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Assignment #4 - Sweta Ramachandran Chiarucci 224 Wheeler...

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Sweta Ramachandran Chiarucci 224 Wheeler South and Southeast Asian Studies 10 October 2007 Assignment #4 In the Upanisads and the Gita , the quest for spiritual liberation underlies all behaviors and actions, and this salvation from the desires and evils of the mortal world is the ultimate goal of mankind . However, both texts present different means through which this highly sought-after liberation can be attained . Although ritual and ethical actions are highly valued in the Upanisads and the Gita , both emphasize the importance of knowledge in acquiring power and spiritual liberation . Knowledge leads to gnosis, which entails the intuitive apprehension of spiritual truths . This awareness that the nature of the self, the cosmos, and reality as a whole is profoundly mystical and holistic allows humans to achieve true spiritual salvation . However, the two texts also claim that a concern for ethical behavior underlies this philosophy of liberation; only through ethical behavior can one achieve the knowledge and liberation that all humans desire . Ethical behavior involves abiding by principles of righteous conduct and moral values . These two works emphasize ethical ideals such as discipline, duty (dharma), and righteousness . Both knowledge and ethical actions play a significant role in the Upanisads and the Gita , but intellect is crucial in the quintessential quest for spiritual enlightenment . The Bhagavad Gita is a part of the Mahabharata epic that follows the
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conversation between Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield just prior to the start of a war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas . As the battle is about to begin, Arjuna realizes that he feels dismayed and appalled at the prospect of killing his family and friends . Despondent and perplexed about what is right and what is wrong, Arjuna turns to Krishna for divine advice and teachings .
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