The Bhagavad Gita And Dante Alighieri 's Inferno Essay

The Bhagavad Gita And Dante Alighieri 's Inferno Essay

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The Bhagavad-Gita and Dante Alighieri’s Inferno both present the complexity of the human moral code. The Bhagavad-Gita presents the hypocrisy of enforcing punishments for sin, as the same act can either be met with honor or damnation. Inferno provides the reader with a ranking-like insight into Hell and the levels of punishment for different categories of sinners, revealing that the harshest punishments are not necessarily given to the most severe sins. Sin has too transient of a definition too be met with such a brutal punishment; humans simply cannot be expected to perfectly understand the morality of God. The concept of spending eternity in Hell is a cruel and inappropriate form of retribution for sinning because the definition of sin is far too inconsistent and subjective, which makes it impossible to fairly punish.
It is unfair to punish sinners to Hell in some cases because committing a sin is unavoidable. For example, in the Bhagavad-Gita, Arjuna is fearful that he may have to commit a sin by killing his family, saying:
Those who destroy the family, / who institute class-mingling, / cause the laws of the family / and laws of the caste to be abolished. / Men whose familial laws have been / obliterated, O Krishna, / are damned to dwell eternally / in Hell, as we have often heard. / It grieves me that as we intend / to muder our relatives / in our greed for pleaures, kingdoms / we are fixed on doing evil! (1.44)
Arjuna is very aware of the consequences that not only he will face if he decides to fight in the war, but also the consequences of the many families that would be devastated by the war. However, his alternative is to ignore his duty, which would be viewed as worse from Krishna’s point of view, who says that “an honor...

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...n ever be enforced, the action must be clearly and universally known, not subjectively determined along the way.
While a sin is something that goes against the morals of God, spending an eternity in Hell is far too excessive of a penalty to be considered fair. Humans are not able to have a clear, concise, definition of every sin. Instead, they are provided with many gray areas and exceptions to when a sinful act is and is not justified. In both the Bhagavad-Gita, which justifies the sin of killing when one is acting out his or her duty, and Dante’s Inferno, which classifies different punishments for various sins, there are instances that sinning is seen as acceptable in one situation, but may be considered a major wrongdoing in a separate context. With sin being so difficult to define, the idea of spending an eternity in Hell due to committing a sin is irrational.

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