Lord Krishna Preaching Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna in the Battle Field Kurukshetra
The Bhagavad Gita (“Song of God”) is a Sanskrit text from the Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata epic. Due to differences in recensions they may be numbered in the full text of the Mahabharata as chapters 6.25 – 42 or as chapters 6.23-40. According to the recension of the Gita commented on by Shankaracharya, the number of verses is 700, but there is evidence to show that some old manuscripts had 745 verses. Krishna, as the speaker of the Bhagavad Gita, is referred to within as Bhagavan (the divine one), and the verses themselves, using the range and style of Sanskrit meter (chandas) with similes and metaphors, are written in a poetic form that is traditionally chanted; hence the title, which translates to “the Song of the Divine One”. The Bhagavad Gita is revered as sacred by the majority of Hindu traditions, and especially so by followers of Krishna. It is commonly referred to as The Gita.
‘The yogi is superior to the ascetics, is also thought to be superior to the knowledgeable, and the yogi is superior to the active. Therefore, be a yogi, Arjuna. Of all these yogis, the one going to me with inner soul full of faith, who loves me, this one is thought by me to be most united.’
The content of the text is a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna taking place on the battlefield of Kurukshetra just prior to the start of a climactic war. Responding to Arjuna’s confusion and moral dilemma, Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and Prince and elaborates on a number of different Yogic and Vedantic philosophies, with examples and analogies. This has led to the Gita often being described as a concise guide to Hindu philosophy and also as a practical, self-contained guide to life. During the discourse, Krishna reveals his identity as the Supreme Being Himself (Bhagavan), blessing Arjuna with an awe-inspiring glimpse of His divine absolute form.