“I confess to you that, when doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and when I see not one ray of light on the horizon, I run to the Bhagavad Gita and find a verse to comfort me, and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow.”
This famous and marvellous Sanskrit poem occurs as an episode of the Mahabharata, in the sixth--or "Bhishma"--Parva of the great Hindu epic. It enjoys immense popularity and authority in India, where it is reckoned as one of the ``Five Jewels,"--pancharatnani--of Devanagiri literature. In plain but noble language it unfolds a philosophical system which remains to this day the prevailing Brahmanic belief, blending as it does the doctrines of Kapila, Patanjali, and the Vedas. So lofty are many of its declarations, so sublime its aspirations, so pure and tender its piety, that Schlegel, after his study of the poem, breaks forth into an outburst of delight and praise towards its author:
So striking are some of the moralities here inculcated, and so close the parallelism--ofttimes actually verbal-- between its teachings and those of the New Testament, that a controversy has arisen between Pandits and Missionaries on the point whether the author borrowed from Christian sources, or the Evangelists and Apostles from him.
EDWIN ARNOLD, C.S.I.
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