World History 101.010
07 December 2015
Gods and War
Religion is the basis for everything in most people’s life. War and religion go hand and hand. For example, in the Epic of Gilgamesh when Gligamesh and Enkidu went to kill Humbaba they first prayed to the Gods asking for their blessing, and the gods helped them, suggesting that this violence was religiously justified. In much the same way, the gods were called upon to bless the battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas in the Bhagavad Gita. Much like in the Bhagavad Gita there are similarities with Sun Tzu and The Art of War, where he uses Confucianism and Taoism for military strategy. In some instances, religion is used to justify war. For example, in the Caste System Bhagavad Gita, the Art of War and St. Augustine.
The word caste comes from the Portuguese word casta, and refers to a social class of hereditary and usually unchangeable status (Book). The Caste system existed from 1000 through 500 B.C.E. The caste system provided social order. The Aryans established four groups in the caste system; Priests (brahmnins), warriors and aristocrats (kshatryas), peasants and merchants (vaishays), and serfs also known as the working man (shundras). Of course since Brahmnins were the highest member of the caste system they supported this social order. Brahmnins endorsing this social order brought them wealth, honor and loyalty. If you have the people’s loyalty and trust what ever you say they will do or at least consider it. The caste system was set up to keep social order. Warriors (kshatrays) were the second highest in the caste hierarchy.
In The Bhagavad Gita you have two armies in the midst of war. One army was the Pandavs the sons of Pandu and the other army was the Kauravas the sons of Dhritarashtra, Pandu’s brother. In The Bhagavad Gita you have two main characters Krishna and Arjuna. To me Arjuna was Krishna’s mentor. Krishna was able to confide in Arjuna basically telling him he did not want to fight in the war. Arjuna kept telling Krishna it was his dharma to fight. Eventually Krishna understood what Arjuna told him. In fact, he did fight knowing it was his dharma. There are a lot of major principles in Hinduism, for example, the idea of working because it is what you are supposed to do. The God’s were subject to the same principles as everyone else. Hinduism was more of an orthopraxy; it mattered more than what you did on a daily basis and how you lived your life. The monks would often spend a lot of their t...