Essays on the Gita

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So we have now a statement as to what exactly is the essential Avatar and the historical Avatar. And what is important in the Bhagavad Gita is to realise the essential Avatar although Sri Krishna is also presented as the historical Avatar. The whole teaching of the Gita has this fundamental significance: that we have to see the importance of the teaching of the Gita even if the Avatar, as Krishna, were not manifested on the earth. Whenever Sri Krishna says, "Turn to the Divine", He does not necessarily mean, "You turn to Me as the historical Krishna". You turn to the Divine that is the essential Avatar in you. So the supreme Lord, which is mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita, is not the Lord who manifested but the Lord who is always present to everybody. Otherwise it may be argued that Arjuna was specially fortunate and he could resolve his problem because the Avatar was present with him. But we, other human beings, how can we find Sri Krishna to whom we can refer and get our problems resolved? The answer is that even if as an Avatar He is not with you, a historical Avatar is not with you, you can always turn to Him because as an essential Avatar, He is always present to everyone of us. Therefore we can exactly refer to Sri Krishna as if He is present before us and we can have the same kind of result which Arjuna could have.

It is also important that if you read the Mahabharata, Sri Krishna actually behaves just as the essential Avatar would behave not the historical Avatar would behave. His very special functioning in the Mahabharata is such that He keeps His own Avatarhood as it were behind the screen, although He is manifested as an Avatar, although He is a historical character, in all His dealings He really acts manifestly as an Avatar, He does not say to people, "You obey Me because I am the Lord." And therefore, Sri Krishna's action in the Mahabharata is a revelation of how God Himself works in the world, even though not known by people, not recognized by people, and yet God is always acting in the world. So if you want to see the working of God in the world, you examine Sri Krishna's life and you will find that God also acts naturally even though we do not know Him, He always goes on acting in the same way in which Sri Krishna was acting, but not known to people as the Lord acting in the world.

Sri Aurobindo speaks of three categories of people whom we find in the war of Mahabharata. The first category of people consisted of those who had come not for any personal profit but who came to offer a help for the conquest of Justice, as the victory of Justice. To them, Sri Krishna is a natural leader. Then there were others who were opposed to the Right and Justice and to them Sri Krishna was an enemy. They saw in Krishna even an instigator of the entire war; as Dhritarashtra constantly speaks of Sri Krishna as though He wanted the war and He could have avoided it, if He wanted so, sincerely. He was also despised as the one who broke all conventions of good and evil, as the breaker of law, as a diplomat, as one who maneuvers various forces and it is true Sri Krishna Himself is the baffler of the designs of the opponents. And He had tremendous knowledge in fact even as an ordinary character the kind of knowledge that Sri Krishna possessed of every important member of the  Mahabharata, the strengths and weaknesses of each one impartially. And therefore, He was capable of dealing with every one of them with some kind of sovereignty. This is the second face of Krishna: as an enemy  and how as an enemy he baffles the designs of the opponents and who slays the opponents, He commands the war against them as an instigator. And then there is the third category of people, who are in the war by virtue of their own karma, by their own past life, in the momentum of the life which they had led so far, and to whom this war was an occasion of a great experience through which they had to pass in order to gain some very special experience of mastery. With them, Sri Krishna's behavior is veiled; he allows people to act according to their own egoism, but also helps each one of them at the critical moment, but that much which was just necessary, and gets hidden once again becomes veiled. Except when it becomes absolutely necessary; when the crisis becomes absolutely acute, He really breaks the veil and stands before one of them like Arjuna, and makes him realise He is the Avatar.

In our own life also, most of us belong to this third category actually. All of us are pursuing experience in the chain of our karma, and in our movement of life occasionally we do feel the presence of God in our life, occasionally. But normally we think that we are doing everything, karta aham, "I am the karta of everything". When I come to crisis I turn to God and God sometimes lifts me up, but again He veils himself, allows me to move onwards, is present all the time. God is always present, we are never alone, but He remains hidden, allows us to grow through our own ignorant actions. Like Arjuna himself, although a friend of Krishna, although he loved Krishna, adored Him, and in return he was loved by Krishna also, who was a counselor, a friend, companion and they were moving together, feasting together, enjoying together as friends, companions. But Arjuna never suspected that this friend was the supreme Lord Himself and he himself confesses in the Gita, "I never knew although I called you sakhaa, I called you everything, but now I realise that you are the supreme Lord." It was only when He manifested Himself as Lord that he realised.

Such is the condition of most of us in our world. We are neither there in the war of life because we are also in the war, we are neither as those who were just there for the sake of helping, nor are we there as opponents of the right and justice, some of them are, really hostile, normally very few but  they are really hostile  and to them the Lord acts as their enemy. But most of us, are those constantly moving onwards with our ordinary egoism, with our own actions but always supported by the Divine, and who always consider the friend just enough to give a helping hand so that we do not fall, are always rescued, kept on the right track. But if you come to a real crisis then He manifests also, gives up all the ways, and manifests as the inner divine Avatar always present. It is from this that we learn how God himself works in the world, and this is the second great significance of Sri Krishna as a divine Teacher in the Bhagavad Gita.

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