Bhagavad Gita

Explaining the universe is not exactly easy. There are inevitably contradictions that helpdefine categories of time and timelessness, the one and the many, sense versus essence,action and inaction. In many ways, Krishna’s speech steers into, rather than away from,these kinds of paradoxes. They help him make the overarching argument that defines theGita: that Arjuna’s “right action” is to fight in this war. But be that as it may, it is stilldifficult to resolve these paradoxes into a logically coherent picture of where, how, when,and in what form Krishna exists.Prompt: In your Critical Analysis, identify one paradox that Krishna develops in theGita. Briefly define what makes the paradox paradoxical—what two elements are beingjuxtaposed that logically contradict each other. Then, develop an argument thataddresses: a) what is this paradox’s significance, and b) how does it help Krishnapersuade Arjuna to fight in the war.There are several conceptual categories (these are categories, not paradoxes!) to use as astarting point. These are “ways in” to the text’s core themes, they are not boxes youhave to “check.” A good paper will not try to tackle all of these.• The individual and the universal• Perception and reality• Temporality and atemporality• Fate and free will• Good and evil• Action and inaction
• Sources: You must quote from the Gita to be successful in this assignment. Onlyuse our textbook, my lectures, and the Bhagavad Gita reading. Of these, make sureyou are engaging most fully with the Gita.• Citations:. The Gita’s translation istaken from: Satyamurti, Carole, trans. Mahabharata: a Modern Retelling. NewYork, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2016. Print.• Argument: Some things to avoid: Are you just summarizing the Gita? Are youjust identifying a paradox without developing an argument about how it helpsKrishna persuade Arjuna to action?o Are you making an argument that is, in fact, just the premise of theassignment—that the Gita relies on paradoxes and is a persuasive text?Summary: Does every moment of “summary” help you advance your argument?Do you make absolutely clear why citations and quotations help your argument?More often than not, there’s too much summary and not enough argument.• Text, not Context: You can cite historical context to help you make an argumentabout the text, but you shouldn’t cite text to help you make an argument abouthistorical context. Ask yourself: is my argument actually about the Gita?• Editing, Honing: Is your first draft your final draft? It shouldn’t be! Have youtaken time to hone and narrow down your argument? Is your argument still toobroad?Most importantly, make sure to use quotations and close reading to substantiate yourargument! That’s absolutely essential to be successful in the assignment. In addition,make sure to develop a specific, concrete argument about your paradox. Identifying theparadox is just the first step, not the end goal. Don’t just summarize and recapitulate thetext’s contents.

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