Bhagavad Gita - Timothy Han AAS212 Professor John Koller...

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Timothy Han Han 1 AAS212 Professor John Koller 02/25/08 In the ancient text of the Bhagavad-Gita , the character of Arjuna is not only caught up in a battle for the throne, but also faces an internal conflict. At the beginning of battle, Arjuna gazes upon the faces of his uncles, cousins, teachers, mentors, etc, standing on the side of his “enemy” and suddenly loses his resolve to fight. This internal debate is fueled by deep confusion over the morality of his drive to kingship, in stating that, “Honor forbids us to kill our cousins, Dhritarashtra’s sons; how can we know happiness if we kill our own kinsmen?. ..How can we ignore the wisdom of turning from this evil when we see the sin of family destruction, Krishna?”(P. 28). He comes to the conclusion that to kill these people that is both so close to him as well as when they are, “at the height of their power while their goals were still desires.” (32) For Arjuna, the fact that his actions in this battle might incur some sort of karmic bondage is just as important as the fact that these people are his family, friends, and teachers, which is an important note in perspective. Arjuna’s charioteer, Krishna, who is later revealed to be an avatar of the deity, Vishnu, responds in several ways. Most notably, Krishna argues both that the inner self is eternal and unending and that the key to performing your
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Han 2 pre-determined duty, without accumulating and sustaining karmic bondage, is to do so without attachment. The basis of Krishna’s argument towards Arjuna is the fact that the true embodiment of a person, in the form of the “soul” or “jiva”, is eternal and unceasing. Krishna specifically says to Arjuna that, “Never have I not existed, nor you, nor these kings; and never in the future shall we cease to exist.” (33) and that “Nothing of nonbeing comes to be, nor does being cease to exist; the boundary between these two is seen by men who see reality.” (34). Krishna goes on to declare that “Our bodies are known to end, but the embodied self is enduring, indestructible, and immeasurable; therefore, Arjuna, fight the battle! He who thinks this self a killer and he who thinks it killed, both fail to understand; it does not kill, nor is it killed. It is not born, it does not
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course AAS 212 taught by Professor Koller during the Spring '08 term at SUNY Stony Brook.

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Bhagavad Gita - Timothy Han AAS212 Professor John Koller...

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