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Switch to Forum Live View Contradictions in the Gita
5 years ago  ::  Sep 12, 2009 - 1:02PM #1
HinduGuy
Posts: 373

Let me state at the outset that our interpretation of the Gita could be wrong. Over time the meaning of certain words change as well as values. What seems right at one time may not be so at another. These are just a few that have puzzled me at times:

1. Krishna says not to think that arjuna will be responsible for killing the kauravas, they are already dead, killed by Krishna. But that takes away individual responsibility, runs contrary to the laws of karma. Arjuna is responsible for any acts that he had committed.

2. This may not be a contradiction, as the Gita is being told for the benefit of all mankind not just for Arjuna. Krishna implores Arjuna not to cry for the dead, try to see sadness and happiness the same way. Yet throughout the Mahabharata no such behaviour is indicated by either the pandavas or even Krishna himself. Arjuna cries for the slain Abhimanyu and vows to kill the person responsible, throughout the war, the Pandavas repeatedly bring forth the crimes committed by the kauravas.

3. The person who removes all desires from his mind is the ideal person, a person should not run after desires or the pleasures of the senses, yet Arjuna is told that if fights and dies in the war he will go to heaven, but if he emerges victorious, he can enjoy the pleasures of becoming the king and ruling the land.

Again this ideal is not followed - When Yudhishtira asks for just 5 villages, none of his brothers support him. Led by Draupadi, this was one time when the brothers failed to support their elder brother. They must have their kingdom back, the injustices done to them must be avenged.

Personally i disagree with this - one should have desires, but one should not let them take control over you. A desireless person is a useless person, waiting for death, only looking out for himself as he awaits Moksha.

What if India had a few more Tata's, Nilakaneni's, or Ambani's? These people fueled by their desires, have enriched themselves but have also bettered the life of millions! Millions go to bed with their belly full thanks to these gentlemen. The greatest evil of mankind is not war, but poverty, and until that is eradicated, India will continue to have problems.

4. An example of the wrong interpretation of the Gita - People frequently quote that win or lose, gain or loss, Happiness or sadness - they all should be viewed the same. The mistake here is to think that they are the same, not so, remember they should be "viewed" or react to them the same way.

A person who gets top marks in his class is in no way equal or the same as a person who failed the class. You get top marks or win a match, because of the hard work, the sacrifice, that you put in. There was a time in college when i got bad marks in a test, i remember crying over the marks sheet, thinking of dying at some point. That is what the Gita is warning us about, not to overreact.

If you play a match, say tennis match, for example and if you are winner, don't shout and dance around, don't mock your opponent, behave in a casual manner, congratualte your opponent for playing a good game. And if you are the loser, try to control your feelings, congratulate the winner, but vow to do better the next time.

5. Finally the whole war itself was conducted in an Adharmic way by the pandavas. Having Krishna on their side one would think that the pandavas need not have to resort to unseemly tactics, but that did not happen.

Duryoudhana assumed correctly, that as long as he had Bheeshma on his side, there was not way he could lose. With Krishna's help the pandavas could defeat the rest of the kauravas, but even Krishna could not defeat Bheeshma. He had already faced him once as Parasurama, faught a battle with Bheeshma but was unable to defeat him. In the end, they had to seek the advice of Bheeshma in order to defeat him. This part is a bit strange because I don't understand how Duryodhana was not informed of the meeting of the pandavas with Bheeshma, after all, it's not every day that your enemy comes calling on your commander-in-chief!

And then comes the killing of Drona, Karna, and finally Duryodhana, all killed by the use of trickery or unadharmic tactics. It was agreed upon at the outset of the war that an armed fighter would not face an unarmed one, yet that was how Karna was killed. Both Drona and Duryodhana were killed by the means of using trickery and underhanded tactics.

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 14, 2009 - 2:17PM #2
gangajal
Posts: 835

[[1. Krishna says not to think that arjuna will be responsible for killing the
kauravas, they are already dead, killed by Krishna. But that takes away
individual responsibility, runs contrary to the laws of karma. Arjuna is
responsible for any acts that he had committed.]]


