A fresh, strikingly immediate and elegant verse translation of the classic, with an introduction and helpful guides to each section, by the rising American poet.
Born in the United States into a secularized Hindu family, Amit Majmudar puzzled over the many religious traditions on offer, and found that the Bhagavad Gita had much to teach him with its “song of multiplicities.” Chief among them is that “its own assertions aren’t as important as the relationships between its characters . . . The Gita imagined a relationship in which the soul and God are equals”; it is, he believes, “the greatest poem of friendship . . . in any language.” His verse translation captures the many tones and strategies Krishna uses with Arjuna–strict and berating, detached and philosophical, tender and personable. “Listening guides” to each section follow the main text, and expand in accessible terms on the text and what is happening between the lines. Godsong is an instant classic in the field, from a poet of skill, fine intellect, and–perhaps most important–devotion.
“Ravishing and faithful, marked by what Nabokov once called ‘the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist.’ Majmudar has a gift for imagery . . . Godsong reveals how beautifully this 2,000-year-old book lends itself to the careful, loving work of translation.” —Parul Sehgal, The New York Times
“A well-crafted and exceptional translation of a spiritual and cultural masterpiece.” —Dave Pugl, Library Journal (starred review)
"Beyond the translation, Majmudar offers commentary that is almost as beneficial as the text itself. The “Listener’s Guide,” as he calls it, not only provides context on his own process, but it also adds a dimension of understanding to the Gita and the Hindu landscape in which it was created. Most importantly, he addresses the caste system, something uniquely Indian and also controversial.... Amit Majmudar succeeds in offering a translation of the Bhagavad Gita that can be appreciated for its ancient spiritual teachings and also accessed in the real-life modern world." - Angela Muir, EastWest Bookshop
“[Majmudar’s] commentaries, about karma and maya, the ethics of friendship and the changing nature of the self, and about the place of violence in our lives have made me think about myself in a new way.” —Sumana Roy, Hindustan Times (“Life-changing reads of 2018”)
“Remarkable . . . A new translation of a much-translated classic must bring something new to readers. Godsong does just that.” —Sayali Palekar, Scroll.In
“The philosophic text is made anew in the poet’s startling, fresh idiom.” —C. R. Sasikumar, The Indian Express
“Reaches for the text’s beauty as well as its spiritual meaning . . . [Majmudar’s] summaries are succinct, pointed, and useful [and] his translation resonates with much that has come before him, absorbing and reflecting the long and rich tradition of Gita translations.” —Arshia Sattar, India Today
OPEN Magazine BEST BOOK OF 2018