After knowing my interest in learning about ancient Indian philosophy, my roommate gave me this book. According to him, it is a mythology 5000 years ago. But from wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhagavad_Gita ), the date of the book is debatable. It is also suggested that it was written after Buddha. Anyway, I feel at least it provides some picture of the ancient Indian philosophy. Since it is one of the most important Hindu text, it also shed some lights on Hinduism. Here are just some of my impression after reading it.
First of all, the ancient Indian philosophy is really great work. It provides insights into the law of being. And this tradition of philosophical thinking should be valued and studied equally as the ancient Greek philosophy (i.e. the western tradition). From this tradition, it is not hard to see how historical Buddha, who had studied various philosophies in his time, had come to his own awakening (of course, Buddha’s awaking is not just by reading philosophies. But that is another topic.).
This text emphasizes a lot on action, saying there is no way human being can escape doing action. Doing action is the at the center of human being’s life. This text advocates doing fruitless action, not be attached to the results. This is clearly emphasized and is the center piece of this ancient text.
This text also emphasize a lot on sitting still, and not be bothered by pains.
It has the study of cause and effect and going beyond cause and effect. (In my personal oppinion, I am afraid this is influenced by Buddhism thinking, which means it was written after Buddha.)
The study of how the rise of sense, consciousness, intelligence and so on. This is really a great work of ancient Indian philosophy.
It talks about reincarnation. It is interesting that it says during reincarnation, you will be sent to the moon and live there with some highly advanced beings, and then come back to earth. Highly advanced beings? Is it talking about alien? It also says you should choose some certain days to die if you want to reincarnate. But it says truly enlightened beings shouldn’t be bothered by reincarnation.