Bhagavad Gita in Context

To study the Bhagavad Gita and to understand it culturally and historically, one must begin with the larger context from which we get the Gita - the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. The Mahabharata and the Ramayana are two famous epic poems from the Hindu tradition, and the Mahabarata, especially, stands apart for being absolutely massive in scale. It is ten times longer than the Iliad and the Odyssey combined, with over 100,000 verses. In studying the Mahabharata, we are challenged to grapple with whether the poem depicts mythical or historical events. Scholarship won't help us, as scholars defend both points of view. Some stand by the argument that it depicts historical events with fictional characters. As Sudipta Bhawmik says, “The characters of the Mahabharata might be fictitious, but their dreams, ambitions, and flaws are very real and still exist in us.” Maha mea

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