The Song Celestial

nameThe Song Celestial
authorSir Edwin Arnold

The Song Celestial: A Poetic Version of the Bhagavad Gita is a translation of the Bhagavad Gita (a part of the Mahabharata) from Sanskrit into English by Sir Edwin Arnold, first published in 1885. The translation following The Light of Asia, his narrative-poem of the Lalitavistara Sūtra. It is dedicated to India with the following preface:

In his autobiography, Mahatma Gandhi recalled when two theosophist brothers gave him The Song Celestial during his studies in England. This was the first time Gandhi had ever read the Gita, as he had never read it in Sanskrit nor in Gujarati. Gandhi adored this version, stating: “I have read almost all English translations […] and I regard Sir Edwin Arnold’s as the best.” Gandhi also invited Edwin Arnold to be the vice-president of the Vegetarian Society in London.


The book summarizes itself as the following: Krishna, who is regarded as an incarnation of the Divine, then instructs Arjuna on the way of duty and liberation through right action. The message he enunciates is applicable to people of all Faiths and all ages, for the battle to be fought, not only by mankind as a whole but for each individual, is the eternal one between right and wrong, between wisdom and ignorance, between the Self) and not-Self).


    1. The Distress of Arjuna
    1. The Book of Doctrines
    1. Virtue in Works
    1. The Religion of Knowledge
    1. Religion of Renouncing Works
    1. Religion of Self-Restraint
    1. Religion by Discernment
    1. Religion by Service of the Supreme
    1. Religion by the Kingly Knowledge and the Kingly Mystery
    1. Religion by the Heavenly Perfections
    1. The Manifesting of the One and Manifold
    1. Religion of Faith
    1. Religion of Separation of Matter and Spirit
    1. Religion of Separation of the Qualities
    1. Religion by Attaining the Supreme
    1. The Separateness of the Divine and Undivine
    1. Religion by the Threefold Faith
    1. Religion by Deliverance and Renunciation The chapters are listed as follows:

See also

  • Bhagavad Gita
  • The Light of Asia
  • The Song Celestial, 1885