The Role Of Dharma And Karma In Bhagavad Gita And Shakuntala

910 words - 4 pages

Discuss the role of dharma and karma in the Indian society as reflected in Bhagavad- Gita and Shakuntala. How can be both paradoxical and at the same time complementary?In Bhagavad- Gita, dharma and karma are two controlling forces of the ultimate destinies of the people to preserve and conserve the Hindu social order. Arjuna, the protagonist, is torn between two choices, either to perform his dharma for the emancipation of the spirit or to fight against his kin that would probably result to evil karma. He belongs to a compelling position in the Hindu social order because of his birth and occupation, making him locked up from the supposed ultimate freedom (Mack, 1995). The dharma of Arjuna complicates his status in the social hierarchy thus makes him doubtful in performing his duties and responsibilities both as a Hindu warrior and a kin. He may have the control over his spirit and he may choose to receive a good karma, but his dharma contradicts and requires him to somehow disobey his self.In addition, according to Krishna, if he will withdraw from action, it is thus an act of self-delusion and the renunciation of moral and social responsibility. Krishna said that he [Arjuna] '…must learn to endure fleeting things- they come and go!" (2nd teaching: 14). He is convincing him to "fight the battle" (2nd: 18) and so if "he has courage, he is fit for immortality" (2nd: 15). He is always reminding him that his dharma requires him to fight. He adds, "No one exists for even an instant without performing action; however unwilling, every being is forced to act by the qualities of nature" (3rd: 5). Arjuna's hesitation may be valid in some points but it is orderly since it is human nature. He is overcome by doubts because he does not wish to be guilty of the death of his kin, but Krishna tell him that "actions imprisons the world unless it is done as sacrifice; freed from attachment, Arjuna, perform action as sacrifice!" (3rd: 9).From the philosophies of Krishna mentioned above, it can be scrutinized that an individual in the Indian society must not think that performing dharma can be immoral once it may result to evil karma, but rather internalize that when performing deeds, "always perform with detachment any action you must do; performing action with detachment, one achieves supreme good " (3rd: 19). They are not ruling dharma and karma, but they govern "to preserve the world" (3rd: 25).Shakuntala also portrays a strong Hindu society and Hinduism. There is sadness and melancholy due to dharma and karma but the ultimate destinies are well-controlled. Hinduism may provide sufficient free will to man but it does not permit him grappling from the moral...

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