Essays on the Gita

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Question: In that case, in the conflict between will–power and imagination, imagination, will–power always win because that is what is strong with such persons

Answer:  It may be, but it may not be necessarily. The different individuals have different combinations. In a given personality, you cannot say that imagination `always' wins. Sometimes imagination is very often the cause of a failure, because you can imagine very well, because you can anticipate very well, therefore you cannot act very well. Action requires a certain kind of quickness and imagination takes you away from quickness, therefore you can’t act, so it depends upon different combinations. But the general point is that in any state of crisis for whatever reason,  ultimately you reach a point where `you must do and you cannot do'. This is a state, which you can call a state of crisis.

Question: There is not much time for the "must do"...

Answer: Yes, there is either no time, or anything, there may be no time to do it, there may be a disability to do it , or there is a state of doubt in which you cannot do it but the crisis arises when you must do it and you cannot do it. That is the general point about crisis.

In the case of Arjuna, his psychology being what it was (mainly practical, emotional, sensational, ethical which is not guided by philosophical thought, but ethical guided by norms set by other people which have so far worked very well in his life), but now he is confronting a situation where two norms stand side by side, confronting with each Other. In the past, there was only one norm to be followed and there was no conflicting norm also at the same time demanding that you do this. Now in his life, he has come to a point where two norms, both equally good,  and he could not decide which one of them to accept. Arguments on this side arguments on that side, both sides were so powerful that he simply collapses and even when he says, "I will not fight", he still is not sure whether this was right or not and he turns to Sri Krishna and asked, "Please tell me decisively what is right". And you will notice that when Sri Krishna discusses the problem, Arjuna showed impatience, saying, "You tell me quickly what is right, don’t confuse my mind, decisively you tell me, what is to be done and I will do it" because he is not accustomed to that philosophic thought.

Now Sri Krishna, being a very great teacher, he knows that without a dose of philosophic thought, he could not come out of this crisis. Not that he was troubling him, not at all! He was very kind, very compassionate. But he knew that the remedy of his problem is to bring him to a state where philosophically he had to be brought out from his present grooves. Therefore Sri Krishna began to speak to him of going beyond, of attaining to the state of Samadhi, he speaks about the soul which never is dead and all that sort of things, and Arjuna feels very impatient.

Question: Was not it to keep contact with the situation?

Answer: Yes, he wants the immediate situation to be tackled. In fact Sri Krishna went on doing something else because Sri Krishna knew that his problems could be resolved only if he is taken out of this mentality which wants immediate solution, because the solution cannot be otherwise given to him. So what is to be done? As a good doctor, or a good teacher, he bears even the scolding of Arjuna! When he says that tell me decisively, why do you tell me a mingled truth, sometimes this, sometimes that, why are you doing this to me? This is the typical human mind, which is ethical, which wants pragmatic, which wants to do something and it is not accustomed to a good philosophic debate. And Sri Krishna starts a kind of a philosophic debate! Arjuna is also typical. Actually, this is 'typical story of all of us actually!

Very few people who are prepared to discuss a problem with great patience until the highest and ultimate is sure and connected with the present situation. And Sri Krishna knew that the problem that Arjuna faced was so grave that unless he is lifted up first of all, the problem could not be solved.

Question: Is that the same as saying that very frankly he could not give time to the problem, meaning that he must give time to the problem?

Answer: Exactly. Precisely, this was also part of his crisis, he can’t give the time and he must give the time, that also was his crisis. And Arjuna was anxious and that created a lot of problems in his mind. So even when Sri Krishna goes on telling him...in the second chapter he scolds Sri Krishna and again in the fourth chapter he does again, saying, "Well, if you think that intelligence if more important than action then why did you throw me into this ghora karma at all?" But Sri Krishna really wanted to tell him that unless you go into that intelligence first of all, you will not be able to solve your physical, your practical, problem. So first of all, hear about intelligence! And Sri Krishna pours a good lecture on him about intelligence. And Arjuna being impatient says that "if you think that intelligence is more important than action, so why do you want me to do this action at all?"

I think we can stop here now; we shall go into the real crisis next time.

But this is the real problem of the Bhagavad Gita. Unless we understand the nature of this problem: first of all the psychology of Arjuna; the tendency for him to do the good and his inability to seek out the philosophic, or spiritual basis of good, and impatience arising therefore,  this is the fundamental cause of the crisis of Arjuna. On the other hand, the solution that was necessary at that time could not have been given without that great philosophical and spiritual upliftment of the mentality of Arjuna. Therefore, the difficulty for Sri Krishna as a teacher, and therefore he could bear the questionings of Arjuna. Even when Sri Krishna says what is samadhistha, his first question was, "All right, samadhistha is accepted, but now tell me how does he walk, how does he talk, how does he move about?" It was immediately applied to action, he is pragmatic and he continued, "So supposing I also go into samadhi, then will my problem be solved?" That was his real question. So all the time this was his fundamental tendency.

So we shall see next time this real crisis, the real problem, where exactly  his failure to apply the idea of `good' which up till now had helped him, now fails in this particular situation. Just as a mother comes across the situation where all that she knows is good she has applied to her child and yet her child is facing a problem, then now what is the new knowledge that has to be given to the mother to be able to overpass the problem of the child?

Similarly, here there was a problem. What was the good that he knew, which he had applied in his life, as a result of which up till then he had was successful? What was the new problem that had arisen now before him? As a result of that there was a conflict between one `good' and the other `good' which had never come in his life before, this kind of a conflict between one good and another good. The conflict between two good standards, this also is good and that also is good. Then what is to be chosen between the two? What exactly was this choice before him which he could not decide upon? As a result of which mama gatrani shithlani bhavanti, all his limbs became absolutely feeble, and he throws away his Gandiva.

So we shall see that next time, because if it took no time I would have said it immediately but it is rather a long thing which will require at least one hour to expound this particular crisis.

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