The Bhagavad-Gita interprets the Upanishad notion of salvation. The Upanishads were texts written in 600 B.C., that were commentaries on the Vedas, the most sacred texts of Hinduism, written by the Aryas in 1500 B.C. The Epic Period, in 200 B.C., was characterized by writing of new texts called the Epics. One of the Epics was called Maha Bharata, meaning "Great India." The Bhagavad-Gita was one chapter out of the Mahabharata. It was considered one of the most beloved texts of Hinduism. It was known for its simplicity and clarity. .
The Epic period was a time of popularization. Hinduism and its notion of salvation were made accessible to everyone. This was a stretch from the elitist nature of the Upanishads. .
The Bhagavad-Gita is a story in which Arjuna, an ideal warrior, is faced with fighting a noble war with his family members. He does not want to harm or kill his family so he tells his Chariot driver he refuses to fight. His driver is Krishna, the human form of the Hindu god Vishnu. Vishnu tells him he has to fight because it is the duty of the class he was born into (warrior) and that he can not kill anybody's Atman, or their true self, and his refusal to fight keeps him in Samsara. He goes on to teach him that there are many ways to salvation. .
The idea of salvation in Hinduism begins with Samsara. Everyone is born into Samsara, a world that is in constant flux and is full of suffering. This world is the empirical world, the profane, that is not actually real. There is no true, permanent happiness here. We are born in Samsara with the veil of "Maya" (illusion) that makes us see Samsara as being real. We act in attachment to Samsara and create "Karma," which is the consequence of our actions that keep us coming back into this life of Samsara, we suffer re-death again and again. When we uncover this veil of Maya, we know "Brahman," which is the only real truth that exists.