Ujaan

Ujaan

17-03-2022

17:19

This is common Knowledge but let me reiterate this again: The Bhagavad Gita as a defining text of Hinduism is a colonial-modern construction. In precolonial India, many Mahabharatas barely mention the Gita or omit the Gita altogether. Small ๐Ÿงต and Two examples.

2/ We start with Sarala Dasa's Fifteenth Century Odia Mahabharata . The earliest Vernacular Mbh in Eastern India. The Gita as far as I know does not find a mention in Sarala's text. Krishna finds no need to convince Arjuna to fight the war. The war just begins.

3/ Similarly the Bengali Mahabharata of Kashiram Dasa, written a few century after Sarala, barely mentions the Gita. In Kashirama's text, Arjuna is troubled when he faces war and Krishna comes to convince him. The Gita itself is wrapped in a page or so.

4/ For Kashiram the Gita is not the vehicle to propound philosophical knowledge. For Sarala, he finds no utility of the Gita in the plot of the Mahabharata at all. Why did these "hindu" authors of the most celebrated Mahabharatas find no use for the Bhagavad Gita?

5/ Well because the Gita was most likely not the central text to understand, analyze, or even interpret Hinduism in Pre-colonial India. Does not mean no one read the Gita, some people surely did. But it was not the singularly important text that it is now made out to be.

6/ This is corroborated by the History of Art as well. How many scenes from the Gita do we see in Temple walls, Friezes, & Sculptures in Pre Colonial India? Not a lot. We see some, but compared to the scenes from lets say Ramayana or Bhagavat (Purana), there numbers are paltry.

7/ Moreover, the Gita did not have by all accounts a separate existence outside the Mahabharata. Few standalone translations of the Gita exist. Some commentaries too but largely people in precolonial India read the Gita as one of the many parts of the Mahabharata.

8/ So how did from being one amongst the many Gita become one of the central text of Hinduism? For that, short answer: Colonialism had a central role to play. You can find the Long answer in this book: Highly recommended.

9/ The East India Company for one was a Great admirer of the Gita and ordered its earliest translation [Image below]. Among other things the Britishers surmised, that the Gita was held with "veneration", for "so many ages by a considerable portion of the human race."

10/ Later for nationalist leaders The Gita and its interpretation became greatly deer. Much of which is well known. So, to conclude: First, It is essentially wrong for any government of a secular state to impose a religious curriculum in schools. That is non-negotiable.

11/ What I am alluding that this imposition too (of suggesting that the Gita is central to Hinduism) is a modern idea in man ways. Fin.



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