Unveiling Ultimate Reality in Plato's Allegory of the Cave and the Bhagavad Gita

By Rocco A. Astore
2019, Vol. 11 No. 09 | pg. 1/1

Abstract

Questions regarding the very foundations of our reality abound throughout the history of world philosophies. For example, if we examine Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” as well as the Bhagavad Gita, we find that both masterpieces illustrate a reality of greater perfection than ordinary, everyday existence. In other words, we find Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” expounding the truth of a reality which is everlasting, above and beyond mundane existence, while at the same time ever-present, life-giving, and benevolent. Although surprising to some, we find a similar theme running throughout the Bhagavad Gita as well. However, does this warrant us readers to claim that both Plato and the fabled Vyasa shared in the same vision of absolute reality? Shortly stated here, this present author will argue that we can, due to the shared outlooks embedded in both seminal works of philosophical genius.

Although removed by both time and place, the Hindu text the Bhagavad Gita and Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” bare striking similarities. That is, we readers find in the Gita as well as the seventh book of Plato’s Republic, stories regarding the emergence of humanity from the world of illusion, plagued by transience, ephemeralness, instability, and impermanence, into a realm of ultimate reality.1 Unsurprisingly, this domain of what is truly real is eternally abiding, displays reality for what it is, and lacks any chance of alteration, and is anything but fleeting.2

Now, this piece will commence with an overview of both Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” as well as the Bhagavad Gita. Lastly, this essay will argue that the shared likenesses between Plato’s text and “The Song of the Lord,” provide a solid foundation to claim that this Platonic piece, as well as this religious dialogue, postulate the same ultimate reality.

II. Plato’s “Allegory”: A Description and Analysis

Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” begins with an image outlined by Socrates to Plato’s brother Glaucon, of people, who since childhood, but not from birth, are in a cave, which surrounds and imprisons them.3 That is, chains bound these people to the walls of their underground abode, and they lack the to free themselves or even move their heads about the cave.4 Moreover, there is a fire above and behind them, dimly lighting this den, and the things that pass by this fire, project images of themselves onto the walls of the cave, leaving these captives to only see the shadows of those things themselves.5 In other words, our prisoners of the cave, merely see the reflections, or copies of the things that pass this ember, blazing in their subterranean dwelling, not the real sight of those things themselves.

Next, Socrates continues to describe to Glaucon a scenario regarding these prisoners; namely, if their chains disappeared, and with the loosening of these constraints, one of them wanders the cave and notices that there is an ascent.6 This ascent, Socrates claims, is beyond the fire, and the rays of the sun serve as that which guides our freed prisoner, to emerge from this earthly pit, to behold actual reality, or that world which the sun brightens, allowing this captive to see the world for what it is; not merely its shadow.7 Lastly, we should note that Socrates does utter to Glaucon, that this realm outside of the cave, would take an ample amount of time to adjust to, and as such it would not be far from outlandish to claim that our freed prisoner would start to understand such a world in increments, or by degrees.8

Now, after glimpsing this realm of truth, Socrates continues to tell Glaucon, that this escapee, upon returning to the underground cave would attempt to enlighten the others on the world beyond just the shadows and images of things.9 However, these other captives would ridicule our escapee, and assert that he/she must be lying or mistaken about what he/she claimed to behold.10 As a punishment for this supposed error, on the part of our escapee, Socrates claims, that he/she would be in danger, facing the threat of death by the others, if he/she continues to stick to his/her story that there is a world lusher in detail, more faithful to reality, than only that of the cave.11

Despite this threat of harm to our escaped cave dweller, Socrates continues to state to Glaucon that that dweller, who witnessed the brightness of the world yonder above, must indeed share his/her vision with those who remained underground. That is because, albeit not fully enlightened by the rays of the sun, or the eternal realm transcending our reality, this escapee at least incites, or awakens a new reality to those who never even thought of its possibility.12 In other words, unlike those who proclaim that knowledge must be first placeable in the soul by the proper instructor, Socrates adheres to the view that the capacity for knowledge must precede the actual awakening of such knowledge, without excluding any.13

One reason as to why Socrates assumes the position that the capacity for knowledge must precede knowledge itself is that those who assert that the first condition for the soul’s wakefulness is a masterful teacher, are akin to those who claim that things are seeable merely because they are seeable.14 Although appearing unproblematic, Socrates would assert that we could equally claim that the power for knowledge is innate to us, allowing for the extraction of knowledge from the depths of the mind to rise to the forefront of consciousness; just as we could cogently argue with the same vigor, that that which is seeable requires some seer’s eye, initially.15 Thus, it is for good reason that Socrates continues to reason that it is only those more adept in the ways of the eternally abiding reality, or the world transcending the cave, who could guide others along the way outside of the cave, to experience the beauty of this transcendent realm themselves.

That is, to Socrates, those who possess more of an acquaintance with the world beyond merely the dark cave, are best fit to guide others, and share with them the knowledge of the life-giving rays of the true sun, in the world above.16 For, aside from its logical justifiability, and common-sensical appeal, Socrates informs Glaucon that despite their craving to dwell in the light of the sun all by themselves, it is this immense passion for the goodness of beauty, that will drive them to become whom they must become; the philosopher-king and guardians, or leaders of the Republic’s ideal state.17 Hence, Socrates and Glaucon wholeheartedly agree that an suitable for those who escape the cave, and intake the glory of the epitome of all reality, must commence. That is because without proper education, and a process of intellectual refinement, those who are knowledgeable of the world external to our dimmed cave below, may use this knowledge dangerously.18

Next, Plato shifts his dialogue, to enter into a deliberation concerning the education required by the fabled philosopher-king and the leaders of the perfect state, which should center around gymnastics, or the disciplines associated with harnessing the technical proficiency, or mastery of the body.19 While, at the same time, recommending music, or the study of the muses, to restrain the mind from excess, and in the process tame the mind to be in harmony with the body.20 Lastly, this is to achieve excellence of self, for ultimately the ultimate battle; that of transcending our earthly existence to someday reach the splendor of absolute reality, accessible to us by inner reflection into the soul via the contemplating mind, is Plato’s chief concern.21 Hence, because, in the end, it is the mind which peers into the soul, to achieve awareness of its progress from becoming to being, or from spatial and temporal life, to a transcendent, eternal reality, Plato’s Socrates continues to detail to Glaucon, studies paramount in the development of the mind.22

First, the character of Socrates believes that the preliminary to the initial study to refine the minds of sovereigns and lesser rulers, which ought to bring forth the idea of Pythagoras’s influence on Ancient Greek thought, is the analysis of number.23 By the examination of numbers, Socrates is aiming to explain the thought processes used to resolve what appears to be a contradiction; specifically, the problem of unity and plurality.24 In other words, Socrates believes that through the study of numbers, we can help resolve the dichotomy between how we can think of something as both a singularity and a multitude of parts, at the same time.

