Relevance of Bhagvad Gita in Today’s World Essay
The Bhagavad Gita is an ancient Indian spiritual text. The background of this text is a battlefield and the battle is between two royal families who are also relatives. The two main characters of this text are Krishna, the incarnate God, and Arjuna, the greatest archer of his time. Arjuna is a highly ethical and moral man who upholds high values. His relatives, who are his opponents in the battlefield, are corrupt and pure evil. They have taken away his Kingdom through deceit and Arjuna has no option but to engage in war to regain his kingdom.
This text covers the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna in the battlefield before the start of the battle. The main focus of the essay is on the first three chapters of the text covered in class. The first chapter deals with the dilemma and depression of Arjuna in the battlefield. The second chapter deals with the real identity of a human beings and the third chapter deals with the how to perform action in the world. All these teachings explained in the chapters are still relevant today. In the first chapter Arjuna is in a dilemma. He was at the time the best archer and in the midst of war which is against his own relatives.
The war was against injustice caused to him by his relatives who had taken away his kingdom. Arjuna had no other option but to engage in war to regain his kingdom. He could have just gone on ahead and fought the war and regained his kingdom. But because he was a moral and ethical person, he felt the need to question the war and why engage in it. He reflects upon the consequence of his actions on the community and the country and not just on himself. The first chapter has a greater relevance even in modern times. Our life is nothing short of a battlefield. We, many times in life, are faced with tough situations.
This chapter provides us guidelines as to what should one do when faced with a difficult choice in life. A person, like Arjuna, should pause and reflect on the pros and cons of the consequence of his or her action on the country, society and humanity. One should not act with a selfish motive but rather one should uphold high standards in their lives. The founding fathers of America set high standards for the nation and because of that many times through the course of history Americans have had to make tough decisions just like Arjuna had to make in the battlefield.
One such example is regarding whether or not to support the freedom fight in Libya. It was a tough decision but America’s founding fathers emphasized on freedom and the pursuit of happiness. So in the end America made the decision which was for the benefit and good of society by supporting Libya’s fight for freedom against their dictator leader Muammar Gaddafi, who caused great atrocities and crime against his people. In the second chapter Krishna enlightens Arjuna with the knowledge of who we really are; about our true self. Krishna tells Arjuna that one has to realize that life and the body is transient but our soul is immortal.
He says, “As a man discards worn-out clothes to put on new and different ones, so the embodied self [soul] discards its worn-out bodies to on other new ones. ” In other words Krishna states that human body is like a cloth that the soul wears in life and the soul drops it off when it moves to the next life. Krishna’s clear message was that we, humans, are spirit beings covered with the mask of the physical body. This message is still relevant today and is becoming much more relevant. It states that we are above cast, creed, religion, color, race, gender etc. nd shows that we are all one and like world citizens. Thanks to social media such as Facebook, YouTube etc. social media is connecting people from very different parts of the world, some more than half way around the globe. Because of this, boundaries are fast disappearing and everyone is becoming one and united. For example in recent times during the uprisings in the Middle East, people in the Unites States were able to know what was going on thanks to videos posted by the people in Middle East. We were all connected and were easily able to connect and respond to one another without any boundaries.
In the third chapter Krishna speaks about four key aspects of action. He describes what constitutes action, whether to act or not to act, in what state of mind to act and last what should be the motive of action. Krishna describes that we not just act though our body, we also act though speech and mind; action through our physical body, mind and speech constitutes action. The third chapter tells us that when we are faced with a difficult situation and are in a dilemma to pick between action and inaction, one must choose to act and should not shy away from action just because the circumstance is difficult.
Krishna states that when he says, “Perform necessary action; it is more powerful than inaction. ” Krishna also tells Arjuna that when we act we should make sure our mind in not in a state of agitation or rage. He says, “Always perform action with detachment any action you must do” stating that one should act from a state of mental equanimity and poise and should never act with selfish motive. One’s action should be for the benefit of the society and humanity. He says, “Whatever a leader does, the ordinary people also do” stating that leaders should act in an exemplary way so that others in the society can follow them.
The teachings of the third chapter are extremely relevant today. In this fast paced world sometime people act with impulse and regret later. Many times our leaders and people act with selfish motive and it causes pain and suffering to many. One example of a positive decision made was by Abraham Lincoln when he made the decision to support the freedom of African Americans. It was a tough decision and eventually he had to pay the price with his own life, but in the end the decision revolutionized American history. Because of that decision African Americans got their equal rights and began to be treated as humans and not tools.
And today we are able to have an African American president. That decision led to everyone today being able to have equal opportunity and not be judged by their appearance. The teaching of the Bhagavad Gita, which is many thousands of years old, is eternal and relevant in the world today. The teachings of being reflective of one’s actions and the consequences of the actions, knowing the true self and doing action with equanimity are relevant today and teach important lessons today as it did many years ago. The Bhagavad Gita will continue to be relevant as long as humans exist.