Hindu Themes in The Legend of Bagger Vance

This is where you should post your commentary on the Hindu ideas and themes you have seen in the movie Bagger Vance.  Please submit this response in the same way you have submitted others.  This is your last homework assignment in our class!  Congratulations!


8 responses to “Hindu Themes in The Legend of Bagger Vance

  1. John Hogan
    Bagger Vance

    Throughout the film Bagger Vance there is a reoccurring theme. This theme is also a reoccurring theme in the ideas of Hinduism. In the Bhagavad Gita, the idea of self-realization and finding one’s true self is of the utmost importance. One should not try and be something they are not; they should do their duty because that is what they are supposed to do. Also the results of one’s actions should not be something to worry about, we just should do our duty the best we can. This fits perfectly together with the movie Bagger Vance. In the movie Junuh is asked to play in an extremely competitive golf tournament after being out of the game for years. He has lost his swing, and gets extremely frustrated easily. He nearly leaves town, but after seeing all the support he is getting from his town, he decides it is his duty to play in this tournament, so many people are relying on him. Through the first day of golf, Junuh continues to try and become the golfer he used to be. He will never be the old Junuh again, he needs to find the Junuh of the present, and he needs to find himself. While playing he is so worried about making the perfect shot, he is worried about winning. Junuh should not worry about anything and just relax and play his game. He should do his duty as a golfer to have fun, play his game, and not worry about the results. His caddy, Bagger Vance tries to help Junuh achieve this realization. Junuh is like Arjuna the warrior and Bagger Vance is like Krishna, a representation of god.

  2. The Legend of Bagger Vance starts off as any other movie with a plot. Within that plot, there was a theme which was based upon the ideas of the religion Hinduism. The young hometown talent from Savannah, Georgia, Junnuh, was a prodigy golfer who “lost his swing” after he went off to war. When he returned home he stepped away from the game and it was not until he was asked to play in a tournament, that he picked up the clubs again. When practicing one night, Bagger Vance came and asked to be his caddy. The confidence this actor had to begin with, made the watchers feel a type of special attachment towards him. He knew what Junnuh was doing wrong and taught him through story and practice. Bagger Vance is like Krishna which was a model of god, because he was teaching Junnuh but was not telling him what to do. Like Krishna telling Arjuna at war the consequences and the good that comes out of his decision, Bagger Vance tells Junnuh that he can quit on the 18th hole of the first round or he could stick it out. While telling him this he gives him reasoning behind both but does not make either one seem that he is trying to persuade in that direction. Another time in the movie that shows Bagger Vance’s actions as a representation of god is when he is on the course at night with the boy. He is trying to figure out the ways of the course and the boy is putting the ball into the hole. He teaches the boy by having him close his eyes and swing softly. After a few practices, without the boy knowing, Bagger Vance puts a ball down and the boy puts it in the hole. This represents that the you do not have to see it in order to believe it. God is there and all you have to do is just believe. Lastly, there was a point in the movie where Bagger Vance is talking to Junnuh and Junnuh is saying how he does not care about what happens because he only has one life and its over after that. Bagger Vance tells him that there is more to it but he ignores it. Bagger Vance is teaching that there is life, death, and rebirth and you will have better opportunity in the next life if you live this life in the best you can. This movie, though we have only watched half the movie, we have seen many different aspects of Hinduism.

  3. Ana Luisa Turco-Rivas

    The Bhagavad Gita and the movie “The Legend of Bagger Vance” both agree on one thing: Varna (duty) should be what leads you in life without being attached to the fruits of your actions. Arjuna had to fight the war because it was his duty, as did Junuh who had to play golf for his town of Savannah. Both had great and understandable reasons against fighting the war or playing golf: Arjuna didn’t want to fight against his family members and Junuh’s war experiences having witnessed his team being brutally attacked found no point in playing golf anymore. Arjuna and Junuh needed advice and understanding in order to fulfill their duty. The voice of reason tends to take a humble human form, being Krishna the chariot driver of Arjuna and in the movie’s case, Krishna was a humble golf caddy.

    Bagger Vance’s name coincides with Hindu word Bhagavan, which means Supreme Being and Absolute Truth. Bagger Vance teaches us that it doesn’t matter if you win or loose as long as you persevere with dedication. Junuh said that he lost his swing but how can he loose it if nothing is ever truly ours except for our Self. Bagger Vance says that Junuh’s swing is in his Self and somewhere in harmony he will find it. Bagger Vance also makes a direct reference to the Hindu Self when he says: “There is something in us that’s ours only, it can’t be taught, it is just remembered.” Your Varna is in your Self, therefore no one can teach Junuh how to hit the ball, since his duty will resound in his soul and will guide him towards what he has to do. In Arjuna’s case the same thing happened, no one could teach him how to fight, it was his Varna who led the Self understand that he had to fight because it was the right thing to do.

