Archive
ISSN 1214-8725
Číslo/Ročník/Rok: 1/I/2004 - Autumn 2004

Bhagvad-Gita – An Introduction to Hindu Philosophy (referát)

Autor: Vidhu Maggu
Abstract: Bhagavadgíta – úvod do hinduistické filosofie. Referát pro klub Sova. – Bhagavadgíta (Píseň Vznešeného) je jednou z nejsvatějších knih hinduismu. Je částí šesté knihy velké indické epické básně Mahábhárata. Většina textu sestává z dialogu mezi Kršnou a Ardžunou na bojišti Kurukšétře. Bhagavadgíta obsahuje základní esenci starého hinduitického náboženství. Zabývá se povinností člověka k sobě samému, k jeho bližním a k Bohu, probírá i vztah Boha k lidem.

 

Bhagvad-Gita is one of the holiest books of Hinduism and the highest expression of philosophical Hinduism. It is a part of the book six of the great Indian epic poem Mahabharat – the saga of war between Kauravs and Pandavs, the royal cousins. The name Bhagvad-Gita means “Song of the Lord”. It is written in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. The Bhagvad-Gita is often called simply the Gita, meaning song. It consists of 700 verses divided into 18 chapters. The verses were recited by Lord Krishna to his friend and devotee Arjuna, one of the Pandav brothers.

 

Their discourse – one of the greatest philosophical and religious dialogues known took place just before the onset of war – the conflict between the sons of Dhrtarastra and on their opposing side their cousins the Pandavs, or sons of Pandu. Dhrtarastra and Pandu were brothers born in the Kuru dynasty, descending from King Bharata, a former ruler, from whom the name Mahabharat derives. Because Dhrtarastra, the elder brother was born blind, the throne that otherwise would have been his, was passed down to the younger brother, Pandu.

 

When Pandu died at an early age, his sons came under the care of Dhrtarastra. Sons of Dhrtarastra were jealous of their cousins, the Pandavs and cheated them of their kingdom in a game of dice and sent them away on thirteen years exile. Pandav brothers were known to be men of highest moral stature. Upon their return, the Pandavs asked back for their kingdom, which the Kauravs refused to give. Krishna took the role of messenger for the sons of Pandu and went to the court of Dhrtarastra to plead for peace. His pleas were refused and that led to the great war.

 

Most of the Bhagvad-Gita consists of a dialogue between Krishna and Arjun on the battlefield of Kurukshetra where the armies of these royal cousins, the Pandavs and the Kauravs, face each other for the decisive battle to end their long-running feud.

 

Lord Krishna was not an ordinary man but the Supreme God himself, who had descended to earth and was playing the role of a prince in a contemporary dynasty and the cousin of Pandavs. In the war, he became their adviser and helper and the charioteer of Arjuna, who was known to be one of the finest bowman.

 

Gita is reputed to contain the very essence of the ancient Hindu religion and had an important influence on Hinduism. Krishna, presented in the poem as Vishnu, the God in the flesh, is the spiritual teacher who recited the Gita. The Bhagvad-Gita debates the rights and wrongs of conflict. It also discusses ones duty to oneself, to his fellow humans, and to God. It explores Gods relationship to humans. It shows how people can begin to understand God and so free themselves from the burden of Karma (deeds done in previous lives and in this present life).

 

Prince Arjun watches his cousins and brothers preparing for battle and is greatly troubled. He asks Krishna how he can justifiably take part in the battle because it must be wrong to slay his kinsfolk for the sake of power. He would rather die than kill his relatives, so he throws down his weapons and gives up the fight.

 

Krishna at first thinks Arjun is merely showing signs of weakness. But when he realizes that the prince is genuinely anxious about where his duty lies, he speaks to him as the God Vishnu, and explains the nature of the atman (soul). That atman can never be killed nor can it kill. When the body dies, it simply passes into another body and continues to live. Death must come to all who live, and rebirth must come to all who die. Why mourn for that which cannot be avoided? He explains to Arjun that it is his duty to fight as it is a just war.

 

He is a soldier and his responsibility is to fight. Real sin lies not in the killing of his enemies, but in failing in his dharma (duty).

 

Krishna instructs Arjun on the three ways of union with God. The first is Karma-Yoga (the Way of Action). Each person should do his or her duty, without hope of personal benefit or ambition, but with faith in God. Those who go through the notions of performing rituals without care or interest, or do their work only for profit, will never achieve release from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Only if a person acts with his or her mind fixed on Brahman (God) will he or she become free, at peace, and at one with God. Anyone in that state feels no disturbing desires. Where there is no desire there is no disappointment, and there are no competitive stirrings of ambition. In work ones sole ambition should be to serve as an example to others, so that they too may do their duty.

 

The second way is Jnana-Yoga (the Way of Knowledge). By this means, the contemplative person can best seek union with God. Such a person should have great self-control and spend much of his or her time in meditation. Through Gods grace, he or she will come to realize that Brahman (God) and Atman (soul) are one. Arjun asks which of these two paths is best. Krishna replies that the result will be the same whichever path is followed. The end means absorption in Brahman- the unchanging, the eternal. The entire universe exists in and because of Brahman, but few are sufficiently advanced to perceive this Being. Most people are absorbed with their own petty, temporary concerns, which are only ´maya´ (illusion), which cannot last but must pass away in time.

 

The third way is Bhakti-Yoga (the Way of Devotion). This is one of the most important contributions made by the Bhagvad-Gita to the development of modern Hinduism. Krishna becomes the Ishvara (personal God), who may be worshipped as a spirit or as an image by his followers. Union with God, and release from the suffering of birth and rebirth, is available to all through devotion to Krishna.

 

Krishna then reveals himself to Arjun as Vishnu the God, which overwhelms Arjuna. Krishna continues to teach Arjun about the nature of man. He defines the qualities that bring people nearer to Brahman, the God and those that tend to lead them astray. The individual nature of people decides what and how they worship. Some people look to God, others to worldly things.

 

The Bhagvad-Gita provides a summary of Hindu religious thought and practice, much of it based on the Upanishads. These are part of the Vedas, the oldest sacred books of Hinduism. It points the way to developing belief, forging a personal relationship between deity and worshipper. It offers a new approach to the full perception of, and absorption in, Brahman, the God.

 

Main Teachings Of Gita

 

Gita has described the soul as immortal, eternal, ever-existing and ever-lasting. Soul cannot be cut by weapons, burnt by fire, it is insoluble, unbreakable. For soul, there is neither death nor birth. As person puts on new clothes, soul accepts new material bodies, giving up old ones. Soul is eternal, deathless and invisible. Lord Vishnu has explained the nature of soul and supersoul. Human soul which is part of universal soul is immortal.

 

It has described our Senses as the wild horses. Body as the chariot and Mind as the reins. Atma (soul) is the Lord of the Chariot as senses are under control.

 

Central Theme of Gita is renunciation – detached life, which does not mean that one should run away from ones duty. Gita teaches to achieve them by righteous living, to perform those duties without expecting rewards.

 

Another important teaching of Gita is belief in Karma – the path of action. Karma is deeds or action. Hindus believe in reincarnation. Basic belief is that a person’s fate is determined according to this deeds or karmas. A person who does good karmas in his life will be awarded with a better life in next birth/incarnation. If a person does bad deeds, he will be punished for sins in the next incarnation.

 

700 concise verses provide a guide to the science of self realization. Gita reveals in profound way nature of consciousness, self, universe and Supreme.


 
 www.filosofie.cz