Bhagavad Gita: The Theory Of Soul Vs. The Body

1593 words - 6 pages

Imagine yourself walking past a homeless man. His hopeless eyes catch yours while he asks, “can you spare (should be spare) some loose change, please look to your soul.” If you were to look deep into a mirror past the exterior fixtures of the face and see into the inner sanctum: what would you find? Why do people reference the soul before the actions of the body, and why do we associate the soul to a higher state of harmony? In the short novel Bhagavad Gita, Krishna, the Vrishni prince believes that the only way to ultimate harmony is to reject the body, including the brain and embrace the soul. Throughout the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna explains the eternal power of the atman or “soul” is the all-encompassing force over the body, while the body itself is considered an unpretentious vehicle that produces the soul’s movements and decisions. Although Krishna emphases the soul is more powerful than the body, he also believes the soul is more powerful than the mind.
Krishna describes the body in relation to the soul in the first disclosure during the great battle. Arjuna is caught in a situation where he must choose to fight and kill his own family in war (11). Krishna encourages Arjuna to fight, because nothing on Earth can harm the atman. Krishna believes, “these bodies have an end; but they are said to belong to the eternal embodied self that which is never lost and cannot be measured (21).” To Krishna the bodies are not significant on account of the body will only be a temporary vessel. Warfare is necessary in Krishna’s eyes in view of the atman will still survive death regardless of what the circumstance. This idea of the body being worthless to humanity is the central theme in Krishna’s theory. The body to him is a mere vessel that contains the true soul in all humans. Killing a person does not end their entire existence, but merely allows the soul to escape the figurative prison Krishna calls the body. In the Gita, the body is essentially seen as a waste of skin and matter. Once again, we can perceive that the internal soul is more valuable than paying the ultimate sacrifice. This raises the question: is the body a vessel to which we use as a temporary shield to the outside world? Krishna explains in the first two discourses that Arjuna does not see his true identity due to he has not looked passed his exterior face. Arjuna has trouble with understanding this concept in that he has given the body all of his power. Arjuna has lived his entire life believing that his body is the controller of his actions, while in reality the soul controls the body’s movements. Krishna wants Arjuna to reject his body and see past his face (external structure), therefore looking in his own soul to find the knowledge and desire to fight. Once the cycle of life ends, the atman will still live on and the body will decompose. If the body has no meaning, then dying in battle does not matter. Krishna tells Arjuna, “when you have entrusted all actions to me, with thought...

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