BG Bullet Points - Some Factoids about the Gita

  • All ancient texts in the Classical Indian Lit cannon were originally taught and learned through recitation and memorization. The act of memorizing texts encouraged focus and scholarly concentration in the pupil.
  • The Bhagavad Gita is an episode contained in the Mahabarata
    • It may have first been an independent text, later inserted into the Mahabarata
  • BG was spoken by Lord Krishna in 3102 BC, just prior to the Mahabharata War.  
    • Some scholars place BG at 500-300 BC.
  • BG tells the story of Prince Arjuna of the Pandava family as he struggles with morality and mortality on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
  • Arjuna is fighting the Kaurava family, who happen to be his cousins with whom he grew up. 
  • The battlefield is not just a battlefield, it is a symbol of our inner landscapes, our lives.
    • Arjuna's struggle is symbolic of each of our own struggles for self-mastery.
  • Arjuna loses his nerve on the battlefield, questions his reasons for being there and his involvement in the whole situation.
  • Arjuna asks his charioteer and good buddy, Krishna, for some perspective.
  • Krishna is not just a dude, but is actually Krishna, the god.
    • Krishna is an avatar of Vishnu, the preserver and sustainer. 
    • Krishna is not an external being or superhuman, but symbolizes the divine spark that lies at the core of the human personality.
    • What good fortune for Arjuna!
  • Krishna offers advice on the nature of the soul and its relation to the divine, on the levels of consciousness and reality, the makeup of the phenomenal world.
  • Krishna expounds on a 3-pronged path to liberation: karma yoga, jnana yoga, and bhakti yoga.
  • Mindful action without attachment to the outcome of one's actions is encouraged above the renunciation of all action.  Act, and let it go rather than not acting. 
  • Mindful and ceaseless work with no selfish attachment purifies the consciousness.

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