In to what extent does it affect

In the
Bhagavad Gita, dharma and its sacred
duty hold great importance to creating harmony in the universe. When duty is
threatened to be undermined, to what extent does it affect the balance in the
universe and the cosmic scale? As dharma is essential to Hindu values explores
in the Bhagavad Gita, not completing
your duty will affect your own path, the caste system, cycles of reincarnation,
and the gods. Duty is significant to keeping the balance in the universe as it
fulfills the ritual to help create order and righteousness. By undermining duty
that is intended to be implemented, the universe’s balance and cycle is
disrupted to an extent which it affects individual and communal dharmic action,
and the core of the beliefs of the Hindu religion that is imposed by Krishna.

Refraining from
completing one’s own dharma, will affect your own soul, creating a domino
effect to disturbing the universe’s wholeness. The Bhagavad Gita explores the importance of completing one’s duty for
one’s own sake. “Your own duty done imperfectly is better than another man’s
done well. It is better to die in one’s own duty; another man’s duty is
perilous” (Miller, 48, 35), shows that self-discipline and respect betters
one’s self. As part of the Hindu religion, these characteristics are essential
to living a righteous life, supported by Krishna exclaiming “So sever the
ignorant doubt in your heart with the sword of self-knowledge, Arjuna! Observe
your discipline! Arise!” (Miller, 57,42). The power of discipline is also essential
to renunciation, which if not completed will affect one’s path and duty. Krishna
explains that to “be intent on action, not on the fruits of action; avoid
attraction to the fruits and attachment to inaction” (Miller, 36, 47), will
help complete one’s sacred duty if all personal and selfish interests are
abandoned. When duty is threatened, it tends to be due to a lack of
renunciation of personal desires. There tends to be self-conflict between doing
the correct action and the pleasant action. Arjuna is struggling with choosing
to complete his duty or look after his family as “a place in hell is reserved
for men who undermine family duties” (Miller, 29,v 43). Although Arjuna knows
killing his family is not the pleasant action, he must perform his duty simply
because it’s the correct thing to do. Individual duty must be carried out as propriety
is essential to keeping the universe balanced.

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Individual duty
is specified within the caste system, which is affected by the threat to duty
as job fulfillments that are not carried out will prevent the cosmos from
effectively functioning. Dharma must occur, and duties that were assigned must
be performed in order to allow the social hierarchy to work. The caste system
is held in such high regard, therefore by “honoring gods, priests, teachers, and
wise men, being pure, honest, celibate and nonviolent is called bodily penance”
(Miller, 139, 14). Sacred duty is different for every individual, as it is
based on the caste level you are placed in. For example, “Great Warrior, kill
the enemy menacing you in the form of desire!” (Miller, 47, 43), shows that Arjuna’s
caste is a fighter, therefore his duty is to battle and kill. As your caste
determines your duty, it must be accomplished in that manner, otherwise the outcome
could disrupt social rankings and order in the cosmos. The only way to change
your caste is to be reincarnated into a new one, therefore completing a cycle of
rebirth that helps the universe to be balanced.

Undermining duty will
not only affect the balance in one’s current life, but also the process of release
from reincarnation. The aim of the life cycle is to achieve salvation and freedom
from rebirth. Reincarnation occurs as “the soul can never be cut to pieces by
any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the
wind” (Miller, ch2, 23). However, to allow the universe to function effectively,
duty must be completed to allow souls to break through reincarnation, as “without
faith in sacred duty … they return to the cycle of death and rebirth”
(Miller, 83, 3). The goal of Hinduism in the Bhagavad Gita is to let one’s soul be free and transcendent. Krishna
stresses the importance of completing duty, as it enables souls’ to be
liberated.  Souls are released “when
suffering does not disturb his mind, when his craving for pleasures has
vanished, when attraction, fear and anger are gone, he is called a sage whose
thought is sure” (Miller, 37, 56). This idea of freedom from the cycle, creates
a theory called Moksha. To attain Moksha, you must complete your duty as “when
you have long enjoyed the world of heaven and your merit is exhausted,
you enter the mortal world; following the duties ordained in sacred lore, desiring
desires, you obtain what is transient” (Miller, 86, 21). Krishna emphasizes
that “resorting to this knowledge, they follow the ways of sacred duty; in
creation they are not reborn, in dissolution they suffer no sorrow” (Miller,
121, 2). Therefore, if dharma is not fulfilled, souls will stay trapped which
will disrupt the cosmic peace.

The gods are also
affected by the threat to dharma, which prevents the universe to stay in
harmony. When one undermines their sacred duty, Krishna’s appears to set them on
the correct path. Krishna, having the power of a god, will “protect men of
virtue and destroy men who do evil, to set the standard of sacred duty,” doing
so by “appearing in age after age” (Miller, 42). In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna is the authoritative god that has the power
to help balance the universe. Krishna’s power is so strong that it becomes
another duty for people to obey him, as Krishna explains to “keep me in your
mind and devotion, sacrifice to me, bow to me, discipline yourself toward me,
and you will reach me” (Miller, ch 9, 34). His power can be used, and cosmic harmony
can be reached if everyone “relinquishes all sacred duties to me, make me
your only refugee; do not grieve, for I shall free you from all evils” (Miller,
152, v66). Krishna is the ultimate deity, “the infinite spirit’s foundation,
immortal and immutable, the basis of eternal sacred duty and perfect joy”
(Miller, 125, 27), and therefore duty must be done to allow the gods to care
for the people and universe.