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Bhagavad-Gita

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Michelle Proctor Due: 10-7-05

Survey of World Literature Assignment 1b

The Bhagavad-Gita teaches many things, and amongst these, morality and moral law are developed for the Hindu religion. What Krishna, the primary Hindu god, declares in this somewhat epic poem to be the "basis of good in this world" (stanza 3, pg. 620 of text) is for people to take action. Action, as he goes on to state, is within the very nature of our beings to do. Krishna even states that "without action you even fail to sustain your own body" (stanza 8, pg. 620 of text). Thus, Krishna feels that action is very important and key. To take this concept as a relation to ethics, Krishna tells Arjuna, the warrior he is talking to in this poem, that "Action imprisons the world unless it is done as sacrifice; freed from attachment, Arjuna, perform action as sacrifice!" (stanza 9, pg. 620 of text). Thus, Krishna is prescribing that, in order for an action to be considered good, the good that he already declared to be the basis of all good in the world, one must detach himself from the action being performed and perform the action sacrificially. The detachment aspect is incredibly important to Krishna, for he proclaims that in "performing action with detachment, one achieves supreme good" (stanza 19, pg 620 of text). By doing this, Krishna believes that the world is preserved, for other people will follow the warrior's actions and imitate them in their own lives. A leader, such as a warrior or king, "sets the standard for the world to follow" (stanza 21, pg. 621 of text), as Krishna says and thus must take whatever action is necessary for the world to not be destroyed, to set examples of goodness and right in his own actions. By separating himself from these actions, thus becoming detached, he can achieve this. Another main reason that Krishna feels detachment is necessary is this: "You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty." (Bhagavad-Gita 2.47). Thus, so long as one does not profit from his own actions, the action itself is good. And, this is Krishna's prescription for leading a life of morality and duty is the moral law to follow in order to achieve this.

According to the Bhagavad-Gita and what Krishna declares to be moral law, moral code does, indeed transcend personal interests. Krishna declares, as has already been extensively mentioned, that in order to live a life of morality, one must detach himself from his actions and live according to his own duty. "Krishna urges Arjuna to do his duty because it is the work of a warrior a just war is something he should delight in being a part of." (http://www.sciforums.com/showthread.php?t=48085) It is Krishna's will that to live morally, one should act out of duty, very much as Immanuel Kant declares in his own philosophies.

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