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Bhagavad Gita /discussion, thoughts

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by syncretic, May 30, 2014.

  1. syncretic

    syncretic Veteran Member

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    I've decided to create this thread for the discussion of the Bhagavad Gita, I don't want it to be purely debate, but opinions on the material in the text. I decided to put this in this section to allow anyone to discuss this work, and further because I believe the philosophical aspects are interesting.
    If you have read this work, or are reading it, input is open to any ideas you have, even if to merely 'disagree' with aspects or whatnot.
    I didn't see a book discussion forum, if there is one, the mods could put this thread there, if it is better suited.
     
  2. DreadFish

    DreadFish Cosmic Vagabond

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    It's been a while since I read the Gita, but I used to read it a lot.

    To start, the first thing i'd mention is my opinion that the BG does not imply Krishna's supremacy, specifically over any other form. I think that Krishna is just representative and that the teachings would still stand, regardless of what character played the part of Krishna.
     
  3. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    I think it's alright.

    To me it seems to be one of the better theistic scriptures out there, but I don't actually believe its contents, and I can see how some of the beliefs could be harmful even.
     
  4. psychoslice

    psychoslice Veteran Member
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    In the wrong hands yes, as also with the bible.
     
  5. syncretic

    syncretic Veteran Member

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    Really? Care to elaborate?
     
  6. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    The narrative of the Gita is a war. Arjuna is fighting in a war, and he starts off by feeling despair about the whole thing because he doesn't want to be dishonored but he also doesn't want to kill people on the other side, especially because he used to know them well.

    Krishna encourages him to fight and kill, because it's his duty and that all of the people he kills will be reincarnated anyway.

    I don't consider that aspect to be a positive message. It's too easy to run that in the wrong direction. Someone like Gandhi can interpret the whole thing as a metaphor and say that the enemies were mental enemies, but the context is pretty straightforward and uses reincarnation as a justification.
     
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  7. Madhuri

    Madhuri RF Goddess
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    The main justification is Dharma but a lot of reasons are given, including what you said.
    But Dharma, duty, is of main significance. Krishna is teaching that inaction is not greater than action. Arjuna and his brothers are the rightful heirs to the throne- they also represent righteous qualities. If they back down and allow their enemies to take over the kingdom, the kingdom will fall into 'darkness'.

    Think of it like this: an opposing nation attacks your country. Do you, the president, allow them to invade because you don't want to hurt them? Or do you fight back because it's your duty as president to protect your nation and its people?

    In this scenario Arjuna and his brothers are the protectors of their realm. To back down would be to allow bad people to take over and ruin the country. So Krishna says Fight, Arjuna. It is your duty.

    In all the history of Hinduism, I don't think there are many examples of this teaching being taken out of context.
     
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  8. Madhuri

    Madhuri RF Goddess
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    I personally think that the Gita is amazing. Even if I became an atheist, rejecting Hinduism, I would consider the Gita to be a source of immense wisdom.
    I put the BG as my religious title a while ago here on RF for that reason.
     
  9. Poeticus

    Poeticus | abhyAvartin |

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    The Kaurava-s were an opposing group that were attacking
    not only the Pandava-s, but the estates and settlements of
    the Pandava-s. It was pretty much an attack of their country.

    The BG has never been used as a justification for one or more
    Hindu groups to wage war on other Hindus & non-Hindus. It
    doesn't follow the Dharmic socio-cultural mindset. It's basically
    a foreign concept for 'em.

    Unlike other religious traditions and their scriptures, Hindu
    scriptures have historically been given leeway for interpretation.
    This is evident from the existence of three different approaches
    in interpreting Hindu texts, all three which are, scripturally,
    equal & valid according to the Dharmashastra-s:

    1. adhyatmika (spiritual interpretation)
    2. adhiyajna (ritualistic interpretation)
    3. [Crap, forgot the third one. :D]

    In other words, as per Hindu Law, a radical Hindu using the text
    for his/her own violent means cannot dictate to a spiritualist or
    traditional Hindu that his/her version of the Gita is more correct.​
     
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  10. Sumit

    Sumit Sanatana Dharma

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    Yes, if one reads/understands Gita in above^ way than it's definately going to harm.
    Btw duty to kill or to follow Kshatriya dharma by fighting against untruth(paap) :confused:
     
    #10 Sumit, May 30, 2014
    Last edited: May 30, 2014
  11. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    I feel like you're making assumptions about what I'm saying, that I didn't say.

    I'm not saying Arjuna was wrong. I think the justification that killing doesn't really mean killing because of reincarnation, is not a positive thing to teach people.
     
  12. atanu

    atanu Member
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    But can we see the verse/s that imply such?
     
  13. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Pretty much this.

    Although I think the strong artistic value of the contents is very helpful in avoiding the worst dangers.

    Artistic inspiration is very helpful and very underestimated in religious matters.
     
  14. Madhuri

    Madhuri RF Goddess
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    I see. But at the same time, Hinduism discourages killing (non-violence is actually a really important principle). What Krishna is teaching is that lamenting over death is pointless because nobody actually dies truly. It is not meant to be a justification for killing but rather a reason not to despair and not to abandon your duty.
     
