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Star wars vs. the Bhagavad-Gītā

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Heather Karnes

on 18 November 2013

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Transcript of Star wars vs. the Bhagavad-Gītā

the Bhagavad-Gītā:
"star wars, I am your father."

In Medias Res
The battlefield; two sides warring, and we don't know why
Star Wars:
Open gunfire on spaceship, and we don't know why
"It is a period of civil war."
Aesthetic: parallels emerge immediately; we listen more intently because we are new on the scene.
Warring Relatives
Two dynastic branches at war
"All relatives and friends...in both of the assembled armies" (1.27)
Star Wars
Battle of the Skywalkers
Not revealed until the second movie
Philosophical: both acknowledge the moral dilemma of family as enemy

Emotional Detachment as Goodness
"He who is not agitated / by suffering or by desires, / freed from anger, fear and passions, / is called a sage of steady mind" (2.56).
"Virtues like nonviolence, non-anger, peace, forgiveness, amity, and compassion...as essential possessions of a righteous man" (Upadhyaya).
Star Wars:
"A Jedi's strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side of the Force are they" (Yoda).
Philosophical: same value system; good vs. evil conflict entirely different from Western tradition
Krishna as Arjuna's divine mentor/adviser
Star Wars:
Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda as Luke's mentors in the Force (Ben was Darth Vader's mentor, too).
Divine element; Ben still advises after death
Narrative, philosophical: without the adviser figure, neither protagonist would be able to fight necessary battles. Both value seniority, wisdom, and mentorship.

Spirituality to Counter Evil
"The Indian philosophical poem deals with a deep spiritual wasteland dominated by evil" (Rao).
"Constantly controlling himself, / the yogi, freed from evil now, / swiftly attains perpetual / joy of contact here with Brahman" (6.28).
Star Wars:
The Force (spirituality) is that which can give power to the Rebel Alliance (the good) against the Empire and the Dark Side (evil).
Philosophical: the ultimate power is not strength or military prowess. The one most in tune with himself/the Force is victorious over evil.

five parallels:
Hindu religion journeys to a galaxy far, far away
"The Bhagavad-Gita." The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Ed. Martin Puchner. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. New York: Norton, 2013. 726-45. Print.

Greg, Grewell. "Colonizing the Universe: Science Fictions Then, Now,
and in the (Imagined) Future." Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature 55.2 (2001): 25-47. JSTOR. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.

Rao, K. S. Narayana. "T. S. Eliot and the Bhagavad-Gita." American Quarterly 15.4 (1963): 572-78. JSTOR. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.

Srinivasan, Vasanthi. "Transcreation of the Bhagavad Gita by Ashok Kumar Malhotra; Instant Nirvana: Americanization of Mysticism and Meditation by Ashok Kumar Malhotra; An Introduction to Yoga Philosophy: An Annotated Translation of the Yoga Sutras by Ashok Kumar Malhotra." Philosophy East and West 53.3 (2003): 421-25. JSTOR. Web. 18 Oct. 2013.

"Star Wars." Dir. George Lucas. Perf. Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford. Lucasfilm, 1977. DVD.

Upadhyaya, K. N. "The Bhagavad Gita on War and Peace." Philosophy East and West 19.2 (1969): 159-69. JSTOR. Web. 7 Nov. 2013.

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