The Bhagavad Gītā is likely the seminal pre-modern South Asian Sanskrit text; it has captured the imagination of popular and scholastic audiences in India and around the world for centuries. As a yoga text, it highlights the paths of devotion (bhakti), action (karma), knowledge (jñana), as well as that of meditation (dhyāna). The Gītā, as it commonly referred, has been translated in over seventy-five languages and is often referred to as a “spiritual classic.” But it is also a text with a rich history and specific literary context. It is not an independent literary work, but rather occupies a place within the great Indian epic, Mahābhārata. The Gītā has also played a central role in various political and theological movements. This course explores the content of Bhagavad Gītā—with a special emphasis of yoga—in addition to its Epic literary context, role in history, and its interpretation within commentarial traditions.
Robert Lindsey is an Adjunct at Rutgers University where he co-teaches the winter session study abroad course in Hinduism. He has given numerous guest lectures at Rutgers on topics such as Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavata Purana, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, Mahabharata, and Hinduism and the Afterlife. Robert is the Director of Yoga Philosophy and History at Yoga Vida NYC, where he teaches in teacher training programs and workshops. He has a BA in Politics from Princeton University and did post baccalaureate study at Rutgers University and the Jiva Institute in Vrindavan, India. He has a MA in South Asian Religious Studies from Columbia University, where he also studied Sanskrit. He also studied Sanskrit at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Pune, India.