When Was the Bhagavad Gita Written?

Although it is not known for certain when the Bhagavad Gita was written, secular historians generally attribute its origin to some time between the 2nd century B.C. and the 2nd century A.D. Observant Hindus are more specific, traditionally dating the sacred text's creation to the 11th day of the waxing moon in the month of Marghashirsha in the year 3092 BC.

This date is commemorated each year as the Gita Jayanti festival. It marks the anniversary of the conversation that took place between Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. This conversation, which took the form of a monumentally long epic poem, is partially recorded in the Bhagavad Gita.

The Gita Jayanti festival is especially celebrated in Kurukshetra itself. Here, it involves musical and sacred processions, performances, blessings of officials, fireworks, crafts and foods. The festival culminates with hundreds of oil lamps being set afloat on water. On December 2, 2011, attendees at this festival were celebrating the 5,103rd anniversary of the Bhagavad Gita's creation.

Regardless of how old this Hindu holy book really is, it has been subject to translations and interpretive commentaries for over 2,000 years. European colonial rule in India, as well as the international travels of Indians themselves, has exposed the text to non-Hindu scholars in more recent centuries.