Why Did Oppenheimer Quote Bhagavad Gita? Controversy And Scandal

Why Did Oppenheimer Quote Bhagavad Gita? The reason behind this has become a curiosity for everyone who watched the recently released biopic.


J. Robert Oppenheimer, a prominent American physicist who developed the atomic bomb during World War II, was known for citing Bhagavad Gita.

The physicist cited a verse from the Gita after the Trinity test, which took place on July 16, 1945, at the successful testing of the atomic bomb site in New Mexico.


Crafting himself for the sheer role, Cillian Murphy, the Irish actor who portrayed the character of Oppenheimer in the biopic, also did the same thing.

Nevertheless, it brought back a few ounces of backlash and several controversies, stretching to different aspects of mankind, including religion.

Let’s look at how the scandal arose and what it has to do with Bhagavad Gita. In the meantime, Spoilers Alert!!

Mục lục

Why Did Oppenheimer Quote Bhagavad Gita?

The infamous line from Oppenheimer, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds“, is a verse from Chapter 11, Verse 32 of the Bhagavad Gita.

Bhagavad Gita is an ancient Hindu scripture where Lord Krishna, the charioteer and guide of the Arjuna, reveals his divine form to Arjuna during the Kurukshetra War.

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In Gita, this line emphasises the cyclical nature of creation and destruction, with time being the eternal force governing these processes. 

Oppenheimer, during his Trinity test site after the development of the atomic bomb, quoted the same line, now generating a big buzz after the film’s release.

The renowned physicist later explained that the quote reflected his mixed emotions.

While he felt victorious for developing a significant scientific achievement, he also was acutely aware of the devastating power the atomic bomb possessed.

Cillian Murphy, who portrayed J. Oppenheimer, uttered the same verse to represent a similar original feeling.

The quote signifies the ethical dilemmas of nuclear weapons development and use and has become an iconic expression of the atomic age’s impact on mankind.

Oppenheimer And Tatlock: Controversy And Scandal

The Bhagavad Gita reference in the ‘Oppenheimer sex scene has sparked outrage, with people expressing their displeasure and calling for its removal from the film.

In the film, we witness Oppenheimer uttering the words of the Gita during a sex scene with Tatlock, a Communist with whom he had an affair.

Oppenheimer, known for his love of reading and proficiency in multiple languages, had a copy of the Bhagavad Gita on his bookshelf.

Upon Hatlock’s request, he translated a passage from the original Sanskrit for her.

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That intimate scene where Oppenheimer recites verses from the holy Hindu scripture has offended many viewers.

The controversy has escalated to the point where the Govt. of India Information Commissioner, Uday Mahurkar, wrote a letter to the director, Christopher Nolan.

In the letter, he called the scene a “disturbing attack on Hinduism” and urged its removal from worldwide films.

He also questioned how the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) approved the movie with such a scene.

The film also stars Robert Downey Jr, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Kenneth Branagh, Casey Affleck, and Rami Malek in significant roles.

Clashing with another great movie, Barbie, Oppenheimer has done magnificent business at the box office, with worldwide admirers for this magnum opus of Nolan.

According to a film trade analyst, Barbie has grossed $356 million globally, while Oppenheimer has earned $180 million as of yesterday at the box office worldwide.


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