Essays on the Gita

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It was not easy to make this big transition. The answer of the ethical questions which was raised by Arjuna did not rest in ethicality. It was on a higher plane and Sri Krishna had to lead Arjuna to higher plane of consciousness. How to lead him into a higher level of consciousness? The one element which was left by Arjuna as an opening to a higher level was Arjuna's argument that he should renounce, he must not fight, he must renounce, he must go away'. This idea of renunciation is slightly higher than the ethicality. In ethics you have got to do, whereas he said: I shall not fight, I shall renounce. This was a small element left in his whole argument and it was through this door that Sri Krishna ascends higher: `as you talk of renunciation, I will tell you what is renunciation'. And his whole argument starts with renunciation; the first three or four chapters are only about what is action, and what renunciation. So it is through that door that Sri Krishna takes Arjuna `upwards' and because Sri Krishna's answer is on a higher plane and Arjuna is not able to reach that higher plane: he constantly says: "All right come now back to the brass tacks and when you say that knowledge is superior to action" (because that was one of the propositions that Sri Krishna made at a certain stage) he said, "If you think that intelligence is much higher than action, why do you throw me into action at all? I am already saying that I want to go away from here!"

So Arjuna's crisis can be understood first when we understand his psychology. That was the reason why we have been dwelling upon this so much. Otherwise we won’t understand why this whole debate is on. It was the psychology of Arjuna which was peculiar psychology. He had come to his crisis first of all through sensations because he was a person who can be affected through sensations. Sensationally his crisis is a sense of horror. To imagine horror is one thing but to see the horror before his eyes, which he now could see much more easily, when he saw such a huge expanse of armies standing before him and in imagination that these people will ultimately be slaughtered; a tremendous sense of horror seizes him. Not that he could not imagine earlier, he was capable; he had done it, he had fought so many wars. But to see this huge arena filled with people and among them his grandfather and his brothers, and his closest relatives and friends. So, first of all sensationally his crisis arises, in the sense of `horror'. Then, there is a sense of pity: he feels as it were great `pity' for everybody because so many are going to be killed. And then sensationally it is `disgust'. These three words are very important to understand his sensational crisis: the sense of horror, pity and disgust. What is the meaning of all this?

Therefore, now comes the second level of his crisis: the vital crisis. What is the vital crisis? The loss of `attraction'; usually the vital being is enjoined upon action by attraction: you like this, you don't like this, it is like, dislike, preference and rejection on the basis of your preferences. There is a loss of attraction of all the ordinary aims of life in which he was very much attracted up till then, which he will expound later on, when we will see his real argument which he initiates himself. His ordinary aim of life was what? First, normally we all live for joy, for happiness, and that is his first argument, na kanshe, "I don't desire now anymore", he says. The loss of the attraction to life and the aim of life; the normal aim of life is to have happiness and joy and he says: `I don't want it. Or, what do you want further in your life? You want to help others; you want to have victory, but for what, to share with your own people. But these are the very people who are to be killed! So with whom will you share your happiness? So if these are the very people with whom you will like to share your victory and they are the very people to be killed then what’s the point in doing it? This is his vital crisis.

Then there is his emotional crisis. What is his emotional crisis? `Here is my grandfather, my friends, all – they have to go, I mean all the people with whom you have been enjoying your whole life have to be slaughtered'.

And then there is the practical crisis. What is a practical crisis? The practical crisis is that all life is to put into practice the highest that you regard in the terms of morality, good, right, justice. This is practicality, to see that the 'right' wins in the world, `justice' wins in the world. Now following this path, he has reached a point where all he thinks is right and just ultimately will be destroyed at the national level. And this is a very important perception. In order that there should be `right' and `justice', there should at least be people, and people who are themselves devoted to right and justice, then only you can say that you have  now worked for justice and right. But now the action to which he has now come at present is arrived at by pursuing the path of the right; he now sees that by doing this very action, he will create a situation where human beings devoted to the right and justice will be destroyed, on a large scale and manhood in the country will be destroyed; the women will go astray, and there will arise a whole people varna sankara, the people who have no idea of `right' and `good'. He sees this is the consequence which will arise out of this. So doing the right and justice, pursuing that path, he is going to create a situation where for a long time, or for many, many years, even centuries, there will be a complete disorder, who will not even think of the right and justice. This was his great practical crisis.

Question: But it was the destruction of evil that he set out for.

Answer: True, that is what he says, “I want to destroy evil, ultimately I will arrive at what point? Where people themselves will become evil?" You see his argument? I will slaughter thousands of young men, therefore lots of women will become widows, who will then go astray, and will produce generations of people, who will be born out of going astray from their lives, therefore their generations will not obey the law of the right and justice: the path of evil will be more easily amenable to those people who are born out of such a crisis in their life. Now this is not fully expounded in the Gita because it is not so easy to say but he says that kulastriya (I, 41), `the women' will go astray when manhood on a large scale is destroyed, what will happen to women? They will go astray, and then children will be born on a large scale, in what condition? Therefore he speaks of varna sankara (I, 41): the people who will be born out of their varna, that is to say `out of their dharma'. Therefore you will not be able to teach them what is their Dharma. This was the great challenge that comes before him now, at this stage. In fact this is a point that we shall expound further because it is very important point.

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