The Ramayana and The Bhagavad-Gita

1. Every epic work defines heroism differently, and many heroes are great of stature without being moral paragons. As the headnote to the Ramayana points out, Rama is a virtually perfect man. Do you find him less interesting than other heroes on that account? What indications are there in this portion of the text that his perfection may not be totally innate, but a state of being that he must work to achieve? How would this mirror the efforts we see his mother, Kausalya, make to discipline her  feelings? How would that be consistent with the Hindu religious beliefs that imbue this work?

I do not find Rama less interesting than the other heros. The test was easier to read than past readings and it was more clear to see that he was more relaxed, worked very hard for what he achieved and had a solid head on his soilders. They say he was a perfect man, and its not that he was perfect, not one is perfect but that he worked very hard for what he had and gained. He was almost perfect in the way that he  acted in difficult situations that makes us. Like when he was exiled, he was calm and gave up the kingdom without a fight. Rama’s mother was not as dedicated to dharma as Rama was and she was reminded of that in the beginning of the story.

2. In The Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna speaks to Arjuna, a warrior afraid to fight: compare Arjuna’s dilemma with that of Achilles in the Iliad, or that of Medea as she struggles with her maternal emotions when she is about to kill her sons by Jason. Compare the code of behavior Krishna outlines to the view of violence in Homer’s poem or Euripides’ Medea. If appropriate, look for materials in other belief systems that reflect on these questions: consider “[The First Murder]’ (Genesis 4), the Beatitudes (Mathew 5), or “The Offering of Isaac,’ or the table (Sura 5 of the Koran).

Arjuna’s dilemma to fight was due to his devotion to the divine. He was also conflicted because the army he was going to fight included his own kind. Achilles when he realized that they were fighting a political war was willing to stop fighting, were Medea was the complete opposite and did not consider any other way of releasing her anger she choose to kill her children.

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