Mahabharata and Ramayana - OCHS Online Courses

Perhaps the most famous writings in Indian literature are the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. The Mahabharata alone is the longest poem ever written and its passages of religious teachings are longer than all the Upanishads put together! In this course, you will study the central narratives, themes and analyze the religion that these two works reveal.

  • Session One: This session will begin with focusing on the Mahabharata and we will start with an outline of the entire 18 books that comprise the Mahabharata. From this foundation we will be able to springboard into a more thoughtful dissection of the religious teachings the text revealed.
  • Session Two: Following on the work from the previous session, you’ll have the opportunity to review and understand the central characters within the Mahabharata. From this review, we can contemplate how the male and female characters influenced religious and ethical teachings.
  • Session Three: In this session we will begin to tackle the presentation of Krishna and examine how the earthly inclusion of this Supreme Deity affected the concept of dharma.
  • Session Four: Diving into the passages that contain religious instruction in the Mahabharata, we will also examine some of the Bhagavad Gita and learn how the Gita fits within the framework of the Mahabharata.
  • Session Five: It’s time to begin exploring the Ramayana, a guide to ethical conduct and the understanding and implementation of dharma. This text provides an introduction to Rama, which is an avatar of Narayana.
  • Session Six: Similar to session two, we’ll now take a look at the principal characters in play within the text of the Ramayana. We will review the differences between the female and male characters and look at how they provide religious and ethical instruction.