LOST Theories - DarkUFO

Lost & Hinduism by wehavetogoback

Howdy all, I'm a longtime reader and first-time poster. I am taking an Asian Philosophy course this semester, and it's become impossible to ignore the direct connections that Lost has to Hinduism. Forgive me if anything of this has already been discussed. I'm no expert, so here's my two cents, but I'd love to hear suggestions from folks who know more about Hinduism.

The Dharma Initiative is the no-brainer, screaming-Hinduism connection, but the rest are not as obvious. In the Hindu tradition, dharma is one's virtuous path in the universe -- a sort of divine duty. In order to live out one's dharma, one must have good karma. Karma can be viewed as either a punishment/reward type system for those who do bad/good, or as an education system that educates those trying to progress towards the ultimate goal: living on one's dharma.

According to the Bhagavad Gita, a central Hindu text, there are four yogic paths that allow one to fulfill their dharma: karma yoga, jnana yoga, bhakti yoga, and raja yoga. The names are not important, but their meanings are. (I have drawn these summaries from my class notes and http://yoga108.org/pages/show/7-four-margas-four-paths-of-yoga). Some of these examples work better than others, but roll with it.

Karma yoga is defined as the path of selfless action with detachment from results. Jack is an example of this, constantly looking for new ways to fix things through his actions. Only now in season 6 is he finally giving up on the results and going with the flow, so to speak. All of his previous actions had a selfish goal in mind (leaving the island, fixing his "brokenness"), but now, acting selflessly, he will fulfill his dharmic duty. Michael is also an example of this. Preoccupied with finding his son, his actions create a lot of trouble for a lot of people, even the deaths of Ana Lucia and Libby. When given the chance to redeem himself and act selflessly, he holds off the explosion on the boat long enough for Jin and the Oceanic 6 to survive, some of whom we now know as "candidates" who are apparently absolutely essential to the ultimate fate of the island.

Jnana yoga is defined as the path of knowledge. This is a bit tougher than the rest to find examples of, but I think someone like Faraday works as a jnana yogi. Through years of studying, he tried to reconcile what he knew about the island and the laws of physics in the universe, specifically time travel. This scientific, knowledge-oriented approach led him to the island, where he realized the ultimate truth of his work: humans are the great movers in the universe, not laws of mathematics.

Bhakti yoga is defined as the path of devotion and love. Locke is an example of this, always acting out of his commitment to the island. He even goes as far as attempted suicide in order to get the Oceanic 6 back to the island. By eventually dying and bringing everyone back to the island, I believe that Locke fulfilled his dharmic duty. Ben is also an example of this, as he made clear in "Dr. Linus" to Ilana. Only now that he has come to terms with his sometimes absurd devotion to the island will he be able to fulfill his dharma.

Lastly, raja yoga is defined as the path of self control and self mastery. Ben is an example of this yogic path, too, having given up on his selfish desire for power. Sawyer also seems to be an example of a raja yogi. Often an example of excess, Sawyer finally settles down and becomes a civil guy during his time with the Dharma Initiative. Now, back in the future, he has lost control of his own desires, and is spiraling into darkness as a member of team MIB. Charlie also reminds me of a raja yogi. He arrives on the island as a heroin addict, only to conquer this addiction, followed by his death, which could represent his release from the cycle of karma upon fulfillment of his dharma.

Now, onto Jacob & MIB. While it may seem obvious to some brought up in the Judeo-Christian tradition that Jacob represents God and MIB represents the devil, you have to know that the creators of Lost are too pluralistic to box themselves in to one religion so easily.

In Hinduism, there are three primary gods who take precedence over all the other gods: Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva. Vishnu is the god who sustains life and the universe's dharma, Brahma is the creator god, and Shiva is the destroyer god.

To me, Jacob is representative of Brahma, MIB is representative of Shiva, yet we don't yet know who correlates to Vishnu.

We know that Jacob has brought multiple groups of people to the island, hoping to create some sort of utopia, as seen in his discussion with MIB on the shoreline. We also know that Jacob created the circumstances for everyone to come to the island, watching them from his lighthouse, visiting them at key times in their lives, and using some sort of magical ability to make it all come together.

Shiva's destructive powers are seen as more of a purging process than something inherently evil. http://www.sanatansociety.org/hindu_gods_and_goddesses/shiva.htm offers some helpful information on Shiva's parallels to MIB, specifically, "Shiva is responsible for change both in the form of death and destruction, and in the positive sense of shedding old habits." The article goes on to say, "...he is beyond the power of death and poison and also stand for the kundalini energy." We already know that MIB cannot die, as seen by his interaction with Sayid. Kundalini energy is a dormant spiritual energy within each person. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kundalini, when Kundalini meets with Shiva, infinite bliss is achieved. Perhaps Kundalini is representative of the smoke monster and MIB's ability to go in and out of bodies that he has claimed by tapping into them.

Anyways, the ultimate importance of this relates back to Vishnu being the god who sustains everything within the back-and-forth dealings of Brahma and Shiva. Vishnu has kept the universe's dharma in tact through history, coming to earth incarnated as a human as his avatar. I believe that whoever the candidate is will be representative of Vishnu, superseding the work of MIB and Jacob in order to restore everything back to the way it was supposed to have been: the flash-sideways timeline. Think about it -- so far we have seen characters redeem themselves by coming to grips with their deeply-rooted problems from the past: Jack with his father/son problems, Ben with his power-hungry problems, Locke with his paralysis problems. Meanwhile, Sayid and Kate's struggles are still in the works, but I believe they, too, will come full circle before all is said and done.

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