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The Bhagavad Gita
Transcript of The Bhagavad Gita
Arjuna and Krishna
Other Indian Literature
The Bhagavad Gita
Part of the Hindu epic MAHABHARATA
Mahabharata may be the longest poem in the world, it is 7 times longer than the Odyssey and Iliad combined
Began to grow popular in 4th century B.C.E
Bhagavad Gita is a Sacred text written in Sanskrit
Means 'Song of God'
Contains a discussion between Krishna and the Indian hero Arjuna on human nature and the purpose of life
Gita's Big Question
How can ARJUNA fight in a battle against his kinsmen without accumulating a devestating amount of KARMA?
The rest of the Gita is a dialouge between KRISHNA (The incarnated Vishnu) and ARJUNA, in which Krishna introduces new ideas into traditional Hinduism
Ideas which allow any person from any caste to establish a direct and personal relationship with Krishna
and to facilitate the progression of the soul towards freedom from rebirth (MOKSA)
and union with the one (BRAHMAN)
Setting of Gita
Starts before great cosmic battle
Arjuna notices that enemy ranks are made up of relatives , teachers and friends
All relatives are children of Bharata (just like Hebrews are sons of Israel)
Arjuna has to fight but he fears that he will accumulate a devastating amount of karma by killing Kinsmen and friends
prehistoric religion that can be traced before recorded history
Originated in India
3rd largest religion in the world
About 82% of people in India practice the religion
Hindus believe in reincarnation, one absolute being of multiple manifestations, the law of cause and effect, following the path of righteousness, and the desire for liberation from the cycle of births and deaths.
Krishna means "white", "silver", and "gleaming"
One of the five Pandava Brothers, who are the heroes of the Mahabharata
Archer warrior prince to whom Krishna expounds the nature of being, the nature of God, and the way humans come to know God
Worshiped as the eight incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu
He was dark and extremely handsome
Krishna means "black" and "all attractive"
That which uphoalds or sustains the positive order of things;the nation, community, family, and even the universe
Path to righteousness
Moral law that guides life
Sanskri for "Journeying"
Cycle of birth, death, and rebirth which life in the material world is bond
Idea is to be liberated from the cycle
Good deeds from a person lead to good things in return
Bad deeds lead to harmful effects
Effects are not always immediate, but can be visited upon a soul in future lives
Good karma can lead to incarnation as a human while bad karma can lead to incarnation as an animal
Sanskrit for "liberation"
Liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth known as Samsara
Ultimate goal of the Hindu religion practice
Achieve Moksha through self-realization by meditation and thoughtful action
Become one with Braham (the supreme being)
One supreme being called Braham
He comes in a trinity of Braham, Vishnu, and Shiva
The Jakata(story of a Birth)
The Pancatantra(the Five Books or the Five Strategies)
The Kathasaritsagara (Ocean of the Rivers of Story)
Influenced many stories that are now heard all over the world
All three stories use the device of framing, which sets stories inside other stories so that each is embedded withing a larger story
(Story of a Birth)
Formally collected in 4th century B.C.E
Written in Pali
Larger body of stories about the earlier lives of the Buddha
it frames hundreds of stories within the 550 prior incarnations of the Buddha
In Each individual story inside the framework Buddha recalls a prior life in order to make a point about Buddhist ethics
In each story the main point is underscoped with an epigram (short poem expressing a single thought)
All stories teach about Buddhist values like; not to destroy life, not to take what is not given, avoid consumption of alcohol,to love selflessly, and to be useful
The stories were all translated by the Greeks, Persians, Jews, and Arabs and made their way around the world
Has as its main frame a sage attempting to teach a king's three dull-witted sons the fine points of governing
Written in Sanskrit
Was also translated to many different languages
Brought to Europe in the 8th century C.E
Has inspired such works as 1001 Nights , the Decameron, and The Canterbury tales
Work contains 5 books that contain their own frame
Within the storie characters tell each other stories which illustrate points of governance
Many different plots go on simultaneously without ever losing track of the main plot
Many are animal stories
The largest and most famous of the three
An 11th century C.E. adaptation of an earlier work in dialect named The Great Romance
Also has multi-layer frame
The first story composed in the 7th century C.E. the author writes the story as a punishment imposed on him by a godess who turned him into a troll. His stories were rejected by a king because they were written in "Troll language". The author burned all the stories, but one volume.
Individual collections of tales are sometimes themselves framed like a famous collection of 25 riddle stories told by vampire or ghoul
One of the riddle stories turns up centuries later in Hans Christian Andersen's "The Princess and the Pea"
Mahabharata and Homer's Epics
The Mahabharata's roots are with the Indo- Aryans, who came to the Indus River Valley around 1500 B.C.E. Those people were the same group that the Greeks were part of, which suggest that the Mahabharata's similarities to Homer's epics may be a result of common origin rather than direct influence.
Characters who are part divine
Initial situation involving loss of a possession that reflects personal honor
Cosmic war fought over a woman
The Bhagavad Gita is part of the Hindu epic the Mahabharata
Written in Sanskrit
It starts before a big cosmic battle
Most of it is dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna
The Indian stories The Jataka, The Pancatantra, and the Kathasaritsagara were all composed in tecnique called framing and have influenced many stories around the world
Krishna explains why Arjuana has to fight
Krishna tells Arjuna that the
soul is immortal
, so death is an illusion; no one can ever be killed
To live is to act, and that action is necessary to keeping the self, and the cosmos healthy
One can act in the world without accumulating Karma if one acts from
rather than personal gain
can be done by undertaking every action as a personal sacrifice to God
Then action can lead to liberation if done with discipline (yoga)
Krishna tells Arjuna he is from the warrior class and reminds him that this no ordinary war but one whose purpose is to set the
Arjuna is ready to fight
Krishna finishes his teachings by revealing himself to Arjuna in all his glory
Arjuna cannot long endure the sight of unmediated divinity
He begs Vishnu to return to to being Krishna and then picks up his bow and prepares to fight