Considered a literary masterpiece with universal appeal, the Gita (famous Hindu scripture) has been translated hundreds of times in 75 languages since 1785. It is also the world’s most translated – and mistranslated – ancient Indian scripture according to author Jeffrey Armstrong.
His book, The Bhagavad Gita Comes Alive: A Radical Translation, does not include colonial, western or Christian distortions, he says.
Armstrong spent 10 years ‘decolonizing’ the text to capture it accurately. He believes his version, released on Nov. 9, 2020, renders the book’s teachings more relevant than ever.
Through his research, Armstrong reached the conclusion that previous Western versions had distorted the Gita with concepts, words and theories that do not exist in Sanskrit or Indian cultures.
“As we navigate a changing world amidst a global pandemic, climate change, and universal calls for social justice, the Gita offers guidance and lessons that are timely, including about ethical and moral dilemmas, politics, and cooperating with nature,” Armstrong, vice-chair of the Vedic Friends Association and scholar with the British Board of Dharmic Scholars, was quoted saying in the press release.
Armstrong has been teaching the Vedas for more than 40 years. He also had a 15-year career as an executive in Silicon Valley and as a public speaker addressing Fortune 500 companies. His other books include Spiritual Teachings of the Avatar, and Karma: The Ancient Secret of Cause & Effect.