The Bhagavad-Gita is the most popular and widely studied of the Hindu scriptures. Shakespeare’s Hamlet is arguably the most influential text in European literature. Both of these classic works deal with a young prince responding to the struggles of his time. Perhaps unsurprisingly, both princes respond initially with anxiety and paralysis. But, the good news is that both princes also find their way to the other side of this response. Like the princes in these texts, we too live in difficult times, and we too are prone to respond with anxiety and even paralysis.
This program, led by Bradley Lewis, New York University cultural studies professor and practicing psychiatrist, is designed to allow for an extended and comparative experience of these two key texts from world literature. The month is devoted to an appreciative and critical study of the Gita and Hamlet’s lessons. Both of these texts are a pleasure to read and engrossing in their drama. But if you delve into their philosophy for living, wisdom, and meaning, you'll find that they both make enriching companions and a lifelong friends worthy of careful and detailed study.
Our Work Study program approaches the Bhagavad-Gita and Hamlet in a participatory fashion. No previous background is required. Our activities include:
• Appreciative and critical reading and discussion focusing on personal, political, gender, and philosophic dimensions of the texts
• Spiritual and experiential exercises inspired by the Gita and Hamlet (yoga, critical thinking, meditation, chanting)
• Creative arts and expression inspired by the Gita and Hamlet (memoir, music, visual arts, opera, film)
• Engaged practice by applying wisdom gleaned from the Gita and Hamlet to larger work study activities
• Journal writing and journal sharing of our processes together