    Bagger Vance told Junuh not to worry about hitting the ball or where it goes, he told him to let go. The Bhagavad Gita constantly reminds us how important letting go of the actions of our fruits is and also letting go of physical emotions and material wealth (Gunas). Bagger Vance says to look at everyone as one and the Hindu preaching focuses on the cycle and circle of life, the only one without begging or end.

  4. Clare Malfitano

    The Legend of Bagger Vance is the story of an incredible, yet ordinary golfer and his caddy, but the story gains much more depth through its relations to Hinduism by way of its similarities to the Bhagavad Gita. The movie is a loose adaptation of the Bhagavad Gita, portraying Arjuna’s indecision to fight as a golf match in which Junuh and his caddy, Bagger Vance, struggle to join and win a tournament in Savannah, Georgia. Many Hindu themes shine through the story of this ordinary golfer, allowing new generations to not only learn one of the more important stories of Hinduism, but achieve a better understanding by way of this different, fresher perspective on the influential and historical story.
    Much like Arjuna, Junuh cannot find the courage to fight his battle and carry out his personal dharma until his respective advisor, caddy Bagger Vance, joins him. Bagger, similarly to Krishna, must advise Junuh to fight as well as teach the golfer lessons along his journey. Bagger speaks significantly of the importance in Junuh’s choice to fight, while also relating other lessons of the Bhagavad Gita to golf. Both Junuh and Arjuna, find a reason to fear fighting their battles, but after realizing their duty to their town and to their kingdom, they realize and reassume their respective duties. However, both continue to question themselves and ask their leaders to further explain their duties and lessons, which ultimately strengthen their confidence to fight.
    One of the main themes of the Bhagavad Gita is finding the “Self”, which is described as the “authentic swing” throughout The Legend of Bagger Vance. Where the Self is the key to enlightenment in Hinduism, the authentic swing is the key to playing a brilliant game of golf. Another recurring theme, is that of letting go of the fruits of our actions. Junuh is taught to not worry about the result of his swing, but to carry out the action of swinging without concern for his golf score or his placing, but simply his duty. Arjuna also learns to let go of the results of the war and finds it as difficult as Junuh does, until Krishna explains to him the order of the world, in which there must be life and death, but no attachment to either. Much the same, Bagger teaches Junuh that there must be a loser and a winner in the game, but he who carries out his duty is only be concerned with the action and not its fruits.
    The Legend of Bagger Vance allows us to better understand the story of the Bhagavad Gita through the simple metaphor of golf. Junuh learns the lessons of Krishna and the Bhagavad Gita through Bagger Vance and is able to recover his swing and fight for his hometown of Savannah, much like Arjuna discovering his Self and fighting righteously for his kingdom. These are the stories of two brave heroes, whom fear the fight and its results, but are ultimately led to greatness by their mystical advisors, Krishna and Bagger, revealing that behind every hero, there is a teacher who taught them all they know.

  5. Jack O'Donnell

    Will Smith plays the role of “Bagger Vance” who is a spiritual personality or bhagavan. Matt Damon, Randolph Junah, or R. Junah, follows Bagger Vance’s guidance throughout the movie. When we first meet Bagger Vance he says, “Yeah, I always felt a man’s grip on his club just like a man’s grip on his world.” For those golfers out there we know that a relaxed, somewhat detached grip on the club is best, whereas when you grip it too hard you have less control over your shots. And if you completely let go of your grip you lose your club. As in life, the more control you try to exert on outside forces, the more you will find yourself having less and less control.
    R. Junah is having difficulties figuring out what his best motive of action is. Bagger Vance helps him find his way when they have the following exchange, BV: “You wanna quit Mr. Junuh? You know you can just go ahead and creep off somewhere I’ll tell folk you took sick. Truth be told, ain’t nobody gonna really object. In fact, they’d probably be happy as bugs in a bake shop to see you pack up and go home.” RJ: “You know I can’t quit.” BV: “I know. Just makin sure you know it too.” This is an example of the Hindu theme of being attached to your personal duty which for R. Junah, is to represent his home-town in a golf tournament.
    Finally we have this famous line from Bagger Vance: “Yep. Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing. Somethin’ we was born with. Somethin’ that’s ours and ours alone. Somethin’ that can’t be taught to ya or learned. Somethin’ that got to be remembered. Over time the world can, rob us of that swing. It get buried inside us under all our wouldas and couldas and shouldas. Some folk even forget what their swing was like.” This quote sums up the Hindu ideal of being true to oneself.

