The Gita is the linchpin of a great epic, and that epic is the Mahabharata, or Great Story of the Bharatas. With nearly one hundred thousand verses divided into eighteen books, it is one of the longest epic poems in the world--fully seven times longer than the Iliad and the Odyssey combined, or three times longer than the Bible. It is in fact a whole library of stories that exerted a tremendous influence on the people and literature of India.
The central story of the Mahabharata is a conflict over succession to the throne of Hastinapura, a kingdom just north of modern Delhi that was the ancestral realm of a tribe most commonly known as the Bharatas. (India was at that time divided amongst many small, and often warring, kingdoms.)
It is within this enormous epic, well less than one percent of the Mahabharata that we find the Bhagavad Gita, or the Song of the Lord, most commonly referred to simply as the Gita. It is found in the sixth book of the epic, just before the great battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The greatest hero of the Pandavas, Arjuna, has pulled up his chariot in the middle of the battlefield between the two opposing armies. He is accompanied by Krishna, who acts as his charioteer... Read the Full Summary