Why Did Oppenheimer Quote Bhagavad Gita? All about Controversy And Scandal

Why Did Oppenheimer Quote Bhagavad Gita? All about Controversy And Scandal

Why Did Oppenheimer Quote Bhagavad Gita? All about Controversy And Scandal


The reason for J. Robert Oppenheimer quoting Bhagavad Gita has aroused curiosity among those who have seen the recently released biopic.

Oppenheimer, a prominent American physicist responsible for the development of the atomic bomb in World War II, was known for referencing Bhagavad Gita.

After the successful Trinity test on July 16, 1945, at the atomic bomb testing site in New Mexico, the physicist quoted a verse from the Gita.

Even Cillian Murphy, the Irish actor who portrayed Oppenheimer in the biopic, emulated this action while preparing for the role.

However, this led to some backlash and controversies involving various aspects of humanity, including religion.

Now, let us explore the origins of this scandal and its connection to Bhagavad Gita. Spoilers Alert!!

Why Did Oppenheimer Quote Bhagavad Gita?  All about Controversy And Scandal

Did Oppenheimer Quote Bhagavad Gita?

The significance behind Oppenheimer's citation of the Bhagavad Gita arises from his profound understanding of its essence. Quoted in Chapter 11, Verse 32, the infamous line, "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds", holds a central position within this ancient Hindu scripture.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna, serving as Arjuna's charioteer and mentor, unveils his divine form to him amidst the backdrop of the Kurukshetra War. Here, the verse serves to emphasize the perpetual cycle of creation and destruction, with time acting as the eternal governing force behind these dynamic processes.

Interestingly, Oppenheimer chose to employ this very same verse when he uttered it at the Trinity test site after the successful development of the atomic bomb. This choice of quotation quickly gained attention following the release of a film on the subject.

The renowned physicist later elucidated that his use of this quote was a reflection of his complex emotions at the time. While experiencing a sense of triumph over the significant scientific achievement he and his team had accomplished, Oppenheimer was also acutely aware of the catastrophic power inherent within the atomic bomb.

Cillian Murphy, who portrayed Oppenheimer in the film, uttered this same verse to capture the original sentiment evoked by it. It symbolizes the ethical dilemmas arising from the development and utilization of nuclear weapons and has since become an iconic expression highlighting the profound impact of the atomic age on humanity.

Oppenheimer And Tatlock: Controversy And Scandal


The inclusion of a Bhagavad Gita reference in the intimate scene between Oppenheimer and Tatlock has incited outrage, prompting numerous individuals to express their displeasure and demand its removal from the film.

Within the movie, we witness Oppenheimer reciting passages from the Gita while engaging in a sexual encounter with Tatlock, a Communist with whom he had previously engaged in an affair.

Oppenheimer, renowned for his love of literature and his proficiency in multiple languages, had a physical copy of the Bhagavad Gita displayed on his bookshelf.

At Tatlock's request, he translated a portion of the original Sanskrit for her.


This tender moment in which Oppenheimer recites verses from the sacred Hindu text has stirred up offense among many viewers.

The controversy has escalated to the extent that Uday Mahurkar, the Information Commissioner of the Indian Government, has penned a letter to the film's director, Christopher Nolan.

In this correspondence, he denounces the scene as a "troubling assault on Hinduism" and urges for its eradication from all international screenings.

Additionally, Mahurkar questions how the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) approved the movie, considering the inclusion of such a scene.

In addition to Oppenheimer, the film boasts renowned actors such as Robert Downey Jr, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Kenneth Branagh, Casey Affleck, and Rami Malek in significant roles.

Opposing another major film, Barbie, Oppenheimer has garnered tremendous success at the box office, amassing admirers worldwide for Nolan's grand cinematic achievement.

As per a film trade analyst, Barbie has generated a global revenue of $356 million, whereas Oppenheimer has amassed $180 million at the box office worldwide, as of yesterday.
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