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Bhagavad Gita

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Originally, the Bhagavad Gita was part of one of the most famous of Indian epics, the Mahabharata. Now it exists as one of the most highly esteemed pieces of Indian literature ever written. The Bhagavad Gita takes place right before a battle between the Pandavas, the people of our protagonist Arjuna, and their evil cousins the Kauravas. As Arjuna surveys the battlefield, he sees thousands of courageous men ready to lay down their lives for their countries and is overwhelmed with sorrow and pity for he knows most of these brave men will die. Feeling pity for these men he orders his chariot driver, Krishna, to take him into the valley between the two armies. Here Arjuna drops his weapons and refuses to fight. This is where to Bhagavad Gita truly begins as Krishna, who happens to be the incarnate of God, starts to talk to Arjuna. Throughout the book, which is simply a dialogue between two men, one learns the meaning of life, the consequences of action and the purpose of one’s life on earth, which in the end is really nothing at all.

The first teachings of Krishna revolve around the concept of action versus inaction. Krishna does not necessarily promote one or the other in the traditional sense, however he explains the concept of action regarding the self and its surroundings. Krishna tells Arjuna, “The superior man is he whose mind can control his senses; with no attachment to results.” However, “He who controls his actions but lets his mind dwell on sense-objects is deluding himself and spoiling his search for the deepest truth.” Hence, the dilemma exists not in the decision between action and inaction, but in the ability to act without attachment to the action’s result. Krishna greatly emphasizes control over one’s senses and the ability to act without being affected by worldly consequences.

Krishna’s teachings do not speak of how we are supposed to deal with the world around us, however he teaches how to better understand ourselves. Krishna does not speak of the self as someone or something. He however pronounces the self as everything. He says that people’s knowledge of the world is sheer delusion while the knowledge of the self is indispensable. Krishna says in order to obtain true salvation one must have “no desire for success [and] no anxiety about failure.” With all efforts and concerns focused away from meaningless consequences and obstacles, one can focus solely on one’s self. “When a man has let go of attachments, everything he does is worship and his actions all melt away.”

Arjuna questions Krishna in the way of worship and how in time one can come to be with him after death. Krishna tells him that if everything he does is focused on the path to true enlightenment, he will soon come to know it. If one fills their lives with meditation and worship to God, they will join him in heaven. One must come to know God in every action they do and every aspect of themselves they observe. According to Krishna there are many ways to achieve the infinite wisdom of the enlightened. However, all these paths to enlightenment and eternal salvation end with the act of worship towards God. Krishna puts it this way: “Worshiping the gods, men go to the gods; worshiping spirits, to the spirits, worshiping me, they come to me in the end.”

Although one can obviously

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