Oppenheimer Quotes the Bhagavad Gita

19 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2018  

Rajendra Kumar Bera

Acadinnet Education Services India Pvt. Ltd.

Date Written: July 17, 2018


Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist who directed the Manhattan Project that built the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, remained morally ambivalent about his role in the entire matter. He summed up the effect the first experimental test, code named Trinity, of an atom bomb had on him; he said, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”, a rough translation of a verse from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. The iconic mushroom cloud of an atomic bomb explosion and Oppenheimer’s observation after the Trinity test have since become an emotional fixture related to atomic weapons in the minds of people. Here we try to understand the interplay of different perspectives with which different people engaged in the development and use of nuclear weapons view their participation. Oppenheimer’s passing reference to a verse from the Bhagavad Gita still creates awesome emotional and aural sensation but it has had no effect on those involved in the manufacture and deployment of nuclear weapons in warfare. Humankind is addicted to warfare.

Suggested Citation

Bera, Rajendra Kumar, Oppenheimer Quotes the Bhagavad Gita (July 17, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3215156 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3215156

Rajendra Kumar Bera (Contact Author)

Acadinnet Education Services India Pvt. Ltd. ( email )


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