[INDOLOGY] Gita moral philosophy

Nagaraj Paturi nagarajpaturi at gmail.com
Sun Jul 9 13:08:04 UTC 2023

I do not know whether in the Greek philosophical discussion, the question
of adhikaarabheda was brought by either Plato or Euthyphro with regard to
the question of

are some acts good because the gods command them, or do the gods command
them because they are good

But in a typical Vedic / Indic setup of such discussions ,

answers to such questions are resolved through the method of adhikaara

For a non scholarly adhikaari :  some acts good because the gods command

and for a scholarly adhikaari  : the gods command them because they are

scholarly adhikaari does not hesitate to reason out why the acts are good
independent of the command from the god(s) and then reason out that as the
reason for the god(s) commanding it

  a non scholarly adhikaari does not put that effort to reasoning and
follows the easy path of reasoning, namely  those acts are good because the
gods command them.

The verses such as

सर्वोपनिषदो गावो दोग्धा गोपालनन्दनः ।
पार्थो वत्सः सुधीर्भोक्ता दुग्धं गीतामृतं महत्

in " Geetaamaahatmya" ,

do not reflect any attitude of command towards the sentences addressed by
Krishna to Arjuna. Such verses do not hesitate to characterize the
sentences addressed by Krishna to Arjuna as the summary distilled from
older texts Upanishads that are not actually viewed as 'His' command.
Upanishads have many examples of reasoning out to lead to certain

Scholars in their discussions , deliberations , bhaashyas, vyaakhyaanas ,
vaakyaarthas, shaastraarthas,  pravachanas etc., spend a great amount of
their discourse in reasoning out the logical validity of the sentences
addressed by Krishna to Arjuna.

Why, Arjuna himself is made to reason out with Krishna regarding the
reasonability or quality of making sense in the  words of Krishna and goes
to the extent of saying ,

व्यामिश्रेणेव वाक्येन बुद्धिं मोहयसीव मे । तदेकं वद निश्चित्य येन
श्रेयोऽहमाप्नुयाम् 3-2.

 " येन श्रेयोऽहमाप्नुयाम् "

  shows that Arjuna is asking for the basis of श्रेयः for the validity of
the instruction, not reflecting any attitude of following the instruction
just because it is a divine command.

इति ते ज्ञानमाख्यातं गुह्याद्गुह्यतरं मया।

विमृश्यैतदशेषेण यथेच्छसि तथा कुरु।।18.63।।

 divine command too shows that the author of Geetaa does not make Krishna's
words any command.

On Sun, Jul 9, 2023 at 5:01 PM Uskokov, Aleksandar via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> Also pertinent may be:
> Bina Gupta. "’Bhagavad Gītā’ as Duty and Virtue Ethics: Some Reflections.”
> The Journal of Religious Ethics, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Sep., 2006), pp. 373-395
> Not set in terms of the Euthyphro dilemma, but Kant's ethics of duty has
> some affinity with it.
> Best wishes,
> Aleksandar
> Aleksandar Uskokov
> Senior Lector and Associate Research Scholar
> South Asian Studies Council and Department of Religious Studies, Yale
> University
> 203-432-1972 | aleksandar.uskokov at yale.edu
> "The Philosophy of the Brahma-sutra: An Introduction"
>        https://www.amzn.com/1350150002/
> *Office Hours Sign-up:* https://calendly.com/aleksandar-uskokov
> ------------------------------
> *From:* INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> on behalf of Alex
> Watson via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info>
> *Sent:* Sunday, July 9, 2023 7:15 AM
> *To:* Howard Resnick <hr at ivs.edu>; Indology List <
> indology at list.indology.info>
> *Subject:* Re: [INDOLOGY] Gita moral philosophy
> Dear Howard
> I don't think any of the following discuss the Euthyphro dilemma
> specifically, but they all analyze 'the ethics of the Gītā' using either
> the framework of the consequentialism / deontology / virtue ethics
> trichotomy or the categories of western axiology.
> Perrett, Roy W. 1998. *Hindu Ethics: A Philosophical Study. * The Gīta's
> ethics are discussed in all 4 chapters, but especially the first 3.
> Perrett, Roy W. 2005. 'Hindu Ethics?' In *The Blackwell Companion to
> Religious Ethics.* Edited by William Schweiker. Oxford: Blackwell
> Publishing, pp. 323–29.
> Sreekumar, Sandeep. 2012. 'An Analysis of Consequentialism and Deontology
> in the Normative Ethics of the Bhagavadgītā.' *Journal of Indian
> Philosophy* 40: 277–315.
> Frazier Jessica. 2021. 'Ethics in Classical Hindu Philosophy: Provinces of
> Consequence, Agency, and Value in the Bhagavad Gītā and Other Epic and
> Śāstric Texts.' *Religions* 12(11), 1029;
> https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12111029
> See also:
> Roy Perrett & Glen Pettigrove. 2015. 'Hindu Virtue Ethics.' In Michael
> Slote & Lorraine Besser-Jones (eds.), *The Routledge Companion to Virtue
> Ethic*s. New York: Routledge. pp. 51-62.
> Yours
> Alex
> On Sun, Jul 9, 2023 at 10:55 AM Howard Resnick <hr at ivs.edu> wrote:
> Dear Scholars,
> I would appreciate references to articles or books, available digitally,
> that analyze the Gita’s moral philosophy, especially but not exclusively
> from the standpoint of Western moral philosophy. More specifically, I wish
> to explore what for me is the dubious claim that the Euthyphro dilemma
> necessarily problematizes divine command theories of moral realism.
> Sorry if this is a rather abstruse request.
> Best wishes,
> Howard
> --
> Alex Watson
> Professor of Indian Philosophy
> Ashoka University
> *https://ashokauniversity.academia.edu/AlexWatson
> <https://ashokauniversity.academia.edu/AlexWatson>*
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Nagaraj Paturi

Hyderabad, Telangana, INDIA.

Senior Director, IndicA
BoS, MIT School of Vedic Sciences, Pune, Maharashtra
BoS Kavikulaguru Kalidasa Sanskrit University, Ramtek, Maharashtra
BoS Veda Vijnana Gurukula, Bengaluru.
Member, Advisory Council, Veda Vijnana Shodha Samsthanam, Bengaluru
BoS Rashtram School of Public Leadership
Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Studies in Public Leadership
Former Senior Professor of Cultural Studies,
FLAME School of Communication and FLAME School of  Liberal Education,
Hyderabad, Telangana, INDIA.
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