The Bhagavad Gita is the most famous piece of literature out of India today. It is looked upon as the ultimate philosophy; great minds through the centuries, from Gandhi to Mandela, have commented on this ancient text. For example, when Oppenheimer tested the atom bomb for the first time in the New Mexico desert he quoted the first verse from the Bhagavad Gita as he flicked the switch. He said that was the only way to explain his awe at what was about to unfold.
It was British imperialists who translated the Gita into English for the first time, making it available to the world and it was the same imperial government that declared the Gita a ‘terrorist’ manual and made it an imprisonable offence to own one.
The Bhagavad Gita has been explored and analysed by religious leaders, political activists and Marxist thinkers alike and yet remains elusive in our understanding of its teachings. It has come to mean many things to many people. And yet despite its importance, we have very little knowledge on the background of the book. How did it come to be? Dr Seema Anand will present a fascinating talk on the history of the most read, most quoted and yet least understood book in the world.
This project is supported by Ramesh Kansagra. A drinks reception will follow.