Dante Aligheiri’s Bhagavad v’s Inferno: assessment of the good and bad
The “Bhagavad Gita” and “Dante’s Inferno” are among the most popular scripts considered to provide a detailed account of the above Hindus way of life. The Bhagavad Gita is a 700-verse Hinduism scripture. Also known as Gita, the scripture is considered as the 6th book of Mahabharata. On the other hand, Inferno is a divine poem based on Hinduism explaining the journey of Dante through the hell under the guidance of virgin Roman poet. Most debatable are the concepts of Dharma, Karma, and Samsara as found in Bhagavad Gita. The concepts try to explain; in the most convincing manner about the predestination and life after death. But most interesting how these concepts relate or differ when compared with Dante’s concept of spiritual hierarchy.
As earlier stated, the concepts of Dharma, Samsara, and Karma were significantly important for understanding how the Hindus were expected to live and how their fate was predetermined. For instance, Dharma refers to “duty” of life, which means everyone has a duty to fulfill before death. Still, Gita explains that people were reborn in accordance of the lives they lived (Karma). In other words, the rebirth is an accumulation of one’s actions. Lastly, the Samsara refers to how the material world is bound to the cycle of death and rebirth. The concept of Dharma is captured at the beginning of the Bhagavad Gita whereby Arjuna has to kill Duryodhana despite being his cousin. Arjuna and Dhritarashtra (King) are like enemies in a way that, Arjuna and his people wanted to forcibly claim the land resided by Dhritarashtra and his people. Both the sides the was littered with family grandmothers, fathers, uncles, brothers and friends and so on. This means that family members and friends were to fight and kill each other on the battle field. Nevertheless, Arjuna is not ready to kill his family members. But then again, Krishna reminds him he must fulfill his obligation by destroying his enemy Dhritarashtra. At this point, we see that only Arjuna was to be responsible for the death of King Dhritarashtra. This was “duty” of his life. Here we can as well say that Arjuna was predestined to kill Dhritarashtra. This was fate that he could not walk away from.
The concept of Karma can be captured from Krishna advice to Arjuna. According to Krishna, it would be of great dishonor to disrespect Dharma. According to Krishna, killing is not a sin in this case. This is because both the killed and the killer will have a better life after the death. “The body is just a merely a flesh, and we should not limit what we must do (Dharma) jut because of the superficial body.” The death of any of the party would restore the power of good. He also states, in heaven, it will be the enjoyment of the earth with no pain. This simply mean that people will be reborn according to the life they lived (Karma). On the concept of Samsara, the Krishna makes it clear that material world in bound to the cycle of life and death. This is explained by the distinction between soul and superficial body. According to Krishna, the body after death is a reminder of the material world they lived in. Nevertheless, unlike the earthly body, the newly reborn body consists majorly of soul and simple senses. The bound explains why people should not live to gratify their selfish gains and ego.
As found in the Bhagavad Gita, human was predestined their fate which determines how they live and will be reborn as explained by the three concepts. Similarly, throughout the Inferno, there are series of facts to tell there is life after death. What differs significantly between the two scripts is that Dante offers a concept of heaven and hell. The aspect of rebirth is not captured. Still, the script presents Dante bound world of evil spirit for his transgression in the world. Unlike in Gita, the Inferno does not indicate that the human life has been predestined. However, having visited hell and back on earth several times, Dante notes that the way you live on earth determines your life after death. Although there is still heaven, Dante offers one of the most debatable concepts that, going to heaven or hell are not simply a matter of good and evil. Simply put, Dante’s poem is full of uncertainties about life after death. This can also be captured from a story in which both the Dante and Farinata are in hell suffering. Dante asks Farinata why his soul is not able to see the future. She answered him in hell someone cannot see distant things as an indication of uncertainties about life.
One of the major distinct issues captured in the Inferno is the spiritual hierarchy. Notably, after death, people will be rewarded or punished depending on the sins committed while on earth. Still, the spiritual position held while on earth will significantly determine the magnitude of the punishment. For instance, Dante tells us that Farinata was supporting the Holy Roman Emperor who in turn was leaning on the Pope. This is symbolic to what happens in the real world. The idea here is not the question whether Pope can sin; instead, it is an indication that in hell there is a spiritual hierarchy. However, there are still those in top hierarchy living contemporary life like that of Dante. Nevertheless, the concept behind spiritual superiority is hell is disputable. One of the major question in relation to this is why the spiritual hierarchy should be directly exercised in hell.
Another major difference between the two scriptures can also be drawn from the fact that, in Bhagavad Gita, the physical body (flesh) dies to leave behind the soul and senses. In Dante’s Inferno, there I no account of this. Instead, the poem describes the physical suffering of the human body upon the death. Still another major difference, it is the Karma that gives birth to the new soul after death in Bhagavad Gita. Because there is no account of the hell, it is believed that the person who died with bad Karma will return to earth after the Karma is exhausted. Therefore, there is no suffering as is in the case in Dante’s Inferno. Far different, the Dante’s Inferno gives an account of endless suffering.
Dante’s account is a vivid description of how the hell is like. Therefore, unlike Gita, the Inferno presents life after death in a scary manner. All this description is covered in what can be referred to as “12-stage programs.” By going through the 12 steps, we are able o grasp almost a complete picture of the hell. Throughout these steps, Dante was helplessly battling to get out of hell. While in hell Dante imagines the life he lived at his middles ages; an indication that there is a close relationship of life in fresh and life after the death. Therefore, while the Bhagavad Gita may be using Dharma to warn to do their duties, Dante’s Inferno emphasis on the need to be freed from all kinds of sins. It could therefore be inappropriate in accordance with this scripture for Arjuna to kill Dhritarashtra (King).
Conclusively, the “Bhagavad Gita” and “Dante’s Inferno” are among the most popular Hindu scriptures. These divine scriptures draw the attention of the modern historians in for the manner in which they present the ancient Hindu cultural and religious believes. Remarkably, the two scriptures reveal the most debatable mysteries about predestination and life after death, the topic that has gained more analytical value in the 21st century. As evident from above discussion, the two articles differ theoretically more specifically on concepts of concepts of Dharma, Karma, and Samsara as found in Bhagavad Gita. But still, the two articles have similarity in a way that, they approve there is life after death; which will be determined by the live lived today. Although the above divine thinking is based on Hinduism, it is undeniably true that they still find their way into other religions such as Muslim and Christians. This explains why the scriptures will continue being most sought; even by the future generations.
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