The Texts:


TheBhagavadgita in the Mahabharata

A Bilingual Edition

Translated & Edited by J.A.B. van Buitenen

The University of Chicago Press, 1981


-J.A.B. van Buitenen’s translation has an illuminating clarity and is excellent for a first time read, especially for readers with a western background. The transliteration is on the left-page side and the English on the right. There is also an indepth scholarly introduction and many useful footnotes.



Abhinavagupta’s Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita


Translated from Sanskrit with Introduction & Notes by Boris Marjanovic

Indica Books; 2004, Varanasi India


-Abhinavagupta wrote in the years 990-1015 A.D. and is widely acknowledged as one of India’s greatest minds. A brilliant, highly esteemed, enlightened Kashmir Saivite, his insights into the Gita are gems - especially useful for anyone who is actually practising meditation. Boris Marjanovic’s translation is accessible. Includes the Devanagari characters and English, but not the transliteration.  I wish more of Abhinavagupta’s writings were available in translation.



The Bhagavad Gita

Translated by Winthrop Sargeant

State University of New York Press, 1994


-For the serious student, Sargeant’s work is the ‘must-have’. He provides us with a line-by-line, word-by-word translation in the Devanagari, the transliteration, and English. This book serves as a Sanskrit dictionary for the Bhagavad Gita. I do not always agree with his interpretation of the meaning, but I touch his feet for creating this book.



The Bhagavad Gita

Translated from the Sanskrit with Notes, Comments & Introduction By Swami Nikhilananda, 1944

Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1992


-As you may surmise, this translation reflects the beliefs of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center. It contains excellent detailed explanations of many Hindu concepts. English only.



The Bhagavad Gita

Annotation Gudhartha-Dipika by Madhusudana Sarasvati

Translated by Swami Gambhirananda, 1998

Advaita Ashrama, 2000, Calcutta


-I recently acquired this text and like very much it’s simple and clear presentation. It also reflects the ideas of Advaita. Devanagari and English only.



The Gita for the Modern Man

Krishna Chaitanya/KK Nair

Clarion Books, Delhi

Out-of -print, ISBN 8185120277


The Betrayal of Krishna, Vicissitudes of a Great Myth

Krishna Chaitanya/KK Nair

Clarion Books, 1991, Delhi


The Mahabharata, A Literary Study

Krishna Chaitanya/KK Nair

Clarion Books, 1985, 1993, Delhi


A New History of Sanskrit Literature

Krishna Chaitanya/KK Nair

Ramesh C. Jain, Manohar Book Service, 1977, New Delhi


Freedom and Transcendence

Krishna Chaitanya

Manohar Publications, 1982, New Delhi



The Bhagavad Gita in the Bhishma Parva of The Mahabharata

Vol. IV Bhishma Parva

Translation according to M.N. Dutt

Edited by Dr. Ishvar Chandra Sharma & Dr. O.N. Bimali

Parimal Publications, revised edition 2004, Delhi


-After years of reading the Mahabharata in the J.A.B. van Buitenen translation, I finally made the quantum leap to the complete epic - in this case nine volumes. I am enjoying M.N. Dutt’s translation which, in my view, reflects the subtle tones and colors of the Indian temperament. You cannot instill thousands of years of tradition into a western mind and eventually a real lover of the Bhagavad Gita needs to read a translation by an Indian. Sanskrit Devanagari and English. Available at


The Mahabharata

Sanskrit Text with English Translation; 9 volumes

M.N. Dutt

Edited by Dr. Ishvar Chandra Sharma & Dr. O.N. Bimali

Parimal Publications, revised edition 2004, Delhi

Available at


The Mahabharata

1. The Book of the Beginning

2. The Book of the Assembly

3. The Book of the Forest

4. The Book of Virata

5. The Book of the Effort

Translated & edited by J.A.B van Buitenen, 1973

University of Chicago, 1980


-J.A.B. van Buitenen has my total respect. I discovered the Mahabharata through his translation back in 1989. I couldn’t put these books down! It was because he made the epic so accessible, that I developed a life long love for what is the greatest tale ever told. The Maha has it all - love, war, and spiritual wisdom!



The Mahabharata /Volume 7:

Book 11: The Book of the Women

Book 12: The Book of peace, Part 1

Translated by James L. Fitzgerald

University of Chicago Press, 2003



The Mahabharata

Translated by Chakravarthi V. Narasimhan

Columbia University Press, 1998, New York


-An excellent ‘story-only’ short version, without subsequent doctrinal insertions. “A straight forward narrative account of the main theme of the epic: the rivalry between the Pandavas and the Kauravas.” A collection of more than 4,000 verses out of the possible 88,000. Enjoyable!



Sri Bhagavadgita Rahasya

or Karma-Yoga-Shastra

By Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Translated by BH Alchabdra Sitaram Sukthankar

Kesari Press, 2004, Poona, India


-This i s a very interesting examination of the Gita with the original Sanskrit Devanagari stanzas, their English translation, commentaries on the stanzas, and a comparison of Eastern with Western doctrines.

Available at






Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata

A 2-disc set based on a stage production. Considering the epic length, scope and depth of the Maha, Peter Brook’s version is great for the beginner. It will give you an over-all view of the characters and the story. It is beautifully produced and the actors are gorgeous - where did they find these lovely men and Draupadi is superb.



This version is classic. Produced and directed by B.R. Chopra & Ravi Chopra for television in India, this must have been a dedicated act of reverence and love. The sets, costumes, and fabulous jewelry are fascinating and the actors wonderful. I adore Nitesh Bhardwaj. You feel that every effort has been made to make the episodes as authentic and true to the text as humanly possible. For those who are used to Hollywood action, the story unfolds comparatively slowly - so don’t expect glitzy special effects. The Chopra’s version emphasizes content and depth of understanding. Over time this production has increased my appreciation for the Maha and fueled my imagination.

Available from



The Chopra’s also produced the Ramayana in a set of 12 DVDs. Nitesh Bhardwaj (who plays the adorable Krishna in the Maha) stars as Rama. The Ramayana is scripture based on events from the Treta Yuga. I recommend this production.



The famous Indian actor Shashi Kapoor produced this film in 1980. Kalyug is a modern day Mahabharata, but set in the business world of our recent time. It stars Rekha and Shashi Kapoor, among other notables. Very interesting film.




Spanda - Divine Pulsation