Indian Moral Philosophy: How Should Arjuna Solve His Moral Dilemma?

1851 words - 7 pages

In this essay we will look at the criteria Arjuna should base his decision on when considering how to solve his moral dilemma. Once we have established these we will use part of the philosophy indicated in the 'Gita' and examine the flaws in Arjuna's reasons for not wanting to fight in battle in order to resolve what action he must take.WE must first ascertain exactly what Arjuna's moral dilemma actually was. Arjuna is facing a decision about whether to face his family and friends in battle for the Kingdom. Basically he is torn between his role as a 'warrior' and fear of what the consequences of his role might be in battle; between his duty to fight and his desire to protect those whom he had a duty to protect. More importantly Arjuna is worried what might be the effect on the society he seeks to protect if he is to carry out his duty to fight against the army of Bhima, the 'evil minded son' of Dhrtarastra. He says, 'Those for whose sake we desire kingdom, these I would not consent to kill'. For him, it is an anathema to kill those whom he regards as his companions, those he has attachments to. 'What pleasure can it be of ours' he goes on to say 'that we slay our kinsmen' and by that he means 'Teachers, fathers, sons and also grandfathers'. It is obvious that Arjuna feels very deeply about the dilemma he is facing and is not just using it as an excuse for the fear of fighting, his limbs 'quail', his mouth 'goes dry' and hair 'stands on end' at the prospect of fighting his own people. The idea of gaining power is superficial when it comes to having to slay the people he calls his own. He sees the object of such a slaying and its cause being rooted in no more than greed.WE can summarize Arjuna's dilemma in three ways. As a duty [to fight] versus the fear of doing the wrong thing and making the wrong choice which cannot be reversed. Secondly, as a dilemma between carrying out his duty and harming his personal attachments, the society he lives in and his family. Thirdly, it is a dilemma between doing his duty to fight versus his duty to protect. Throughout the Gita, Arjuna is fighting to make the right choice and in making his choice he is weighing up the reasons for fighting versus the consequences for doing so. It is a moral dilemma because he is trying to do the right thing, but the problem is he is committed to the cause of fighting just as much as he is to protecting the people.KRSNA, who the Gita makes out as a human manifestation of God and the saviour of human values, offers some arguments as why Arjuna should fight, however these arguments are weak and not applicable to Arjuna's problem or simply state the obvious. His first is that the body is destructible and only serves to embody the soul, which is indestructible. Therefore one should not grieve for those bodies, which would perish anyway. But Arjuna knows that his companions standing across from him on the battlefield will die one day. If Krsna's argument was valid why should Arjuna cry...

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