Topics Worth Investigating

  1. What do you suppose is the rationale behind Krishna's declaration "Only fortunate warriors, O Arjuna, get an opportunity of an unsought war that is like an open door to heaven"? Can you locate evidence that this same belief is a tenet of Christianity, Islam, or Buddhism?

  2. Krishna relates, "The senses are said to be superior to the body, the mind is superior to the senses, the intellect is superior to the mind, transcendental knowledge is superior to the intellect, and the Self is superior to transcendental knowledge." Explicate the use of the term "superior" in this passage. Is this sense of "superior" a non-naturalistic use of the word? Explain.

    Does the found sense of "superior" illuminate the meaning of the phrase "[t]he mind becomes a friend to the one who has control over it"—as if there is something else that controls the mind?

  3. On the one hand, an important tenet of the path of renunciation is, in Krishna's words, "Do all work as an offering to God abandoning attachment to the results." On the other hand, an important tenet of modern psychology is the visualization of results as an aid to improvement. Can these two ways of understanding actions be made logically consistent and practically helpful?

  4. If all work were to be done, as the path of renunciation implies, "as an offering to God abandoning attachment to the results," then would it follow that no task is any more important than any other task? Would it also follow that we should not so much seek to help others for their own sake as we should seek to help others as an offering?

  5. How are sacrifice and self-defeating behavior to be distinguished? Is the main difference in worship?

  6. Explain as clearly as possible what Krishna means when he states, "O Arjuna, you are controlled by your own nature-born Karmic impressions." When Krishna continues with " We are puppets of our own karma," does this imply that we do not have free will?

  7. As described in the Gita, what is self-realization and how is it attained?