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Bhagavat Gita

  • Date Submitted: 03/27/2013 12:36 PM
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Mustafa Ali ENGL-2210 Essay 1 September 27, 2004 The Use of Repetition as a Rhetorical Device in Ancient Religious Texts

Most works of literature die out over time, but ancient religious texts associated with the major religions of the world continue to provide moral and spiritual guidance to billions of people around the world. Works such as the Bible, the Qur’an and the Bhagavad Gita have inspired philosophical elites and illiterates alike, and have even helped shape the political map of the world. It would have been difficult for these ancient religious texts to command longstanding influence without powerful rhetoric that would convince the audience to remember the teachings and pass them down to younger generations. One rhetorical device that has greatly facilitated the proliferation of these religious texts is repetition. Studying the Bhagavad Gita’s use of repetition as a rhetorical device can help us understand how ancient religious texts have been successful in spreading their didactic messages to the masses. To understand the significance of poetic repetition as a rhetorical device in ancient religious texts, it is important to first understand the historical and culture setting of these texts. The Bhagavad Gita, considered one of the most important texts of Hindu spiritual guidance, is a seven-hundred-verse poem that was added to the sacred anthology of the “Mahabharata” around first century C.E. (Bedford 1:1488). It addresses the conflict between moral responsibilities and caste duties that became increasingly prominent with the emergence of city-states at the turn of the millennium (1488). The Bhagavad Gita was meant as a spiritual guide for people of all walks of life, yet there was one major obstacle between the text and its universal audience: during the first century C.E., only a select few worldwide could read and write. With widespread illiteracy in the populace, the only way the Gita could reach the masses

Mustafa Ali

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