Extracting a Humanisitic Philosophy of Social and Environmental Well-being from the Bhagavad-gītā

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This essay aims at articulating a humanistic philosophy of social and environmental well-being out of the Bhagavad-gītā. It points at the limits of various central themes and argues that due to these limits, these themes cannot serve as philosophical foundations. As such, it offers a different method, according to which the text is divided into three metaphysical layers, and proposes to focus on the lower, humanistic one. It then highlights two major humanistic ethical philosophies found in the Gītā, which aim at social and environmental well-being; these are varṇāśrama dharma offering a four sectors social division, and the guṇa humanistic ethics, which promotes the ideal person as grounded in sattva guṇa, resembling the ideal Confucian gentleman or junzi. The paper argues that the Bhagavad-gītā offers a unique amalgamation of the two and that this convergence has much potential for the development of a contemporary ethical doctrine. Finally, the paper suggests linking the Bhagavad gītā’s categories with existing contemporary social categories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-30
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Dharma Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


  • Applied Asian Ethics
  • Asian Ethics
  • Bhagavad gita
  • Indian philosophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Religious studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Philosophy


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