Bhagavad Gita is the core of the super-long epic Mahabharata, from India.
The context is that Krishna, the avatar (Earthly incarnation) of the creator god Vishnu, is talking to the warrior Arjuna on the eve of a great battle. (Krishna is disguised as the charioteer; Arjuna is reluctant to fight, because his own family is the enemy.) Krishna explains that Arjuna must fight because it is his cosmic duty. To impress him, Krishna shows his godly forms, including Shiva, the destroyer (because creation and destruction are linked, see). Upon this transformation he says...
Mind you, this is an incredibly condensed summary of the Gita. I think I captured the essence -- considering I've never read the whole thing.
Actually it's Brahma who's the creator god, while Vishnu is the preserver and Shiva the destroyer. Those three are sort of the ruling triumverate of Hindu gods, but ultimately all gods (and everything else for that matter) are manifestations of one god. So Krishna can be Vishnu and also be Shiva at the same time. It's mighty confusing, but it's how Hindus can incorporate any number of local deities into a unified theology. I've heard some even incorporate Jesus into the system.
Posts: 17 | From: Los Angeles | Registered: Sep 2004
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domina, Lucky for me, Hinduism is such a patchwork system (rather, "Hinduism" is an umbrella term for many vaguely related beliefs) that I can still claim to be partly correct. In some systems, Vishnu is both creator and preserver -- inasmuch as those duties intersect. And Brahma is considered less a part of the godly triumvirate, and more the undergirding principle of the universe.
Damn, I'm cocky for someone who admits never reading the flippin' thing.
--Grump "but I read the Classic Comix Bhagavad Gita" y