The Bhagavad Gita is a 700-verse scripture that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. It is a sacred text of the Hindus. Sir Charles Wilkins was an English typographer and Orientalist, notable as the first translator of Bhagavad Gita into English, and as the creator, alongside Panchanan Karmakar, of the first Bengali typeface. In 1784 Wilkins moved to Varanasi, where he studied Sanskrit under Kalinatha, a Brahmin pandit. At this period he began work on his translation of the Mahabarata, securing strong support for his activities from the governor of British India, Warren Hastings. Though he never completed the translation, portions were later published. The most important was his version of the Gita, published in 1785 as Bhagvat-geeta, or Dialogues of Kreeshna and Arjoon (London: Nourse, 1785). In his preface Wilkins argued that the Gita was written to encourage a form of monotheist "unitarianism" and to draw Hinduism away from the polytheism he ascribed to the Vedas.
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