Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bhagavad Gita Discussion: Intro and Chapter 1

Hello again, readers!

I certainly hope the idea of discussing the Bhagavad Gita in this blog will stir some interest in you. I mentioned why I wished to do so in the previous couple of posts, so read those if you want to know why I am doing this. The format of this discussion will be simple: after I read a chapter, I will post my impressions of it in a blog post, and after you read it you can post comments in the Comments section of each post. Blogger has set up a convenient format that way. :-) Perhaps at a later date I will give these posts their own page in this blog, but for now, please enjoy this discussion. Oh, important note: I'm using the Swami Dayananda Saraswati translation for this discussion. I heard it's a great translation.


Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1 Discussion: "Arjuna's Sorrow"

The first thing that comes to mind after I read this chapter is its purpose: to me, at least, this chapter serves as plot exposition more than anything else. I certainly find that handy in this case, not having read the rest of the Mahabharata. However, it certainly provides a great literary context for the purpose of the Bhagavad Gita: what better time to have the meaning of life taught to you than at the moment before partaking in an activity (in this case, battle) that will most likely lead to your death? I know I certainly would need a pep talk of that magnitude before I did anything so dangerous. The Bhagavad Gita is more than a pep talk, of course, but from a literary standpoint, it certainly entices one to read further.

That said, Arjuna's plight is one that I can somewhat sympathize with: I'm no soldier, but I know that feeling of paralysis that can overcome a person when doing the right thing is either unclear, or appearing impossible. It's the classic "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario. Either way, there will be conflict, and consequences. When confronted with such choices, it's hard, at least for someone like me, to not feel some apprehension and hesitation. Again, I'm not one who fights battles like Arjuna, but I still fight battles every day, of a very different sort. For everyday people like myself, it could be said we fight wars every day.

That's about all I can think of to say on this chapter for now...again, at least to me it seems like plot exposition, but maybe you readers can pick up on something I might have missed. Arjuna's dilemma is definitely something I've picked up on, but maybe there's something else? Feel free to comment, readers.

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