Epic Poetry The doctrine of reincarnation in the Bhagavad-Gita

Epic Poetry The doctrine of reincarnation in the Bhagavad-Gita

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Sheet1 Page 1 Epic Poetry: The doctrine of reincarnation in the Bhagavad-GitaThe Doctrine of Reincarnation in the Bhagavad-Gita The most important Indian epic is the Mahabharata. As in Homer's Iliad, the story concerns a war that has distant roots in historical events given mythic dimension by the passage of time. Also an oral work, the Mahabharata was composed over a very long period of time, becoming in the process a unique storehouse of Hindu culture. Its main story has been so enlarged and embellished over the centuries that the range of the resulting massive work far exceeds that of any single Western poem. The Mahabharata contains not only the seeds of most classical Indian poetry and drama, but also one of the world's major religious documents as well, the Bhagavad-Gita. Although the original language of the poem is Sanskrit, it has been translated into the other languages of India since the sung narrative was written down, sometime around A.D 400. Knowing the meaning of the Sanskrit title gives some sense of the poem's significance: "maha" means great and "Bharata," the name of the mythic father of the Indian people, came to be the name for India itself. Thus the title announces the great story of India. Indeed, scholars believe they can see references in the poem to the founding of Indian civilization through the competition that seems to have taken place between different tribes moving into the valleys of the Indus and Ganges Rivers in about 1200 B.C. The bards who sang of the past turned the story of this competition into poetry. Because it is a work of the imagination rather than a record of history, the Mahabharata does not relate an accurate narrative of rival tribes, but like all epic poems, it personalizes their conflict instead. Out of dimly remembered history the work distills primal universal themes, recounting a tale of sibling rivalry and
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This note was uploaded on 05/18/2011 for the course HIST 101 taught by Professor N/a during the Fall '11 term at University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

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Epic Poetry The doctrine of reincarnation in the Bhagavad-Gita

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