Gita Talk #3: It’s Showtime. Please Start Talking All At Once!

Via Bob Weisenberg
on May 4, 2010
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Bhagavad Gita Mitchell

OK, sports fans, the game is on. This is our first weekly discussion of Mitchell’s Bhagavad Gita. This week we’re talking about the Introduction, which goes through p. 35 (with ten pages of very interesting notes, pages 199-210.)

Before I forget, the reading for next Monday is Chapters 1 and 2, pages 41-60.

This is a true experiment. So I’m just going to play it by ear.  The best thing that can happen is if you all jump right into the game, instead of watching from the sidelines. I know we’ll have a great discussion if you:

–Tell us what’s on your mind.
–Ask us the questions you were asking yourself as you were reading the Introduction.
And especially, read other readers comments and reply with your questions, disagreements, or comments.

I’m committed to responding to every question individually myself, but the more help I get the better.

Don’t be shy! There are no wrong questions. And the Elephant crowd is noted for its warmth and civility in handling even the most controversial issues.  We have a wide variety of experience in this group, from many first time readers to veteran devotees and everything in between.  We all have something to offer each other.

If you don’t have anything particular in mind, then think about these issues and give me your thoughts:

1) How did the Introduction make you feel about reading the Gita?
2) How did it compare to your expectations going in?
3) If you have read other versions of the Gita, how does Mitchell’s vision in his Introduction compare?
4) Are there any questions you’d like to ask?
5) Watch Yoga’s Secret Love Song, one particularly rapturous vision of the Gita (7 min. video from Graham Schweig).  What are your reactions?  How does Schweig’s vision compare to Mitchell’s vision of the Gita in his Introduction?

Helpful Hints

Elephant has a terrific discussion system. If you haven’t been here before, I think you’ll find it very intuitive. Some hints:

–When you post a comment, make sure you subscribe to “All new comments” in the pull down menu at the bottom of the comment box.  (Otherwise you’ll just receive e-mails when people reply to your comment.)
–You can post ad hoc each time, or you can register with “Intense Debate”, which will allow you to show your avatar, profile, and keep a history of all your comments.
–This system allows replies to replies and keeps good track of them in an easy-to-read and intuitive way.
Replies get hidden automatically as comment volume grows.  You need to click on “Replies” at the bottom of each comment to see them.

If a particular issue gets particularly big or hard to follow , I may open subsidiary blogs to help focus our attention.

I prefer to keep the substantive Gita discussion here on Elephant Journal. But we can also communicate on our Facebook site and on #GitaTalk on Twitter.

Again,  the reading for next Monday is Chapters 1 and 2, pages 41-60.

Please be sure to let me know if I can help you in any way.

Please see
Welcome to Gita Talk
for all Gita Talk blogs and general information.
Jump in anytime and go at your own pace.


About Bob Weisenberg

Bob Weisenberg: Editor, Best of Yoga Philosophy / Former Assoc. Publisher, elephant journal / Author: Yoga Demystified * Bhagavad Gita in a Nutshell * Leadership Is Like Tennis, Not Egyptology / Co-editor: Yoga in America (free eBook) / Creator: Gita Talk: Self-paced Online Seminar / Flamenco guitarist: “Live at Don Quijote” & “American Gypsy” (Free CD’s) / Follow Bob on facebook, Twitter, or his main site: Wordpress.


165 Responses to “Gita Talk #3: It’s Showtime. Please Start Talking All At Once!”

  1. Did you like it? I guess you did since you read it twice.

    Come to think of it, I read it twice, too, but that's just because I couldn't figure it out and I thought I might help to go through it again. I did much better with the equally scholarly, but far less dogmatic Graham Schweig version. Then I discovered Mitchell.

    Today I enjoy reading Mitchell with Scwheig alongside when I want more scholarly background information.

  2. Cynthia L says:

    I watched the video and really enjoyed it. I tend to learn more from watching than from reading if that makes any sense. All of the visuals, sound and words mixed together made the Gita that much more compelling for me. It wa also a great primer for reading Mitchell's version. I'm looking forward to the ride!

  3. Hi, Cynthia. Glad you liked the video. I felt it was too sugary the first time I saw it, but now I really like it. I don't know what changed. Perhaps I just got more comfortable with it.

    I understand what you mean by visual. As books go, I think you'll find Mitchell's Gita about as visual as a text can get without photographs! Sometimes spare poetry is so powerful it's almost visual. Just wait. You'll see what I mean.

