It’s really quite enlightening (so to speak) to read the Bhagavad Gita by major theme instead of in the order it’s written. I’ve made that easier for you by matching up the big ideas of the Gita with the best quotations and the related Gita Talks.
Whatever aspect of the Gita you want to explore or review, you can look for the topic below and click to find the most powerful passages on that topic. (My own favorite stanzas for each theme are in bold italics.)
Or you may prefer to open up your Mitchell Gita (or any other version of the Gita), and see where the stanzas appear in context.
Please join our Facebook group for the latest information about our ongoing Gita Talk discussion series on Elephant.
(Gita in a Nutshell was originally the concluding blog in the first run of the popular Gita Talk discussion series, which is still available in its entirety as a self-paced online seminar. I worked on this challenging project throughout Gita Talk. Spurred on by our provocative Gita Talk discussions, I read the Gita over and over again, experiencing, thinking, absorbing, sifting, experiencing again, sifting again, etc. It has truly been its own reward—the Gita helps me lead a better life every day. If my work here helps you “get” the Gita, so much the better.)
Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas and Best Quotations
The Main Message
LIVE AND ACT WITH LOVE AND PURPOSE,
DETACHING EGO FROM RESULTS (GN #1)
2.48, 2.50, 3.7, 3.19, 3.25, 3.30, 4.18-24, 5.23-25, 6.1-4, 7.28, 11.55, 12.13-14, 18.53
EXPERIENCE INFINITE WONDER IN ALL THINGS (GN #2)
6.29-32, 9.4-6, 10.7-8, 10.41-2, 11.5-7, 11.11-13, 11.16, 11.37-40, 18.77-78
FOCUS THE MIND (GN #3)
5.26-28, 6.10, 6.12, 6.15, 6.35, 8.9, 9.22, 9.34, 12.2, 12.8, 12.14, 18.57
Each of us is already infinitely wondrous—
miraculous, awe-inspiring, unfathomable
(divine if you prefer).
Our wondrous nature is the same as the infinite wonder of the universe.
We experience this infinite wonder by waking up to reality.
6.29-32, 7.2, 7.6-7, 7.10, 7.28, 8.3, 9.2, 10.4-5, 10.7-8, 10.20, 10.39, 11.40
Why Is the Gita So Upsetting At First? (GN #5)
The Battlefield Setting
Gandhi’s Bible or a Call to War? (GN #6)
Is the Gita Asking Us to Repress Our Emotions? (GN #7)
13.0-2, 13.22, 13.24-30, 13.33-34
Where Do We Fit In?
Does the Infinitely Wondrous Universe
Give a Damn About You and Me? (GN #8)
Yoga of Understanding (GN #10)
4.33, 4.37-39, 4.42, 5.4-5, 6.29-32, 7.2, 9.2, 9.15, 10.7-8, 10.10-11, 18.55, 18.70
Yoga of Meditation (GN #11)
6.10-12, 6.15, 6.18-22, 6.35, 8.9, 9.22, 9.34, 12.2, 12.8, 18.57
Yoga of Love (GN #12)
8.22, 9.13-14, 9.29, 10.7-8, 10.10, 11.54-55, 12.2, 12.17-20
Yoga of Action (GN #13)
3.7, 3.9, 3.25, 3.30, 4.19-24, 4.42, 6.1-3, 11.55, 12.10, 18.56-7
Yoga is Universal, Loving, and Direct
Yoga is Universal Truth,
Embracing All Gods and All Paths (GN #14)
4.11, 4.32, 7.21, 9.15, 9.23, 9.29-32, 10.2
Is Love Itself the Overriding Theme of the Bhagavad Gita? (GN #15)
4.11, 8.14, 9.13-14, 9.18, 10.7, 11.55, 12.2, 12.17-20, 18.65
Yoga calls for direct experience & straight-forward wisdom
(over scripture, dogma, and ritual) (GN # 16)
2.40, 2.44-46, 2.52-53, 4.33, 4.38, 6.46, 7.2, 8.14, 9.2, 11.53, 18.55
Top 10 Reasons to Read the Bhagavad Gita
(#1 You were supposed to read it during teacher training, but you
only got through 20 pages, and have felt guilty ever since.)
What a wonderful road this has been. What started as a small experiment turned into the thriving online Gita Talk forum, which has in turn, led to this Gita in a Nutshell. Thanks to all of you who have participated by reading, commenting and supporting. I am always here anxious to talk Gita with anyone who’s interested.
hot on elephant
A Letter to my Children: You do not come from a Broken Home. These People are Rare Gems—Keep Them, Fight for Them, don’t Give Up on Them. Mom, can I Call her Mom, Too? Waylon shares 10 transformingly beautiful Quotes about Love. My Marriage had to End—for my Life to Begin. The Day I Stopped Running. Why your Yoga Goals are (Probably) Irrelevant, if not Downright Dangerous. Dear Woman in the White Car at Margaritas Mexican Grill in West Memphis, Arkansas on July 15th, 2012. Overcoming the Storm by Becoming the Storm. A Toast to PTSD: The Solution Starts with One Question.