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Introduction to Bhagavadgita

The Bhagavadgita is a moksa-sastra, a sacred text that reveals the vision of the Upanisads. In that vision one is, in reality, whole and complete, the truth of all that is.  Knowing this fulfills the fundamental human aspiration for the fulfillment, freeing one from the problem of seeking, here or in the hereafter.  It is also a yoga-sastra, a sastra that teaches not only the prerequisites to gaining this vision but the means for acquiring them.  In this course we will explore both aspects of this sastra through selected verses, to arrive at a comprehensive and consistent overview of the Bhagavadgita.

$900.00

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Course Code: HSF 5002

Credit Hours: 3

Course Level: 500

$900.00

The Bhagavadgita is a moksa-sastra, a sacred text that reveals the vision of the Upanisads. In that vision one is, in reality, whole and complete, the truth of all that is.  Knowing this fulfills the fundamental human aspiration for the fulfillment, freeing one from the problem of seeking, here or in the hereafter.  It is also a yoga-sastra, a sastra that teaches not only the prerequisites to gaining this vision but the means for acquiring them.  In this course we will explore both aspects of this sastra through selected verses, to arrive at a comprehensive and consistent overview of the Bhagavadgita.

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Learning Outcome:-

  1. Gain a comprehensive and consistent overview of the Bhagavadgita as both a moksa-sastra and a yoga-sastra.
  2. Understand the scope and relevance of the pursuits of knowledge and action in the Bhagavadgita.
  3. Be able to resolve paradoxes and seemingly competing viewpoints in the verses.
  4. Gain clarity on the meaning of moksa, karmayoga, bhakti, and meditation, in the Gita.
  5. Discern some of the paradigms that underlie various interpretations of the Gita.

The non-dual vision presented in the Gita has its origin in the Upanisads, where it is revealed through a teacher-student dialogue. Consistent with this, the teachings of the Gita are delivered through a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna. Unlike the Upanisads, the Gita discusses at length the participants in this dialogue. The Gita also goes much further than the Upanisads in expanding the discussion of the philosophical teachings, approaching them from a variety of perspectives, sometimes precipitated by a question from Arjuna. Its uniqueness, however, lies in its elaboration of the necessary conditions for understanding its core teaching, and the means, including Ashtanga Yoga, for creating those conditions.  Our inquiry into the vision of the Bhagavadgita presented in this course is based on the commentary of Sankara, the principal exponent of non-duality, advaita. Sankara’s is the earliest extant commentary on the Bhagavadgita, and arguably the most consistent, as will be demonstrated in the course of our study through an examination of paradoxical verses. As we proceed, we will also gain a clear understanding of the meaning of moksa, karmayoga, bhakti, and meditation, as presented in the Gita. And throughout the course, we will see, over the shoulders of Arjuna, the relevance of the teachings of the Gita to our lives today.

Required/Elective: Required

Prerequisites: Admission to the program of study

Faculty/Instructor: Swamini Agamananda Saraswati

Quarter Offered: Winter 2020

Area of Study:- Hindu Studies Foundation 

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