Brahman and Karman: The Theory of Institutional Action in the Bhagavadgītā

  • Binod Kumar Agarwala


The aim of this chapter is to find out how the Bhagavadgıtā removes the incongruity and contradiction between exhortation to go beyond sense perception to think of a person or spirit fundamentally as that principle which can neither be agent nor be a patient of action and the simultaneous exhortation to act without being motivated by passion for sense objects. Generally it was the first exhortation that was allowed to supersede the second exhortation by classical commentators, while the modern commentators involved in the freedom struggle allowed the second exhortation to supersede the first exhortation. It will be shown that none of the two exhortations in the Bhagavadgıtā supersedes the other as the two are equally balanced like the two halves of the bow with a mounted and drawn arrow pointing to the mark, which is the collective institutional action. In the process of showing the consistency of the two exhortations through the collective institutional action, a general theory of action and typology of action as given in the Bhagavadgītā is described.

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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Binod Kumar Agarwala
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyNorth-Eastern Hill UniversityShillongIndia

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