Ballad Divine


Non-Fiction - Religion/Philosophy
222 Pages
Reviewed on 03/24/2015
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Nandita Keshavan for Readers' Favorite

Ballad Divine is a unique translation of the Bhagavad Gita by Dev Bhattacharya, written in verse form. The Gita was intended to be an epic poem and, in translating it into verse form, the English reader can appreciate the beauty and drama of this form. The emotions and moods of the two camps preparing for battle are captured well and then ensues one of the greatest treatises in Hinduism where Krishna instructs Arjuna as to why fighting the enemy is his moral duty, and several other gems of wisdom regarding human life and spirituality.

The passages are organised into chapters, named to highlight the content. Due to the dramatic and poetic quality of the verse, this book could inspire adaptations of the Gita in play or film format. For a modern day audience, it is essential to have clear translations of spiritual texts. Not only can one appreciate the philosophy and logic in this work, but also the aesthetic beauty of the verses which explain the meaning and importance of yoga and balance for spiritual well being.

Being secure in the supreme is an important theme in this work, which many spiritual seekers in Kali Yuga will pursue in understanding. I highly recommend this translation of the Gita to anyone interested in a straightforward version without extra commentary. At the end of the book, the author has included the original verses in Sanskrit, and also a transliteration with English meaning in brackets. This would appeal to learners of Sanskrit and also readers interested in appreciating the beauty of the original Sanskrit verses. I highly recommend this work for spiritual seekers and philosophers alike.

Gisela Dixon

Ballad Divine: Bhagavad-Gita by Dev Bhattacharyya is a translated account of one of the most well-known and widely read texts of ancient India: the Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita, which literally means The Song of the Bhagavan or the Divine, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. It is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between the Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Krishna. Dev Bhattacharya has done a beautiful job translating the Gita, which was originally written in Sanskrit, into modern day English, while still retaining the essence of the text and its true meaning. Ballad Divine: Bhagavad-Gita is written in a ballad format and gives us a faithful representation of the doctrine, and explains the core themes of dharma and doing one’s duty, the cycle of life and death, the philosophy of yoga and its various forms such as Karma yoga, Gyaana yoga, Sankhya yoga, Gyaana–ViGyaana yoga, Raja yoga, Bhakti yoga, to name a few, the concept of maya or illusion, attaining moksha, and more.

Ballad Divine: Bhagavad-Gita by Dev Bhattacharyya is written in a simple, pleasing, poetic form that does justice to the original text and truly brings out its essence. All of the concepts are presented in an easy to understand manner, along with a detailed translation of Sanskrit verses as well as a glossary of Sanskrit words at the end. The entire book reads like a magical story and does not feel dry or pedantic in any way. Overall, I was highly impressed with the work and will re-read it over and over again.

Mamta Madhavan

Ballad Divine: Bhagavad-Gita by Dev Bhattacharyya is a beautiful representation of the Bhagavad Gita which gives readers a good spiritual knowledge of the book in a very simple manner. The book reaches out to a new generation of readers with its elegance and simplicity and also in interpretation, leaving them wanting to know more about ancient Hindu literature. Written in an entertaining and engaging manner, the book is thought provoking and conveys the spiritual issues about the role of Krishna in Mahabharata, the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, and many such incidents and instances that give readers a good knowledge about the essence of Bhagavad Gita.

The author tells readers about Bhagavad Gita in a very interesting and aesthetic way. The key messages of Bhagavad Gita, the deep spiritual messages and the character of Gita have been handled with finesse. The author succeeds in capturing the essence of Bhagavad Gita, transcending time and space. The style is lyrical and metrical. Reading this book will definitely help everyone understand the messages in Bhagavad Gita. The author reaches out to a different set of readers with this simple representation of the Gita.

Though there are a few omissions from the original Bhagavad Gita, the author covers the devotion, meditation, philosophy, action and knowledge for which the book is famous. The profound and interactive discourse between Lord Krishna and Arjuna has been written effectively. The book motivates readers to perform their Dharma and also their Karma, as explained by Lord Krishna.