Gita1--short - The Bhagavad Gita Introduction Using the...

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The Bhagavad Gita Introduction Using the Gita for this class o As a classic of world literature and religion, a rich text  that rewards careful and repeated readings. o As an introduction the main themes of the class. o As an example of the religious attempt to address human  concerns. o As a meditation on war, violence, and death—and how  we might face these realities with integrity and dignity. How we will Read the Gita As a sacred text that deals with universal human themes. What we will focus on o The very human dilemma Arjuna faces as the Gita  begins. o The various ways Arjuna and Krishna deal with this  dilemma. o The ways this dilemma raises larger questions about the  place of war, violence, action, and duty in human life.  o The notions of ultimate concern that the text articulates.    What we will not focus on o The entire system of Indian metaphysics (or worldview)  that informs the Gita.  We will deal with this very briefly. Background: The Mahabharata o The Mahabharata is a very long text that describes the  relations between two rival families in ancient India.   o The Gita is a small, but very famous, section of the  Mahabharata. o At the start of the Gita, a civil war is brewing, and Arjuna  is a warrior-prince on one side (the Pandavas). Gita1--short 1
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Narrative Background o The Pandavas have tried to avoid the war, but the  Kuravas continue to provoke it. o Krishna, one manifestation of the God Vishnu, serves as  Arjuna’s charioteer.   o As a warrior and prince, Arjuna has the duty to fight, but  at the opening of the Gita, he hesitates.  The Gita takes  place in this moment of hesitation.  Background: Key Terms Karma: The Sanskrit term meaning "action." It refers to a concept in 
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