The Bhagavad Gita A New Translation

George Thompson

North Point Press



Trade Paperback

160 Pages



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The Bhagavad Gita is one of the central texts of Indian culture and philosophy and one of the great works of world literature. George Thompson's fresh new prose translation, based in current scholarship, is meant to be as accurate, accessible, and engaging as possible. It is ideal for students in many fields and disciplines, including—because it explains the core principles of Vedic philosophy—dedicated practitioners of yoga.


Praise for The Bhagavad Gita

"George Thompson's new translation is a gift to teachers, students and seekers. The prose is lucid, lively, and admirably literal. The key metaphors are skillfully rendered, the core teachings precisely delineated; most important, the philosophical and spiritual radiance of the original shines through."—Carol Zaleski, Professor of World Religions, Smith College

"With this elegant new rendering, George Thompson has achieved the seemingly impossible: his translation is accurate, yet readable; written in crisp, straightforward prose, but filled with poetic brilliance; accompanied by a learned introduction and valuable commentary, both of which are informed by profound Indological scholarship that illuminates rather than intimidates. In short, this is a gem that will be appreciated by anyone who wishes to familiarize himself or herself with one of the world's greatest religious and philosophical classics."—Victor H. Mair, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature, University of Pennsylvania

"George Thompson's translation is clear and luminous; it opens a space of engagement that other translations often miss. I was able to read and think about the Gita as a contemporary text, one arguing in relation to our concerns as well as those of ancient Hinduism. This version seems lucid and true and wonderful; everyone should read it."—Alan Sondheim, Center for Literary Computing, West Virginia University

"The Bhagavad Gita is and has always been a must read for anyone interested in India, ancient or modern. No wonder it has been translated and re-translated into so many languages, English being perhaps the most frequently used medium. Dr. Thompson's translation is truly novel, because not only does it render the poem's Sanskrit quite differently, but also offers groundbreaking interpretations of many stanzas, even well-known ones. It retains poetic qualities of the original and is a genuine pleasure to read. Moreover, it fully meets expectations that even the most demanding readers of our time have come to count on in an academic translation: it is precise and thoroughly researched. The translation and commentary testify to the author's ample erudition. Compelling comments will no doubt be of great service to inquisitive minds who would want to understand the author's approach to translating some of the most difficult Sanskrit passages that are rendered masterfully. I wholeheartedly recommend this translation to all readers."—Boris Oguibenine, Professor, Université Marc Bloch de Strasbourg

"This new translation of The Bhagavad Gita comes as close to the liveliness, topicality, and flow of the original as any I have seen. Professor George Thomson has more than twenty years of experience teaching it to students. His Introduction explains the Yoga of the Gita. It is learned without being heavy. Notes and bibliography are helpful and succinct. I recommend this translation without reservation to scholars and teachers of Sanskrit and to beginning students of Indian culture. It remains the most popular book of one of the largest and most creative civilizations of the contemporary world."—Frits Staal, Professor Emeritus, University of California at Berkeley

Reviews from Goodreads



  • George Thompson

  • George Thompson, a Vedic scholar and Sanskritist, has more than twenty years of experience teaching the Bhagavad Gita at college level. He is an assistant professor at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts.