This week I have gotten started on a new book that I could have read much earlier, but now finally got down to reading.
That book, my friends, is the famed Bhagavad Gita.
Sun Tzu's Art of War and Lao Tze's Taode Qing are actually very thin and make for relative easy reading. If you manage to get your hands on Musashi's Book of Five Rings you can find yourself finishing it within a month.
The Baghavad Gita, on the other hand, is a montsrous volume of approximately 500 pages. The copy I have contains commentaries and translations that raise this number to over a 1 000 pages.
Yes- It is a lot to read.
One of the main protagonists in this book's story is a man called Arjuna. Now- if you are like me who does not know anything about Hinduism whatsoever you might never have heard of him, but since he is a close friend of Lord Krishna I am certain that the followers of the Hindu faith know very well who he is.
Here is a bit of what I have learnt about Arjuna:
Arjuna is the son of a celestial King and a warrior. He is particularly famed as an archer. In the Bhagavd Gita he is at the command of an army with Lord Krishna fighting at his side.
Being of the ksatriya caste he is not allowed to back away from a fight or a challenge.
Now- about Goku:
You don't have to search far for someone who would tell you that Akira Toriyama's most famous character is actually based on the Monkey Sun Wu Kong in Wu Cheng'en's Journey to the West.
We know Goku as a bit of a goofy character, but one that is endowed with godly strength and supernatural fighting ability.
Having done some extra reading I have found the following similarities between Goku and Arjuna that makes me wonder whether Toriyama has not intentionally based Goku on this famed warrior of legend:
1. Huge appetite: Any Dragonball fan can tell you that when Goku gets hungry he can clear out a restaurant by himself. This huge appetite seems to be of great significance to the Hindus since Arjuna , like the demigods and demons in their mythology, is capable of eating a 32 course meal!
2. Being without sin: Goku is a buffoon, but the Nimbus Cloud deems him pure of heart enough to stay afloat on it. We also know that Goku did produce progeny, but is not fascinated by women at all, unlike Master Roshi and Krillin of course. Goku also has no desire for earthly wealth, but instead of appearing like some divine ascetic his indifference to riches makes him look down-to-earth and happy-go-lucky by nature.
Arjuna is described by Lord Krishna himself as being without sin.
3. Friends in high places: Arjuna is distinguished from all other devotees of Lord Krishna as he is a close friend of his. We have seen Goku on familiar terms with all manner of gods in the Dragonball Universe without the gods feeling any need to smite him for his forward manner. Goku's first godly friend was Kami, who does not appear much like a god to viewers now, but ask anyone who speaks Japanese what the word kami means...
Later on in Goku's life he had befriended some of the Kaioshin and is known for busting into King Yama's office without knocking. King Yama is the gatekeeper to the afterlife.
Then there is Lord Beerus and his Angel and teacher Whis, of course...
4. The love of battle: Lord Krishna knows that Arjuna likes to fight because it is in his blood and even approves of it as it serves a purpose in his plan. Goku, of course, is famous for his love of fighting strong opponents.
5. Slayers of supernatural foes: Arjuna had his fair share of demons to fight and he had defeated them all. Okay- with one it took a bit too long, but what I am saying is that mere mortals weren't the only adversaries that Arjuna had to face.
Besides aliens Goku has faced foes like Zamasu, a Kaioshin, two demons from the Underworld- Dabura and that ridiculous devil that was once summoned by Baba and of course- Majin Buu, a being so terrifying even Kaioshin were intimidated by him.
Thing is- Dragonball, Dragonball Z and Dragonball Super contain a lot of references to ancient teachings from martial arts, religion and philosophy. I refer to it a lot in discussions on martial arts myths and pilosophy myself.
Well- now you have to excuse me. I have about 855 pages more to read...