Ideas of Anon (Bhag), by Theme

[Indian, fl. 500 BCE, Author of 'The Bhagavad Gita'.]

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1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 1. Nature of Wisdom
Serene wisdom is freedom from ties, and indifference to fortune
     Full Idea: Who everywhere is free from all ties, who neither rejoices nor sorrows if fortune is good or is ill, his is a serene wisdom.
     From: Anon (Bhag) (The Bhagavad Gita [c.500 BCE], 2.57)
     A reaction: This is very similar to the 'apatheia' of the Stoics, though they are always more committed to rationality. This is quite a good strategy when times are hard, but as a general rule it offers a bogus state of 'wisdom' which is really half way to death.
2. Reason / A. Nature of Reason / 7. Status of Reason
Seek salvation in the wisdom of reason
     Full Idea: Seek salvation in the wisdom of reason.
     From: Anon (Bhag) (The Bhagavad Gita [c.500 BCE], 2.49)
     A reaction: Quotations like this can usually be counterbalanced in eastern philosophy by wild irrationality, but they certainly felt to tug of reason. Only the Dhaoists seem really opposed to reason (e.g. Idea 7289).
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 6. Platonic Forms / a. Platonic Forms
I am all the beauty and goodness of things, says Krishna
     Full Idea: I am the beauty of all things beautiful; ...I am the goodness of those who are good, says Krishna.
     From: Anon (Bhag) (The Bhagavad Gita [c.500 BCE], 10.36)
     A reaction: Another attempt to annexe everything which is admirable to the nature of God. This sounds strikingly Platonic (c.f. Idea 7992, which seems Aristotelian). One scholar dates the text to 150 BCE. I think there is influence, one way or the other.
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / a. Consciousness
In all living beings I am the light of consciousness, says Krishna
     Full Idea: In all living beings I am the light of consciousness, says Krishna.
     From: Anon (Bhag) (The Bhagavad Gita [c.500 BCE], 10.22)
     A reaction: Everything grand seems to be claimed for God at this stage of culture, but I am not sure how coherent this view is, unless this is pantheism. In what sense could we possibly be Krishna, when none of us (except Arjuna) is aware of it?
20. Action / A. Definition of Action / 1. Action Theory
All actions come from: body, lower self, perception, means of action, or Fate
     Full Idea: Whatever a man does, good or bad, in thought, word or deed, has these five sources of action: the body, the lower 'I am', the means of perception, the means of action, and Fate.
     From: Anon (Bhag) (The Bhagavad Gita [c.500 BCE], 18.14/15)
     A reaction: The 'means of action' will presumably take care of anything we haven't thought of! Nothing quite matches the idea of 'the will' here. A twitch from the first, eating from the second, a startled jump from the third, struck by lightning from the fifth.
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 2. Source of Ethics / e. Human nature
Hate and lust have their roots in man's lower nature
     Full Idea: Hate and lust for things of nature have their roots in man's lower nature.
     From: Anon (Bhag) (The Bhagavad Gita [c.500 BCE], 3.34)
     A reaction: It seems outmoded now (since Freud) to label parts of human nature as 'higher' and 'lower'. I would defend the distinction, but it is not self-evident. The basis of morality is good citizenship, and parts of our nature are detrimental to that.
25. Social Practice / E. Policies / 1. War
There is no greater good for a warrior than to fight in just war
     Full Idea: There is no greater good for a warrior than to fight in righteous war.
     From: Anon (Bhag) (The Bhagavad Gita [c.500 BCE], 2.31)
     A reaction: What worries me now is not the urging to fight, as long as a good cause can be found, but the idea that someone should see his social role as 'warrior'. The modern 'soldier' is ready to fight, but a traditional 'warrior' is obliged to fight.
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 6. Early Matter Theories / f. Ancient elements
The visible forms of nature are earth, water, fire, air, ether; mind, reason, and the sense of 'I'
     Full Idea: The visible forms of nature are eight: earth, water, fire, air, ether; the mind, reason, and the sense of 'I'.
     From: Anon (Bhag) (The Bhagavad Gita [c.500 BCE], 7.4)
     A reaction: Presumably there is an implication that there are also invisible forms. The Bhuddists launched an attack on 'I' as one of the categories. The first five appear to be Aristotle's, which must be of scholarly (and chronological) interest.
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 1. God
Everything, including the gods, comes from me, says Krishna
     Full Idea: All the gods come from me, says Krishna. ...I am the one source of all
     From: Anon (Bhag) (The Bhagavad Gita [c.500 BCE], 10.2/8)
     A reaction: This seems very close to monotheism, and sounds very similar to the position that Zeus seems to occupy in later Greek religion, where he is shading off into a supreme and spiritual entity.
29. Religion / A. Polytheistic Religion / 3. Hinduism
Brahman is supreme, Atman his spirit in man, and Karma is the force of creation
     Full Idea: Brahman is supreme, the Eternal. Atman is his Spirit in man. Karma is the force of creation, wherefrom all things have their life.
     From: Anon (Bhag) (The Bhagavad Gita [c.500 BCE], 8.3)
     A reaction: I can't help wondering how they know all this stuff, but then I'm just a typical product of my culture. We seem to have a trinity here. Who's in charge? Is Atman just a servant? Is Karma totally under the control of Brahman?
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 1. Religious Commitment / e. Fideism
Only by love can men see me, know me, and come to me, says Krishna
     Full Idea: Only by love can men see me, and know me, and come unto me, says Krishna
     From: Anon (Bhag) (The Bhagavad Gita [c.500 BCE], 11.54)
     A reaction: There seems to be a paradox here, as it is unclear how you can love Krishna, if you have not already seen him in some way. This is another paradox of fideism - that faith cannot possibly be the first step in a religion, as faith needs a target.
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 2. Immortality / e. Hell
The three gates of hell are lust, anger and greed
     Full Idea: Three are the gates of this hell, the death of the soul: the gate of lust, the gate of wrath, and the gate of greed. Let a man shun the three.
     From: Anon (Bhag) (The Bhagavad Gita [c.500 BCE], 16.21)
     A reaction: Anyone who wishes to procreate, champion justice, and make a living, has to pursue all three. Wisdom consists of pursuing the three appropriately, not in shunning them. How did this bizarre puritanism ever come to grip the human race?