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  15. Penumbra

    Penumbra Veteran Member
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    I gave a short, fairly neutral statement that I think the Gita is alright, one of the better ones but with some harmful verses too, and now people keep wanting to know more and/or disagree with that last part, so now I'm in a position where I keep highlighting what I think is negative because that's what people keep talking about. Here are some verses you requested.


    Sanjaya said: O King, after speaking like this to Lord Krishna, the mighty Arjuna said to Krishna: I shall not fight, and became silent. (2.09)

    O King, Lord Krishna, as if smiling, spoke these words to the despondent Arjuna in the midst of the two armies. (2.10)

    The Supreme Lord said: You grieve for those who are not worthy of grief, and yet speak the words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead. (2.11)

    There was never a time when I, you, or these kings did not exist; nor shall we ever cease to exist in the future. (2.12)

    Just as the Atma acquires a childhood body, a youth body, and an old age body during this life, similarly Atma acquires another body after death. The wise are not deluded by this. (2.13)

    [...]

    The one who thinks that Atma is a slayer, and the one who thinks that Atma is slain, both are ignorant, because Atma neither slays nor is slain. (2.19)

    The Atma is neither born nor does it die at any time, nor having been it will cease to exist again. It is unborn, eternal, permanent, and primeval. The Atma is not destroyed when the body is destroyed. (2.20)

    O Arjuna, how can a person who knows that the Atma is indestructible, eternal, unborn, and imperishable, kill anyone or cause anyone to be killed? (2.21)

    Just as a person puts on new garments after discarding the old ones, similarly Atma acquires new bodies after casting away the old bodies. (2.22)


    [...]

    Considering also your duty as a warrior you should not waver. Because there is nothing more auspicious for a warrior than a righteous war. (2.31)

    Only the fortunate warriors, O Arjuna, get such an opportunity for an unsought war that is like an open door to heaven. (2.32)

    If you will not fight this righteous war, then you will fail in your duty, lose your reputation, and incur sin. (2.33)

    People will talk about your disgrace forever. To the honored, dishonor is worse than death. (2.34)



    So are Arjuna is concerned with causing death, and Krishna tells him not to grieve for those unworthy of grief, and that there is no death because of reincarnation anyway, and that the wise believe this position (despite the fact that thousands of years later there's still no concrete evidence for it). And he's fortunate, because it's not every day a warrior gets to do this much righteous slaughter and go to heaven for it.

    There are things like this in the Gita that I do not believe are good messages. I believe it's tribalistic in its nature as to how it states a few times that wise people believe its contents and fools do not (similar to what the Qur'an does throughout its text), and how Krishna uses reincarnation to justify killing to Arjuna, among a few minor other things.

    That's how I view it- it's good art. A culturally valuable contribution to literature.

    Arjuna is my favorite religious character.
     
  16. nameless

    nameless The Creator

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    Thats not the reason why krishna encouraged arjuna to engage in the war, even some of the people from opposite side of arjuna wanted pandavas to win the war, so that kingdom will be in the safe hands, so did arjuna decide to take part in the war , but later became reluctant to fight war for the reason he worried this war would be the ultimate end of those people, which according to hinduism( at least krishna) is incorrect. Krishna just wanted arjuna to not give up what he really wished to do, because of some ignorance. Reincarnation was not really a justification in this context, dharma was. Krishna didn't say we could just go out and kill everyone just because they all will be reincarnated anyway.
    In the context of war too?
     
    #16 nameless, May 31, 2014
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
  17. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    And that is a dangerous teaching to hold or learn, don't you agree? There is a lot of harm that can be sort-of-justified with it.

    I'm not grasping it, sorry.

    Why would that help? :confused:
     
    #17 LuisDantas, May 31, 2014
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
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  18. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Born-again Glompist
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    After reading some replies here, I wonder whether the Bhagavad Gita is considered so integral to Hindu beliefs that criticizing it amounts to trying to refute the foundations of the religion in some people's view.

    I think giving any particular scriptural or religious text such significance--that is, equating criticism of it to attempts at refutation of universal or incorruptible truths--is usually rather limiting. It's like putting too many philosophical eggs in one basket, so to speak.
     
  19. atanu

    atanu Member
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    How do you feel about the following translations:

    (2.32) Happy are the Ksatriyas, O Partha (Arjuna), for whom such a war comes of its own accord as an open door to Heaven. (Trans. S. Radhakrishnan)

    O son of Partha, happy are the Ksatriyas who come across this kind of a battle, which presents itself unsought for and which is an open gate to heaven. (2.32) (Trans. Swami Gambhirananda)

    O Partha, happy are the ksatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought, opening for them the doors of the heavenly planets. (2.32) (Trans. Sri Prabhupada).


    Suppose by your own previous karma, you have now a job of protecting your country. And suppose, a situation arises where you are called in to battle some evil people till death. May be the evil people are your own cousins.

    ...
     
  20. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Born-again Glompist
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    I think there is a significant difference between viewing war as an ideally undesirable but sometimes necessary thing and viewing it as a "gate to heaven" or something to relish taking part in. I don't think celebrating or relishing opportunities for bloodshed is healthy at all.
     
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