This fact is crucial not only for the understanding of the principal themes of the Gita but also to locate the essence of the Gita in the overall picture of ancient Indian doctrines. The Gita attempted, for the first time, to reconcile the teachings of two very abstract Indian religious doctrines into one whole. The task was a formidable one. The Gita tried to include the fundamentals of two ancient Indian philosophies into one document and reconcile the principal differences between them.
At the outset, one must note that the two doctrines Darshans were often extremely difficult to understand. Hence the inevitable contradictions or duality of interpretation. They were divided into three groups of two complementary schools of thought Darshans or doctrines: The Bhagavad Gita attempted to reconcile the Sankhyya philosophy with those of the Vedanta doctrine.
One must note in passing that the Sankhyya school of thought led to Buddhism while the Vedanta philosophy is at the root of modern Hinduism. In this article, we are only going to discuss briefly the two Darshans — the Sankhyya and the Vedanta — the Gita attempted to reconcile.
The Sankhyya is the oldest of the six Darshans while the Vedanta is the most important of the six systems. The various subsystems of the Vedanta doctrine has led to the emergence of modern intellectual Hinduism.
The primary text of the Vedanta system is the Brahma Sutras, and its doctrines were derived in great part from the Upanishads, which marked the beginning of Hinduism as is understood and practiced today. The Sankhyya philosophy traces the origins of everything to the interplay of Prakriti nature and Purusha the Self, to be differentiated from the concept of the soul in the latter Indian philosophies. These two separate entities have always existed and their interplay is at the root of all reality.
The concept of God is conspicuous by its absence. There is no direct mention of God but only a passing reference as to how one should liberate himself to attain the realization of Is war a heavenly entity. A very significant feature of Sankhyya is the doctrine of the three constituent qualities gunas , causing virtue sattva , passion rajas , and dullness tamas. On the other hand, the Vedanta school of thought deals with the concept of Brahman the ultimate reality that is beyond all logic and encompasses not only the concepts of being and non-being but also all the phases in between.
It is one of the most difficult concepts in the entire Indian philosophy. At the highest level of truth, the entire universe of phenomena, including the gods themselves, was unreal — the world was Maya, illusion, a dream, a mirage, a fragment of the imagination.
The only reality is Brahman. We know that the Gita was written long after the emergence of modern Hinduism. So it was able to draw on a wide variety of philosophical themes — both ancient and relatively modern by comparison, and often opposing — still present in modern Hinduism.
Yet, to consolidate the two schools of thoughts proved to be an extremely difficult task — a fact which the lyricism of the Gita, in the words of Lord Krishna himself, could not camaflouge. Any serious reader would arrive at the conclusion that even though the Gita mentions the Sankhyya, it more or less elaborates on ideas that originated with the Upanishads. The fundamental tenets of Hinduism took shape during the period BCE. They were set down in a series of treaties called the Upanishads.
The Upanishads center on the inner realms of the spirit. Encompassing the meaning of spiritual unity, the Upanishads point directly to the Divine Unity which pervades all of nature and is identical to the self.
The ultimate objective is control of the passions and to realize a state of void — a concept very similar to that of Buddhism. But one must remember that they appeared for the first time in the Upanishads. He counsels that to attain the supreme destination one must give up lust, anger, greed, and discern between right and wrong action by discernment through Buddhi and evidence from the scriptures. Krishna qualifies the three divisions of faith, thoughts, deeds, and even eating habits corresponding to the three modes gunas.
Moksha—Sanyasa yoga Religion by Deliverance and Renunciation  contains 78 verses: In this chapter, the conclusions of previous seventeen chapters are summed up. Krishna asks Arjuna to abandon all forms of dharma and simply surrender unto him and describes this as the ultimate perfection of life. The term dharma has a number of meanings. If one reads this one Shloka, one gets all the merits of reading the entire Bhagavad Gita ; for in this one Shloka lies imbedded the whole message of the Gita.
Shake off this petty faintheartedness and arise, O scorcher of enemies! The Bhagavad Gita is set in the narrative frame of the Mahabharata , which values heroism , "energy, dedication and self-sacrifice",  as the dharma , "holy duty"  of the Kshatriya Warrior. According to Malinar, the dispute between the two parties in the Mahabharata centres on the question how to define "the law of heroism". This duty consists first of all in standing one's ground and fighting for status.
The main duty of a warrior is never to submit to anybody. A warrior must resist any impulse to self-preservation that would make him avoid a fight. In brief, he ought to be a man puruso bhava ; cf. Some of the most vigorous formulations of what called the "heart" or the "essence" of heroism ksatrahrdaya come from the ladies of the family. They are shown most unforgiving with regard to the humiliations they have gone through, the loss of their status and honour, not to speak of the shame of having a weak man in the house, whether husband, son or brother.
Michaels defines heroism as "power assimilated with interest in salvation". Even though the frame story of the Mahabharata is rather simple, the epic has an outstanding significance for Hindu heroism. The heroism of the Pandavas, the ideals of honor and courage in battle, are constant sources of treatises in which it is not sacrifice, renunciation of the world, or erudition that is valued, but energy, dedication and self-sacrifice.
