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The Bhagavad-Gita has been an essential text of Hindu culture in India since the time of its composition in the first century A.D. As one of the great religious classics of world literature, it has inspired such diverse thinkers as Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, T.S. Eliot, and Thomas Merton. Translated with an introduction, notes, and glossary by Columbia University Sanskrit scholar Barbara Stoler Miller, this Bantam Classics edition includes Miller's afterword, entitled "Why Did Henry David Thoreau Take the Bhagavad-Gita to Walden Pond?"