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Monday, May 7, 2012

The Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation (W.W. Norton), by Gavin Flood & Charles Martin

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In their introduction, Oxford Hindu studies professor Gavin Flood and American poet Charles Martin make their case for the enduring relevance of the Bhagavad Gita. Aside from its canonical status in the Hindu scriptures, with its emphasis on the transitory nature of life and death, it presents a hero faced with a set of seemingly doubtful ethical choices—and to not choose among them is to choose. The translators tried to preserve or at least echo the cadence of the original text, with its powerful bursts of archaic poetry that moved J. Robert Oppenheimer to recite one of its verses as the first mushroom cloud rose over Los Alamos.

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