Essays on the Gita

Track Running Track 602

Question: Is that a universal truth? Does it apply to everybody?

Answer: Everybody. Actually this is the truth because fundamentally the scheme of the world is that you are to walk. The whole world is nothing but walking, that is why it is called jagatyam jagat (Isa 1), jaga means gaman. Walking and walking that is the whole meaning of the world, so we are all walking actually. Our entire delight is nothing but walking. Now as we walk, we pass through many, many sceneries, many, many gates which are locked, they are closed, and we are supposed to open the gates. When they are really blocked, we are prevented from walking, so when we are prevented from walking, we feel pain, suffering, depression, etc. because we are unable to walk further. So when you stand at the gate, which is locked, which is closed, you try to knock. Normally, we do not know what is to be done, we do not even know that knocking is necessary. That is why Christ said, "Knock and the gate will open." It is a very simple thing actually, but normally we don’t know it is as simple as that, that actually do not feel depressed, do not feel disconcerted, just knock and simply say ‘open’, it will open. It is so simple as that basically.

Now, intellectually it is very easy to say all this, but actually to do it at the right time in the darkness, sometimes we don't even see that the door is locked; you may be before a door, you can't move forward, but you don't know there is a door which is locked because there is so much of darkness, therefore it is even more difficult to say: 'now, you open', you don't know even how to knock. So you have to gradually by standing, by groping, you will find out that this door is locked and then you simply say, "Now, open!" sincerely, it will open.

So, in a certain sense you might say the world is very easy to cross, you are just supposed to walk and go on walking, walking, walking, that itself is delight. We are here all for a walk and we are all together, walking together. It is a picnic, you might say! We have come from the camp of God and we are going to another camp of God. In the middle, all this is a process of walking. And in this process, because it is a good picnic, there are all kinds of hideouts and then you have to… somebody is concealed, somebody is knocking, somebody is trying this way, that way, it is a real picnic actually. And then you go on walking, walking and doing all sorts of games because life is nothing but a game actually and we play various kinds of games, and the greatest game, as Sri Aurobindo says is of hide–and–seek. So this is all that is happening. You go on moving forward and then you reach the other camp and there is also delight; so here there was delight and if you take walking as a delight, it is delight and there also there is a delight. So it looks very simple and very, very straightforward but because of ignorance, we do not know what is to be done, we do not know where we are, what we are doing. It is like children who do not find the mother who is hidden, or deliberately is hidden. But the mother knows all the time that the child comes to trouble, she is there to take him. And there will be no more problem. Basically the whole scheme of the world is quite simple but because of our ignorance, we are in trouble.

In fact what Sri Aurobindo says about the Bhagavad Gita is precisely this, when he says that there are three things in the Bhagavad Gita which are of greatest importance. The first is the divine Teacher, about whom we spoke last time; the second is the human disciple, that is Arjuna; and the third is the occasion, the occasion of the war. And all the three are basically typical. The divine Teacher that is spoken of in the Bhagavad Gita is the inner Divine. The emphasis in the Gita is not upon Sri Krishna, the Avatar, who is speaking physically, but emphasis is upon the inner Divine who is always present, in everybody's case. It is typical because the situation that is portrayed in the Gita is a perennial theme of the world and for everybody. When we are moving in this world, you can imagine that you are yourself in a chariot and that the charioteer is Sri Krishna himself, whether you know it or not but it is a fact. The eternal Avatar is already always there around us, it was not only that Arjuna was so privileged that he had Sri Krishna with him, and therefore his problems could be resolved so easily, but the same situation obtains with regard to every one of them. That is why Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have said, "Read the Gita as though the divine Teacher is in you." And wherever Sri Krishna says, "I am there, I am this, I am that" That it is the inner Divine of whom Sri Krishna speaks.

Now Arjuna also is a typical human being. There is a difference between the two words: `symbolic' and `typical'. Some of the parables of the Veda, Upanishad are symbolic and many times it is said that even the Bhagavad Gita is a symbolic story. But Sri Aurobindo says that the Bhagavad Gita and the Mahabharata is not symbolic story: it is a typical story. There is difference between symbolic and typical. A symbol is some figure which stands for something else. When you say, "There is a flow of the river in my mind", now flow of the river in the mind is symbolic. It only means that just as a river flows, with ripples and waves and currents, similarly there is a divine consciousness which also flows like currents and waves and waves. Now, in the case of the parable of Indra and Kutsa which you find in the Veda, this story where Indra fights in his chariot along with Kutsa, who is also with him and during the fight Indra meets the adversary forces, kills them and comes to conquest; in the mean time Kutsa who is in company with Indra becomes himself like Indra and when he reaches the home of Indra, it was difficult for people to distinguish between Kutsa and Indra because both looked alike, except Sachi, the wife of Indra who could make a distinction between the two. Now, this story Sri Aurobindo says is symbolic, not typical. In the sense that in this story Indra stands for the Lord Himself and Kutsa stands for somebody seeking the divine light. Now how the seeker of the divine light himself becomes illumined by accompanying the symbol of the Lord; Indra is symbolic, Kutsa is symbolic of somebody seeking the light. So this whole story is symbolic of one particular kind of experience that one can have, when one would really have a great seeking of the Lord.

Now such is not the case of Arjuna and Sri Krishna. Arjuna and Sri Krishna’s being in the chariot together it is typical in the sense that in every human being’s case one can regard oneself as Arjuna and one can always find Sri Krishna to be with you because the Divine is seated within you.

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