The Legend Of Bagger Vance

The Legend of Bagger Vance is a movie about the great game of golf. Not only did I really enjoy this movie but I saw myself really getting into the game of golf, something I never thought I would do. This movie takes place in Savannah, Georgia in the 1930’s, during the Great depression. A wealthy man who built a beautiful golf course in Savannah has just passed and has left everything to his daughter Adele. After his passing the bankers reach out to Adele to convince her to sell the golf course to the government to make some money back from the debt that had been accumulated previously. She refused and instead decided to throw a golf tournament with $10,000 prize to the best golfer that wins. Adele chose two of the greatest golfers at that time to go head to head and see who would win the prize; Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen were very competitive especially to each other. After deciding upon this tournament the bankers took it to the town meeting to have it further discussed within the people of Savannah. They wanted someone from their very own town to represent the city so it wasn’t just two out of towners trying to save the city. This is where Captain Junuh comes in, he was known for his phenomenal golf swing and reputation of swinging the ball far and accuracy before his pre-war days but unfortunately no one had seen him since. The story progresses as the search for Captain Junuh and his love for the game resurface in something he never imagined would’ve happened. This story shows great relation to Hinduism and more specifically the story of the Bhagavad-Gita one of the most fundamental texts in this religion. It highlights important messages such as the skill in action or yoga versus renunciation of lust, cravings and desires, proof versus faith, and finding spiritual peace through knowledge.
The story of Bhagavad-Gita emphasizes self-mastery, a story between Bhagavan (more commonly known as Lord Krishna) and Arjuna. Arjuna a leader of Pandavas refuses to go back to battle because he does not want to fight but Lord Krishna explains why it his dharmic duty to fight and how it must be done to restore his karma. Captain R.Junuh, a war hero who suffers from alcoholism and gambling, hides from society because he has succumbed to his vices refusing to live his dharmic duty to reach nirvana. He wasn’t easy to convince to get back on the green either! After meeting Bagger Vance and rekindling with Adele they finally persuaded Junuh by showing it was his duty to play and represent Savannah in the tournament.
Junuh had a challenging time getting back into the swing of things and walked into the tournament believing he had lost his “authenic swing.” Bagger Vance becomes his caddy which is the major connection between this movie and the Bhagavad-Gita. The role of the caddie is not only to carry the players bags and clubs but also give insightful advice and moral support! Throughout the whole first half of the game Bagger Vance simply stepped back and held Junuh’s things letting him struggle on his own until he asked for advice. You could clearly tell in the scoreboard he was struggling and Savannah was furious blaming Bagger Vance for not doing his job. When he finally decides to ask for advice Bagger Vance asks him how he sees the field? To open up his mind and sight in become absolutely aware in the present moment and only then will he find his true “authentic swing.”
Three main concepts to achieving yoga or the skill in action to achieve the dissolution of the soul are meditation, selfless service and renunciation. Meditation is to think deeply and carefully focusing on ones mind over a period of time to bring the mind and body as one. Junuh gets into a meditative state on the field becoming a harmonious one between his body and the field. This helps him find his “authentic swing” within the deepest form of selfless service to be present in the moment of the game and represent Savannah in one of the most important moments in history. Junuh found his “authentic swing” no doubt about that, but when his ego gets bigger than his selflessness and clear headedness begins to get cloudy he begins to have difficulty in making the shots again. The Gita urges yoga instead of renunciation because it is in our nature to act and therefore we need to learn to act in accordance with the divine. Junuh’s desires to show off and craving of attention lost his connection with the field. He needs to learn to act in accordance with the divinity of the field and balance his ego which does nothing but destroy his vision of winning the game for Savannah. Lord Krishna sees the enlightenment as a process that requires self-control and self-discipline, putting thoughts into action to live through karmic duties.
Karma is the accumulation of debt of action in the course of a persons samaric cycle. When you are reborn you are given your Dharma or your duty to work off the karma to get closer to the divine. Through self-control and self-discipline one will live to their truest karmic duties. It is only natural to challenge something you cannot see, you need the proof because the faith may not be strong enough especially in a moment of no self-control or discipline. Humanity has an inclination of needing to see something to believe it like Buddhism, which speaks of seeing is believing and therefore focuses on spending our lives seeing as clearly as possible. Hinduism and specifically Arjuna like Junuh continue to ask for proof of validity until Krishna and Bagger Vance show them the most powerful form without ever demanding total faith. The Bhagavad-Gita teaches you about being able to focus on the inner you connecting body and soul as one so you can reach enlightenment and pay off the debt of the cosmos and God. Krishna believes that if proof is what they need they will pay in karmic debt leading up to the faith of a way of life. The proof Junuh received was in his first true moment of meditation on the field becoming one with the field and finding the “authentic swing,” he saw the proof but without faith the ego started to build and soon thereafter lost his swing again.
After Junuh grew knowledge of what was happening and how he was able to control the world around him he had clarity on his karmic duties and what was needed to find spiritual peace. In Hinduism, Jinana is knowledge and Lord Krishna preaches that is it the first step towards true nirvana. Being able to have knowledge of self awareness encourages the key to finding spiritual peace. Maintaining self-awareness at every moment in life even beyond death. Junuh played the game because at the end of the day it was just a game and the love of the game is that you fully immerse yourself in the present moment just one with the field.
The Legend of Bagger Vance is a great story that has great representation behind one of the most fundamental texts of the Hindu religion. It teaches us about self and our work through strife and the testing of faith within humanity. We learn in this story symbolism of yoga versus renunciation, proof versus faith, and finding spiritual proof through knowledge. Who would have thought golf was a life learning lesson of finding your true inner self and reaching the level of enlightenment.

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