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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
Bhagavad-Gita:
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
Bhagavad-Gita:
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
Bhagavad-Gita:
"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
Advisers
Bhagavad-Gita:
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
Bhagavad-Gita:
"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
Bibliography
"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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