Friday, October 12, 2012

Sufism vs. the Bhagavad Gita

I believe that the poems that stem from the teachings of Sufism have a few similarities to the way the Bhagavad Gita is written. Like the Bhagavad Gita, Rumi's poems have a didactic feel. They both attempt to teach their readers something about how to live their lives. Whether it is through respect for one's elders, discipline in the face of temptations, or kindness that needs to be exhibited towards others, both Rumi and the author of the Bhagavad Gita offer a path for its disciples to follow throughout life. Also, when reading the two works, they both sometimes have a lyrical and rhythmic feel to them. I realize Rumi intended this when writing his poetry, but whether or not it was a goal in the composition of the Bhagavad Gita I do not know. Does anyone have the same feeling?

6 comments:

Lindsay A said...

I agree, Ian. Both poems were written for the purpose of teaching. Though I feel as though Rumi's method of teaching involves more passion. The Bhagavad Gita seems more didactic in tone than Rumi's poetry. It's as though Rumi is trying to instruct through appeals to emotion, while the Gita is more logical and instructive. I think the Gita was intended to have a lyrical style since it was written in the form of poetry.

Madeline Davis said...

I agree with both Ian and Lindsay. I really enjoyed reading the Bhagavad Gita because of its steady, peaceful rhythm and didactic nature. Although their underlying meanings are often similar, the Gita is presented in a very straightforward manner, while the messages in the Rumi poems are more disguised under layers of metaphors. To me, it seems like because of its elegant sound and tone, the Rumi poetry would be initially taken lightly, not appreciated for its deeper meanings. On the other hand, it seems like it would be hard to take the Gita lightly because of its blunt, straightforward delivery.

I'm so tired, I hope this makes sense.

Laura N said...

Both are didactic, in the sense that the reader is supposed to glean meaning and guidance from each. Rumi's way of going about it is similar to confucious's sayings and the Tao te Ching because of the use of metaphors and imagery. Perhaps the Gita and rumi relay their messages in different ways because they were speaking to different audiences. Because ethe Gita is so straight forward and told in a repetitive manner, a lot of people brought up in that culture, educated or spiritual or not, would have been able to understand the message. Rumi's poems might have been enjoyed by everyone, but those who are spiritually open and educated, may have received his message easier.

TSHAH said...

I completely agree with you Ian. It seems to me as if the majority of ancient literature had the purpose of teaching society the "proper way to act" as literature served to unify the multiple city states that existed within certain regions (similar to the way a common language did). This parallel can be seen through the Gita and the Koran as both were used by Indian and Islamic society respectively to teach the public the moral ways of life which would allow them to achieve spiritual success.

Tyler Dean said...

They are pieces of literature attached to a specific religion, so they are obviously didactic. What else would someone write about on the subject of religion? Basically everything from that period is attached to a religion and is didactic. Religion, as well as language, was one of the things that kept the tribes together in such a way that later on they all had such common ground that they came together to form the nations we have today.

Ben Bonner said...

I agree with what Laura said. I think that Rumi's audience would have been literate, and that is why he writes in a more abstract style. I think it is also important to consider the manner in which these stories would have been delivered as well. The Gita would have been, at least originally, recited orally. Therefore, a series of poems which differ drastically in topic from one to the other would be much more difficult to memorize.