Hindu Dharma and caste system and the Bhagavad Gita

Essay by flutterbye61University, Bachelor'sB, May 2004

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1. According to Basham the term Dharma is "virtually untranslatable". On the basis of your reading how would you characterise the Hindu understanding of Dharma

2. Why, according to chapter 1 of the Bhagavad Gita, is Arjuna reluctant to fight his cousins?

3. What argument is particular does Ajuna's charioteer, Krishna, use to persuade him that he should put aside his doubts and join the battle.

To answer question one I will first explain that according to basham (encyclopaedia pg244) the Dharma is 'virtually untranslatable' and also I aim to clarify the caste system and finally i will explain what the Hindu's understanding of the Dharma is. To answer questions two and three I will first briefly explain what the Bhagavad Gita is, and the importance of it to Hinduism. Finally using the quotes from verses in the Bhagavad Gita I will answer why Arjuna is reluctant to fight his cousins and how Krishna, persuades Arjuna to go into battle.

No language is perfect. There is no proper equivalent word in English for the Sanskrit term Dharma. It is very difficult to define Dharma.

What is Dharma? Dharma is so called, because it holds. Dharma alone holds the people, etc. The word Dharma is derived from the root Dhr--to hold--and its etymological meaning is 'that which holds' this world, or the people of the world, or the whole creation from the microcosm to the macrocosm. It is the eternal Divine Law of the Hindu people. The entire creation is held together and sustained by the All-powerful Law of Hindu Gods. Practice of Dharma, therefore, means recognition of this Law and abidance by it.

'Every Hindu knows and understands what it entails. It is through fulfilling ones Dharma that merit is acquired and the goal of the Dharma...