For example, let us, like Socrates, entertain the number “1.”25 As understood by Socrates, the number “1” can explain the unitedness of the one reality we partake in, and the many manifestations of it, that we are examples of.26 That is, Socrates believes that we can coherently account for the multitude of entities we find around us, in the everyday world, with the abstract and universally surrounding cosmos, through an investigation of the number “1.”

Now, if we take the number “1,” we can assert that it is singular with itself, for as an individual number, it must be selfsame, such as to say “1=1.” Likewise, we can look at “1” as a collection, totality, or sum of increments leading to the single concept of “1,” through the ideas of its subdivisions like “.25+.25+.25+.25=1.” However, how are we to claim that four quarters of “1” can be the same as “1” itself? Simply stated, we may do so by drawing light to the equivalency between both four quarters of “1,” in unison, and “1” itself. In other words, on the one hand, although “.25” is identical to itself and not to “1,” it is nevertheless that in unity, four “.25’s” equal “1.” On the other hand, this “1,” would then be the same as itself; “1.”

Moreover, we may take an alternate route, and assert that “((.25*4):1)” which would still leave us with the answer of “1;” for, “1,” and “(.25*4)” are in equal ratio, as “1.” Hence, whether we take “1=1,” or “.25+.25+.25+.25=1,” or “((.25*4):1,)” we always wind up with the same, single “1,” which Plato’s Socrates believes is an example, helping to show that there is a simultaneous unitedness between the many instances of what we believe are individual parcels, becoming, as well as a collective formal being, amalgamated from all these fragments, conceived in immutable logical abstraction.27

Afterward, Socrates then invites Glaucon to consider the first study needed by legislators and the enlightened sovereign, which is arithmetic, or the application of numbers, through adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing them in abstract relation.28 Now, Socrates points out to Glaucon that arithmetic is not the apex of all learning, for it is not free of certain logical conundrums. These contradictions rest in the analysis of the operations of numbers which could produce the same numeric answer, appearing to us both big and small, at the same instant.29

In other words, if we take for example “2+1=3” and “17-14=3,” we find that the same number “3” is both the outcome of addition and the most significant number in the set “{1,2,3}” while also the smallest resulting number from the set “{3,14,17}.” As such, we may claim that because this same “3” is the largest and smallest consequent of both our adding “1+2,” as well as subtracting “17-14,” there is an aporia, or confusion when faced with the question of whether this very “3” is the highest or most minuscule conclusion of our manipulation of numbers, as just described.30 Hence, Socrates informs Glaucon that arithmetic is the first step in gaining knowledge of the absolute reality outside our terrestrial dwelling; however, it is not at the pinnacle of an education suitable for leaders and the philosopher-king, in the perfect state, for it is, to a degree, an unstable foundation for attaining the highest knowledge.31

Then, Socrates, continues to discuss the importance of the second study, in his and Glaucon’s quest for the right education for obtaining knowledge of absolute reality, proper to rulers and the philosopher-king, and that discipline is geometry.32 First, Plato’s Socrates describes geometry as the analysis of sensible objects, via the application of universal formulae, to translate questions derived from these sensible objects, into math’s steady and reliable, albeit abstract terminology.33 However, we should recall that Socrates lists geometry as the second study out of four needed to grasp absolute reality, and thus, it must possess flaws. Unsurprisingly, Socrates does indeed talk to Glaucon of the flaws of geometry, and like arithmetic, these issues stem from logical contradictions.34

That is, one shortcoming of geometry is that it analyzes sensible objects, subject to alteration, depending on their place and moment in time, which is odd because it is antithetic to the all-applicable, and universal formulae geometers use to explicate such sensible things.35 Easily surmised, we may claim that Socrates’s issue with geometry is how could it be that we could examine sensible objects with conceptual terms, when the former could change, whereas the latter are eternally accessible to all, regardless of space or time. Finally, let us next enter the fourth study Socrates details to Glaucon, as well as that knowledge which surpasses these quadruple canons of learning, i.e., dialectic.36

However, before we enter the fourth study of astronomy and even that which surpasses it in surety, dialectic, attentive readers may wonder what is the third study between that of geometry and astronomy? Well, Socrates does address this with Glaucon, and he seems to assert that standard plane geometry, was the variety of the geometric which he had in mind when proclaiming and explicating the second study necessary for leaders and the illumined monarch.37 That is, the third study which Socrates believes assists the souls of the guardians and the philosopher-king, to rise toward absolute reality is that geometry which investigates how objects are in real life, beyond the mere two-dimensional treatment of such things via plane geometric equations.38 In other words, the studies of such features of objects mathematized, like depth, volume, vertices, contours, and edges all compose the higher, albeit somewhat controversial mode of geometry, Socrates believes, would fittingly constitute the third canon needed by guardians and the philosopher-king of the perfect state.39

Although Socrates believes that this multidimensional geometry is the third study, paramount in the development of the mind for the benefit of the soul, he seems to believe that the lack of expertise and political support for such mathematics, renders such an esoteric field, to be, at the moment, lackluster in advancement.40 Lastly, we may now entertain Socrates’s and Glaucon’s agreed account of the last study of astronomy and that which exceeds even its beauty, dialectical analysis.41

Now, preceding Socrates’s and Glaucon’s defining and examining of dialectic, there is a final study that both entertain, to complete the quadruple disciplines demanded of the leaders of the ideal state, including the chief amongst these guardians, the philosopher-king. This study is the canon of astronomy, which Socrates asserts to Glaucon, serves to encourage the practice of applying mathematics to the celestial bodies above, as well as to train the student of this study to look upward to the heavens.42

Next, insofar as the encouragement to apply mathematics to the celestial realm goes, Socrates tells Glaucon that this, in a sense, is the extension of applying mathematical formulae to moving bodies.43 Although we may claim that this is reflective of geometric analysis, Socrates would assert that it is; however, he would also claim that there is one extra feature of astronomy that distinguishes it from only geometry; namely, the regularity, or harmony displayed by the heavenly bodies themselves.44 In other words, Socrates believes that astronomy, albeit dealing with the application of stable universal equations to everchanging matter still captures the reliability of the celestial sphere, of which we people possess no power to alter. Hence, we may claim that astronomy ultimately aims to study such heavenly stability, and since we possess no control over the heavens, it is we who must change our mistaken notions and, at times, our outdated calculations, to comprehend their movements, never the heavenly bodies themselves.

