Anthony Thompson


English 250

Research Analysis Paper

"I am unstrung; my limbs collapse beneath me, and my mouth is dry, there is a trembling in my body, and my hair rises, bristling" The Gita, page 730. This scene contained within the passage "The Gita" demonstrates Arjuna on his quest. Like many Epic/Tragic stories within Hindu culture, each story contains a central message, or reveals something about Ancient Indian/Hindu life and culture. Whether that message is provoked through death, victory, or the entire conquest/passage as a whole, something can be gained by the reader. The Epic of The Gita reveals that your duty in life is what's most important, and what the God's favor within Hindu culture. Along with revealing what will happen to your life if a person does not follow their duty. In this essay, I will elaborate and dissect on how the Gita reveals duty as a central message within Hindu culture.
In the beginning of the story Arjuna is seen at a crossroads right before battle. Here Arjuna delivers to the audience a tone of confusion and doubt within his purpose/duty. "O handsome haired one I foresee no good resulting from slaughtering my own kin" The Gita, page 730. Arjuna in this epic is a warrior. Every warriors most beloved thing to do is battle, kill, and conquer. It's their entitlement/duty. Being that Arjuna chose to stop his chariot, halt the battle, and call upon the God Krishna for guidance shows separation on whether he should follow his duty or feed his desire of not killing his family and friends.
According to David Webster from Desire and the transformation of living, " Hindu's view desire as something that we're better off without, they are well aware of the dangers that lie within desire". Krishna the all-knowing God now explains to Arjuna as to why he should not sympathize over worldly things. Krishna states "This man believes the one may kill; That man believes it may be killed; both of them lack understanding; it can neither kill nor be killed." Page, 733. What he means by this is that although the physical body may pass from this earth, their souls will be reincarnated.
According to BBC, "Hindus believe that a person's atman (spirit) is permanent and cannot change while the physical body is not permanent and can change. The atman is reborn many times, this is samsara (reincarnation)". This is where your duty (according to Hindu culture) determines your caste system during reincarnation. Krishna the all-knowing God urges Arjuna to leave behind his desire of empathy and attachment because of these reasons. Such desires distract and diter you from your purpose on earth.
On page 733, Krishna states "If you turn from your righteous warfare, your behavior will be evil, for you will have abandoned both your duty and your honored name". Krishna is now clearly demonstrating/educating to Arjuna that if he abandons his duty, and chooses desire over all else, then he will be cursed. According to Berkley University, "For Hindus, dharma is the moral order of the universe and a code of living that embodies the fundamental principles of law, religion, and duty that governs all reality. The Hindu worldview asserts that is one by following one's dharma, a person can eventually achieve liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth (samsara).