Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Repetition and Discipline (Bhagavad Gita)

The Bhagavad Gita mentioned core fundementals such as devotion and discipline. Though the words themselves provide most of what they generally mean: using reason before acting or training one's mind to do so, I found that the rhetorical repetition of words and ideas between two stanzas reflects an association we can also make with devotion and discipline, that it does not come easy and must be practiced over and over and continuously until a desirable habitual behavior is established. Reading those lines, I could almost picture someone lecturing me. Repeating a certain point in different ways so that it becomes ingrained into my mind. Just thought it was kind of interesting.


Michell D said...

I think that this repetition is an archetype of many schools of thought. People seem to think that it is necessary to continually repeat something that they are trying to improve, and they usually get results. There is a famous saying that "practice makes perfect," and it's true (to some extent.) You never hear anyone say, "if you only do it just enough with minimal effort, you'll soon perfect it," or something like that, mostly because it isn't true. I see what you are saying with the repetition, however this is true for a lot of poetry, and it isn't always indicating a repeated lesson. That's not to say that what you said about the Bhagavad Gita is wrong, I actually agree with you, I just think that this style of repeating selected words to highlight the important points can be seen elsewhere.

Grant Reggio said...

That's precisely what I was trying to hint at as well. I must not have been clear enough I suppose. But isn't it interesting that we can make that association between repetition and discipline so easily because it's so prevalent in multiple cultures?

Ian J said...

Grant, I agree with you. Indeed the Bhagavad Gita repeats many disciplines, ideals, and, in a way, many "instructions" to its readers. It attempts to help its readers and give them a path, or sort of some guidelines to follow. One of the main teachings is to follow ones dharma. The teachings can also be tied into the different types of yoga (jnana and asana). I addition, the ideal of discipline and devotion also represent moderation which can be tied into the Greek ideal of sophrosene.