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Context Of Srimad Bhagavad Gita.......
The content of the text is a conversation between Shri Krishna and Arjuna taking place
on the battlefield of Kurukshetra just prior to the start of a climactic war. Responding to
Arjuna's confusion and moral dilemma, Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a
warrior and Prince and elaborates on a number of different Yogic and Vedantic
philosophies, with examples and analogies. This has led to the Gita often being
described as a concise guide to Hindu philosophy and also as a practical, self-
contained guide to life. During the discourse, Krishna reveals his identity as the
Supreme Being Himself (Bhagavan), blessing Arjuna with an awe-inspiring glimpse of
His divine absolute form.
The discourse on the Bhagavad Gita begins before the start of the climactic battle at
Kurukshetra. It begins with the Pandava prince Arjuna, as he becomes filled with doubt
on the battlefield. Realising that his enemies are his own relatives, beloved friends and
revered teachers, he turns to his charioteer and guide, Krishna, for advice.
In summary the main philosophical subject matter of the Bhagavad-gita is the
explanation of five basic concepts or truths:
Ishvara (The Supreme Controller)
Jiva (Living beings/the soul)
Krishna counsels Arjuna on the greater idea of dharma, or universal harmony and duty.
He begins with the tenet that the soul is eternal and immortal. Any 'death' on the
battlefield would involve only the shedding of the body, but the soul is permanent.
Arjuna's hesitation stems from a lack of right understanding of the 'nature of things,'
the privileging of the unreal over the real. His fear and reticence become impediments
to the proper balancing of the universal dharmic order. Essentially, Arjuna wishes to
abandon the battle, to abstain from action; Krishna warns, however, that without action,
the cosmos would fall out of order and truth would be obscured.
In order to clarify his point, Krishna expounds the various Yoga processes, and understanding of the
true nature of the universe. Krishna describes the yogic paths of devotional service, action,
meditation and knowledge. Fundamentally, the Bhagavad Gita proposes that true enlightenment
comes from growing beyond identification with the temporal ego, the 'False Self', the ephemeral
world, so that one identifies with the truth of the immortal self, the soul or Atman. Through detachment from the material sense of ego, the Yogi, or follower of a particular path
of Yoga, is able to transcend his/her illusory mortality and attachment to the material world
and enter the realm of the Supreme.
It should be noted, however, that Krishna does not propose that the physical world
must be forgotten or neglected. Indeed, it is quite the opposite: one's life on earth must
be lived in accordance with greater laws and truths, one must embrace one's temporal
duties whilst remaining mindful of a more timeless reality, acting for the sake of action
without consideration for the karmaphal (karmic fruits, whether bitter or sweet). Such a
life would naturally lead towards stability, happiness and, ultimately, enlightenment.
To demonstrate his divine nature, Krishna grants Arjuna the boon of cosmic vision
(albeit temporary) and allows the prince to see his 'Universal Form' (this occurs in the
eleventh chapter). He reveals that he is fundamentally both the ultimate essence of
Being in the universe, and also its material body, called the Vishvarupa ('World Form').
In the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna refers to the war about to take place as ' Dharma Yuddha ',
meaning a righteous war for the purpose of justice. In Chapter 4, Krishna states that he
incarnates in each age (yuga) to establish righteousness in the world.
Category: Srimad Bhagavad Gita |
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