Gita vs Bible

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Should we follow a path or choose our own?

The Torah and the Bhagavad Gita are two literary works that act as manuals for the reader to understand the belief systems Catholicism/Judaism and Hinduism respectively. The Torah, or Old Testament, is the first part of the Bible. It is a collection of books about the history and religion the Israeli people. When singled out they model religious and ethical conduct while together they show God and his attempt to relate to humankind through a specific group of people. The Bhagavad Gita is the story of a Hindu prince named Arjuna on the brink of war. He seeks counsel on how to approach this situation since he does not know what his best course of action is and fears that the wrong action will affect his karma and ultimately his reincarnation. His counsel, Lord Krishna, is actually the god of the Hindu religion and tells Arjuna the Hindu approach to this situation. Like the Torah, the Gita maps out a method of moral conduct for a follower to live by. However these methods are different in that the Torah enforces its message through a prescriptive set of guidelines handed down from God while the Bhagavad Gita implements its teachings through an outline of ideas that a person studies to find their own individual path to God. Through comparing these religion's bedrock ideas, their approach to evil and good, God's characteristics, and relationship with man we can clearly show how these two doctrines differ in portraying systems by which to live.

In regard to the Law and Dharma, the difference between them is that one bases its ideals on strict adherence to a set of rules while the others ideals are based on performing actions that are necessary. The Torah actually stands for a Hebrew word meaning law. It can otherwise be considered as the Law of Moses because it is based on the five books of Moses. These are considered to be the word of God as told to Moses on Mount Sinai. This is the foundation of Judaism. These words of God were written on the Ten Commandments which Moses received on tablets of stone. A couple of the staples under God's law that are specifically laid out are that under him "You shall not have other gods besides me" (Exodus 20:3), to "Honor your father and your mother" (Exodus 20:12), and also to "Remember the keep hold the Sabbath day" (Exodus 20:8). These are just 3 of the Ten Commandments. Under these laws a follower would be safe in the knowledge that his faiths in these laws would protect him from god's wrath. In the Gita it is not laid out quite as specifically in concern to dharma. To understand dharma we must also consider the idea of karma. Karma is the effect that actions have on a person in the present and in the future. Dharma and karma is a conditioning couple at work in anyone's life. The "duty" that forces Arjuna to fight is his Dharma, i.e., his duty as warrior. In turn, Arjuna's dharma is generated by his global karma. Therefore the real driving force of Arjuna's actions is his karma, which pushes him into action independently of his present intentions. Krishna states: "When you become confused in your false ego you say to yourself, 'I will not fight' you are misled. By your nature you must fight" (Gita: 18, 59). This "nature" is prakriti or, more specifically, the way the three gunas or aspects of nature influence one's mind under the influence of past karma. Therefore, Arjuna is not free to fulfill his dharma, but is compelled by his karma to act according to it. The action that "is better than inaction" (Gita: 3, 8) is not a free decision, it does not follow the understanding of one's social duty, but is the way of accepting a pre-ordained scenario. Such an action is devoid of any sense of freedom, being a mere resignation to fate. The only freedom left to Arjuna is to give a certain meaning to his predetermined actions, that of sacrifices to Krishna: "Consider all your acts as acts of devotion to me, whether eating,...
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