Set on the eve of a horrific war, the Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between Arjuna, a powerful warrior who has lost the will to fight, and Krishna, his friend and charioteer. Their conversation is a concise synthesis of the main schools of Hindu philosophy.
Our series adapts the Gita at four levels of difficulty. Level 1 uses short, simple sentences and is great for beginners. Level 2 adds extra detail and cultural context to level 1. Level 3 closely follows the language of the original Gita. And level 4 contains the Gita's original verses.
You can read our series in whatever order makes sense to you. One option is to read through the series at level 1, restart at level 2, and repeat for levels 3 and 4. Another is to read all four levels for a given section before moving on to another.
If you have never read Sanskrit before or are unfamiliar with the Gita, these short books introduce some of the Gita's characters and their relationships.
Title Word counts
arjunaḥ kaḥ? 9 unique, 308 total
duryodhanaḥ kaḥ? 14 unique, 393 total
kṛṣṇaḥ kaḥ? 18 unique, 483 total
kurukṣetraṃ kim? 23 unique, 685 total
— Chapter 1: Arjuna's despair —
As Arjuna surveys the field, he loses the will to fight and collapses.
- 1.1 (dhṛtarāṣṭraḥ)
- 1.2 (saṃjayaḥ)
- 1.3 (drupadaputraḥ)
- 1.4 – 1.6 (senā pāṇḍuputrāṇām)
- 1.7 – 1.9 (senā duryodhanasya)
- 1.10 – 1.11 (bhīṣmaṃ rakṣantu!)
- 1.12 – 1.19 (śaṅkhāḥ)
- 1.20 – 1.27 (arjunaḥ kurūn paśyati)
- 1.28 – 1.31 (arjuno na sukhī)
- 1.32 – 1.37 (arjuno na mārayitum icchati)
- 1.38 – 1.44 (kulasya kṣayaḥ)
- 1.44 – 1.47 (arjuna upaviśati)
— Chapter 2: Samkhya —
Krishna begins his reply to Arjuna's argument. He explains that all beings have an immortal ātmā that can be realized by cultivating equanimity and nonattachment.