No there is no contradiction with the law of karma. Krishna is saying that in
time all creatures will be dead. So Arjuna is wrong even if Arjuna thinks that
Kauravas will live if Arjuna does not kill them. Of course Arjuna will be
responsible for his acts.


[[2. This may not be a contradiction, as the Gita is being told for the
benefit of all mankind not just for Arjuna. Krishna implores Arjuna not to cry
for the dead, try to see sadness and happiness the same way. Yet throughout
the Mahabharata no such behaviour is indicated by either the pandavas or even
Krishna himself. Arjuna cries for the slain Abhimanyu and vows to kill the
person responsible, throughout the war, the Pandavas repeatedly bring forth
the crimes committed by the kauravas.]
]

It just shows that merely hearing a teaching does not make a man wise. Arjuna's
behavior is psychologically correct.


[[3. The person who removes all desires from his mind is the ideal person, a
person should not run after desires or the pleasures of the senses, yet Arjuna
is told that if fights and dies in the war he will go to heaven, but if he
emerges victorious, he can enjoy the pleasures of becoming the king and ruling
the land.

Again this ideal is not followed - When Yudhishtira asks for just 5 villages,
none of his brothers support him. Led by Draupadi, this was one time when the
brothers failed to support their elder brother. They must have their kingdom
back, the injustices done to them must be avenged.

Personally i disagree with this - one should have desires, but one should not
let them take control over you. A desireless person is a useless person,
waiting for death, only looking out for himself as he awaits Moksha.

What if India had a few more Tata's, Nilakaneni's, or Ambani's? These people
fueled by their desires, have enriched themselves but have also bettered the
life of millions! Millions go to bed with their belly full thanks to these
gentlemen. The greatest evil of mankind is not war, but poverty, and until
that is eradicated, India will continue to have problems
.]]

The ideal of removing all desires from one's mind is for monks. It can not
possibly apply to householders like Arjuna and Yudhisthira.


[[5. Finally the whole war itself was conducted in an Adharmic way by the
pandavas. Having Krishna on their side one would think that the pandavas need
not have to resort to unseemly tactics, but that did not happen.

Duryoudhana assumed correctly, that as long as he had Bheeshma on his side,
there was not way he could lose. With Krishna's help the pandavas could defeat
the rest of the kauravas, but even Krishna could not defeat Bheeshma. He had
already faced him once as Parasurama, faught a battle with Bheeshma but was
unable to defeat him. In the end, they had to seek the advice of Bheeshma in
order to defeat him. This part is a bit strange because I don't understand how
Duryodhana was not informed of the meeting of the pandavas with Bheeshma,
after all, it's not every day that your enemy comes calling on your commander-
in-chief!

And then comes the killing of Drona, Karna, and finally Duryodhana, all killed
by the use of trickery or unadharmic tactics. It was agreed upon at the outset
of the war that an armed fighter would not face an unarmed one, yet that was
how Karna was killed. Both Drona and Duryodhana were killed by the means of
using trickery and underhanded tactics.]
]

I see no contradiction here. Wars are by definition not pretty! Mahabharata's
portrayal of the war is psychologically correct. The Pandavas had to go to
hell for their adharmik behavior.

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 17, 2009 - 8:34AM #3
HinduGuy
Posts: 373

"No there is no contradiction with the law of karma. Krishna is saying that in
time all creatures will be dead. So Arjuna is wrong even if Arjuna thinks that
Kauravas will live if Arjuna does not kill them. Of course Arjuna will be
responsible for his acts"


What I have learnt from the concept of Karma and the Hindu adage of leaving the "I" behind, is that we are responsible for our actions and that our actions have a bearing on society. Those societies that follow the rules and realize that rules benefit us all, are all successful societies. For example there is a west African nation that is being ruled by a dictator. The nation found oil in the 90's - all the residents should be rich, but they are all poor, because one man wants all the money for himself. He can only think of himself and none other.


On the other hand, in some European countries the trains run on the honor system. It is successful because people buy into it, they realize that paying their own way, is ultimately benefits them all as a society.


What does this have anything to do with your answer? The way you have put it, it is easy to become fatalistic. What is the point of doing anything anyway? After all, 2 or 300 years from neither you or I will exist and nothing we do today will matter right? So why do anything?


