Choose ONE of the following:
1. At the beginning of the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna fears he is trapped between two conflicting dharmas or duties. His personal dharma as a warrior dictates that he must fight, but universal dharma (sanatana dharma) precludes violence against kinsmen. Arjuna’s dilemma is not only the result of his love for his family, but the system of karma in which violating dharma will produce karmic demerit. In your essay, explain how the path of karma yoga articulated by Krishna resolves these issues of dharma and karma for Arjuna.
2. The Bhagavad Gita is a text that integrates multiple?and sometimes contradictory religious paths. Using the two passages below, consider the ways in which the paths of renunciation and devotion may conflict with each other. How is the Bhagavad Gita successful or unsuccessful in integrating these two paths?
?When [a disciplined man] gives up desires in his mind, / is content with the self within himself, / then he is said to be a man whose insight is sure, Arjuna. // When suffering does not disturb his mind, / when his craving for pleasure has vanished, / when attraction, fear, and anger are gone, / he
is called a sage whose thought is sure, // When he shows no preference / in fortune or misfortune / and neither exults nor hates / his insight is sure. // When, like a tortoise retracting / its limbs, he withdraws his senses / completely from sensuous objects, his insight is sure.? (2.55-58)
?Not through sacred lore, / penances, charity, or sacrificial rites / can I [Krishna] be seen in the form that you saw me. // By devotion alone can I, as I really am, / be known and seen / and entered into, Arjuna. // Acting only for me, intent on me, / free from attachment, / hostile to no creature, Arjuna, / a man of devotion comes to me.? (11.53-55).
3. A central theme in the Upanishads is the relationship of the human soul (atman) to the supreme reality (brahman). The Bhagavad Gita takes up this theme while presenting the supreme reality as the personal lord Krishna. Using passages from the Gita write an essay in which you explain the relationship of the deity Krishna to the individual human soul (atman).
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