In this Day School we examine the Bhagavad Gita from four perspectives. What are the main principles? Why does the Gita advocate war? What are its roots? and how is it linked to other Indian texts?
Students are provided with a full English translation of the Gita.
The Song Hits the Ground
Shaunaka Rishi Das
The Bhagavad Gita, the ‘Song of God’ has had a huge influence on Hindu cultures and the world more widely. There are many reasons for this but the fact that a hit remains in the charts for such a long time is certainly worthy of study. What is also worthy of study are the principles that commentators have discerned from the Gita that have formed the basis of practical action. The thought and lifestyles of millions continue to be guided by such principles hinting that the Gita may not be so heavenly-minded that its of no earthly use.
Love and War in the Bhagavad Gita
Prince Arjuna stands on the battlefield facing family, friends and revered elders in conflict. The conch has sounded and a war of epic proportion has begun. Yet the Bhagavad Gita is renowned for its teachings on bhakti or devotion to God. Does the Bhagavad Gita then advocate war? How can we reconcile Krishna’s teachings on love with such a scene of violence? How can love be Krishna’s teaching when He instructs Arjuna to fight? This class explores the apparent irreconcilable teachings on love and war on the battlefield of kuruksetra and beyond.
A Voice from the Beginning of the World: Krishna’s Many Creations
Dr Jessica Frazier
The Bhagavad Gita is a dream for anyone with a hungry mind. In no other major religion does God give a detailed account of his true nature and the creation of the world on demand! But if we look closely we will see that the Gita presents a jigsaw puzzle of different views, taken from the many different groups who were ancient ancestors of Hinduism. In this class we will discuss the majestic vision of the Vishva-Rupa in which Krishna allows Arjuna to see his true cosmos-creating, world-devouring form.
‘That is my opinion’: The Bhagavad Gita’s use of other sacred texts
Dr Rembert Lutjeharms
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna reveals himself as the divine source of all existence, on whom everything rests, in whom everything exists, and by whom everything is governed. Yet in teaching his friend Arjuna, he does not deliver an edict from on high. Rather, he builds up a careful argument that is grounded in earlier texts, like the Vedas and the Upanishads, whose teachings he references and paraphrases. Repeatedly, he presents his instructions on how the teachings of these sacred texts apply to Arjuna’s dilemma as ‘my opinion’ (matam mama), and he urges Arjuna to evaluate what he has said and then decide what he wants to do. In this session, we will explore the way the voices of these earlier texts echo in Krishna’s teachings, how he looks at these earlier texts, and how he evaluates their relevance for the difficulties that arise in the course of one’s daily duty.
When and where
Saturday 5 May
The Rembrandt Hotel
11 Thurloe Pl
London, SW7 2RS
Session one: 10–11.20am
Teas and coffees: 11.20–11.40am
Session two: 11.40am–1pm
Lunch break 1–2.30pm
Session 3: 2.30–3.50pm
Teas and coffees: 3.50–4.10pm
Session 4: 4.10–5.30pm