According to Malinar, "Arjuna's crisis and some of the arguments put forward to call him to action are connected to the debates on war and peace in the UdP [Udyoga Parva]". The eighteenth chapter of the Gita examines the relationship between svadharma and svabhava. Aurobindo modernises the concept of dharma and svabhava by internalising it, away from the social order and its duties towards one's personal capacities, which leads to a radical individualism,  "finding the fulfilment of the purpose of existence in the individual alone.
Gandhi's view differed from Aurobindo's view. The first reference to dharma in the Bhagavad Gita occurs in its first verse, where Dhritarashtra refers to the Kurukshetra, the location of the battlefield, as the Field of Dharma , "The Field of Righteousness or Truth". Unlike any other religious scripture, the Bhagavad Gita broadcasts its message in the centre of the battlefield.
Eknath Easwaran writes that the Gita ' s subject is "the war within, the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage if he or she is to emerge from life victorious",  and that "The language of battle is often found in the scriptures, for it conveys the strenuous, long, drawn-out campaign we must wage to free ourselves from the tyranny of the ego, the cause of all our suffering and sorrow.
Jorge Angel Livraga also sees the battle as a reflection of the human condition, a necessary inner battle to overcome one's faults. Each one of us wages, or one day will wage, the same battle of Arjuna. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi , in his commentary on the Gita ,  interprets the battle as "an allegory in which the battlefield is the soul and Arjuna, man's higher impulses struggling against evil".
Swami Vivekananda also emphasised that the first discourse in the Gita related to the war could be taken allegorically. This Kurukshetra War is only an allegory.
When we sum up its esoteric significance, it means the war which is constantly going on within man between the tendencies of good and evil. In Aurobindo 's view, Krishna was a historical figure, but his significance in the Gita is as a "symbol of the divine dealings with humanity",  while Arjuna typifies a "struggling human soul".
That is a view which the general character and the actual language of the epic does not justify and, if pressed, would turn the straightforward philosophical language of the Gita into a constant, laborious and somewhat puerile mystification But there is this much of truth in the view, that the setting of the doctrine though not symbolical, is certainly typical. Here in the Bhagavad Gita , we find a practical handbook of instruction on how best we can re-organise our inner ways of thinking, feeling, and acting in our everyday life and draw from ourselves a larger gush of productivity to enrich the life around us, and to emblazon the subjective life within us.
Other scholars such as Steven Rosen, Laurie L. Patton and Stephen Mitchell have seen in the Gita a religious defense of the warrior class's Kshatriya Varna duty svadharma , which is to conduct combat and war with courage and do not see this as only an allegorical teaching, but also a real defense of just war.
Indian independence leaders like Lala Lajpat Rai and Bal Gangadhar Tilak saw the Gita as a text which defended war when necessary and used it to promote war against the British Empire. Lajpat Rai wrote an article on the "Message of the Bhagavad Gita". He saw the main message as the bravery and courage of Arjuna to fight as a warrior. Lies, deceit, murder, everything, it was argued, may be rightly used. How far the leaders really believed this teaching no man can say; but the younger men got filled with it, and many were only too sincere.
Liberation or moksha in Vedanta philosophy is not something that can be acquired or reached. While the Upanishads largely uphold such a monistic viewpoint of liberation, the Bhagavad Gita also accommodates the dualistic and theistic aspects of moksha.
The Gita , while occasionally hinting at impersonal Brahman as the goal, revolves around the relationship between the Self and a personal God or Saguna Brahman. A synthesis of knowledge, devotion, and desireless action is given as a prescription for Arjuna's despondence; the same combination is suggested as a way to moksha. Yoga in the Bhagavad Gita refers to the skill of union with the ultimate reality or the Absolute. Sivananda's commentary regards the eighteen chapters of the Bhagavad Gita as having a progressive order, by which Krishna leads "Arjuna up the ladder of Yoga from one rung to another.
Swami Gambhirananda characterises Madhusudana Sarasvati's system as a successive approach in which Karma yoga leads to Bhakti yoga, which in turn leads to Gyaana yoga: As noted by various commentators, the Bhagavad Gita offers a practical approach to liberation in the form of Karma yoga. The path of Karma yoga upholds the necessity of action.
However, this action is to be undertaken without any attachment to the work or desire for results. Bhagavad Gita terms this "inaction in action and action in inaction 4. The concept of such detached action is also called Nishkam Karma , a term not used in the Gita.
To action alone hast thou a right and never at all to its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive; neither let there be in thee any attachment to inaction. Fixed in yoga, do thy work, O Winner of wealth Arjuna , abandoning attachment, with an even mind in success and failure, for evenness of mind is called yoga. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi writes, "The object of the Gita appears to me to be that of showing the most excellent way to attain self-realization", and this can be achieved by selfless action, "By desireless action; by renouncing fruits of action; by dedicating all activities to God, i.
