Oxford Summer School: The 21st Century Gītā, 22–23 June 2019

THE 21st CENTURY GITA

Bhagavad Gītā is a central text in Indian philosophy. Set on an ancient battlefield, we may wonder at its application to 21st-century life. This weekend of interactive discussions with scholars and practitioners explores why millions still find the Gītā relevant.

What is the Gītā about?

What does it say about nature, the world, and life itself?

What goals and practices does it define?

WHEN & WHERE

Saturday 22 – Sunday 23 June 2019
Balliol College, Oxford

 

Timings (each day)
Morning: 10.00am–1.00pm (includes tea break)
Lunch Break: 1.00–3.00pm
Afternoon: 3.00–5.30pm (includes tea break)

ENROL TODAY

Enrolment fee of £345
includes teas and coffees,
lunch on Saturday,
and the course book The Bhagavad Gita by Dr Nick Sutton

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THE COURSE

Saturday Morning

Choices ~ Influences ~ Decisions


The very nature of reality is deeply explored in Bhagavad Gītā. We are introduced to three threads (guṇas) that constitute all material existence. We learn how they colour our vision, influence our choices, and shape our actions and reactions. The Gītā’s explanation of the guṇas provides a template for navigating the bewildering proliferation of choice we face.


Tutor: Anuradha Dooney
10.00–11.25am
Duty ~ Knowledge ~ Devotion

The terms – dharma (duty), jnana (knowledge), and bhakti (devotion) – appear all over the Gīta. How do these concepts fit in our time? More importantly, how do they combine to create a single consistent whole that informs our values and actions?


Tutor: Dr Nick Sutton
11.40am–1.00pm

Saturday Afternoon

Laughter and Play – the Gītā as an Antidote for the 21st century

Sometimes, our century seems to be marked by the sorrowful side of saṃsāra (life in this world). We look at what the Gītā teaches about the role of laughter (hāsya) and play (līlā) in our lives. Far from being trivial, these give profound insights into human nature and a caring, approachable, and compassionate Divine.


Tutor: Professor Julius Lipner
3.00–4.10pm
Translating the Gītā

People have been translating Bhagavad Gītā into English for centuries now, sparing us the need to learn Sanskrit. Each translation speaks to its age and audience leading to some very different versions. We join our resident Sanskritist to understand some of the issues in a practical session that looks at particular verses and their versions. No Sanskrit required (our tutor knows enough for all of us).


Tutor: Dr Rembert Lutjeharms
4.20–5.30pm

Sunday Morning

Bhagavad Gītā for Yogis

Bhagavad Gītā is a user-guide for human life. At its centre is yoga – in concept and practice. The word ‘yoga’ is mentioned more than eighty times; each of the 18 chapter titles also contains the word ‘yoga’. So, what does the Gītā have to say on the matter and how does it differ from the ideas in the Yoga-sūtra? In the Gītā, Krishna’s student, Arjuna, faces an overwhelming anxiety – a condition many of us experience. What yoga does Krishna teach Arjuna to overcome this?

Perform action, abandon attachment, be steadfast in Yoga, and balanced in success and failure. This is Yoga.’ (Bg. 2.48)


Tutor: Dr Ramesh Pattni
10.00–11.25am
Violence and the Gītā

OCHS Summer School 2019

What better place than a battlefield to explore the roots of violence? Chapter 16 of the Gītā gives us an analysis of the light and dark side of human nature. What drives us to embrace peace or rise to anger and war?

While between the two armies,with a slight smile, Krishna then spoke these words… (Bg. 2.10)


Tutor: Anuradha Dooney
11.40am–1.00pm

Sunday Afternoon

Reading the Gītā

To read or hear the Gītā is a meditation, even a conversation. In this session we take the time to read selected passages, recite the Sanskrit verses as they are intended to be heard, and explore their meanings. We relearn how to read.


Tutor: Dr Rembert Lutjeharms
3.00–4.10pm
The 21st Century Gītā

Thousands of years ago, two friends, Krishna and Arjuna discussed life’s most relevant questions. The setting was a battlefield, the issues urgent, and the resulting text, the Bhagavad Gītā, has become an important contribution to the philosophical and spiritual literature of the world. We look at six values from that text and learn how to this day We can use them to better our vision, our deeds, and our character.

These six values? Equal Vision (Sama Darshana) ~ Choice (Icchā) ~ Acting Without Harm (Ahimsa) ~ Teaching by Example (Acharya) ~ Humility (Amānitva) ~ Affection (Prīti)


Tutor: Shaunaka Rishi Das
4.20–5.30pm

YOUR TUTORS

Anuradha Dooney

Anuradha Dooney

Anuradha was awarded a Masters in the Study of Religion at Oxford. She is a faculty member of the OCHS Continuing Education Department and has played a key role in curriculum development.

Dr Nick Sutton
Dr Nick Sutton

Nick is the Director – and the heart and soul – of the OCHS Continuing Education Department. He is a dedicated teacher with decades of experience in making sometimes-confusing traditions relevant. He has created ten online courses and is working on many more. He has written translations and commentary on Bhagavad Gītā and the Yoga Sūtra.

Dr Ramesh Pattni

Dr Ramesh Pattni

Dr Ramesh Pattni completed his doctoral thesis at Oxford. His subject was Yoga Psychology based on the Yogasūtra. Ramesh has been teaching Hinduism since 1993 and is the past Co-Chair of the Hindu Christian Forum (UK) and a past Director of the Interfaith Network UK.

Dr Rembert Lutjeharms

Rembert Lutjeharms OCHS

Dr Rembert Lutjeharms, OCHS Librarian and chief Sanskritist, studied Oriental Studies at the University of Ghent, Belgium, and went on to achieve his doctorate at Oxford. He now lectures in Hinduism at Oxford while pursuing research in Sanskrit poetry, Bengali Vaishnavism, and Sanskrit hermeneutics.

Prof. Julius Lipner

Professor of Hinduism and the Comparative Study of Religion at the University of Cambridge. Prof. Lipner is an old friend and regular contributor to OCHS Summer Schools.

Shaunaka Rishi Das

Shaunaka is founder/Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and Oxford University’s first-ever Hindu Chaplain. Shaunaka has shepherded the OCHS into its role as the world’s best centre for Hindu Studies and is a well-known broadcaster and speaker.

THE VENUE

Old Common Room
Balliol College, Oxford
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THE LUNCH

OCHS Summer School 2019

On Saturday, a simple and tasty vegetarian (with vegan options) meal will be served at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies.

ENROL TODAY

Enrolment fee £345
includes teas and coffees,
lunch on Saturday,
and the course book The Bhagavad Gita by Dr Nick Sutton

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Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

13-15 Magdalen St
Oxford OX1 3AE

Regd Charity No. 1074458

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