What is the Meaning of Bhagavadgita?

Krishna and Arjuna

by Jayaram V

Notes: I have translated the Bhagavadgita twice. The first one was a loose translation. The second one was a word to word translation with a detailed commentary. The commentary is however different from what you will find here. In this section I will share with you my thoughts about the knowledge, philosophy and wisdom of the Bhagavadgita as I understand it from my perspective. Jayaram V


Bhagavadgīta is popularly translated as the song of God, or celestial song. Gītam means both a song and an act of singing or chanting. It also means what is told, declared or chanted, which is usually a reference to a sacred writing, a religious conversation or a spiritual dialogue. In Hinduism there are many Gītas, such as Shivagīta, Ramagīta, Astavakragīta, Avadhutagīta, Devigīta etc.

However, traditionally the Bhagavadgīta is the most popular among them and placed on par with the Upanishads and the Brahma sutras as the sacred triad (prastanatraya). Bhagavadgita literally means a song or a discourse of the Bhagavat, meaning God or a self-realized spiritual teacher. In a broader sense, it is a song or discourse not only by the Bhagavat, or God, but also about the Bhagavat and for the Bhagavat, meaning a worshipper or devotee of God, or one who renders selfless service to other devotees as an offering to God.

According to Vaishnava beliefs, after their liberation the Bhagavatas (worshippers of Vishnu) live in the immortal world of Vishnu, in the golden and emerald city of Vaikuntha, from where they never return and never take birth again. Some people prefer to worship Krishna only and avoid any reference to Vishnu, since they believe Krishna is the true Bhagavat and the lord of Vaikuntha.

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