The aim of this paper is to examine main concepts of Bhagavad Gita and either agree or disagree with them. Concepts examined in this paper are Karma, Bhakti, Samsara, Moksha, Dharma, and the three Gunas. The concept of Karma means that a person should follow his or her duty without thinking of the rewards for his or her actions. Bhagavad Gita teaches the following: ‘Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme’ (Verse 19, Chapter 3).
I agree to this concept, since religious purity is only attainable through self-sacrifice in the name of the Divine. Earthy preoccupations, such as attaining benefits for yourself by acting in a certain way, contradict the nature of religion, which calls for obedience and commitment to one’s duty. Every individual should find the right path and stay loyal to it. It will eliminate hesitation prior to action and render more legitimacy to one’s deeds. The concept of Karma isn’t unique to Hinduism, since it is present in every major religion, yet in a different form.
Following one’s religion implies that earthy consequences of actions matter less then those anticipated in the afterlife or subsequent incarnation. The concept of Karma is closed to the Western notion of deontological ethics. Deontological ethics puts morality over the consequences of an action. In fact, Kant’s Categorical Imperative is one of the most vivid examples of deontological thinking since it establishes a universal moral standard for all the human being in all situations.
The concept of Bhakti entails that there is an ultimate religious expression, during which a person can experience the highest degree of devotion to God and find unity with God. The blurring of the earthy and divine suggests that a piece of God is present in every human, and people should discover God inside them through seeking Bhakti. Bhagavad Gita says the following: ‘Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear’ (Verse 66, Chapter 18).
This concept suggests that religious can provide ultimate guidance through life, and people should entrust themselves to God. Samsara is a cycle of rebirth that is perceived as a natural fact of life. It means that soul is immortal, while human body fades away. Bhagavad Gita ssays the following: ‘For certain is death for the born, and certain is birth for the dead; therefore over the inevitable thou shouldst not grieve’ (Verse 27, Chapter 2). This concept suggests that humans should pay more attention to spiritual matters rather then momentary desires.
Furthermore, it teaches a philosophical approach to death as something inevitable and followed by rebirth; thus it is helpful in eliminating fear of death, which results in a more liberated earthy life. Moksha means liberation from the cycle of rebirth through achieving a state of ultimate self-realization. There are four components of Moksha: Shanti, Videh, Kaivalya and Swarga. Shanti is the greatest degree of peace and transcendence, which frees a human being from all the sufferings of earthy life. Videh is the knowledge that comes together with Moksha; it is the realization of self and the essence of the universe.
Kaivalya is enlightenment every human should strive for. Swarga is a notion that is close to the concept of paradise in other religions. I should agree with this concept, since ultimate understanding of one’s true self is the only path to enlightenment. Self-realization can further lead to self-actualization, and self-actualization is on the top of the needs pyramid. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs suggests there are several levels of human needs: physiological needs (need for air, warmth, food, sleep etc.
), security needs (need for an absence of threat of various nature), social needs (needs for love and a sense of belonging), ego needs (needs for self-respect and respect from others), and self-actualization needs (the needs for purpose, personal growth and realization of one’s potentials). Therefore, the concept of Moksha in the sense of a state of ultimate liberty and self-realization is close to Western psychological theories. Dharma is the concept of cosmic order existing in nature and human society.
It can be interpreted as righteousness, which is a way to uphold harmony in the world. It is used to explain the complexity of the word and the connection between God and nature. By agreeing to this concept one acknowledges the importance of harmony as the underlying value, both in nature and in term of spiritual harmony. Following the universal laws of conduct results in the absence of conflict and more fulfilled life on Earth. As for the three Gunas, they are Saatva (centered), Rajas (dynamic) and Tamas (inertia). In fact, these three Gunas perfectly reflect the nature of all processes.
Saatva, which can be interpreted as harmony and purity, is a state that is different from both motion and inertia and signifies true piece of mind. Rajas, or energy and passion, reflects the ever-changing nature of the world. Tamas, or darkness and ignorance, refers to a state of inertia and motionlessness, both in physical and spiritual sense. This triad explains the path one should take to achieve Saatva through unleashing one’s creative energy and avoiding spiritual inertia. References Easwaran, Eknath (trans. ) (2007). Bhagavad Gita, 2nd ed. Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press.