Moreover, Socrates’s utterance that the study of astronomy assists in turning the soul upward, to study the ascent out of this world of sense to the next world of intellect, we can interpret as meaning that because it is only the mind which can apprehend matters regarding the permanency of the cosmic, it is the highest of studies.45 That is because Socrates asserts that it is with this knowledge that one can best contemplate the source of all life, the creator of all perfections, and the structure of creation’s harmony.46

One reason why Socrates believes that astronomy is fittest for turning the mind to the light of the full day of being, which is the final task of the philosopher-king and the guardians of the ideal state to sentry and protect, is that such analysis allows us to entertain creation most purely.47 That is, creation’s structure, as displayed through the regularity and stability of celestial motion, such that planets return to their original positions once during each of their annual cycles, while revolving, or splitting into periods of light and darkness, each during a single day, provides evidence to believe that a providence governs the universe.48

That is because Socrates informs Glaucon that these planetary motions are the best examples of creation at its grandest scale.49 For, the continuousness of planetary motion throughout the ages implies an order higher than ours, or a harmony arranged by the most benevolent of creators, who produced such an everlasting system, that by its power we may place our faith in its orchestrated continuity.50 Finally, following this examination of astronomy, Socrates then informs Glaucon that these studies serve as the most optimal prelude to obtaining the highest powers of reason, or dialectic.51

Now, as understood by Socrates and Glaucon, dialectic is that which captures the very nature, or essence of a thing under question.52 That is, Socrates and Glaucon believe that dialectical reasoning is akin to those who attain ultimate reality, and not just the witnessing of the light of being, which would be merely the result of just mastering the quadruple canons of study. Neither is it like the absence of light altogether, as those stuck in the mere perceptions of the dark cave. Instead, dialectic, by being able to analyze the root of all things, is the very inscription of creation itself, and it is this mode of ideation alone which could decipher the workings of the cosmos.

That is because dialectical reasoning enables us to merge two opposing notions without contradiction. For example, if we analyze the phrases “perfectly imperfect,” and “imperfectly perfect,” we will find that the latter involves a contradiction, negating the possibility of something being “imperfectly perfect.” On the other hand, we find that the former, “perfectly imperfect,” although possible, and thus withstanding full-on critique, would only be identical to itself, and thus not a true synthesis of opposing operations, capturing an essential oneness as two compatible and thus equivalent, or at least alike statements.

However, we may still claim that since neither “perfectly imperfect,” nor “imperfectly perfect” is trouble-free, and do indeed stand in a frictional relation, when made equal, they like the mathematical truth that two negative numbers, when multiplied, become a positive number, will share a commonality. That commonality rests in the idea that both statements are alike in their estrangement and opposition from one another, and to one another. Accordingly, in theory, we may claim that the statements “imperfectly perfect” and “perfectly imperfect” imply the possibility of unveiling or discovering a source that we could attribute as that which could posit such a mystery, and the ultimate reservoir of goodness.53 For, that which could conceive, or pose such a paradox, or cosmic riddle, enabled the conditions for the possibility of knowledge, which is better than never possessing the chance to attain certainty. Lastly, since what is best is what is good, and since what is worst is what is evil, what is better must participate in the good, and thus the engenderer of a chief mortal good, knowledge, must itself be that which is best, omniscient, optimal, supreme, or the good itself.54

Consequently, this dialectical chain of reasoning leads us to the very reason why Socrates and Glaucon praise this form of knowing; for, it, as shown above, leads us to the core of anything under examination, albeit without the ability to tests such analysis with our so-called empirical sciences.55 That is, how can we claim to know anything scientifically unless we establish the first principles of what we are investigating, which only the dialectic achieves since it is independent of needing perceptions, impressions, facts, or evidence from the senses, for us to establish its reality.56 Hence, to Socrates and Glaucon the dialectic is pure reason itself, and thus an extraordinary power reserved for the philosopher-king, to know and execute with virtuosic precision, with, and in, the spirit of the good itself.57

In other words, the philosopher-king, Socrates and Glaucon define as one who must take the reins of power, not out of the love of power, instead quite the opposite; for the common good of the ideal state, of which this person possesses vast knowledge of in the crystallization of his/her wisdom of years.58 That is, the chief among the guardians of Plato’s Republic is the philosophical potentate, who would instead not hold power, but knows that because of his/her age and the wisdom he/she accumulated over the years, is best for the task.59

As such, it is this leader who is the embodiment of the good of the state, just as the good of being harbors all instances of becoming. In other words, it is the philosopher-king whom Socrates believes would be the most suitable match for the ideal state, as he/she who ultimately facilitates the continuity of all.60 For, just as the beingness of the world above the becomingness of the cave is requisite for the continuity of the entirety of reality, the philosopher-king takes upon the burden of the state hesitantly, however, most aptly.61 Thus, we may claim that Plato’s philosopher-king embodies both the authentic humility of the most admirable of genuine philosophers, as well as the most tactful benevolence of proper leaders. Lastly, this derives from the fact that Socrates and Glaucon both seem to suggest that the pristine state is that state, housing leaders who are physically meticulous, intellectually sharp, reluctant of their stations, mature in years, as well as upright, or just.62

However, Socrates and Glaucon close Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” by discussing whether all of this is even possible.63 That is, could anyone ever honestly say that they emerged from the cave, a philosopher-king, ready to live in concert with all who are their equals, in readiness to participate for all time in the goodness of the light of the world above, which their righteousness helped them to achieve? Quickly stated, the answer is “yes,” and it is via the spread of education, and the inciting of the want for knowledge, as well as concern for the well-being of the body, which allows for a life of justice to unfurl.64 That is, when all develop their capacity for the desire of knowledge, for want of all to be in complete harmony, can the perfect state as that place where ethicality is paramount, becomes real.65 Finally, to achieve this end Socrates and Glaucon agree upon rigid rules regarding the constitutional aspects of the perfect state as detailing specific times when novices are to go about their education, and even when they should surpass being initiates, all for the awe-inspiring affirmation of truth rather than never-ending falsehood.66