It is important to realize that what we do matters.

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 17, 2009 - 2:36PM #4
gangajal
Posts: 835

Sep 17, 2009 -- 8:34AM, HinduGuy wrote:


"No there is no contradiction with the law of karma. Krishna is saying that in
time all creatures will be dead. So Arjuna is wrong even if Arjuna thinks that
Kauravas will live if Arjuna does not kill them. Of course Arjuna will be
responsible for his acts"


What I have learnt from the concept of Karma and the Hindu adage of leaving the "I" behind, is that we are responsible for our actions and that our actions have a bearing on society. Those societies that follow the rules and realize that rules benefit us all, are all successful societies. For example there is a west African nation that is being ruled by a dictator. The nation found oil in the 90's - all the residents should be rich, but they are all poor, because one man wants all the money for himself. He can only think of himself and none other.


On the other hand, in some European countries the trains run on the honor system. It is successful because people buy into it, they realize that paying their own way, is ultimately benefits them all as a society.


What does this have anything to do with your answer? The way you have put it, it is easy to become fatalistic. What is the point of doing anything anyway? After all, 2 or 300 years from neither you or I will exist and nothing we do today will matter right? So why do anything?


It is important to realize that what we do matters.




Where is fatalism coming into this picture? It is in fact the opposite!


Arjuna and krishna are conversing in the middle of the battlefield. Arjuna has developed cold feet after seeing his relatives in the battlefield. Arjuna wants to run away from his duty to wage war. After all Arjuna is the leading general of his side. Krishna is giving him a pep talk so that Arjuna does his duty.


Would you have been happy if Krishna agreed with Arjuna and told him to pack his bags and flee the battle field? What example would Krishna and Arjuna fleeing the battle field have served? So the fact that Krishna succeeded in changing Arjuna's mind shows that what we do matters!

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2009 - 1:25AM #5
silence_speaks
Posts: 568

Arjuna, was a very talented person. But when he saw that his talent was to be used against his own kinsmen, he lost his cool.


There is a Zen Story: A Zen warrior who was very talented went to an old monk to prove his archery skills. The old monk said, plz come with me ... and then he took him to a pond over which there was a bridge... the bridge was shaking, anytime it might fall. And he went onto the bridge and standing on it, he hit a distant target. Then he asked the warrior to do the same. Though the warrior was talented, the fear of falling from the bridge overshadowed all his talent.


Same way, Arjuna was talented but his talent was overshadowed by his love for kinsmen.


Krishna teaches him the art of Remaning centered ... he gives him a knowledge with which he can remain centered and act as per the requirement of the situtation. its very practical teaching.


Love!


Silence

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2009 - 8:02AM #6
Maya3
Posts: 928

For me who did not grow up Hindu, the first time I read the first chapter in the Gita I was schocked and disapointed. I had thought that Hindu's would always be non violent and thought that Krishna would tell Arjuna not to fight.


But as time goes on, I'm understanding more and more how important Krishnas advice was and how it relates to a lot of things in life.


For example, I have a sister in law who is Jewish. My sister in law's sister is an orthodox jew who lives in Israel. Politicially she is a hardliner who is very against the palestinians, she is for the settlers taking over land that the international community has agreed is in fact part of Palestinian terretory and the settlers are going against international law when they go in and take the land, for example.


I personally feel that that Israel are commiting human rights violations towards the Palestinians (I know that the palestians are not flawless either, of course)


Anyway, my own sister in law knows how I feel but is trying to influence me a bit by sending e-mails, talking a lot about Israel and her sister etc, etc.


It would be easier for me to be silent so that I don't hurt my family. (Like in the Gita right?)


My sister in law is very dear to me we are very close, we spend a lot of time in their country home etc. But if I was silent for my families sake I would not do my duty.


It's my duty to be aware of the real facts and not take the easy way out. It is my duty as a human being to not be influenced by propaganda and stay silent.


Just like what Krishna is talking about.


Maya

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 19, 2009 - 8:28AM #7
silence_speaks
Posts: 568

The Essential point is if one is overcome by emotions ... what ever the emotion ... it is a sign of weakness.


