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Dr. Narendra Dabholkar

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Prabhakar Nanawaty

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More Truths about the Bhagavad Gita

Let me assume hypothetically that Mahabharat is real history and Krishna was a god in human form:

Gitopadesh and Reality check

When we discuss the Gita, the thing that strikes us at the outset is that the occasion and place for preaching of the Gita was highly inappropriate for such a philosophical discourse. When armies are standing in array on the battlefield with the chariot horses and elephants straining at their reins, we cannot believe that anyone could think of preaching deep philosophy, and that too at such length.

The Gita consists of about 700 stanzas which are difficult to understand without suitable explanation. Let us assume that the recitation and explanation of each stanza took at least one minute ( Chinmayananda took 30 minutes for this), which is by no means an estimate on the high side. In that case, it would have taken 700 minutes or more than 11 hours for acomplete exposition of the entire text, by which time the entire battle would have been lost. One can believe that Krishna gave some advice to convince Arjuna to fight, but preaching on the battlefield a philosophy extending over eighteen chapters strains our credulity to the limit.

Validity of Krishnas arguments

Let us look at the arguments advanced by Krishna to convince Arjuna to wage war against his cousins and elders, and take a look at the logical and moral disputations.

In the first argument, Krishna explains the nature of Atman (soul). He says that atman is neither born nor does it die it is unborn, everlasting, immutable and primeval. It is not killed, though the body is killed. Just as a man casts off old clothes and puts on new ones, so does atman cast off an old body and becomes united with a new one. As for the body, Krishna says that it is inherently mortal, non-permanent, destructible, and will come to an end if not today, then tomorrow or after a 100 years. As atman definitely acquires another body in accordance with its previous actions (reincarnation theory), it is not proper to lament the loss of the old body. In other words, since Bhishmas (or for that matter anyone elses) soul cannot be killed, there is absolutely no harm in killing him.

Disputation:If this be so, then a muder should no longer be considered a crimeit is only an act of liberating the soul from the clutches of the vile body. If atman is immortal and the body comes to an end sooner or later, does it justify our killing other persons ? It is true that the Kauravas would have died their natural deaths some day, but that could not be a justification for Arjuna to kill them today.

His second argumentis that Arjuna is a Kshatriya and it is his caste duty to fight, in keeping with the principle of Karmayoga.

Disputation:Does this mean that a kshatriya should necessarily fight even when there is no valid cause for doing so ? Unless the fighting is justified, a kshatriya is certainly not required to fight other people, especially his kith & kin.

The third argumentgiven in sloka 35 of chapter 11 is: All masters of the great chariots will think that you withdrew from the battle on account of fear and those by whom you are highly thought of today, will hold you in less esteem. Also your enemies, seeing your weakness will speak much about you that should not be spoken. What can be more painful than that?

Disputation:The opinion of other people is not a valid reason for a man to fight. Moral courage lies in defying such opinions if they are wrong. If the soul is everything and the rest is Maya, why is it that such an illusionary thing as a warriors reputation becomes the only real thing worth saving!

The fourth argumentis that If you get killed you will go to heaven, if victorious, you will enjoy on earth. Therefore, arise, o! Arjuna and determine to do battle.

Disputation:This kind of argument is an encouragement for adventurers and soldiers of fortune to kill other people for the sake of land and property, but not an encouragement for just and honest people to fight.

Thus we see that none of the above arguments are logically valid or morally sound. Arjuna should not have yielded for the sake of worldly pleasures, to commit the heinous sin of killing his kinsmen. Did Krishna & Pandava brothers practice the principle of desireless action themselves ?

Everybody talks about the stanza no. 47 in chapter 2 :

Karmanye vadhikarasthe ma phaleshu kadachana
Ma karma phala heturbhu mathe sangosova akarmani

(To action alone you have a right, and never at all to its fruits; Let not the fruits of action be your motive, Neither let there be in you any attachment to inaction.)

Let us see how far the Pandavas and Krishna himself acted on this principle of desireless action. Did not the Pandavas, with the help of Krishna, fight with the desire to vanquish and kill their enemies ? If they did not desire ardently to kill Dronacharya, why did they ask Yudhishtir to lie about the death of Dronacharyas son Ashwathama ? Why did Krishna by deceit make Jayadrath think that the sun had set and thus put him off his guard, and then shoot him with an arrow ? Bhishma was killed because he would not fight Shikandi, who was born a female and later became a man and Arjuna sheltering himself behind Shikandi shot Bhishma in such an unchivalrous manner. Were all these actions performed in a desireless manner regardless of the fruit of their actions? Did practice follow precept? Or, is it that Gods and the people blessed by Gods can do whatever they want with impunity, and do not have to practice what they themselves preach ? So you can all see why the BG is immoral even if it is history and just BS !!!

Conclusion

Then there is the small matter of the truth of it all. Was there a god in the shape of Krishna and was there a Mahabharat war and were all those people real people ? Very doubtful. It belongs to the genre of Panchatantra/Jataka tales, Aesops fables, Andersons fairy tales or Harry Porters escapades. Fun to read may be, but not to be taken seriously. I say this although I belong to a family of priestly brahmins who believe that Gita is a holy scripture and is infallible.

Courtesy: KESHAVA SHET

<keshavashet@yahoo.com>

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