The Ultimate Rajasic
Christians of today are often firm believers in the idea of Armageddon. The very idea of a battle wherein they must face friends, family, and strangers divided on moral basis instills fear in some, and joy in others. How is this possible? Luckily, Christianity isn’t the only religion to face such a predicament or idea. The Bhagavad Gita is one of the Hindu sacred texts following the epic Mahabharata. The story told is of the torn hero Arjuna as he faces this very predicament and can answer that question. Krishna teaches him of the battle between good and evil, the secret of life, the secret of wisdom, and expounds the mysteries of divinity. Throughout his explanation, the nature of man and their ways of approaching dilemmas such as that of Armageddon are expounded. In this paper I will discuss these lessons and explain the attributes produced in relation to each one and how they seem to adversely affect believers of the religion.
Before Arjuna can be taught, there must be an understanding of the opposing sides, good and evil, and which side he fights for. As the story begins, Arjuna faces an army made of his cousins and countrymen preparing to battle for the throne. Arjuna aims to restore traditional values and battle his cousin in defense of his brother who should be the next to inherent the throne. As he passes the troops, he is torn by the idea of killing his kin. Looking for comfort, he turns to his charioteer and begs for advice. It is here that Krishna reveals himself and begins to council Arjuna about life. These teachings are those basic to Hinduism and center on the individual. An introspective attitude and focus on personal battles can lead to dominion over evils of the world as good slowly prevails. Every creature has a niche to fill. Their dharma will drive them to attain this. The battle he is facing may be a physical one, but its implications are beyond that. It is representative of the ongoing fight between forces of good and evil in this world. Even if there is a winner, there will always be another conflict. Man’s nature is one of justice and good. So they are forever bound to battle any that might be acting contrary to their purpose; i.e. thereby embodying evil. Despite any feelings, Arjuna must fight and good must triumph or the world will fall into Chaos. Thus far, this doctrine seems to be one established to control the believer. If the follower believes that must continually act and serve or the world will be destroyed, they are most likely also easily manipulated. How can he know which of the two sides he is truly representing?
Krishna anticipates the argument of forced action and offers the counter argument of inaction opening the reader to understand the secret of life. This principle of inaction with knowledge of Self will lead to victory over evil and trials. The duality of inaction through action begins the separation from body and mind. Arjuna‘s primary concern is of death, either his own or of his countrymen. To this Krishna expounds the basis of dharma and likens death to a necessary step. Krishna says “As a man abandons worn-out clothes and acquires new ones, so when the body is worn out a new one is acquired by the Self, who lives within.” (Ch 2 verse 22). The mind and thoughts are immortal and never-ending. They cannot be harmed, and if the body is lost, this inner “Self” will continue and be given a new body. Thus the physical body may defeat and be defeated while the mind is free and can be essentially inert. As a religious ideal this empowers followers and becomes a beacon of hope. Though still allowing them to be manipulated, they are allowed a more stoic viewpoint. Acceptance of trials and misfortune can be a strength in life. It has been said that hope can do more than fear, so perhaps this is just another attempt at subduing Hindu believers. Teachings are that people must fulfill their dharma or they are sinning. The mystery of life then is to fulfill...
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