III. The Bhagavad Gita: A Description and Analysis

“The Song of the Lord,” better known as the Bhagavad Gita, commences on an allegorical battlefield. During this time, the spiritual guru, or guide, Krishna, embarks upon a discussion with the princely Arjuna, to prepare him for war against his kin, which symbolizes the proverbial self-struggle from being a captive to this world, to win, and become, an achiever of self-realization, in unity with Brahman, or that which is the everlasting substratum emitting all reality.67 In other words, it is the objective of Arjuna, to overcome his weariness to battle with his relatives, or better, to master himself, for the sake of oneness with absolute reality, in a way that consciousness is still, the senses deadened, the need for worldly interaction nullified, while still retaining the self as present in life, harmoniously.68 Likewise, it is the role of Krishna to serve as the chaperon of Arjuna from his release from the woes of the transient, passing, fading, and deceptive world of maya, to recognize reality for what it is; eternal, ever-present, and all-encompassing.69 That is, Krishna’s and Arjuna’s discussion from the onset of the Bhagavad Gita, poses the question as to how we can achieve spiritual liberation, enabling us to be in unity with Brahman, allowing for the Atman, or selfhood of Brahman, to shine forth in the world, through us.70

Now, to win such a struggle with the self, to attain unity with Brahman, hopefully, albeit rare in this life, Arjuna begins to question Krishna on various philosophical topics regarding how he can go about conquering this world of illusion, to abide in recognition of absolute reality.71 In other words, upon a more in-depth inspection of “The Song of the Lord,” we find that it is not only a dialogue explicating ultimate reality or Arjuna’s goal which he seeks to learn how to fulfill, correctly. It is also, through Krishna’s counsel, a path to discover inquiries concerning how to prepare the self for eternal bliss or that outcome of breaking this veiled life’s cycle of suffering, to remain even in the oneness of spiritual liberation, regardless of which life we happen to be living.72

In other words, we find two main concerns in the Bhagavad Gita; namely, how Krishna can advise Arjuna to receive ultimate reality, and what Arjuna must perform to be fit for such a spiritual event.73 Now, the previous question, regarding how Arjuna can receive absolute truth of identity in Brahman, is attainable through two modes of living, associated with which type of guna, or specific facet of Atman, or Brahman individuated, manifests most innately and actively through one’s specific atman.74 On the other hand, the latter question of the Bhagavad Gita is the inverse of the first question, precisely, what must the individual harness and hone, to approach absolute reality, in such a way that he/she is genuinely deserving of such a mystical joy.75 However, let us first examine the three dispositions toward life, as well as which one Arjuna should choose as the foundation of his life’s ethical maxim, in devotion, and with the assistance of Krishna’s words.

In the attempt to secure an indubitable path, to obtain ultimate reality, Krishna instructs Arjuna of the three gunas, which center around the concepts of tamas, rajas, and sattva.76 As understood by Krishna, these gunas compose all of reality, including each character, or personality type of every person.77 That is, in the universe of matter and form, known as prakriti, we find that elements of Purusha, which is the changeless awareness and life-force issuing from Brahman, sustains all existence, material and immaterial, and is findable in and throughout all of reality.78

Now, these dispositions toward life, include the idea that those whose rational and judging faculties issue most prominently from tamas, or that which deals with inert matter, or better, the passing world of maya, including its destructiveness, contemptuousness, and imperfections, must battle such a grim view of reality, to become unitive with absolute reality.79 Similarly, those whose attitudes toward life, issue primarily from rajas, or the egotistical quest for reward, as the sole motivator of action, must again, conquer such need for grandiosity associated with the desire for the mere approval of others.80 However, there is the element of sattva in us all as well, which Krishna advises Arjuna to harness most; for, it is the loving compassion that extends from egoless commitment to others, to assist the world, through our own volition, that conditions the atman, or individual self, to channel the goodness of Brahman, least challengingly.81

Although sattva ties to the correct attitude required of those who seek to accomplish the task of gaining oneness with ultimate reality, there are also the paths of knowledge and action which all must choose to apply his/her sattva to, to cultivate awareness of such a realm.82 Indeed, as found in the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna advances the idea that knowledge through the liberating effects of wisdom, as produced by the total renunciation of the mundane, and the embrace of the ascetic outlook on life, as a system, or web of cherished and valuable interconnected lifeforms, unfailingly leads to release from samsara.83 However, Krishna admits that this means to spiritual emancipation, is uneasy, lonesome, and extremely hard to find resolution in, and Arjuna, as a warrior-prince contemplating the onslaught of familial battle ahead of him, must instead choose the path of action, which is most fitting for who he is, and the calamity he must soon face.84

In other words, a pressing question on Arjuna’s mind, that he seeks to find refuge from in the utterances of Krishna, is how it can be that he must embrace the path of action when the path of action before him is one that involves having to lay waste to his own family?85 Although we should keep in mind that this is an allegorical inquiry, one in which Arjuna grapples with the problem of how he must eviscerate his ego, to emerge triumphant in union with Brahman, it is still worthy of exploration. One way in which Krishna draws light to why Arjuna must embrace the path of action, even if such action may appear nefarious, is that the demise of Arjuna’s past relations, or better, the death of his connection to the delusional world of maya, is an illusion too.86

That is, Krishna informs Arjuna of his metaphysical stance, which is that nothing genuinely comes into, or fades from existence; instead, all things are eternal, or that they always were, are, and will be.87 That is because Krishna, as a total, or whole avatar of Brahman, represents the embodiment of the entirety of existence itself, of which all things rely upon, and since Krishna is goodness itself, there is a guarantee that all life, as a whole, will forever continue.88 Lastly, Krishna employs his outlook to console, or allay Arjuna’s uneasiness toward war with his bickering family; for, as condoned by Krishna, the full avatar of Brahman, it is necessary for the prevalence of righteousness that Arjuna overcomes all obstacles, including his distaste for struggle, and his attachment to the belief in death.89

Krishna’s suggestions regarding how to view death, as an illusion; for all existence is eternal, whether we progress to a reality above our terrestrial one or respawn within this plane of reality itself, assists Arjuna not only in taking charge of the struggle he is to encounter, it also helps Arjuna assess the value of theory applied via practice.90 In other words, if it is so that all of life is everlasting, and that death is nothing more than a wrong notion, we may reaffirm that the struggle of the soul to recognize our erroneous comprehension of so-called death, ought to lead to ethical behavior, reflecting such an authentic understanding.

