ENG 208 The Bhagavad Gita
ENG 208 The Bhagavad Gita
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Date Created: 11/06/15
1 English 208 The BhagavadGita 1. Explain Arjuna’s resistance to joining the battle in the First Teaching. Arjuna states that he would rather be killed or to live as a beggar than to kill his relatives (BhagavadGita 1.35). He fears that by killing these important men in his family during the battle, for kingship and pleasure, chaos will be created in the family. Chaos within the families will destabilize society and the caste system. This destabilization will destroy the peace and morality of society. Arjuna fears adharma, disharmony with nature, if he battles and kills his relatives. He is fearful of being sent to the place in hell for men who undermine familial duty (BhagavadGita 1.4044). 2. How does Krishna encourage Arjuna to address that resistance? Krishna realizes that on the verge of battle is not the appropriate time to give Arjuna philosophical reasons that he should fight. Krishna appeals to Arjuna’s male ego to address his resistance to engage in battle. Krishna tells Arjuna not to discard his duty. Heaven welcomes warriors that did not abandon their duties. If he shirks his duty, he will be considered a disgrace and shameful. Krishna is trying to show Arjuna a path to regain his selfrespect (BhagavadGita 2.3234). Krishna also relates the idea of reincarnation to Arjuna. He states that no living creature should fear death, if they are in touch with their inner self (BhagavadGita 2.1130). 3. The Third and Sixth Teachings address the death of desire. How does Krishna propose this be done and what is the reward for doing so? 2 Krishna proposes that human can find release through the performance of their caste duties. Performance of those duties should be an offering to God, and not for recognition or approval. The measurement of a person’s deeds is based upon their intentions and not the results (BhagavadGita 3.89). The attainment of knowledge of the inner self is another path to release and enlightenment. The death of desire frees humans of doing things for an ego boost, recognition, or praise. Freedom from desire relieves humans of anxieties and frustrations. By not being burdened with these worries and frustrations, a person can live a more peaceful and meaningful life (Bhagavad 319). Death of desire also can be found in the practice of meditation to obtain knowledge of the inner self and the practice of yoga to synchronize the body and mind through correct posture and breathing (BhagavadGita 11.1213). 4. Describe the revelation about Krishna in the Eleventh Teaching. In the Eleventh Teaching, Lord Krishna reveals that he is the avatar of the God Vishnu. He reveals that he is the Supreme Being. He is found in everything in nature (BhagavadGita 11.5). Arjuna is able to see Krishna’s true form because he was given divine vision so that he may see (BhagavadGita 11.8). Krishna tells Arjuna to look about him; everything he sees is a clue to his true form. Even Krishna’s incarnation as the chariot driver is a clue to his true nature. 5. What contemporary applications can you find for the themes developed in The Bhagavad Gita? In The BhagavadGita, Krishna places emphasis on the denial of earthly and materialist desires. In modern society, people place importance on success and material comforts. People are willing to take on high stress jobs for the increase in salaries. The long hours on the job means time away from the home and family. This causes people to become overstressed, 3 depressed, or anxious. The time away from the family leads to a breakdown of values and morals. 4 Works Cited n.a. "The BhagavadGita." The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Ed. S. Lawall and M. Mack. Trans. B. S. Miller. 2 ed. Vol. A. New York: Norton, 2002. 101428. Print.
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