The presence of emotions is fine. overcome by emotions means, i am weak. emotions are to be used.


for me to be a real performer... what ever the field ... i should have emotions and the emotions should be under my control... its like a dam... the water level is high means, that is good... but if it breaks the dam and floods the banks ... that is bad. the water level should be high and yet, i should be in full control... that is total Emotional Control.


Arjuna was overcome by emotions for his kinsmen. now... Krishna could have raised his emotions in opposite direction to counter these emotions... he could have reminded him all the injustice the kauravas did to him ... but krishna does not do this.


krishna teaches Arjuna the art of having mind in control. So that he can handle his emotions and do the right thing. Right thing, not coz of his selfish desires!


Arjuna was supporting the King. His job was to Help the King ... for the People. He had no right to leave the battle field in the first place. He was a public servant. He was not fighting for his happiness... he needed to fight for the people of the kingdom...more so as Duryodhana was not Dharmic. it was his duty.


Love!


Silence

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 22, 2009 - 10:42AM #8
HinduGuy
Posts: 373

Sep 17, 2009 -- 2:36PM, gangajal wrote:




Where is fatalism coming into this picture? It is in fact the opposite!


Arjuna and krishna are conversing in the middle of the battlefield. Arjuna has developed cold feet after seeing his relatives in the battlefield. Arjuna wants to run away from his duty to wage war. After all Arjuna is the leading general of his side. Krishna is giving him a pep talk so that Arjuna does his duty.


Would you have been happy if Krishna agreed with Arjuna and told him to pack his bags and flee the battle field? What example would Krishna and Arjuna fleeing the battle field have served? So the fact that Krishna succeeded in changing Arjuna's mind shows that what we do matters!




Looks like we are not connecting. What I was saying was that saying everyone will be dead anyway, did not make any sense. As I have posted, what we do in 300 or 400 years may not matter, nobody to read our thoughts or follow our actions. If what we do does not matter, than why do anything? If the Kauravas are going to die anyway, why wage war with them?

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 22, 2009 - 10:44AM #9
HinduGuy
Posts: 373

Sep 19, 2009 -- 8:28AM, silence_speaks wrote:


The Essential point is if one is overcome by emotions ... what ever the emotion ... it is a sign of weakness.


The presence of emotions is fine. overcome by emotions means, i am weak. emotions are to be used.


for me to be a real performer... what ever the field ... i should have emotions and the emotions should be under my control... its like a dam... the water level is high means, that is good... but if it breaks the dam and floods the banks ... that is bad. the water level should be high and yet, i should be in full control... that is total Emotional Control.


Arjuna was overcome by emotions for his kinsmen. now... Krishna could have raised his emotions in opposite direction to counter these emotions... he could have reminded him all the injustice the kauravas did to him ... but krishna does not do this.


krishna teaches Arjuna the art of having mind in control. So that he can handle his emotions and do the right thing. Right thing, not coz of his selfish desires!


Arjuna was supporting the King. His job was to Help the King ... for the People. He had no right to leave the battle field in the first place. He was a public servant. He was not fighting for his happiness... he needed to fight for the people of the kingdom...more so as Duryodhana was not Dharmic. it was his duty.


Love!Silence




I like this answer - as I have been saying it is not about getting rid of desires but it is about control of those desires, control over our emotions. All great teaches are able to do this, to remain in absolute control when everyone around them is falling apart.


As I have posted before I don't see "selfish" desires as necessarily a bad thing. Study evolution - that's desire making us what we are today.

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 22, 2009 - 11:01AM #10
silence_speaks
Posts: 568

Dear Hinduguy,


             :)


all desires are selfish so to say. but when a choice has to be made between what i like and what i have to do due to my duty ... a dharmic person is one who choses the right thing.


there is a very deep meaning in that, but right now i wont go into it. ill just present a simple example to make it clear. there were lot of police men who died in mumbai blasts. what was comfortable for them? to not fight. to remain at home and send someone else. that was really pleasure. that was preyah... something that they would like. that is selfish ... and then there is what is right to do ... shreyah ... what is correct ... they went ... they took up the fight ... that is the right thing to do... dharma.


Love!


Silence

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