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Elias Eli Miller

Professor Nawaraj Chaulagain


Hindus & Christians
January 20th, 2015
Reflection 1
The first article I read for class was the Bhagavad Gita As It Is by Prabhupada.
This article summarized the main events of Arjunas crisis with himself due to the fact he
finds it wrong to wage war against his relatives. He goes on to list all of his internal
conflicts that are preventing him from going into battle. Madhusudana, Krishna, watches
Arjuna become overwhelmed with grief and comes to him to give him words of wisdom.
One of the main points I took away from this reading is that the soul, is
everlasting, present everywhere, unchangeable, immovable, and eternally the same (5).
He then goes on to say is that no one should grieve over the loss of a body because the
soul is everlasting and will not perish. The Gita also states that Yoga helps a person break
free from the cycle of birth and death as well as gain a state beyond the miseries in
everyday life. Right after this statement, I became confused due to the fact that the Gita
says that once a persons mind is not disturbed by the flowery language of the Vedas
and he or she remains in a trance of self-realization he or she will obtain the divine
consciousness. From class and our other readings, I did not consider the Vedas to be a bad
part of Hinduism but then the Gita speaks of it as a trivial thing.
A quote that really resonated with me in the text is, Whatever action a great man
performs, common men follow. And whatever standard he sets by exemplary acts, all the
world purses (10). The quote feels very relevant especially in todays times because the

world has fewer and fewer role models because of numerous distractions (ex: phones,
alcohol, drugs, etc.). In order to educate people on the standards they should hold
themselves to, we must all do our work. By doing our work we are holding ourselves to
higher standards and most likely the people around us will follow suit to create a more
productive world.
In the second article called Holy War: Violence and Bhagavad Gita by Nicholas
Summons, Summons explains the paradox Ghandi created with the ideas he preached.
Ghandi preached ahims, which he said he gathered from the Bhagavad-git. The
problem arises from the Bhagavad-git because it encourages violence, which is the
exact opposite of Ghandis teachings. Ghandi exclaims that pure non-violence is
impossible physically but it is something we should strive for. In contrast, Hinduism as a
whole is represented in a pyramid of beliefs. Some Hindu teachings advocate
violence because they are offering an inferior form of religion appropriate for the less
advanced (83) I find this quote very troubling because of the demeaning tone it creates
within the Hindu religion. Summons goes on to explain that Hinduism says that those on
a lower level should participate in other forms of religious actions to gradually elevate
themselves closer to enlightenment. In comparison, Ghandi teaches that he says ahims is
the absolute goal because it represents the stage at which baser impulses in human
beings are finally conquered and the full manifestation of the spiritual being emerges
(83).
When Ghandi speaks of the Bhagavad-git he says it teaches the people the secret
of nonviolence and it also teaches the secret of realizing the self through your physical
body. I understand what Ghandi is saying but I find it hard to understand what part of

Bhagavad-git inspired his teachings of ahims. As the article goes on, Summons does
further delve into Ghandis interpretation of royal dharma and the idea that the Gita is not
a way for Kings to justify violence to preserve the human society. Towards the end of
Holy War, Summons becomes very preachy but brings up valid points about how in
todays society we do see violence as a way to maintain order in society and that maybe
Ghandi really does have the more realistic idea. The idea that violence is and will always
be evil and never be used to solve problems.
Questions

On the page 5 of the Gita as well as the Holy War article, the idea of
reincarnation is briefly mentioned but not really elaborated on. Is every soul
immediately sent to another physical being or are some souls not applicable for

reincarnation/sent to Hell?
Another section of the Gita states, All beings are unmanifest in their beginning,
manifest in their interim state, and unmanifest again when annihilated (6) What
constitutes something that is manifest or unmanifest? What are the different stages

of life (Beginning, interim, and Annihilation)?


Who came up with the theory/idea of the Religious duty of fighting (6)?