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The Bhagavad Gita (or ‘Divine Song’) is a short portion of a much longer Hindu Epic, entitled the Mahabharata. In the Gita, we are given a dialogue between Arjuna (the Warrior) and Krishna (his charioteer). Arjuna has been called upon to defend his rule against a warring clan (his blood relatives) who seek to usurp him; but not wanting to harm those who are seemingly close to him, Arjuna lays down his weapons and begins to despair. Krishna (who we find out is actually the deity speaking through the person of the charioteer) exhorts Arjuna to see the bigger picture: sometimes in our life we must carry out tasks that at the present moment make no sense to us; yet if we shrink from such tasks, we will lose an opportunity to contribute to an overall good.
According to Krishna, no matter the personal cost or suffering, one must fulfill one’s obligation [dharma] and do this as an act of worship to one’s Lord. In the Bhagavad Gita (2:38), Krishna states: “Prepare for war with peace in thy soul. Be in peace in pleasure and pain, in gain and in loss, in victory or in the loss of battle. In this peace there is no sin.”
Do you agree or disagree with the above statement? Why? (Please list your specific reasons.)
Do you believe that a warrior can be at peace with himself/herself? Or is the concept of ‘the Peaceful Warrior’ a contradiction in terms? Please explain.
What do you think the passage implies about the possibility of a ‘holy war’?
Could the passage be interpreted in a symbolic way [as opposed to its usual literal sense]?
Please explain your answers.