The Gita is not inciteful, it is insightful
Self-interested people sometimes pursue their own agendas by inciting others to violence. And in today’s globally connected world, such hate speech can trigger widespread frenzy and fury. Understandably, those new to the Bhagavad-gita may feel concerned on knowing that it urges a reluctant warrior to fight a war.
However, the Gita is not in the least inciteful. It doesn’t mention even once the many atrocities that Arjuna and his family were subjected to by their evil cousins, the Kauravas. It doesn’t ever call for vengeance against the wrongdoers. It doesn’t contain any hate speech at all.
The Gita does ask Arjuna to fight, but the fight is to establish the rule of law, of dharma – not to settle any personal scores. And the Gita’s thrust is not on fighting, but on cultivating a consciousness of purity and spirituality with which we can do all activities constructively. The Gita’s battlefield setting is meant to stress how consciousness matters everywhere, even in those exceptional situations that necessitate assertive action such as war.
Consider the call to fight given in the Gita (03.30). That call is preceded by exhortations to give up lethargy and possessiveness and to cultivate spiritual awareness and devotional surrender. Such exhortations indicate that the Gita’s thrust is on the inner war to fight against our own darker desires.
The Gita is insightful in the sense that it gives us inner sight: an understanding of the inner world with its subtle dynamics. It explains how we are pure souls, parts of the divine, and how we can reclaim our core goodness by overcoming the dark desires within us.
Far from inciting people to violence, Gita’s insightful message equips people with the self-understanding that decreases their vulnerability to inciteful propaganda and increases their capacity to act constructively for creating a more harmonious world.
Think it over:
- How is the Gita not inciteful?
- What is the thrust of the Gita? What is the purpose of its battlefield setting?
- How is the Gita insightful and how can it protect people from getting incited?
03.30 Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with full knowledge of Me, without desires for profit, with no claims to proprietorship, and free from lethargy, fight.
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