  6. Vernon Jackson

    In the movie Baggar Vance there are many Hindu themes and ideas. The first one that I saw was about war. Junuh enlists in the army to lead the boys of Savannah to victory. The narrator calls it the war to end all wars. The fight between the two Kings could also be the war that ends all wars, because it showed that no one is happy after a war. It also shows that he made the right decision, to fight in a war that would keep others from ever feeling that kind of pain again.
    Adele’s father commits suicide. She has him cremated. Adele scatters his ashes and it shows the three stages of life. His daughter is alive; he is dead and being returned into nature by the ocean in front of the sun. If you believe in Krishna then you will see that nothing is ever dead.
    Junuh drinks because he is sad. Drinking kills off the brain cells, in a certain order. Sad brain cells, quiet cells, stupid cells, then the memory. There is order in everything. The primordial human has its own order: Brahman warriors, servants, and the untouchables. There is one positive thing about Junuh’s drinking; it causes him to lose attachment to his actions.
    Baggar Vance tells Junuh that he can find his authentic swing once he listens to the rhythm of life and the harmony of all that is, was, and will be. Everyone has an authentic swing, it’s very similar to an attman, or spark. It connects all human beings. Being one with nature is the same as being one with Krishna and having the boy was the yoga of action.
    The three players all represent the three gunas. Hagen is attachment, he shows up in fancy cars and extravagant clothing. Junuh is indolent, he feels like he is less than others. Bobby Jones is knowledgeable, he likes to learn. We were told to watch the Legend of Baggar Vance, a golf movie for Hindu themes. I think that we are watching a movie on hindu themes being paralleled by golf.

  7. A few of the overarching themes of the Baghavad Gita are being unattached to physical things, the fruits of our actions, and meditation. These were present in the movie as well. One of the most spiritual moments of the film was when Bagger Vance and the boy went to the golf course at night. They were analyzing the details of the course to understand be better caddies. The boy was putting and missing all of them, but the goal was not to make the shots but discover the slope on the green. Then Bagger made the boy visualize or meditate while swinging his putter without a ball and asked him to feel the course. As the boy continued to swing Bagger placed the ball in front of the boy’s putter and he sunk it.
    This scene demonstrates not only the power of meditation and visualization, but also the fact that energy is everywhere and everything. We all have attachments. They cloud our minds and prevent us from finding our “natural swing.” When the boy focused on just swinging the putter and nothing else he found the peace and calm of the mind, allowing him to sense the energy of the earth beneath him and air around him. From that he reached into instinct to find the perfect swing. I believe that the golf course and the game of golf are a metaphor to what is referenced as “the field” in the Baghavad Gita. This field represents the fruits of physical life and attachments. It is important for us to know that we live in the field, but ultimately most important to not get attached to things in the field. When the boy was attached to the thought of making the put he could not do it, but when he let go he easily and without hesitation stuck it. Golf is full of attachments and challenges and it is Ar Gunah’s duty to overcome these, even though so far he has been struggling to do so.

  8. Jem Wilner
    Journal on the Legend of Bagger Vance

    The Legend of Bagger Vance is a wonderful movie which’s plot line is based around that of the Bhagavad Gita. Prince Arjuna refuses to fight his cousins in battle and so Krishna, or Bhagavan, appears to help him fulfill his duty as warrior and hero. In The Legend of Bagger Vance, Junah refuses to golf in the most important tournament of his life, and so Bagger Vance appears to help him accomplish his duty as legendary golfer of the south. Duty, or Dharma, is a very present theme throughout the movie and the Bhavagad Gita. Adele’s dharma is to bring success to and defend Crew Island; creating Crew Island was her father’s dharma. When it was clear that the beautiful golf resort was not going to survive in the Great Depression, her father succumbed and killed himself. One can also few the Great Depression as part of the cycle of life; it is the evil part, destroying the hopes, dreams, and lives of so many people. Junah has his own dharma as well; we originally believe it to be that he must lead the men of Savannah into battle in WWII. He does so and comes back, the only survivor of his entire battalion of men. This is yet another reference to Prince Arjuna; seeing and having experience the death of his close friends, Junah cannot imagine fighting again, even if only in a golf match. Hardy’s duty is to find Junah as a boy and then work for him as his boy caddy. Early he speaks of this overwhelming pull to find Junah; something compelled him to find him; something like an exterior godly force pulling him to his duty. We are introduced to Bagger Vance as he walks out of the dark night to the side of Junah; much like Bhagavan does with Prince Arjuna. We could say that it is Bagger Vance’s duty to caddy for, teach, and help Junah find his swing. In the movie, both Hardy and Bagger Vance speak of the idea of this unique and personal swing that each of us has in us. Bagger Vance says that each of us has one swing true to only ourselves. This swing is representative of one’s attman, or soul. In the movie, Junah believes he has lost his swing, and therefore he has lost his attman. But he also accepts the fact that he can’t quit; even if it’s only a game, he can’t quit. This again speaks to this idea of some exterior force pulling him to fulfill his dharma.

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