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|Title:||Evolutionary Aspects of the Kṛṣṇa Figure in the Mahābhārata|
|Authors:||Lange, Emil F.|
|Advisor:||Arapura, J. G.|
|Abstract:||<p>This thesis has grown out of an interest first stimulated by a study course on the Bhagavadgītā. Since Kṛṣṇa is the dominant figure in that devotional poem I felt myself further challenged to pursue research on the Kṛṣṇa figure as it was represented in a greater work, the Mahābhārata, of which the Gītā is but a part. It soon became apparent that there was no one concpt of this central person in the world's largest Epic. There were too many elements of a truly human nature and at the same time other elements which made it clear that one was confronted with more than a mere human being, i.e., a divinity.</p> <p>In the beginning the question foremost in my mind was, Who was Kṛṣṇa? But with the! discovery of a number of figures another question posed itself, Is there any way in reconciling the various figures or images of the man-god?</p> <p>Living in the Western world as we do the thrust of the scientific mind is constantly directed towards an analytical approach to man himself and the material world in which he lives to the point where the sense of the wholeness of life has been more or less neglected. It has been encouraging to note the opposite trend in the Mahābhārata. Here there is an emphasis on the wholeness of life and an effort is consciously made to synthesize the various elements surrounding Kṛṣṇa (which must have been in circulation at the time of compilation) into one comprehensive whole, a synthesis which was possible under the Hindu teaching concerning avataras.</p> <p>It must have been no small undertaking at a time when sectarian movements and cults were threatening the very existence of Hinduism and in fact undermining the belief in a divine being. The Mahābhārata took form to stem the pluralism by gathering up a whole compendium of the Hindu way of life and then popularizing it by means of a rather new and personal deity and teacher, Ṡrī Kṛṣṇa. And the divine poem, the Bhagavadgītā, which is attributed to him has rung a responsive note in the hearts of the Indian people ever since.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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