Thus, we may assert that Arjuna’s objective in warfare, will not be to lay waste to life, for it is an impossibility that any life could end under the perspective of the grandest of vantages, Brahman.91 Instead, it is to purify our allegorical field of , by purging injustice from our lives, which the deceptiveness of Arjuna’s family, as well as Arjuna’s chaotic understanding of Truth, represents.92 As such, it is the renunciation of the norms we impose upon ourselves and others, to clearly envision divine truth, in meditative practice, or selfless conduct that paves the way for us to see what rests in our hearts, or the beauty of justice itself, which must always prevail, despite any gnawing doubts.93

Furthermore, one reason as to why justice forever quells wrongdoing, is that Krishna’s promise to Arjuna consists of the fact that karma, or that which we receive as the result of our dharma, or those actions we choose to perform in samsara, which all possess moral value, whether right or wrong, regulates all aspects of reality, as divine law.94 That is because, regardless of our awareness of it, our actions have implications that ripple throughout all of our interconnected web of existence. As such, we may claim that if Arjuna takes upon the burden of battle, he will not only succeed, for fighting in the name of absolute truth, he will also do so blessedly, with the ultimate goal of surrender into Brahman waiting for him at the close of this war.95 Accordingly, since Arjuna will be battling with the blessing of the universe, as embodied by Krishna, he cannot fail at this obstacle ahead, for his dharmic performance will lack any hint of failure, thus producing a karmic reality that is eternally serene and satisfying to Arjuna’s soul.96

However, we readers may ask why Krishna’s promise to Arjuna holds clout. First, it is Krishna who represents Brahman, that eternal and infinite root of all reality, of which nothing exists exterior to, or before.97 In other words, Krishna qua Brahman is all-encapsulating, and thus immanent, while also transcendent, as the pinnacle, or summit of all reality.98 Thus, because life outside of Krishna ala Brahman, is impossible, we may claim that the power of Brahman is unmatchable, for Brahman as infinite and eternal is boundless both in extension and temporality, necessarily.99 Consequently, the power of Brahman is its inextinguishable activity, unbiasedly extending into all aspects of reality, while also removed, or better, above this plane of delusional illusion, or maya, by its profound uniqueness, as that which alone is supreme.100

Thus, if Brahman is immanent and transcendent, and hence, surrounds all aspects of reality, both immaterial and material, we may claim that all duality can only resolve in Brahman.101 Lastly, if all duality ends in Brahman and since Krishna is the avatar of this entity above and beyond us, it is Krishna’s place, or worthiness, to ease Arjuna’s qualms, as he contemplates his war ahead. For, it is Krishna who possesses the moral authority, as the ultimate origin of existence, to steer Arjuna’s heart toward attaining the crown of victory, or that remarkable insight attained when we master ourselves, with humility, through Krishna’s truthful explication of life’s eternal and divine certainties.102

From this, Krishna continues to reveal to Arjuna his pure form as Brahman, however more accurately as Vishnu, the lesser creator god in the Hindu pantheon.103 That is, Krishna refers to himself as that which all of life ultimately relies upon, or Brahma, or that sustaining god of creation, while also the destroyer of all things, or that formidable Hindu god, better known as Shiva, and finally, as that loving awareness radiating life into all that is, or Vishnu.104 Symbolically, we may assert that each of these aspects of the Hindu Trinity; Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu, all serve a purpose to humanity.105

Accordingly, it is for this reason that Krishna not only reveals his awesomeness to Arjuna alone; he further informs Arjuna that since he is eternal, and thus all of Time already written, it is only the fate of those waging war against Arjuna that will fittingly perish in peril.106 Finally, we may view this last statement as not so much of an endorsement of war on Krishna’s behalf; instead, it is the oath of Krishna to Arjuna that if he is to wage war, and cut his ties to our delusory world of maya, without concern for loss or gain, he will indeed succeed.107 For, it is Krishna, the eternal, who projects, determines, and gazes upon all of Time, and it is his utterances to Arjuna, that encourages and promises Arjuna that his victory is already at hand.108

Alas, we may now enter the second problem posed by the Bhagavad Gita; namely, what we readers must cultivate as individuals to be ready, and fit for the promised unitive state with Brahman upon victory over our rajas, or ego-driven, as well as our tamas, or non-active selves.109 That is, it is Krishna’s advice to Arjuna, that we embrace the harmoniousness of our sattva selves, or that levelheaded and impartial aspect of our identities allowing us to detach from the attachments we invest in, when existing in the world of maya, that “The Song of the Lord” reinvokes. That is because when we find stillness in our very perspective of prakriti, or a balance between ourselves as materially real and essentially ideal, we come to reach our specific atman, or fragment of Brahman’s Atman shining out from us, within, and in the process, we with neither being nor non-being reflect Brahman’s light into our daily lives.110

As such, we may claim that harnessing sattva constitutes a necessary step in reaching the abode of Krishna, the heart of Vishnu, or that lovingly creative deity, constituting the core of the Hindu Triune God.111 Lastly, let us further discover how the message behind the Bhagavad Gita, calling us to see our sworn reward, resting in futurity, when we master ourselves to be in oneness with the Godhead, Brahman, closes.112 That is, let us unpack that moment in which our life’s battle ceases, and the understanding of glory resonates in us, as found in the last chapters of Arjuna’s struggle alongside Krishna’s consoling counsel.113

Now, just before we explore the close of the Bhagavad Gita let us first address the oddity of its sixteenth chapter, as stated by the commentator Easwaran, which addresses those forces inhabiting the universe, both lawful and lawless, and how our sattva-guided actions dispel the doom impending for those of tamas, and the many of rajas.114 First, as alluded above, those whose hearts are pure, and who put a substantial stake into achieving unity with Brahman via Krishna, as vicar of Vishnu’s dwelling of bright and everlasting goodness, who follow the direction of sattva, will never taste death.115 Antithetically, those who live atheistically, or better, lawlessly, with full obedience to the morbid outlook of tamas, will face at best a purgatorial state, but, more commonly, a hellish realm in which the karmic punishments of wrong dharma, consume their atman, so much so that those of tamas evolve backward to a more infantile state of existence and consciousness.116 Lastly, it is those of rajas who will most likely reel around the wheel of samsara again, to try once more at enlightenment in our earthly realm, due to their goodhearted however ego-centric morality.117

