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Comparing and Contrasting Pancantantra and the Bhagavad Gita

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Both the Bhagavad-Gita and the Pancatantra deal with many of the problems and feelings that humans have always faced. In the Gita, the main character Arjuna struggles with things such as grief, pity and hopelessness, while at the same time searching for some sort of enlightenment. The Pancatantra is a collection of little stories that I believe use animals as metaphors for human behavior. Both deal with mankind's struggles, yet in a pretty different way.

In the Bhagavad-Gita Arjuna submits his life to Lord Krishna. Krishna teaches Arjuna the fundamental distinction between the temporary material body and the eternal spiritual soul. Lord Krishna is the Supreme Truth and the sustaining force of everything, both material and spiritual worlds. Enlightened beings surrender to him in devotion, whereas others divert their minds to other material objects of worship.

Krishna show Arjuna that while everyone must partake in some sort of activity in this material world, your actions can either bind you to the material world, or liberate you from it. In the end, Krishna explains that the highest path of religion is absolute, unconditional loving surrender unto Lord Krishna. This frees one from all sins. It brings about complete enlightenment, and enables one to return to Krishna's eternal spiritual abode.

The Pancantantra is a collection of many different stories, all of which seem to be meant to teach a lesson. There are many things throughout the stories that show many of the same struggles that are found in the Bhagavad-Gita. For example, in Dabschelim and Pilpay, he states, "We ought to do our neighbor all the good we can. If you do good, good will be done to you; but if you do evil, the same will be measured back to you again." I personally thought some of the stories of the Pancantantra very similar to the book "Animal Farm", and wonder if perhaps the author of that drew inspiration from the Pancantantra.

The greatest difference between these two books in my eyes is how people are taught to deal with the problems we face. The Bhagavad-Gita suggests that by detatching yourself from material objects and turning your life over to Lord Krishna, you can receive enlightenment. The Pancantantra on the other hand simple deals with ways to better life your life as a more moral and ethical person.

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