When Oppenheimer Used Lord Krishna's Quote From Bhagavad Gita, Read This Before Watching Christopher Nolan's Take!
Oppenheimer Was Greatly Influenced By Bhagavad Gita, Will Christopher Nolan’s Film Be Inspired By The Same? ( Photo Credit – YouTube )

Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film Oppenheimer is a biopic about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the theoretical physicist who helped develop the first atomic bomb. The film has been generating a lot of buzz and for good reasons. Nolan is a master filmmaker, and he’s bringing his signature visual style to this complex and important story. One of the important aspects of the film is its connection to the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita.

Oppenheimer was an ardent follower of the Gita, not spiritually or religiously but he connected with the Hindu scripture on an intellectual level which helped him deal with the confusions regarding the atomic bomb. For the unversed, The Gita is a philosophical text that explores the nature of duty, action, and suffering. It’s a text that has been interpreted in many different ways, but for Oppenheimer, it was a source of comfort and guidance.

In the Bhagavad Gita, the warrior prince Arjuna is faced with a difficult choice. He is about to go to war against his own family and friends. He knows that he must fight, but he is filled with doubts and fears. Krishna, his charioteer and a manifestation of god Vishnu, helps Arjuna to see the larger purpose of his actions. He teaches Arjuna about the importance of duty, even when it is difficult. Oppenheimer drew inspiration from Gita as he quoted one of the lessons after testing the first atomic bomb.

After the successful test of the Atomic bomb in the Trinity Test in Mexico, Oppenheimer used a quote from the Bhagavad Gita. He used Lord Krishna’s quote that he told Arjuna in the Gita, “Now I become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Oppenheimer drew inspiration from the Bhagavad Gita when he was faced with the decision to develop the atomic bomb. He knew that it was a terrible weapon, but he also believed that it was necessary to use it to defeat the Nazis. In the end, he made the difficult choice to do what he thought was right.

Did Oppenheimer find solace in this aspect of Gita’s teachings? As quoted by Alok A Khurana, “In public, he remained steadfast. ‘I never regretted, and do not regret now, having done my part of the job,’ he told the Times. In private, however, he is known to have infuriated President Truman by declaring that ‘I have blood on my hands.’ (Truman called him a ‘cry-baby scientist.’) The rightness and wrongness of the government’s terrible decision have been debated endlessly and to my thinking, is not, even today, fully measurable.”

It is still not sure if Christopher Nolan has imbibed the teachings, lessons, and morals from the Bhagavad Gita and incorporated them in the Cillian Murphy film. But the film’s themes might be deeply influenced by the text as Oppenheimer is a story about the nature of power, responsibility, and the consequences of our actions. It’s a story that is as relevant today as it was when it was first written, just like Bhagavad Gita.

It would be exciting to see if Nolan brings Oppenheimer’s story to life, connecting the influence Bhagwad Gita had on him, which will, in turn, make the Nolan film more powerful and thought-provoking and might continue to be debated and discussed for years to come.

For more such stories, stay tuned to Koimoi.

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