ONLINE SEMINAR
September 13 | The Bhagavad Gita

$250.00

This seminar is sold out. To join the wait list, please email us

At the heart of the Indian epic the Bhagavad Gita is Krishna’s dialogue with the prince Arjuna, following Arjuna’s dilemma when he realizes that fighting in a war between two sides of a great family will mean he has to kill his own kin and teachers. The problem Arjuna faces is not unlike the faced by Achilles in Homer’s Iliad or Job in the Book of Job. In all three cases a profound crisis of conscience is encountered and overcome by wisdom of a certain kind. ​​ ​​

For many people, the text’s wisdom lies in its teaching on the nature of violence, nonviolence and a practice of self-realization, as well as a doctrine of karmayoga — a practice of worldly action with a spiritual insight. ​​The richness of the Bhagavad Gita merits the kind of close reading we will do. ​​Our aim is to listen in to the conversation that develops in the Gita as attentively as we can — and, to the best of our abilities, participate in that conversation, taking stock of the ultimate grounds and the far-reaching consequences of its vision for our own lives. No previous experience with classical Indian or Hindu texts is required.

When: Four weekly sessions on Mondays at 12:00 p.m. Eastern, starting September 13, 2021

Duration: 2 hours per session

Cost: C$250 plus 13% HST (approx. US$203 plus 13% HST)

Group Size: 12-participant limit

How: We meet on Zoom; you will receive joining instructions approx. 3 weeks before the seminar start date. For your privacy, all our Zoom seminars are password-protected and are never recorded. See full conditions at the bottom of this page.

All seminar payments are nonrefundable. All discount codes must be used at time of purchase. If you would like to apply your Toronto Pursuits 2020 deposit to this seminar, please contact us.

Out of stock

Description

LEADER

David Saussy has a MA in Eastern Classics from St. John’s College, where he studied the Bhagavad Gita in the context of the classics of India, Japan and China, and has led seminars on the Bhagavad Gita with several adult groups.

BOOK

The Bhagavadgita in the Mahabharata, translated by J.A.B. van Buitenen
(University of Chicago Press, 1981)
ISBN-13 : 978-0226846620

This edition is highly recommended, but not required.

We encourage you to support local bookstores or other independent sellers, especially as alternatives to Amazon.

In the US and the UK, try Bookshop.org, World of Books, or Ebooks (electronic books only)

In the US and Canada, try Powell’s Books, IndieBound, and Thiftbooks (used books only in Canada)

In Canada, try McNally Robinson or Indigo

​​Most people have heard of the Bhagavad Gita from one of three sources. Robert Oppenheimer quoted from it when he said, “I am Time, the Destroyer,” uttered upon the successful test explosion of the atomic bomb. Others may have happened across reference to it in the Third Quartet, Dry Salvages, by T.S. Eliot (“the fruits of your action are not your own”). Still others may have heard of the Bhagavad Gita in one of thousands of yoga studios across North America. ​​ ​​

The Bhagavad Gita is one of the world’s classics, coming to us from ancient India, speaking as freshly today as it did yesterday to the common experience of humans as human. This book is in fact a small slice of a massive and magisterial poem called the Mahabharata (The Great Bharata), a story about the trials and tribulations of a great family. ​​ ​​

The Gita proper begins when all efforts to create peace and comity between two sides of the great family fail, and preparations for war are being made. Both sides have marshaled armies and face each other on the battlefield, amidst the blaring of conch shells, battle elephants and the sound of war drums. ​​ ​​

The hero Arjuna has positioned himself in his chariot, driven by his friend and the god Krishna, so that he can survey the battlefield and see whom he is fighting. ​​ ​​

What he sees shocks him: He sees his family members and even beloved teachers. The thought of having to kill them in battle fills him with such dread that he suffers from a sudden failure of nerve, drops his weapons, and collapses into his chariot, saying, “I will not fight”. ​​ ​​

The rest of the Gita is Krishna’s dialogue with Arjuna, and the progressive unfolding of a rich wisdom concerning the hero Arjuna’s fundamental crisis of conscience. The problem Arjuna faces is not unlike the one Achilles faces in Homer’s Iliad and what Job faces in the Book of Job. In all three cases a profound crisis of conscience is encountered and overcome by wisdom of a certain kind. ​​ ​​

For many people, the text’s wisdom lies in its teaching on the nature of violence, nonviolence and a practice of self-realization, as well as a doctrine of karmayoga — a practice of worldly action with a spiritual insight. ​​

​​The richness of detail of the Bhagavad Gita merits the kind of close reading we will do. ​​Our aim is to listen in to the conversation that develops in the Gita as attentively as we can — and, to the best of our abilities, participate in that conversation, taking stock of the ultimate grounds and the far-reaching consequences of its vision for our own lives.

All online seminar payments are nonrefundable. All discount codes must be used at the time of purchase; no retroactive discounts will be issued.

Classical Pursuits does not record seminars. By participating in any seminar, registrants agree not to make their own seminar recordings and to abide by the Classical Pursuits code of conduct.

Image credit: Dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Edward Binney III Collection, The San Diego Museum of Art

 

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Standard registration, Toronto Pursuits 2020 credit