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Gepubliceerd in: Mindfulness 1/2018

04-07-2017 | ORIGINAL PAPER

Mindfulness as an Ethical Ideal in the Bhagavadgītā

Auteur: Geetesh Nirban

Gepubliceerd in: Mindfulness | Uitgave 1/2018

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Abstract

The Bhagavadgītā (BhG) is a part of the ancient Hindu epic Mahābhārata. Being a quintessence of the Hindu religious tradition, philosophy and culture, it has exalting ethical significance for human life. As a prelude to the battle of Kurukṣetra, it is a colloquy between Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, when Arjuna is disconsolate, distressed, confused and unwilling to wage a war due to emotional and moral dilemma. This paper suggests that Arjuna’s mental condition reflects psychological chaos on account of conflicting human emotions and Kṛṣṇa’s effort consists of arousing the spirit of mindfulness in Arjuna by encouraging him to focus on awareness of the present moment while befriending the mind instead of becoming a slave of it. Viewing BhG through the lens of mindfulness, this paper addresses and analyses the ideal of sthithaprajña (stable intellect, in BhG) and draws its parallel with the concept of sati (mindfulness in Buddhism) by elaborating how BhG emphasises controlling the mind by rising above the fetters of three guṇa-s (sattva, rajas and tamas—the qualities). Through an exposition of Niṣkāma karma (detached or disinterested action), the paper projects how the synthesis of the path of jñāna (knowledge) with karma (action/duty) and bhakti (devotion) actually paves the way for mindfulness as an important ethical value for individual and social well-being. It further draws attention to the point that BhG does not endorse reclusive or indulgent methods but lays emphasis on selfless cultivation of mindfulness as an ethical ideal.
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Metagegevens
Titel
Mindfulness as an Ethical Ideal in the Bhagavadgītā
Auteur
Geetesh Nirban
Publicatiedatum
04-07-2017
Uitgeverij
Springer US
Gepubliceerd in
Mindfulness / Uitgave 1/2018
Print ISSN: 1868-8527
Elektronisch ISSN: 1868-8535
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0755-5