Srimad Bhagavad Gita or Gitopanishad is considered to be the essence of all Upanishads instructed to Arjuna by Shri Krishna on the battle field of Kurukshetra during the Mahabharata war.
The narration is present in the Bhishma Parva of the epic mahabharata written by Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa famously known as vyasa or veda-vyasa. It is accepted as a smriti and scholars use it as smriti praman while deriving philosophical conclusions. The Bhagavad Gita is the most popular sacred text in Hinduism and has the same status in Hinduism as Bible has in Christianity.
The most essential of the teachings of Bhagavad-gita is that we are all eternal spirit souls and not this body, and there is a transcendental spiritual sky where we all belong and not this material world. It delineates the path of karma-yoga, bhakti-yoga and jnana-yoga.
The Bhagavad Gita as a stand alone text comprises of eighteen chapters with 700 verses dealing with five essential topics and their relationship with each other -
- īśvara (controllers and supremen-controller)
- jīva (the tiny spirit soul or living entity)
- prakṛti (material nature)
- kāla (eternal time)
- karma (actions of living entity)
In only 700 verses it sheds light on almost all the important aspects of spiritualism. Hence, it is the most concise and definitive source of spiritual knowledge for a common man.
The popularity and the usefulness of Bhagava-gita can be seen by the sheer number of commentaries ancient and present written on it by the acharyas of different vedic school of thought. Some of them are given below:
- Advaita Bhashya by Sri adi-shankaracharya, The most famous commentary on Bhagavad Gita
- 11 different commentaries with sanskrit text, which includes:
- Adi Shankaracharya's Gita Bhashya
- Anandagiri's Subcommentary on Adi-Shankaracharya's Bhashya
- Sri Ramanujacharya's Vishishtadvaita Bhashya
- Sri Vedanta Deshika's Tatparya Chandrika
- Madhvacharya's Dvaita Bhashya
- Sri Jayatirtha's Prameya Dipika
- Sri Hanumat Acharya's Paishach Bhashya
- Sri Venkatanatha's BrahmanandaGiri Bhashya
- Sri Vallabhacharya's Tattva-Dipika
- Sri Purushottama's Ananda-Tarangini
- Sri Nilakantha's Bhava-deepa
- Vishishtadvaita bhashya of Sri Ramanujacharya, translation
- Bhagavad Gita As It Is, translation & commentary with word-for-word and sanskrit text