. The
Sanskrit original is written in the Anushtubh metre, which cannot be successfully
reproduced for Western ears. I have therefore cast it into our flexible blank verse,
changing into lyrical measures where the text itself similarly breaks. For the most
part, I believe the sense to be faithfully preserved in the following pages; but
Schlegel himself had to say: "In reconditioribus me semper poetafoster mentem
recte divinasse affirmare non ausim." Those who would read more upon the
philosophy of the poem may find an admirable introduction in the volume of Mr
Davies, printed by Messrs Trubner & Co.
EDWIN ARNOLD, C.S.I.
? ?
CONTENTS
I. THE DISTRESS OF ARJUNA? II. THE BOOK OF DOCTRINES? III. VIRTUE IN
WORK? IV. THE RELIGION OF KNOWLEDGE? V. RELIGION OF RENOUNCING
WORKS? VI. RELIGION BY SELF-RESTRAINT? VII. RELIGION BY
DISCERNMENT? VIII. RELIGION BY SERVICE OF THE SUPREME? IX. RELIGION BY
THE KINGLY KNOWLEDGE AND THE KINGLY MYSTERY? X. RELIGION BY THE
HEAVENLY PERFECTIONS? XI. THE MANIFESTING OF THE ONE AND
MANIFOLD? XII. RELIGION OF FAITH? XIII. RELIGION BY SEPARATION OF MATTER
AND SPIRIT? XIV. RELIGION BY SEPARATION FROM THE QUALITIES? XV. RELIGION
BY ATTAINING THE SUPREME? XVI. THE SEPARATENESS OF THE DIVINE AND
UNDIVINE? XVII. RELIGION BY THE THREEFOLD FAITH? XVIII. RELIGION BY
DELIVERANCE AND RENUNCIATION
? ?
CHAPTER I
Dhritirashtra:? Ranged thus for battle on the sacred plain--? On Kurukshetra--say,
Sanjaya! say? What wrought my people, and the Pandavas?
Sanjaya:? When he beheld the host of Pandavas,? Raja Duryodhana to Drona
drew,? And spake these words: "Ah, Guru! see this line,? How vast it is of Pandu
fighting-men,? Embattled by the son of Drupada,? Thy scholar in the war! Therein
stand ranked? Chiefs like Arjuna, like to Bhima chiefs,? Benders of bows; Virata,
Yuyudhan,? Drupada, eminent upon his car,? Dhrishtaket, Chekitan, Kasi's stout
lord,? Purujit, Kuntibhoj, and Saivya,? With Yudhamanyu, and Uttamauj? Subhadra's
child; and Drupadi's;-all famed!? All mounted on their shining chariots!? On our side,
too,--thou best of Brahmans! see? Excellent chiefs, commanders of my line,? Whose
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