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INDIAN PHILOSOPHY. Krishna to Arjuna: Behold my mystic opulence! You are listening to the Bhagavad-Gita chanted by Dayananda Saraswati. Indus Valley Civilization 2500 BCE to 1600 BCE. Indus Valley Civilization. Harappan Images .

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INDIAN PHILOSOPHY

Krishna to Arjuna: Behold my mystic opulence!

You are listening to the Bhagavad-Gita chanted by Dayananda Saraswati


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Indus Valley Civilization2500 BCE to 1600 BCE


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Indus Valley Civilization

Harappan Images

The Harappan civilization in the Indus River Valley reached its peak around 2600 BC,


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The Vedic Age1500 BCE -322 BCE

  • Was there an Aryan invasion?

"Veda" means knowledge, vedic culture means the spiritually aware society “Dharma", is the meaning of life, the way to live the existence on Earth.

We often refer it as "Hinduism", but it is more correct to call it vedic-culture.


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The Vedic Tradition

  • The Vedas are the four primary texts of Hinduism. Rig Veda composed about 1500BCE.

    • Life is given meaning through ritual

    • Recited, chanted, and sung; all creation shares in the wisdom of divine reality

  • The Upanishads, written between 800 and 400 BCE are more philosophical

    • What is the nature of ultimate reality?

    • Who am I in the deepest meaning of my existence?


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The Vedic Tradition

  • The Laws of Manu

    • Establishes varna, the class system

      • (Brahmins, characterized by intelligence and excellent speech, priestly

      • Kshatriyas, characterized by strength and courage, kings and warriors

      • Vaishyas, characterized by practical intelligence, merchants

      • Shudras, characterized by lower intelligence, farmers

    • Life stages

      • Student

      • Householder

      • Forest Dweller

      • Seeker of moksha (liberation)


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The Vedic Tradition

  • The Epics

    • Mahabharata

    • Ramayana

    • Bhagavad-Gita is part of the Mahabharata

      • It is probably written after the reign of Asoka and the end of the Mauryan Empire

      • An attempt to hold together the tradition, both religious and philosophical, in the context of the challenges raised by Jainism and Buddhism


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The Bhagavad-Gita a moral path for all


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Structure of the Gita

  • 18 teachings

    • 1-6 are a dramatic narrative that include theoretical and practical teachings on self-knowledge and the nature of action

    • 7-12 the focus shifts towards knowledge of Krishna. Krishna become the object of Arjuna’s devotion (bhakti)

    • 13-18 the battle ground is redefined as the field of interior warfare. Devotion is the path that resolves the conflict between the worldly life of duty and the life of renunciation.


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Arjuna’s ConflictTeaching 1, verses 20-47

  • The Pandavas and the Kauravas

  • A warrior who kills his relative condemns the entire family

  • Arjuna puts down his weapons, slumps into the chariot, tormented by grief

  • Arjuna explores the relationship of the empirical self (gunas) and the ultimate self(atman) in conversation with his friend (and charioteer) Krishna


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Helpful Vocabulary

  • Atman—the ultimate self, unchanging and without multiplicity

  • Empirical self—constituted by the gunas, the strands of matter [sattva (lucidity), rajas (passion), and tamas (dark inertia)] that form the basis of all psycho-physical existence. These three intertwine to make the rope that binds humans to nature. This self must be disciplined and brought under control so that the individual can come to higher knowledge, freed from ignorance.


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Helpful Vocabulary

  • Renunciation of actions or nonattached action—we are bound by our attachments to the different kinds of matter.

    • Those attached to sattva are inclined to intellectual activity.

    • Those attached to rajas are inclined to vigorous action, and

    • those attached to tamas are inclined to devotional activity.

  • Disciplined nonattachment relates to each of these types of attachment. So there is the yoga of knowledge, of work, and of devotion. The goal of each pathway is to achieve independence of the gunas, but this only happens by working through the guna self.


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Helpful Vocabulary

  • Karma

    • the force of one’s action in determining what one is and will be. A store of actions that binds one to phenomenal existence. One cannot escape action. One can act without concern for consequences and so escape the bondage of action.

    • Action and effect

    • Embodied in matter

    • Adhere to the soul

    • Life circumstances of any individual are an effect of deeds and character in previous lives

      • Samsara—cycle of births


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Helpful Vocabulary

  • Dharma—sacred duty; from the Sanskrit meaning “that which sustains.” What one should do because it supports the individual and society and is therefore the right thing to do. Dharma is the guide to moral action. Notice that the right thing to do is decided according to categories of social position, kinship, and stage in life. There is a relativity of values and obligations that may be difficult because of our tendency to seek for universal moral principles.

  • Moksha—freedom, liberation. In the Gita, liberation is from the bondage of human action. It is based on detachment and freedom within oneself.


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Disciplined Nonattachment

  • Humans are inclined to intellectual activity, vigorous activity, or devotional activity

  • These are attachments, and each requires a discipline in the action

  • In self-discipline, one works through the guna-self, transcending it


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Karma-Yoga

  • Yoga (yoke) is the path to liberation

  • Karma Yoga is doing one’s duty, controlling enjoyment and desire

    • “Always perform with detachment any action you must do; performing action with detachment, one achieves supreme good.” (3.19)

    • Restrain your senses


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Jnana Yoga and Raja Yoga

  • Jnana yoga, the path of practical reasoning

  • Raja yoga, the path of meditation


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Bhakti-Yoga

  • Devotion to Vishnu

  • 11.8 The divine eye to see the majesty of the discipline

  • 11.32 I am time grown old, Creating world destruction, Set in motion to annihilate the worlds; Even without you, All these warriors, Arrayed in hostile ranks, Will cease to exist.

  • 11.45-51 Preference for the intimate form and gentle body

  • 11.55 “Acting only for me, intent on me, free from attachment, hostile to no creature, Arjuna, a man of devotion comes to me.”

  • The importance of a concept of personal, intimate, divinity


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Interior Warfare and Self-Discovery

  • The real enemy is desire.

  • Desire is overcome by discipline.

  • 14.5 “Lucidity, passion, dark inertia—these qualities inherent in nature bind the unchanging embodied self in the body.”

    • Lucidity addicts to joy

    • Passion addicts to action

    • Dark inertia addicts to negligence

  • Must transcend all three


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Interior Warfare and Self-Discovery

  • People of lucidity sacrifice to the gods

  • People of passion sacrifice to spirits and demons

  • People of dark inertia sacrifice to ghosts and corpses

  • All must be transcended


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Interior Warfare and Self-Discovery

  • OM TAT SAT

  • That is the Real

    • Knowers of infinite spirit

    • Who crave freedom

    • What is real and good


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Interior Warfare and Self-Discovery

  • 18.8 But if one performs prescribed action because it must be done, relinquishing attachment and the fruit, his relinquishment is a lucid act.


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Interior Warfare and Self-Discovery

  • 18.62-63

    • With your whole being, Arjuna, take refuge in him alone—from his grace you will attain the eternal place that is peace.

    • This knowledge I have taught is more arcane than any mystery—consider it completely and then act as you chose.


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Impact of the Gita

  • Gandhi

    • The mystery of supreme discipline

  • Radhakrishnan


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