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Thread: War in the Bhagavad Gita

  1. #1

    War in the Bhagavad Gita

    I had promised a few days ago to post my article on war in the Bhagavad Gita. My basic thesis is twofold: (a) that Western critics who condemn the text as violent because of Krishna's advice to Arjuna to fight would do well to attend to the genocidal actions enjoined in parts of the Bible (and to note the differences between these injunctions and the far more limited and rule-bound warfare of ancient India), and (b) that the war in the Gita is in any case to be seen from a transcendental perspective as the war upon our lower nature (an interpretation hinted at numerous times in the Gita itself).

    The good-hearted soul who transcribed this article and posted it online (it was originally published in Prabuddha Bharata) has unintentionally incorporated a number of typographical and grammatical errors that were not part of my original text. But the basic sense still comes through. The content (for better or worse) is my responsibility. There are a few minor parts here and there that I would change were I writing it today, but on the whole I feel I can stand by it.

    Comments will be most welcome. I am always open to corrections and fresh insights.

    Here is the link: http://www.esamskriti.com/essay-chap...vadgita-1.aspx

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    Re: War in the Bhagavad Gita

    Thanks for the article, Jeffrey. If I may add:

    (1)Rama in his battle against Ravana famously said (in Tamil) "Indru po, naalai va" - you have lost all your weapons. I can kill you now, but it is not right to kill an unarmed opponent. Go back home, get a nice sleep, arm yourself, we will meet on the battlefield again to resume war tomorrow.

    (2)At the time when Vyasa compiled the Mahabharatha, there already was havoc wreaked on the Indian psyche by the actionless void, nothingness and nihilism of Nastika Buddhism. The Mahabharatha was one way to counter such destructive thought.

    (3)I have been told by a Muslim himself that when the "Imam Mahdi" returns, the first duty of Muslims is to unite behind this figure who will lead the battle against Hindus and slaughter mushrikeen (polite Muslim term for pagan polytheistic idolators). Regardless of righteousness, a Muslims HAS to kill a mushrikeen and spare the life of a fellow Muslim. This is what Allah wants.

    However, what shines through wars in Indian epics is not believers of one philosophy versus believers of another philosophy. Karna is as righteous as any other character in the Mahabharatha. Duryodhana, despite his many shortcomings, also shines through on other occassions. So, there is goodness in supposed "villians" and badness in supposed "heros". Indian epics and wars therein are righteous wars. They are not enjoined from a sectarian perspective. Krishna himself does not wage war nor does he enjoin war against those who do not believe in him. That is the least of his concerns - being omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, supremely blissful and with no unfulfilled desire for himself, he has nothing left to achieve.

    He is the eternal preserver of Dharma and inspires us to right actions unconditionally.

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    Re: War in the Bhagavad Gita

    [wundermonk wrote to sri krishna

    He is the eternal preserver of Dharma and inspires us to right actions unconditionally.[/QUOTE]

    I say Buddha taught also a perfect dharma!!!

    There are so many enlightened beings who know this, even when they love Krishna.
    AUM

  4. #4

    Re: War in the Bhagavad Gita

    Quote Originally Posted by wundermonk View Post
    However, what shines through wars in Indian epics is not believers of one philosophy versus believers of another philosophy. Karna is as righteous as any other character in the Mahabharatha. Duryodhana, despite his many shortcomings, also shines through on other occassions. So, there is goodness in supposed "villians" and badness in supposed "heros". Indian epics and wars therein are righteous wars. They are not enjoined from a sectarian perspective. Krishna himself does not wage war nor does he enjoin war against those who do not believe in him. That is the least of his concerns - being omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, supremely blissful and with no unfulfilled desire for himself, he has nothing left to achieve. He is the eternal preserver of Dharma and inspires us to right actions unconditionally.
    Beautiful reply, Wundermonk. Thank you!

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    Re: War in the Bhagavad Gita

    hari o
    ~~~~~~

    namast


    A few items for your consideration done in the spirit of better optics in viewing a few items you offer; it is not one of criticism.

    On serveral occasions you mention the war in the bhāgavad gītā , yet to be accurate it is the war found in the mahābhārata, within the bhīṣma parvan ( or section). Within this parvan both the war and the bhāgavad gītā takes place.

    The bhāgavad gītā is the song (gītā) of bhāgavan ( some write bhagavān), the Lord - the possessor (van) or master of good fortune (bhāga). This bhāgavad gītā no doubt talks of dharma, it is also called the cream of the veda-s. If this is accurate, it must also contain at its core, paramārtha - the higest purpose. It too must contain puruṣārtha.
    Puruṣārtha is known as the 4 aims in life (puruṣa + ārtha = human + aim , purpose )
    • kāma desire and its fulfillment
    • artha acquirement of wealth
    • dharma discharge of duty to one's self, family, society ( yet is much more)
    • mokṣa final emancipation
    We find this theme within the bhāgavad gītā , yet clearly offered within the 18 parvan-s of the mahābhārata.


    The notion of dharma - at its core it is dhṛ 'that which upolds, maintains , preserves' and we consider it sanātana dharma 'eternal' dharma; that which upholds eternally. It is that quality that is the complete support of the whole universe on the physical, mental, and spiritual levels. No small thing as you would expect.

