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Literature: Bhagavad Gita
"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds"
J. Robert Oppenheimer, (mis)translating the Gita.

The Bhagavad Gita (The Song of God) is a book within a larger epic based on the conversation in the Hindu Epic Mahabharata between Warrior Prince Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna during the Kurushetra War. Arjuna had to fight his cousin Evil Prince Big Bad Duryodhana, his archnemesis Karna, his teacher and mentor Drona and Kuru Patriach and beloved grandfather Bhishma after exhausting all other legal means in order to get back his Kingdom. Arjuna gets a Hamlet moment and is unresolved on whether to take part in the battle and in consequence, kill his kinsmen and teachers on the other side of the war. Krishna talks him into fighting in the war and along the way, talks about subtle philosophy regarding the nature of the soul, the doctrines of yoga, the nature of man and the way to love God. The conversation ends as he shows his real form as God to Arjuna and convinces Arjuna to trust his judgement.

Like the Mahabharata, it is a narrative poem written in Sanskrit and is one of the major books in Hindu Mythology. Because of its complex subject matter, it is subject to countless interpretations.

Tropes in Bhagavad Gita:

  • Adaptation Distillation: A lot of people are more influenced by the Bhagavatam's take on the Gita than the Gita.
  • Badass: If the description of God in the book is to be believed.
  • God in Human Form: Hindu mythology is the Trope Maker. Though God can reincarnate in nonhumanform as well, according to the Gita.
  • Krishna Was My Charioteer
  • Messianic Archetype: The most famous verse of the Gita states that God reincarnates on earth to preserve dharma or righteousness.
  • Physical God
  • Reincarnation: See Messanic Archetype.
  • Shrug of God: Was it always part of the Mahabharata, or was it written later and then inserted like a philosophical sandwich? The jury is out on this.
  • You Can't Fight Fate / We All Die Someday: Why Krishna enjoins Arjuna to fight and slay his enemies. The term for "death" in the famous quote above can also be translated as time.
    I am time grown old, creating world destruction, set in motion to annihilate the worlds; even without you, all these warriors arrayed in hostile ranks will cease to exist. Therefore, arise and win glory! Conquer your foes and fulfill your kingship! They are already killed by me. Be just my instrument, the archer at my side!

MahabharataSacred LiteratureThe Qur'an
MahabharataClassic LiteratureMalleus Maleficarum
MahabharataNon-English LiteratureRamayana

alternative title(s): Bhagavad Gita; The Bhaghavad Gita; The Baghavad Gita; The Bhagavad Gita; The Bhagavad Gita
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