Tag Archives: human condition

Arjuna in the Mahabharata

Arjuna in the Mahabharata: Where Krishna Is, There Is Victory by Ruth Cecily Katz, a 1989 hardcover in the Studies in Comparative Religion series edited by Frederick M Denny from University of South Carolina Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Ruth Cecily Katz Arjuna in the Mahabharata from University of South Carolina Press

“This book is a thorough study of the great Indian hero, the Achilles of India, Arjuna, as portayed in the epic poem Mahabharata, including its world famous subsection, the Bhagavadgita. Attempting to portray Arjuna as ‘a Hindu, involved in Hindu culture, might see or have seen him on the basis of the epic as passed down through the centuries more or less in its current form,’ the discussion focuses in turn on three ‘levels’ of Arjuna’s character, tracing their ebb and flow throughout the text: Arjuna’s semi-divine heroism; his humanization in the face of debilitating dilemmas; and his transcendence of the human condition by way of devotion to the god Krishna. In consideration of earlier and contemporary scholarship regarding the Indian epic tradition, in particular the respective works Georges Dumézil and Madeleine Biardeau, this study locates the Mahabharata, and Arjuna with it, in the context of two thousand years of Indian religious texts, from the Vedas to the Puranas. More broadly, Arjuna is compared with Indo-European/Semitic heroes from outside the Indian tradition, such as Achilles himself, Gilgamesh, Rustam, Cuchulainn and, finally, Jesus. The complete Mahabharata story is retold for the reader’s convenience as the discussion proceeds. An appendix on the names (epithets) of Arjuna concludes the study.” — back cover

New theophiliacs post is a survey of Sufism as a mystical and reconciliatory movement within Islam

New theophiliacs post at “Islamic Mysticism: Sufism as Reconciliatory Movement” is a survey of Sufism as a mystical and reconciliatory movement within Islam.

“So, here is the discussion I want to have about this piece of research: Do you think mysticism is a common enough thread to open dialogue between religions? I am under the impression that most (all?) religions have their own mystics, so what about the human condition and pursuit for experiential knowledge of the divine drives mystics? I, again, cannot get over how many similarities exist between the development of Islamic orthodoxy and Christianity (no matter how loudly critics shout about the differences that do exist, and I do acknowledge that those differences exist).”