August 9, 2010

Bhagavad Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas & Best Quotations.

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

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

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

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


Overcoming Obstacles

Initial Turn-offs
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)
“Witness Consciousness”
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)


Different Yoga Strokes for Different Yoga Folks (GN #9)

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)

, 4.32, 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


See also:

Yoga Demystified: The Six Big Ideas

Yoga Demystified: Poems and Articles

Gita Talk: Self-Paced Online Seminar
on the Bhagavad Gita. (Round 2)

The Original Sixteen Session Gita Talk
(Self-Paced Online Seminar)


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.

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Bob Weisenberg Feb 25, 2014 9:32am

Posted to Best of Yoga Philosophy.

Bob W.
Yoga Demystified

sumit May 13, 2013 3:53pm

in geeta lord wt lord krishna say's about caste system
checkout the above link

sumit May 13, 2013 3:46pm

there is no caste system in ancient indian religious texts
@Rajesh ,

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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.