Question:

Is the book Bhagavad-Gita inspired and true? Also, how can I answer a Hare Krishna monk regarding same?


Answer:

Bhagavad-Gita, or Song of God, is one of several books considered scripture to the Hindus. Since the Hindu religion is an old idolatrous religion, the books supporting the religion are as false as the religion.

What is wrong with Hinduism?

See also "Notes on Hinduism" for a list of beliefs.

Hindu Writings

The holy literature of Hinduism encompasses many volumes, and is referred to as the Vedic literature. The most widely known is the Bhagavad-Gita, a small section of the much larger section, the Mahabharata—a huge work that has influenced Hinduism profoundly. It allegedly was composed over a period of eight hundred years (400 B.C. to A.D. 400), and supposedly tells the Sanskrit history of the ancient world. But as A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada says in his translation, the Gita is “the essence of Vedic knowledge.”

The high god in Hinduism is Brahman. In a sense, Brahman is the All, the infinitely embracing Everything—ultimate reality. In another sense, Brahman is a god composed of Brahma, Shiva (the one often pictured with four arms), and Vishnu. Each of these three has a basic personality and work. Brahma creates, Shiva destroys, and Vishnu preserves. Each has wives, sons (one of Shiva’s sons is the elephant-headed Ganesha), daughters, and a series of folklore-type adventures. Their consorts also are worshipped, so there is actually an indefinite number of gods. A Hindu expert will tell you that they often use the number 330,000,000 as a convenient way of describing how many are worshipped. The boundaries and eccentricities of Hinduism, therefore, are very loose, and there are many types and sects of Hindus. What ties them together seems to be their belief in Brahman and the pantheon of gods, reincarnation (the idea that after you die you are reborn into another life on Earth), karma (the law which says that if you were bad in this life you will have a difficult life in the next), and the Vedic teachings.

One of Vishnu’s avatars (incarnations) was named Krishna. He has been described as “an impetuous, violent, and erotic figure.” Krishna is the speaker and the hero of the Bhagavad-Gita, in which he is prince of a great dynasty. The Gita’s setting is a battle in which he is involved with relatives who are enemies of his kingdom. There is no way of checking whether these events actually occurred or if this is pure legend, since we have no record of the events outside the Gita itself.

Someone might respond, “But why is it better to be historical and checkable (like the Bible) than to be non-historical (like the Koran or Vedic writings)?” The real issue, of course, is that we believe we must be rational in regard to religion. Does anyone seriously suggest that we be irrational about it? If we are to be irrational, then what is the use of arguing rationally that we must be irrational? Why worry about persuading people that the major religions are all the same if it does not really matter? Actually, all of the world religions attempt to use reason and (with the possible exception of Buddhism) teach their adherents to use their minds in religion. Even though Buddhism tries to get its adherents to a point in meditation where they lose thought and feeling, it uses reason to teach them, to explain itself, and to get them to that point. The point is, should reason and proof be the “engine that pulls our train of life” or not? Should we not require proof for what we believe? If not, that would put us in the position of accepting every person who claimed a divine vision. The Bible both demands proof and provides it (Deuteronomy 18:20; Isaiah 41:21-24; I Thessalonians 5:21; et al.).

[Kippy Myers, Ph.D., "Why Christianity?  Why The Bible?," Reason & Revelation, February 1994, 14(2):9-14]