The original Bhagavad-Gita was written somewhere between 400 and 200 B.C. Despite its age, it is still a relevant Hindu text that is studied and lived by today. It can easily be applied to one’s everyday life, even for one who is not Hindu. The text is full of lessons from the Hindu entity, Krishna, when Arjuna, a prince, comes across difficult questions about war and life. The Bhagavad-Gita covers Arjuna’s dilemma and how Krishna helps him make a decision about it; this is a fine example of how one’s worldview can affect decisions made.
In the beginning of the Bhagavad-Gita, Arjuna, one of the main characters, introduced the dilemma of war and killing his kin. Arjuna is the leader of the small Pandava army that is about to fight Duryodhana’s larger army. The reason Arjuna wants to battle is because King Dhritarashtra is trying to pass the kingdom down to Duryodhana when the rightful ruler is Arjuna’s brother, Yudhishthira. (Miller, 1986, Ch.1, Lines 1-20). However, in the first teaching, Arjuna is upset that Duryodhana’s army is full of his family, “I do not want to kill them even if I am killed, Krishna; not for kingship of all three worlds, much less for the earth!” (Miller, 1986, Ch.1, Line 35). In other words, Arjuna does not want to win a kingdom if it means killing his family. He goes on asking, “How can we ignore the wisdom of turning from the evil when we see the sin of family destruction, Krishna?” (Miller, 1986, Ch.1, Line 39). He sees destroying family as sinful and does not want to be a part of that. Despite Arjuna’s lack of fighting spirit, Krishna insists that he continue into battle.
Krishna, an entity fighting with Arjuna, is the one who counsels him through this dilemma. He convinces Arjuna to fight by speaking about his faith and wisdom. Krishna first states that Arjuna is being a coward and that if he turns back he will lose his honor. He says in the second teaching, “Our bodies are known to end, but the embodied self is enduring…” (Miller, 1986, Ch.2, Line 18). Krishna is talking about reincarnation. He basically tells Arjuna that it is okay to kill people in this war because they will simply reincarnate. There are plenty of other lessons that Krishna goes through, but one of the most prominent is the one about having faith in Krishna and the supreme god. He insists in the seventh teaching, “practice discipline in my protection, with your mind focused on me…” (Miller, 1986, Ch. 7, Line 1). In order to be apart from the material world and get a good afterlife, Arjuna must devote his life to Krishna and the Hindu religion. With these and many other lessons, Krishna persuades Arjuna that it is okay for this battle to happen.
The Bhagavad-Gita is a valuable text from the Hindu religion, and therefore accurately represents how a worldview can affect decisions. Everyone has their own way of viewing the world. In the case of Arjuna, he views the world through a Hindu worldview. At first, Arjuna did not want to carry through with the war. However, Krishna, an entity of the Hindu religion, persuaded him otherwise. Arjuna says after all of Krishna’s lessons, “Krishna, my delusion is destroyed, and by your grace I have regained memory; I stand here my doubt dispelled, ready to act on your words.” (Miller, 1986, Ch. 18, Line 73). Arjuna decided to continue into battle because he believed what Krishna was saying. Other world views are exactly like this. People make decisions and take actions based on what they believe. World views have a huge impact on how decisions are made.
In conclusion, the Bhagavad-Gita is an influential piece of religious text. Arjuna was faced with the problem of going to war with family members he did not want to kill. However, Krishna persuaded him to continue into battle to be honorable. He claimed that death was not going to be the end of these people, but rather they would be reincarnated into another body. Among other lessons, Krishna told Arjuna to follow him wholeheartedly and to put the material world aside in order to reach true purpose. In a way, this represents the way world views affect the way decisions are made. People, like Arjuna, will always make decisions based on what they believe.
Miller, B. S., (1986). The Bhagavad-Gita: Krishna’s counsel in time of war. New York: Columbia University Press