Analyzing Bhagavad Gita and the Tale of Genji Essay

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Bhagavad Gita and the Tale of Genji

Within the Bhagavad Gita, there is the persistent of three major themes: knowledge (jnana), action (karma), and love (bhakti).When it comes to knowledge, one of the major lessons that Krishna is able to demonstrate is the damage via the misplacement of grief, since the eternal soul, unlike the body, cannot be killed. Thus, some of the major lessons regarding knowledge refer to the importance of discriminative wisdom, achieved through a steadfast mind, which is comparable to a lamp unflickering in a place without wind. The attainment of this stability is achieved through practice, such as via yoga, which can help the mind come to a state of repose (Prasad).

Action is still another major theme of this text: action is important with the endeavor or not getting too invested with the results of the action. The fruits of action often cannot be controlled: yoga is skill in action. Action connects to the four goals of life in that these four goals (passion, wealth, and freedom) cannot be achieved without action. When it comes to engaging in action, one should act devoid of passion and with a sheer absence of a lack of investment in the fruits of one's action, by cultivating a sense of disinterest or detachment from the outcome (Prasad). However, even more than knowledge and action, the overwhelming theme of the Bhagavad Gita revolves around action which is both dedicated and devoted to God via love. Thus the concept of love and God are intensely intertwined. However, love on its own still remains a powerful and pertinent theme of the Bhagavad Gita. For instance, Arjuna responds with love to Krishna's revelation, as only through love can one realize the true form of Krishna. Likewise, Krishna is able to demonstrate his love for Arjuna by asserting that only through the abandonment of dharma, can they find refuge in one another. In this text it is also presented that love has the ability to subvert dharma: as there is no need to consider dharma when one consecrates one's acts towards God.

The theme of love abounds very strongly in "The Tale of Genji" by Shikibu, and the way that love is used so precisely is something which occurs similarly as it does in the Bhagavad Gita. One of the first stories, Kiritsubo, discusses how one of the chamber-women, now not as a young or vibrant as she used to be, still captivated the love and the heart of the Emperor, his love for her growing ever-stronger each day: "But the Emperor, so far from wearying of her now that she was no longer well or gay, grew every day more tender, and paid not the smallest heed to those who reproved him, till his conduct became the talk of all the land; and even his own barons and courtiers began to look askance at an attachment so ill-advised. They whispered among themselves that in the Land Beyond the Sea such happenings had led to riot and disaster. The people of the country did indeed soon have many grievances to show: and some likened her to Yang Kuei-fei, the mistress of Ming Huang. Yet, for all this discontent, so great was the sheltering power of her master's love that none dared openly molest her" (Shikibu). This passage demonstrates the power of love, which is something that the Bhagavad Gita attempts to demonstrate time and again. Love is so powerful, that it can shelter and individual from the storm of life: there's a strongly protective mechanism which abounds throughout the act of loving and being loved by another person. Love is presented as an umbrella to be used for weathering the storms of life. Love protects all…

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