Entering the close of the Bhagavad Gita, we readers find Arjuna’s trust in Krishna’s counsel confirmed. That is, Arjuna now possesses mindfulness of the true mission before him; quelling his very own anxieties, executing the will of the cosmos that he succeeds through all his difficulties, with the purest of hearts, as awakened by Krishna’s love.118 Thus, the close of this epic, resolves with Arjuna’s triumph over his self-imposed, or self-willed uncertainties, to envision with the most excellent clarity, his life in futurity, in the allegorical home of Krishna’s shining kindness.119 In other words, Arjuna, by sticking to the path of impartiality, or the denial of ascetic denial, as well as prideful opulence, now knows that his actions he performs in the name of Krishna will never fail and will overcome all hindrances to his spiritual success.120 Finally, we may assert that union with Brahman via Krishna is what Arjuna achieves at the close of the Bhagavad Gita. For, Arjuna, at the end of “The Song of the Lord,” emerges as a sovereign, who freely acknowledges the love of Krishna, avatar of Brahman, and by his acceptance of such ardor, bolsters himself to further place his faith into existing as a devoted subject to the moral laws of ethical action, barring any foe from being too mighty.121

IV. Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” Alongside the Bhagavad Gita: Depicting One and the Same Absolute Reality

Thus far, this piece attempted to explicate and examine main points in both Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” and the Bhagavad Gita. Now, this present writer intends to make direct comparisons between the two, and in the process assert that both pieces uphold the same belief in the same ultimate reality.

First, if we refresh ourselves of Plato’s dialogue, we find like in the Bhagavad Gita’s Arjuna, there is a character, the escaped cave dweller, who faces challenges at hand; namely, how to go about learning the reality outside of the cave, and how to share this knowledge with others still underground.122 In other words, we find in both the “Allegory of the Cave,” and “The Song of the Lord,” two personalities who initially face a dangerous fate, the possibility of death, at the hands of those closest to them; the freed dweller’s cohorts from the cave, and Arjuna’s own family.123 As such, we may claim that one similarity between this Platonic masterpiece and Hindu literary staple, is that both depict characters who are not only fearful of their fates, but also driven to correct those close to them, so that they may turn more aware of ultimate reality themselves, and bolster those around them in the process.124

Another similarity shared between Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” and the Bhagavad Gita is that both assert a belief in mastering one’s mind and body, or harnessing one’s share of prakriti to attain harmony of the soul, or make room for one’s atman to shine forth into the world brightly, as being possible.125 That is, we find in both seminal texts the idea that human perfection is achievable via our effort to grow accustomed to such perfection.126 We readers may notice this when we reveal the latent content of Plato’s depiction of the sun’s light as that which escapees of the cave must adjust to, through the proper education, suited of guardians and the philosopher-king, to overcome all strife, as a virtuoso of mind and body, to make way for the flourishing of the soul.127 Likewise, we may derive the same underlying meaning from Arjuna, who must clarify his self-understanding and his understanding of the world through the guidance of Krishna, to peel away his attachments to name, form, and the material, so that he may possess ample spiritual room, to find how to shine his spiritual light into the world, most serenely.128

Furthermore, if we readers look into the attitudes associated with Plato’s philosopher-king as well as the character of Arjuna, we find that Arjuna fits the role of such a monarch. That is because, as Plato asserts, the philosopher-king, akin to Arjuna, would hesitantly take upon the mantle of power destined for such a leader.129 One reason why we may make this comparison is that Arjuna initially shies away from the necessity of battle, that he must embark upon, to realize that he is indeed the best ready to rule over his family’s domain.130 Similarly, we find that the fabled philosopher-king in Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” is first amongst the guardians of the Republic’s ideal state, and as a dedicated philosopher, he/she would be reluctant to reign, for he/she would know that such power could be corruptive, to maintaining the soul’s righteousness.131 Thus, we find in both characters, the archetype of one who is suitable for the formidability of ruling a nation; however, we also find one who is not yet knowledgeable of that fact, and, therefore cautious of attaining such strength.

Next, we also may find a likeness between Plato’s allegorical cave as well as the Bhagavad Gita, for both works describe the condition of most, such as those of the forces of tamas, and all the cave dwellers save one, as existing in worlds shrouded by falsehoods and the suffering which results from them.132 That is, we may find in both philosophical texts the common theme of everyday, mundane reality, as being in a constant state of flux, ephemeralness, and thus, decay, as well as the pains endured by those, knowingly or not, who can only conceive and choose to remain in such a shadowed existence.133 Accordingly, we may assert that those who live by tamas energies alone are akin to Plato’s unreleased prisoners of the cave, since both live in falsity, stuck only to the material world, and unaware of their sorrows, in this life or the recurring one, as fated by samsara’s procession.134

However, we may also posit that Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” and “The Song of the Lord,” make space for placing faith in a world superior to the cave, or from samsara’s eternal reel, by maturing to reach unity with the pinnacle of all reality; the sun above the enlightened world, or, in Vyasa’s dialogue, Brahman.135 This thread of hope, findable in both philosophical dialogues describe this unitive state as true, ultimate, or absolute reality, which is universally accessible to all, imminently transcendent, transcendently immanent, as well as eternal, necessary for the sustenance of all, and good.136 In other words, both Plato and Vyasa seem to agree that their respective works depict an order higher than our ordinary, day-to-day lives, which is everlasting, supreme, and all-encompassing, while most requisite for the continuity of every degree of reality, rendering this source of all reality to be perfectly good.137 Hence, both masterpieces focus us readers on a reality that, once accomplished, fulfills our souls entirely, and that unity with this realm better than ours paves the way for us to bask in its immense light of goodness, forever in its eternity after our earthly lives.138

Moreover, and as alluded above, Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” and the Bhagavad Gita, agree on the same qualities or attributes of absolute reality beginning with the idea that it is eternal. Now, by eternal, Plato’s dialogue and this Hindu scripture understand a reality which never was, is, or will be; that is, ultimate reality, as everlasting, is exempt from possessing a past, present, or future; instead, it is universally timeless, and thus, changeless.139 In other words, a significant similarity between the one absolute reality that Plato’s and Vyasa’s dialogues portray is that this realm is immutable or exempt from any change.140 That is because both reveal an ultimate reality as being that which stands outside the changeable, while also constituting the entirety, or the origin, continuance, and resolution of all vacillating lower levels of existence, necessarily.141

Next, the “Allegory of the Cave,” and “The Song of the Lord,” possess another affinity; namely, describing absolute reality as both transcendently imminent and imminently transcendent. In other words, we find in these two dialogues that ultimate reality permeates throughout all life; that is, the ubiquitous rays of Plato’s sun, and the gaze of the deified Brahman, are ever-present, pervasively appearing, to a degree, within all that is.142 At the same time, Plato’s and Vyasa’s tales, attribute a uniqueness, or a distinctness to the sun and Brahman, respectively, fashioning it to be above and beyond mundane life, and that although it is within all, it alone stands above all as that reflection of the totality of all who participate in its passion and love for humankind.143

