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An ICS seminar analyzes the importance of the Bhagavad Gītā text in Indian religious literature.

Organized by the project 'Religion and Civil Society', the activity was given by Mariano Iturbe, Associate Professor honorary of K. J. Somaiya Bharatiya Sanskriti Peetham.

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PHOTO: Manuel Castells
01/10/14 17:36 ICS

Mariano Iturbe, honorary Associate Professor of K. J. Somaiya Bharatiya Sanskriti Peetham, discussed in a seminar of the Institute for Culture and Society the importance of the Hindu sacred text Bhagavad Gītā(Heavenly Song) in the religious literature of India. The activity was organized by the project 'Religion and Civil Society'.

The Gītā is a poem of 700 verses belonging to the Mahābhārata, one of the two most famous epics of India. With the central topic of the rivalry between the family of the Kauravas and that of the Pāṇdavas, it introduces various stories, legends, moral and philosophical teachings. It was first translated into English in 1785 and later spread throughout Europe.

"The Gītā has had much influence on the culture and daily life of the people of India. In the modern nation, the case of Mahatma Gandhi stands out and, through him, the Indian Nationalist movement, which led the country to proclaim independence from British power in 1947," Professor Iturbe explained.

The concept of 'disinterested action'.

According to him, one of the most original concepts developed in the work is that of 'disinterested action', "which implies fulfilling the obligations that derive from our position in life, but with detachment from its results".

Professor Iturbe pointed out that the various schools of the Indian Philosophy distinguish between a life dedicated to action and another to knowledge. In this discussion two great thinkers stand out: Śaṅkara and his Advaita Vedānta school, who uphold the importance of knowledge as a path to liberation, and Rāmānuja and the Viśiṣṭādvaita school, who emphasize the importance of action.

According to Rāmānuja, the Gītā considers human action to be that which is free and rational, and which is also liberating, that is, which leads to man's ultimate end. For this it is necessary to renounce the fruits of our actions. "Thus, the ancient discussion on whether it is better to act or not is resolved by the doctrine that teaches to renounce the fruits of our actions."