Spiritual conversion in The Bhagavad Gita: a psychoanalytic study
God revealing his divine-cosmic self to a human is a theme in many religions. Arguably, the most dramatic example of such spiritual epiphany occurs in the most profound and inﬂ uential sacred text of Hinduism, The Bhagavad Gita (Gita). The Gita is a poetic dialogue between the God Krishna and his human pupil and devotee, the warrior Arjuna, set in the context of an apocalyptic fratricidal war between the rival cousins, the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Arjuna is the Pandava epic hero and the disguised Krishna is his chariot driver. Unaware of Krishna’s divinity, Arjuna considers Krishna a fellow warrior and intimate friend. As war is about to begin, Arjuna loses his resolve to ﬁ ght and becomes despondent and depressed. Paralysed by sadness and guilt, he tells Krishna that he cannot ﬁ ght and asks him to help him resolve his spiritual crisis. Krishna’s counsel to Arjuna comprises the content of the Gita. In its eighteen concise and dense chapters, Krishna conveys to Arjuna the essential teachings of Hinduism and the path to salvation – a magisterial resolution to Arjuna’s existential crisis.