The Bhagavad Gita, Juan Mascaro translation

The Bhagavad Gita has been translated into Western languages numerous times.

The translation I present to you here is by Juan Mascaro, who was as much a poet as a Sanskrit scholar. It’s a very poetic translation that serves as a good introduction to the text. At the end of this page I have included reviews to other translations for those who want to go deeper into the text.

The Bhagavad Gita (Penguin Classics) – Translated by Juan Mascaro

Note that the Bhagavad Gita is such a popular book, that Penguin Classics has several translations out. This review obviously applies only to the one by Juan Mascaro.

Juan Mascaro about Karma in the Bhagavad Gita

All life is action, but every little finite action should be a surrender to the Infinite, even as breathing in seems to be receiving of the gift of life, and the breathing out a surrender into the infinite Life. Every little work in life, however humble, can become an act of creation and therefore a means of salvation, because in all true creation we reconcile the finite with the Infinite, hence the joy of creation.

(from the introduction)

Life and Death in the Bhagavad Gita

Bhagavad Gita 8:5

And he who at the end of his time leaves his body thinking of me, he in truth comes to my being: he in truth comes unto me.

On Duty – Bhagavad Gita Quote

Bhagavad Gita 3: 35)

And do thy duty, even if it be humble, rather than another’s, even if it be great. To die in one’s duty is life: to live in another’s is death. 

Other translations of the Bhagavad Gita – The Lord’s Song

 Bhagavad-Gita As It Is

This translation is included here because it is so popular. It is popular, because it has been given for free to numerous spiritual searchers.

However, the translation and commentary are rather simplistic: they lack depth and nuance.

I would NOT recommend buying this version of the Bhagavad Gita

 The Bhagavad Gita According to Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi’s commentary on the Bhagavad Gita is famous, and with good reason: he translates the ancient philosophy into something applicable to today, right now.

These lectures were given during a time when India was in turmoil: trying to liberate itself from the English occupation. Gandhi’s message is at once peaceful and subversive. He wants his listeners to fight as Arjuna did: without caring for the outcome, merely fighting because it is right to fight for freedom.

Unfortunately, of course, most people can’t do that. Still, these lectures are an inspiration.

 The Bhagavad Gita : A Walkthrough for Westerners

A good introduction the the Gita. This translation is in prose, rather than verse – which makes the translators job easier: they only have to translate the meaning, not the rhythm of the text.

The result is at once authentic, nuanced and accessible.

The Bhagavad Gita (Classics of Indian Spirituality)

A thorough translation and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita in which the nuances of the text come through. Includes extensive notes to help the reader go deeper into the meaning of the text.

Just quotes: Bhagavad Gita on Karma.

Buy now: The Bhagavad Gita (Penguin Classics)