    (My Elephant blog)

  4. Helen says:


    I am currently reading that version but came across this discussion and so bought Michel'ls version, which arrived today. Will hopefully catch up on reading over the weekend. Then I plan to read the two versions side by side. My thoughts on the Bhagavad Gita as it is, so far is I love the detail. I like that he breaks the translation down word by word if you want that and I find it easy to read. I feel that Prabhupada is very biased torward bhakti yoga, which biases some of his commentaries but I guess every version is going to have some degree of bias.

  5. Bethany says:

    Every time I read or discuss the Gita, I see it through the eyes of a Christian. I particularly enjoyed this video interpretation because I saw the love of Christ echoed in each slide. It is enjoyable to me to see how these two very different concepts of religion echo the same ultimate Truth. Thanks for sharing the video, Bob

  6. MelissaH says:

    Hi, this is my first time reading the Gita, although I am not wholly unfamiliar with some Hindu philosophy and thought. I am loving the commentary as it is really helping me to consider what I am reading with thoughtfulness.

    Thank you Bob for making this possible, for your graceful moderation, gentle encouragement, and respectful and insightful discussion. I have appreciated your discourse with Greg specific, and the thoughts and additions of others. I may be quiet but I am reading and considering.

    This is my second time reading this blog section to catch up on new comments and now I want to reread the introduction with some of these thoughts in mind.

  7. Hi, Bethany. I enjoyed this video very much, too. And one of the things I enjoy most about the Gita is its explicitly universalist outlook:

    However men try to reach me,
    I return their love with my love;
    whatever path they may travel,
    it leads to me in the end. (BG 4.11)

    Thanks for writing.

  8. Thanks for writing, Melissa. Your appreciation means a lot to me. I know I'm supposed to be totally absorbed in God (Brahman), but right now I'm totally absorbed in Gita Talk! As least they're related!

  9. paramsangat says:

    Hi Bob, I really enjoyed the intro… I could easily understand it (compared with the other heavy version GItas..)and it was a pleasure to read. I loved how he gave an overview of it all before starting, giving it some background and also examples from the poem.
    I'll go for the Questionnaire since I have a lil baby waiting for me to finish.. 🙂

    (se next..)

  10. paramsangat says:

    (continued from previous)

    If you don’t have anything particular in mind, then think about these issues and give me your thoughts:
    1) How did the Introduction make you feel about reading the Gita?
    I love this Intro, it made me wanting to start right a way..
    2) How did it compare to your expectations going in?
    I am very pleased I liked this one, I had some doubts about it.
    3) If you have read other versions of the Gita, how does Mitchell’s vision in his Introduction compare?
    I like the way he makes it an easy read and comparing with Dao De ching etc, things you might be able to relate to outside the Hindu/Yoga/Gita-World.
    (continues in next)

  11. paramsangat says:

    (continued from prev.)

    4) Are there any questions you’d like to ask? questions at this time… jsut wanting to continue to read.. 🙂
    5) Watch Yoga’s Secret Love Song, one particularly rapturous vision of the Gita (7 min. video from Graham Schweig). What are your reactions? How does Schweig’s vision compare to Mitchell’s vision of the Gita in his Introduction?
    When I saw it it was alot about Love. Like Mitchell said in his intro the "best" way is though Bakthi/devotion…. but at the same time he says ..any path is a good one..
    ..Now I'll go back to reading the 1st two chapters.. yay 🙂

  12. melody says:

    Bob, I agree completely with this comment. So that makes 3 of us. 🙂

  13. Thanks for writing, melody. Good to hear from you.

    Bob Weisenberg

  14. tiffany says:

    I joined this group before it began and am just now daring to step my toe into the book. I have never read the gita as I have always been told it is intimidating. SO far the intro made me feel that I will not only understand, maybe have an aha moment , but definetly get something out of it. Being one of the "less gifted" I am eager for this chance of illumination!

  15. Hi, tiffany. I'm so glad you wrote a comment so I can welcome you to Gita Talk and offer to be your personal guide. I love that Mitchell introduction, too. He just puts it all into perspective in a very clear and inspiring manner. I also like the way he ties the Gita in with spiritual ideas from other traditions.

    Please write to me often with your thoughts and/or questions as you read through the book. I get notification whenever someone leaves a comment on Gita Talk. Please feel free to contact me by Facebook message as well.

    Glad you're here.

    Bob Weisenberg

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