Bhagavad Gita/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about Bhagavad Gita.
Please sort and annotate in a user-friendly manner. For formatting, consider using automated reference wikification.

The reader's choice of translation of the Bhagavad Gita depends, in part, on which interpretive tradition one wishes to follow. Generally speaking, though, there are very few philologically sound translations of the Gita.

The most precise older translation is that of Franklin Edgerton:

  • The Bhagavad Gita, trans. Franklin Edgerton (new ed.). Harvard University Press, Harvard: 2005. ISBN: 0674069250

A more poetic, but slightly less precise translation is that of Barbara Stoler-Miller, usefully available in a Bantam Classics mass market paperback:

  • The Bhagavad Gita: Krishna's Council in Time of War, trans. Barbara Stoler-Miller. Bantam Classics, 1986. ISBN: 0553213652

A recent translation, used by many scholars, is that of W.J. Johnson:

  • The Bhagavad Gita, trans. W.J. Johnson. Oxford Classics, 2005. ISBN: 0192835815.

Many of the other translations commonly available are inaccurate-- wildly so at times. A special note is worth making about the edition of the Gita by Winthrop Sargeant and Christopher Chapple:

  • The Bhagavad Gita, trans. Winthrop Sargeant and Christopher Chapple (2nd ed.). State University of New York Press, 1994. ISBN: 0873958306

For the English-only reader, this translation is best avoided. For the fledgling Sanskritist, however, this edition recommends itself, with qualifications. It contains the nagari text, an English transliteration, word-by-word English glosses, and finally a put-together English translation. As a cheap source of the Sanskrit text and a resource for the specialist Sanskrit terminology of the Gita, Sargeant/Chapple is OK, though the grammatical notes are emphatically to be avoided. A slow, comparative reading of the Sanskrit text of Sargeant/Chapple and the translation of Edgerton (and in particular, Edgerton's end notes) or Johnson can be rewarding.