The following verses illustrate this: When a man dwells in his mind on the object of sense, attachment to them is produced. From attachment springs desire and from desire comes anger. From anger arises bewilderment, from bewilderment loss of memory; and from loss of memory, the destruction of intelligence and from the destruction of intelligence he perishes.
The introduction to chapter seven of the Bhagavad Gita explains bhakti as a mode of worship which consists of unceasing and loving remembrance of God. Sampatkumaran, a Bhagavad Gita scholar, explains in his overview of Ramanuja's commentary on the Gita , "The point is that mere knowledge of the scriptures cannot lead to final release.
Devotion, meditation, and worship are essential. Tagi means one who has renounced everything for God. And of all yogins, he who full of faith worships Me, with his inner self abiding in Me, him, I hold to be the most attuned to me in Yoga.
Radhakrishnan writes that the verse Those who make me the supreme goal of all their work and act without selfish attachment, who devote themselves to me completely and are free from ill will for any creature, enter into me.
Jnana yoga is the path of wisdom, knowledge, and direct experience of Brahman as the ultimate reality. The path renounces both desires and actions, and is therefore depicted as being steep and very difficult in the Bhagavad Gita. When a sensible man ceases to see different identities, which are due to different material bodies, he attains to the Brahman conception.
Thus he sees that beings are expanded everywhere. One who knowingly sees this difference between the body and the owner of the body and can understand the process of liberation from this bondage, also attains to the supreme goal. According to Dennis Hudson, there is an overlap between Vedic and Tantric rituals with the teachings found in the Bhagavad Gita.
The Shatapatha Brahmana , for example, mentions the absolute Purusha who dwells in every human being. A story in this vedic text, states Hudson, highlights the meaning of the name Vasudeva as the 'shining one deva who dwells vasu in all things and in whom all things dwell', and the meaning of Vishnu to be the 'pervading actor'. In Bhagavad Gita, similarly, 'Krishna identified himself both with Vasudeva, Vishnu and their meanings'.
This edition had an introduction to the Gita by Warren Hastings. Soon the work was translated into other European languages such as German, French and Russian. John Garrett, and the efforts being supported by Sir. Bhagavad Gita integrates various schools of thought, notably Vedanta, Samkhya and Yoga, and other theistic ideas. It remains a popular text for commentators belonging to various philosophical schools.
However, its composite nature also leads to varying interpretations of the text. In the words of Mysore Hiriyanna ,. The oldest and most influential medieval commentary was that of Adi Shankara — CE ,  also known as Shankaracharya Sanskrit: Ramanujacharya's commentary chiefly seeks to show that the discipline of devotion to God Bhakti yoga is the way of salvation. Madhva , a commentator of the Dvaita Vedanta school,  whose dates are given either as — CE  or as — CE ,  also known as Madhvacharya Sanskrit: It has been annotated on by many ancient pontiffs of Dvaita Vedanta school like Padmanabha Tirtha , Jayatirtha , and Raghavendra Tirtha.
In the Shaiva tradition,  the renowned philosopher Abhinavagupta 10—11th century CE has written a commentary on a slightly variant recension called Gitartha-Samgraha. At a time when Indian nationalists were seeking an indigenous basis for social and political action, Bhagavad Gita provided them with a rationale for their activism and fight against injustice.
The Gujarati manuscript was translated into English by Mahadev Desai, who provided an additional introduction and commentary. It was published with a foreword by Gandhi in Although Vivekananda did not write any commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita , his works contained numerous references to the Gita , such as his lectures on the four yogas — Bhakti, Gyaana, Karma, and Raja.
Chinmayananda took a syncretistic approach to interpret the text of the Gita. Eight Week Quiz C. Eight Week Quiz D. Eight Week Quiz E. Eight Week Quiz F. Eight Week Quiz G. Mid-Book Test - Easy. Final Test - Easy. Mid-Book Test - Medium. Final Test - Medium. Mid-Book Test - Hard. Final Test - Hard. View a FREE sample.
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The Bhagavadgita also spelled as Bhagavad-Gita and Bhagavad Gita or simply Gita, is considered to be one of the most sacred and popular religious scriptures of Hinduism. Hindus consider the Bhagavad-Gita as a direct message of Vishnu in the avatar of Krishna, revealed to us in the form of a long.
The Bhagavad Gita essaysThe Bhagavad Gita and Self Realization As a sacred text, The Bhagavd Gita teaches Hindus how to live in the world. The world in which we live is said to be a world of illusion. Out of ignorance and selfishness we bind ourselves to this world through our desires and our acti. Introduction Bhagavad Gita is the holy scripture in Hinduism and it is considered to be one of the most important work pieces in this religion.
Bhagavad-Gita literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Bhagavad-Gita. Bhagavad Gita, also simply known as The Gita, is a philosophical poem that focuses on a conversation between the Pandava prince Arjuna and the Beloved Lord Krishna.