Bhagavad Gita, known as Lord Krishna’s heart, is by far the only spiritual literature whose anniversary is celebrated every year. It is reported to have been translated in 82 languages. It has a profound impact on thinkers and philosophers all over the world across countries and religions. Greatest of the sages from ancient times have underscored the importance of the Gita including the modern age saints. Of them, Sant Shri Asharamji Bapu has been one of the most impactful voices promoting Gita as a way of life among millions through his discourses. His love for Bhagavad Gita is very well understood by the fact that he has interpreted almost all its verses, several times, over 55+ years of his journey of Spiritual service to the society. He is an ardent promoter of this Lord Krishna’s song. Even when Bapuji was invited in World Religious Parliament in 1993 he enticed the audience by his discourses based on this holy Scripture .
Having said this, numerous scholars and eminent and famous personalities of our times across the world have also openly embraced and praised this amazing dialogue between Lord Krishna and his beloved Arjuna. It is a refreshing experience to hear their perspective of the Gita. We’ll shed light on some of them here.
1) J. Robert Oppenheimer (The father of the atomic bomb)
As a student of Hindu philosophy, J. Robert Oppenheimer–the American theoretical physicist and the father of the atomic bomb, read the Bhagavad Gita in its original form after learning Sanskrit in 1933. Bhagavad Gita has been influential in shaping his ideologies of life.
2) Will Smith (Hollywood Actor)
During his promotional tour in India for his movie Bright, the actor declared that he has been immensely influenced by Arjuna from the Bhagavad Gita. “I love the history. I am 90 percent through the Bhagavad Gita. To be reading that and to be here… my inner Arjuna is being channelled,” he said in an interview. In a short, viral video clip, the two-time Oscar-nominee and a Grammy award-winning actor shows off his copy of the Bhagavad Gita, heavily highlighted with a yellow marker.
3) Astronaut Sunita Williams
When astronaut Sunita Williams was sent to the unknown territories of space in 2013, her cargo consisted of a copy of the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishad. When asked why she carried them along with her to space, Williams said that they are a source of inspiration for her. Williams also said that these books enlightened her about what she was doing and why she was doing them, whilst showing her the purpose of life. “It is nice to read about Arjuna’s trials and tribulations and it puts your life in perspective,” she said.
4) Albert Einstein
Einstein was also quite impressed by the teachings of Lord Krishna and quoted, “When I read the Bhagavad Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.” We cannot even imagine up to which level this book has inspired him to work harder. These were a few of many personalities who found answers to their questions while going through this book.
5) Mahatma Gandhi
When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and I see not one ray of hope on the horizon, I turn to Bhagavad-Gita and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile during overwhelming sorrow. Those who meditate on the Gita will derive fresh joy and new meanings from it every day.
6) George Harrison, the Hindu Beatle
Harrison visited India in 1966 to learn the sitar from Pandit Ravishankar. He would return to India several times, seeking a deeper and deeper spiritual experience each time. Harrison became a devout Krishna follower and eventually converted to Hinduism. The Bhagavad Gita and its teachings guided much of his later life and some of his work, including Hare Krishna Mantra and My Sweet Lord.
7) Annie Besant
Annie Besant was a British socialist, theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer, orator, educationist, and philanthropist. As an Educationist, her contributions included being one of the founders of the Banaras Hindi University and was interested in reading about Indian Philosophy. Her translated work of the Bhagavad Gita is titled “The Lord’s Song”.
The text from her book reads: “That the spiritual man need not be a recluse, that union with the divine life may be achieved and maintained during worldly affairs, that the obstacles to that union lie not outside us but within us such is the central lesson of the Bhagavad Gita.”
The Bhagavad Gita was spoken by Lord Krishna to reveal the science of devotion to God which is the essence of all spiritual knowledge. The Supreme Lord Krishna’s primary purpose for descending and incarnating is relieving the world of any demoniac and negative, undesirable influences that are opposed to spiritual development, yet simultaneously it is His incomparable intention to be perpetually within reach of all humanity.
9) Aldous Leonard Huxley (English writer and philosopher)
Aldous Huxley was a well-known, respected English writer and philosopher who famously quoted “The Gita is one of the clearest and most comprehensive summaries of the Perennial Philosophy ever to have been made. Hence its enduring value, not only for Indians, but for all mankind. It is perhaps the most systematic spiritual statement of the Perennial Philosophy.”