Hence, on the one hand, the sun, or Brahman, as omnipresent is immanently transcendent, as the sole entity that is everywhere in essence yet absent, or posterior to our sensible sphere of perception. Simultaneously, on the other, we find that as supremely outranking all reality, it is the allegorical sun, or Brahman, which, in essence, disperses down to all states of existence below it, manifesting, or breathing life, into every facet of the cosmos, for it to be. Thus, whether we entertain Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” and the sun’s primary role, as understood allegorically, and subtly, or the fabled Vyasa’s Bhagavad Gita, with its depiction of the supersensible Brahman, animating all it trickles into, we find that ultimate reality is transcendently immanent too.144

Furthermore, we find in Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” and the Bhagavad Gita, the idea of a most necessary being, which is requisite for explaining the continuity of all reality and existence. Now, as stated above, we find that Brahman, as well as Plato’s sun illuminating all that is under it, is omnipresent, in essence. By this, we should understand that both the “Allegory of the Cave,” and “The Song of the Lord,” by asserting an all-pervading power, leave open the opportunity for us to interpret both texts as comprehending an ultimate reality, which is entirely active. As such, since the sun is ever-present, and Brahman all-seeing, we may safely assume that Plato and Vyasa imagined ultimate reality to be ceaseless.145 For, the experiential fact that all existence continues, regularly, implies that Plato’s sun, or Vyasa’s Brahman, possesses the utmost strength, since only it must be everywhere, all at once, to provide us with a causal narrative as to how our sense of the world, although not guaranteed, is constant and assumable, since it is stably predictable. Finally, let us now assert how it is that the “Allegory of the Cave,” and the Bhagavad Gita, share in the belief that this sustaining force, or ultimate reality itself, is benevolent, or of the perfect kindness.

As just mentioned, if we further peel, or unveil the meaning of ultimate reality in Plato’s and Vyasa’s esteemed texts, we find that both share in the belief that the active power of absolute reality, issuing from the sun and Brahman, is of the utmost goodness.146 Although to our modern ears, this may ring odd, for woes, sorrows, ignorance, and pains surround our daily lives, we should give a chance to these masterpieces’ understanding of perfection. That is, both the “Allegory of the Cave,” and the Bhagavad Gita, help us to reevaluate our so-called knowledge of the nature of what we consider as constituting compassion.147

First, Plato and Vyasa share in the fact that their philosophical dialogues assert that because there is an aspect of the sun or Brahman which sustains all life, we may assert that there are implications that, ultimately, reveal that both writers believed that the chance to be must be better than never possessing a chance to exists at all.148 As such, since it is the place of either of these forces to lengthen the regular flow of life found throughout our universe, we may assert that they are benevolent for they enabled the possibility for existence to arrive in our cosmic order, of which we are living proof.149 Hence, just as Brahman’s all-encapsulating conscious stare, is requisite for the continuation of reality, so is Plato’s sun requisite for the functionality of our ability to see past the world of the cave; thus, both seminal writings feature a reliance on an ontological entity. This ontic being whether Brahman or the sun, also appear to we readers as goodness itself; for without these foundational presences, nothing would be or be conceivable, to borrow a notion from Spinoza.150

In sum, it is the belief of this present writer that this section neatly surmises for we readers why we should posit that Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” as well as the Bhagavad Gita are describing the same ultimate reality, for both acknowledge that absolute reality possesses attributes or qualities all to its own. In other words, when we contemplate, or meditate on both of these influential works of philosophical expertise, we find that they expound that the reality well-beyond our worldly affairs, is, ultimately, eternal, within and beyond all that is, magnificently powerful, necessary for the continuity of life, and finally, of the utmost perfection, as displayed by its all-providing goodness.

V. Conclusion

This present essayist intended to describe, analyze, and provide readers with an overview of the major themes running throughout both Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave,” and Vyasa’s “The Song of the Lord,” better known as the Bhagavad Gita. By providing readers with such a summary, it was also the desire of this present writer to situate how we thinkers may go about comparing these two masterpieces.

Next, via direct comparisons, as well as arguments justifying why this present author believes these two philosophical dialogues are attempting to unveil the same ultimate reality, it was the concluding want of this present essayist, to shine a light not only on their sameness but to invite wonder as to why they are strikingly parallel.


References

Bach, Marcus., Major Religions of the World: Their Origins, Basic Beliefs, and Development (Nashville: Festival Books., 1977)

Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)

Guthrie, W.K.C., A History of Greek IV Plato: The Man and His Dialogues Earlier Period (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press., 1975)

Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)

Russell, Bertrand., The History of Western Philosophy (New York: Simon & Schuster., 1972)

Spinoza, Benedict De., Edwin Curley trans., Ethics (New York: Penguin Books., 1996)

Sri Chinmoy., Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita: The Song of the Transcendental Soul (New York: Rudolf Steiner Publications., 1973)


Endnotes

1.) Russell, Bertrand., The History of Western Philosophy (New York: Simon & Schuster., 1972)., 120-121 & Sri Chinmoy. Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita: The Song of the Transcendental Soul (New York: Rudolf Steiner Publications., 1973)., 60.

2.) Ibid.

3.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 514a-c.

4.) Ibid.

5.) Ibid., 515a-b.

6.) Ibid., 515c-e.

7.) Ibid.

8.) Ibid., 516a-b.

9.) Ibid., 516c-d.

10.) Ibid., 517a-c.

11.) Ibid.

12.) Ibid., 516c-d.

13.) Ibid., 518b-e.

14.) Ibid., 518b-e, 519a-b.

15.) Ibid., 518d-e.

16.) Ibid., 519a-d.

17.) Ibid., 517d-e.

18.) Ibid., 518e-519a-b.

19.) Ibid., 522a.

20.) Ibid.

21.) Russell, Bertrand., The History of Western Philosophy (New York: Simon & Schuster., 1972)., 108, 121.

22.) Ibid.

23.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 522c-e & Russell, Bertrand., The History of Western Philosophy (New York: Simon & Schuster., 1972)., 35.

24.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 524e-d.

25.) Ibid., 524e-525b.

26.) Guthrie, W.K.C., A History of Greek Philosophy IV Plato: The Man and His Dialogues Earlier Period (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press., 1975)., 522-523.

27.) Ibid.

28.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 527a-b.

29.) Ibid., 524c-525b.

30.) Ibid.

31.) Ibid., 525a-526d.

32.) Ibid., 526c-527a.

