Humanities 201
India: The Mahābhārata and Bhagavad-Gītā
India Background  Bhagavad-Gītā Background  Bhagavad-Gītā Q's 
India's Heroic Age (550 B.C. - A. D. 100)

Important Terms:

EPICS of India's Heroic Age: Four classes (varna) of Indian society (see p. 684): karma: "action": principle that "all deeds, good and bad, have inevitable results, which must be borne by the doer in an existential state, so that the soul is trapped in an endless cycle of birth and death" (Norton [earlier edition] 840)

mokşa: ultimate goal of life--liberation from constraints of worldly existence- denied to sudras and women
(lesser goals include dharma, artha, and kama)

Men: bound by a prescribed program of sacred duty (dharma) that is appropriate to their class (varna)

Women: "form a class in themselves, for a woman's dharma is defined as that of a wife, allowing women no identities or aspirations apart from their allegiance to their husbands" (Norton [earlier ed.] 839).

Caste system: larger number of "service" castes subordinated to a small number of elite groups.

Quatama Buddha (563-483 B.C.) & Mahavira (d. 468 B.C.)

 Hinduism:

Mabhārata (ca. 400 B.C. - A. D. 400)
See link with more extensive background discussion 

Bhagavad-Gītā (1st century B.C.)
"Song of the Lord" part of 6th book of Mabhārata Things to Consider:
** Homework Questions **
683-84:
685:
727: Bhagavad-Gītā
Chapter Two:
733: 734-35:

736:

Chapter Three:
736-39:
737:

Chapter Eleven:
744:


Other Discussion Questions:
679:

680:

681:
681-83:
683:

684:

685:

Chapter One:

730:

731:
733:

735:

739:
Chapter  Eleven:
743:

Back to Top