Essays on the Gita

Track Running Track 804

I unarmed, unresisting, and they armed in their hands and if they kill me in the battlefield, tan me kṣemataraḿ bhavet, it will become much better.

evam uktvārjunaḥ sańkhye rathopastha upāviśat
visṛjya sa–śaraḿ cāpaḿ śoka–saḿvigna–mānasaḥ (I, 47)

evam uktva, having said this, arjunaḥ, Arjuna, sańkhye, in the battle, rathopasthe, in the seat of his chariot, upāviśat, he sat down; he gave up visṛjya sa–śaraḿ cāpaḿ, his bow which was already strung with the arrow, sa–śaraḿ cāpaḿ, that arrow, that bow, visṛjya, he gave up, śoka–saḿvigna–mānasaḥ, and his whole mind was completely bewildered with grief, śoka.

This is the description of Vyasa, and you can see how psychologically, Vyasa himself analyses Arjuna: the sensational, the vital, emotional, moral, practical, in all the levels of his consciousness one by one, every part of his being. Now it is this argument, this kind of question, in which there is so much of confusion and there is so much of sattwa, it is not only rajas and tamas, it is so much of sattwa, and so much a sense of self–giving, so much of sense of sin in the action, so much of awakening when he says, "I know what is right; anuśuśruma, I know also what other seers have said what happens." So with this much of knowledge, with this much of moral sense awakened against the sin, all this mixed together but everything shot with svajanam, everything which is shot for svasukham, svarajyam, the whole scope is egoism. It is in that scope that everything is confined in the whole argument.

Now, imagine from here the real solution of the problem is so far, so far, so far! If it was a very near answer it would have been very easy to answer within a short time. But the answer that has to be given is so wide, and that is also the importance of the questioning; if the questions are very easy, they could have been answered easily, but no! The questions are extremely difficult, they are challenging questions. And ordinary answers will not do. Why? Because the answer that will come will be only at the highest level of consciousness. The consciousness which is limited in the egoistic consciousness, which is so much shaken vitally and sensationally and which has confused ideas of right and wrong, and which even is prepared to make a tremendous sacrifice of one's own life and one's own life mission: to that consciousness, the answer that has to be given, has to be at the deepest level. As Sri Aurobindo says, "an ordinary question could not have produced the Bhagavad Gita." The question must have been extremely serious, extremely challenging and something that happens so typically to human beings at the most crucial moment of life that is why we turn to the Gita so often, and again and again, and forever. Now imagine the answer that Sri Krishna has to build up; let us go immediately to the full answer that Sri Krishna wants to give to him then we can see the distance between this and the real answer. Again if you open the chapter "The Supreme Secret".  Sri Aurobindo summarizes the entire answer of the whole Bhagavad Gita in a few lines, this is chapter 22, "The Supreme Secret", the very first paragraph.

Having given the full answer over the 18 chapters, now, Sri Aurobindo summarises that answer in a few lines. He says:

“The essence of the teaching and the Yoga has thus been given to the disciple on the field of his work and battle and the divine Teacher now proceeds to apply it to his action, but in a way that makes it applicable to all action.” Not only to Arjuna’s action but to everybody’s action. Now this is the summary.

“Attached to a crucial example, spoken to the protagonist of Kurukshetra, the words bear a much wider significance and are a universal rule for all who are ready to ascend above the ordinary mentality and to live and act in the highest spiritual consciousness.”

What is that teaching? This is the answer:

“To break out of ego and personal mind and see everything in the wideness of the self and spirit, to know God and adore him in his integral truth and in all his aspects, to surrender all oneself to the transcendent Soul of nature and existence, to possess and be possessed by the divine consciousness, to be one with the One in universality of love and delight and will and knowledge, one in him with all beings, to do works as an adoration and a sacrifice on the divine foundation of a world in which all is God and in the divine status of a liberated spirit, is the sense of the Gita’s Yoga.”

The entire experience and the status to which the soul has to ascend is given here in all these five–six steps. I shall like to read again because they deserve repetition again and again, they are the quintessence of the whole teaching of the Bhagavad Gita. I don’t think anywhere in the whole world such a summary of the whole teaching of the Gita is given in one sentence: "To break out of ego and personal mind and see everything in the wideness of the self and spirit, to know God and adore him in his integral truth and in all his aspects, to surrender all oneself to the transcendent Soul of nature and existence, to possess and be possessed by the divine consciousness, to be one with the One in universality of love and delight and will and knowledge, one in him with all beings, to do works as an adoration and a sacrifice on the divine foundation of a world in which all is God and in the divine status of a liberated spirit, is the sense of the Gita's Yoga."

I should like to dwell a little more on this question of Arjuna because unless we understand the question, we cannot understand the answer; that is why we are taking so much time on the questioning of Arjuna. I have summarised in a schematic form this question of Arjuna, this is the analysis of the whole situation.

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