    That said, you mention that there are some that think the bhāgavad gītā was inserted into the mahābhārata at a later date. It is my opinion this is conjecture as I have looked over the years and cannot find an audit trail to any one place, time or purpose where this is recorded. Yet I hear the 'rumor' from time-to-time which remains unsubstantiated.

    To really appreciate the bhāgavad gītā & the mahābhārata is to comprehend it speaks on 3 levels:
    • abhidhā or the conventional meaning i.e. the literal meaning
    • lakṣaṇā or indirectly via sign, symbol, inference.
    • vyajanā or the figurative expression more intuitively offered some may call implied indication , yet is on a higher level of meaning.
    Once viewed on these 3 levels, then the full value comes to one's awareness. This can take a lifetime. We can take just one word to appreciate this: Kurukṣhetra is a battle field , it is also the field of action where all humans reside; It too is the field (kṣetra) of the kuru's.
    • kuru is the ancestor of both pāṇḍu and dhṛtarāṣṭra
    • kuru = kartāras = 'doers'
    • the uttara-kuravaḥ are the northern kurus , the most northerly of the four mahā-dvīpas
    • ku = the number one, yet it also means littleness, ~ to do less~ + ru = fear, alarm, sound.
      So, kuru's are those with 'little fear' or those who are 'without or 'little sound'.
    • So, kurukṣhetra can be that field of battle where there is little fear of action.
    You offer that there are simularites between the bible and the mahābhārata, I can see this. It too is my humble opinion that there is a wealth of difference between the two, yet both speak of the same truth. To take this to a deeper level will only cause some angst to some of our readers, and I wish to avoid this.
    Yet my position is about the depth, breath and throughness the mahābhārata offers the reader. Why own a diamond when you can own the diamond mine?


    'whatever is here ( in the mahābhārata) is found elsewhere. But whatever is not here (in the mahābhārata) is nowhere else.'



    iti śivaṁ

    words
    Last edited by yajvan; 25 December 2012 at 04:50 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: War in the Bhagavad Gita

    Good post, Yajvan ji !

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: War in the Bhagavad Gita

    Namaste,

    Lack of a full commitment and the consequent half hearted sense of ownership among some of the adoptees brings out the desire to look good by projecting what they consider to be a balanced and fair approach. So long as one is sitting on the fence and finds it impossible to sever one's ties with the past, it is all a charade, a put on, a self deception.

    http://hindudharmaforums.com/showpos...1&postcount=21

    Pranam.
    Last edited by Believer; 31 July 2013 at 11:30 PM.

  8. #8

    Re: War in the Bhagavad Gita

    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    Namaste,

    Lack of a full commitment and the consequent half hearted sense of ownership among some of the adoptees brings out the desire to look good by projecting what they consider to be a balanced and fair approach. So long as one is sitting on the fence and finds it impossible to sever one's ties with the past, it is all a charade, a put on, a self deception.

    http://hindudharmaforums.com/showpos...1&postcount=21

    Pranam.
    One who has learned a new language might speak it with an accent. This does not necessarily imply an inordinate attachment to one's mother tongue. With hard work, practice, and a humble openness to the corrections patiently offered by native speakers, fluency may yet arise.

    On the one side there is charade and self deception. On the other there is authenticity and perfection. But there is also the process of moving from one to the other: from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light.

    And this takes time.

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    Re: War in the Bhagavad Gita

    Namaste,

    As the queen would say, 'We are not amused by this lapse being compared to different accents'.

    In academic circles one may be forced to sing a different tune for maintaining one's standing in the established fraternity of 'Indologists', but offering doubts about the validity of Mahabharat and talk about rumors of certain sections having being added later on, in the HDF? - well, that is an unwelcome tune. There is more tolerance shown to a novice, but a seasoned, thoroughly polished and educated person ought to know better. And it should all be taken in the spirit of constructive criticism for future presentations. After all, there is no 'post or perish' clause with the HDF membership. If something is not suitable for HDF, it should be kept out rather than succumbing to the strong desire to present what one may have spent many hours, researching and then framing it in an orderly fashion.


    But, what amazes me more is that some moderators would like to discuss alternate theology and philosophy. And they they don't do it, not because it is against the forum rules which they themselves have formulated, but because it may cause angst among some members.

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    To take this to a deeper level will only cause some angst to some of our readers, and I wish to avoid this.
    And consider this,

    Dec 24 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    I can inform you with the highest level of confidence... this crucifixion is all about the teaching that we are not the body. This was his lesson that so many have missed. That is why he informed his followers he would rebuild the temple in 3 days. The temple is not of stone, but of flesh and blood that houses the Supreme (Self).
    There is an undying desire to either provoke Hindus and induce them into lashing out at certain individuals and in the process be banned from the forum, or there is sheer lack of sound judgement. In any event, the desire on part of some to connect with other adoptees through analysis of alternate theology remains strong even after they have moved on to greener pastures. Absolutely amazing!

    Pranam.
    Last edited by Believer; 02 August 2013 at 10:28 AM.

  10. #10

    Re: War in the Bhagavad Gita

    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    And it should all be taken in the spirit of constructive criticism for future presentations.
    And it is gratefully accepted as such.

    Pranam.

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