For Stephen Mitchell and other interpreters, Chapter 12 is effectively the end of the Bhagavad Gita.
They consider the final third of the Gita, Chapters 13-18, to be a poorly fitted appendage—inferior poetically and spiritually, contradictory in content, probably by a different writer or writers and added at a later time. (You can read this point view in the Notes to the Introduction, p. 200-202.)
Other scholars do not agree. Our special guest from the original Gita Talk #8, Graham Schweig, for example, has told me he has a very different point of view. But in his own extensive commentary on the Gita (wonderful, by the way), Schweig almost completely ignores the last third of the text, except for the very end of Chapter 18. He quotes 34 passages from Chapters 1-12 in his commentary, but none at all from Chapters 13-18, except for the closing stanzas of Chapter 18.
The great Georg Feurstein gives full textual and historical analysis of Chapters 13-18 in his new commentary, but only after declaring them to be “supplemental”.
Personally I felt the same as Mitchell does even before I had read Mitchell’s book. So I don’t intend to hold Gita Talks on Chapters 13-18. But you should read them yourself and make up your own mind.
I hope some of you who have a different point of view will tell us about it in your comments here. Perhaps someone would even like to do a guest Gita Talk in rebuttal, which I would welcome.
So this is the final Gita Talk for this round. Let’s reflect back on the main themes of the Gita.
As I hope you already know, these themes and others are all covered, with corresponding direct quotations, in Gita in a Nutshell, which I urge you to study and enjoy, if you haven’t already.
LIVE YOUR LIFE WITH LOVE AND PURPOSE,
DETACHING EGO FROM RESULTS
FOCUS THE MIND
EXPERIENCE INFINITE WONDER IN ALL THINGS
As they say about the Golden Rule, all the rest is commentary.
Here are the three cosmic truths underlying the Gita’s message:
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
How has reading the Gita affected your life?
I have loved doing this second round of Gita Talk. (Actually it’s the third round if you include the sixteen session Gita in a Nutshell.)
I hope it’s been good for you, too. Thank you for being here.
All Blogs in the Series:
Welcome to Gita Talk:
Online Discussion of the Bhagavad Gita. (Round 2)
Gita in a Nutshell: Big Ideas & Best Quotations
The Original Sixteen Session Gita Talk
Join Gita Talk Facebook Group for weekly notices
and to meet fellow participants.
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