The Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads

Among the many religious books in Hindu philosophy, the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads are among the most famous. Both texts agree that knowledge is needed in order to liberate the Self (Atman) from worldly miseries and discover the dharma (truth). Failure to do so may result to subjection of the individual further into the world of ignorance and suffering, making him more of a victim of fate rather than its master or even enjoyer. However, despite their aparent similarities, differences in approach on the same philosophy could be found.

The Upanishads, is intended for the individual devoted to consummate asceticism and with firm faith and yearning for the eternal, while the Bhagavad Gita, or Gita, as it is simply called, is a more practical guide for persons facing everyday or normal problems in life. The entire Hindu philosophy believes that there is a God that contains everything and that everyone contains the immortal aspect of God within him. A suitable analogy would be to think of God as the great ocean and we, His creatures, His tiny droplets, and with the rest of creation are subject to change.

We are within God and God is within each core of our being: “I am the Self abiding in The heart of all beings; I am The beginning, the middle, and Also the end of all beings “(10. 20). The only reason while we experience change and suffering is that we failed to attune Name 2 ourselves to the immortal God. Both sources state that by connecting the self to the one God one can achieve eternal peace. However, man’s unneeded worldly attachment and the instability of the human mind has prevented him from reaching this enlgihtened state.

And if one has failed to attain liberation before the end of his lifetime, he is still subject to the endless wheel of life and death—he will be reborn.. Both sacred texts agree to the idea of the restlessness of the mind, and that the mind’s unstable processes is the cause of the individual’s ignorance of the true self. The factors that affect the mind’s instability can be internal or external in nature. The internal factors are such things as pesonal longing, the tendency of the mind to wander from one thought to another, or desire, while external factors can be sensations like pleasure or pain.

Having these distractions of the mind under control eventually reveals the Atman inherent in each individual. As the Bhagavad Gita clearly states: “Controlling sense, mind, intellect; With moksha as the supreme goal; Freed from desire, fear, and anger: Such a sage is for ever free. ” (5. 28) That passage from the Gita is very similar to the one in the Upanishads: “The Self is subtler than the subtle, greater than the great; It dwells in the heart of each living being. He who is free from desire and free from grief, with mind and senses tranquil, beholds the glory of the Atman.

” (2. 20). According to the Gita and Upanishads, the liberation from Life’s vissicitudes and dualities can be attained through discipline of thoughts and emotions, and non-attachment to worldly affairs. Both sources are oriented at a certain sense of “freedom”. How to attain that, however, Name 3 is where they differ. The Upanishads and the Gita has varying descriptions, yet the same interpretation of faith. In the Upanishads, the term Shraddha was used, which is a Sanskrit word that has no English equivalent, but roughly means “faith and yearning”.

In the commentaries of Swami Paramananda on the Gita, it is stated that “It is more than mere faith. It also implies self-reliance, an independent sense of right and wrong, and the courage of one’s own conviction” (1. 3). In the Gita, we can find a more elaborate description. It was declared that man is dictated by his faith (17. 3), and faith is determined by three dispositions, namely, [1] the quality of truth, [2] action, and [3] indifference (2). The first disposition is marked by doing something without asking anything in return—altruism.

The second disposition is less desirable than the first, however good the act, for it is still motivated by personal desire, and the third is the disposition that leads to injury either of the self or others (17). It is apparent that the first disposition is the favored one. Like the traditional Christian teachings, faith coupled with good action is required, for faith without action is dead, but it is also necessary for one to place faith in the right context. The two books have different views on asceticism, the Gita favors only mental asceticism, while the other included material deprivation as well.

The Upanishads view indulgence to worldly affairs as impediments to spiritual progress, while the Gita believes one can still live normally provided that he does not harbor any attachment to mutable things. The Upanishads maintains the practice of bramacharya (life of continence and altruism), and personal austerities. In fact, Nachiketas, a protagonist on one of its chapters, has declared his disdain for worldly things by saying that things in Life are “fleeting”, and even “the longest life is short. ” On the other hand, the Gita views ascetism as counter-productive: Name 4

“Sense-objects turn away from the Abstinent, but the taste for them Remains, but that, too, turns away From him who has seen the Supreme. “ (2. 59) It argues that eliminating the object of desire does not guarantee the removal of the desire itself, as in the cases of drug abuse, mania and similar tendencies. Desire is an internal state and if the matter can be resolved mentally, extreme material deprivation on the ascetic would be unnecessary, and can also be a major obstacle in spiritual progress because its way of life does not liberate the practitioner from samsara (suffering).

However, it has stated the importance of treating each worldly affair with full conscionsness or “single-minded devotion” (11. 54). Although desire is an immaterial thing, depriving oneself of external stimulus would provide a suitable environment for the ascetic in mastering the mind and its passions. Moreover, in the Gita, Nagarjuna, one of the text’s protagonists, experienced difficulty in connecting with the eternal and act according to the dictates of his fate, due to his despondency, caused by the incoming war.

Temptations or passions are indeed more difficult to resist in their presence than in their absence, but this doesn’t mean that living a way of life as described in the Gita is impossible. Both books showed the two faces of the same coin, giving the practioners the freedom to choose according to personal preferences. Name 5 Works Cited Parmananda, Swami. “The Upanishads”. 1st World Publishing, 2004. “The Bhagavad Gita”. http://www. atmajyoti. org/