33.) Ibid., 527a-d.

34.) Ibid.

35.) Ibid.

36.) Ibid., 527d-528a.

37.) Ibid., 528a-e.

38.) Ibid.

39.) Ibid.

40.) Ibid.

41.) Ibid.

42.) Ibid., 528e-529b.

43.) Ibid., 529c-e.

44.) Ibid., 529d-530c.

45.) Ibid.

46.) Ibid., 530d-531e.

47.) Ibid., 529d-530c.

48.) Ibid., 529d-531e.

49.) Ibid.

50.) Ibid.

51.) Ibid., 532a-c.

52.) Ibid.

53.) Guthrie, W.K.C., A History of Greek Philosophy IV Plato: The Man and His Dialogues Earlier Period (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press., 1975)., 506-507.

54.) Ibid.

55.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 533c-e.

56.) Ibid., 532a-c.

57.) Ibid., 534a-535a.

58.) Ibid., 538d-540c.

59.) Ibid.

60.) Ibid., 533e-534c.

61.) Ibid., 521a-522a.

62.) Ibid., 535a-e.

63.) Ibid., 537d-538c.

64.) Russell, Bertrand., The History of Western Philosophy (New York: Simon & Schuster., 1972)., 109.

65.) Ibid., 108-109.

66.) Ibid., 115-116, 118-119.

67.) Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 17, 24.

68.) Ibid., 26-27.

69.) Ibid., 27-28.

70.) Ibid., 26-27.

71.) Ibid., 9-10.

72.) Ibid., 17:27-28.

73.) Ibid., 71-72, 75-76.

74.) Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 15:12-15:15 & Bach, Marcus., Major Religions of the World: Their Origins, Basic Beliefs, and Development (Nashville: Festival Books., 1977)., 19.

75.) Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 26-27 & Sri Chinmoy., Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita: The Song of the Transcendental Soul (New York: Rudolf Steiner Publications., 1973)., 56-58.

76.) Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 102-103 & Sri Chinmoy., Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita: The Song of the Transcendental Soul (New York: Rudolf Steiner Publications., 1973)., 59.

77.) Sri Chinmoy., Commentary on the Bhagavad Gita: The Song of the Transcendental Soul (New York: Rudolf Steiner Publications., 1973)., 59-64.

78.) Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 37-38, 43-44.

79.) Ibid., 44-45.

80.) Ibid.

81.) Ibid.

82.) Ibid., 47-48.

83.) Ibid., 24.

84.) Ibid., 5:2-4.

85.) Ibid., 74-75.

86.) Ibid., 27-31.

87.) Ibid., 8:3-14.

88.) Ibid., 8:3-14, 112.

89.) Ibid.

90.) Ibid., 6:3-5, 18:70-74.

91.) Ibid., 8:3-14.

92.) Ibid., 74-75.

93.) Ibid., 18:70-74.

94.) Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 24 & Bach, Marcus., Major Religions of the World: Their Origins, Basic Beliefs, and Development (Nashville: Festival Books., 1977)., 19-20.

95.) Ibid., 206

96.) Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 12:20 & Bach, Marcus., Major Religions of the World: Their Origins, Basic Beliefs, and Development (Nashville: Festival Books., 1977)., 19-20.

97.) Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 213, 229, 18:54-59.

98.) Ibid., 18:54-59.

99.) Ibid.

100.) Ibid. 18:53-65.

101.) Ibid., 17, 9:17-19, & 9:30-34.

102.) Ibid.

103.) Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 163-164 & Bach, Marcus., Major Religions of the World: Their Origins, Basic Beliefs, and Development (Nashville: Festival Books., 1977)., 19-20.

104.) Ibid.

105.) Ibid.

106.) Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 74-75, 13:31-33, & 18:45-46.

107.) Ibid., 74-75.

108.) Ibid., 72-75.

109.) Ibid., 14:1-10.

110.) Ibid., 30, 15:3-5, 15:14-20.

111.) Bach, Marcus., Major Religions of the World: Their Origins, Basic Beliefs, and Development (Nashville: Festival Books., 1977)., 19-20.

112.) Ibid., 18:36-40, 18:45-47, & 18:56-74.

113.) Ibid., 16:6-22

114.) Ibid.

115.) Ibid., 16:6-22, 18:36-40, 18:45-47, & 18:56-74.

116.) Ibid., 16:19-22.

117.) Ibid., 16:1-8.

118.) Ibid., 18:56-74.

119.) Ibid.

120.) Ibid.

121.) Ibid.

122.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 516c-517c.

123.) Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 73-75.

124.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 516c-517c & Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 73-75.

125.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 516c-517c & Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 24, 26.

126.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 515e-516b & Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 87.

127.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 521b-522b & Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 85-87.

128.) Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 85-87, 170-172, & 9:26-32.

129.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 540b-d & Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 21-22.

130.) Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 18:73-74.

131.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 540b-d.

132.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 515b-e, 518b-e, & Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 14:8-10.

133.) Ibid.

134.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 515b-e, 518b-e, & Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 14:8-10, & Bach, Marcus., Major Religions of the World: Their Origins, Basic Beliefs, and Development (Nashville: Festival Books., 1977)., 20.

135.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 514a-b, 516c, 517c-d, 518b-e, & Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 8:3-17, & Bach, Marcus., Major Religions of the World: Their Origins, Basic Beliefs, and Development (Nashville: Festival Books., 1977)., 20.

136.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 514a-b, 516c, 517c-d, 518b-e, & Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 8:3-17.

137.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 514a-b, 516c, 517c-d, 518b-e, & Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 149-150.

138.) Ibid.

139.) Russell, Bertrand., The History of Western Philosophy (New York: Simon & Schuster., 1972)., 120-121 & Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 211-214, 13:12-18.

140.) Ibid.

141.) Ibid.

142.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 515d-516b, & Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 150, 164, 169, 9:4-11.

143.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 516a-c, 517b-e, & Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 24-25, 203-206, 11:5-22, & 11:32-33.

144.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 516a-c, 517b-e, & Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 24, 8:17-26.

145.) Russell, Bertrand., The History of Western Philosophy (New York: Simon & Schuster., 1972)., 121 & Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 24.

146.) Plato., G.M.A. Grube trans., The Republic as found in Plato: Complete Works (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1997)., 516a-c, 517b-e, & Eknath Easwaran trans., the Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press., 1961)., 203-206.

147.) Ibid.

148.) Ibid.

149.) Ibid.

150.) Spinoza, Benedict De., Edwin Curley trans., Ethics (New York: Penguin Books., 1996)., 1p15.

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