In any case we are not at present discussing this question of ‘what is the right structure of society’ and ‘what we should expect from each individual’. We are at present only studying history, what historically is a fact: in history, at a given time Indian society was structured on an idea that everybody should be asked to do something that is appropriate to his Swabhava, and therefore restricted to his own Swabhava and his Swadharma; this was the idea of the Kurukshetra war, a concept which is different from the present kind of war which we are fighting in the modern times.
This is an aspect which has to be remembered while discussing the whole theory of the Bhagavad Gita, because you will come across in the Bhagavad Gita a statement by Sri Krishna who says, “Even by looking to your Swadharma, you should fight”. Now, this statement will not be understood unless we understand the structure of the society of that time. Why Sri Krishna argues in this way, that looking to your Swadharma, you should fight?
According to that Swadharma, Kshatriya is supposed to be one who should be ready to be in the battlefield: whether we like it or not the world is war; whether we like it or not we are in the battle, but consciously for a Kshatriya, he should be conscious that he is in a battle and when the battle comes up and demands any kind of sacrifice, he should accept it. This is the basic law of a Kshatriya in the Indian society. More consciously therefore, it should be applied to everyone in the world. In the largest sense of the term, what is true of an individual like a Kshatriya, if the message of the Gita is to be universal, we have to realise that everyone is in a battle and whenever the battle comes up do not run away from the battle. This is the basic message of the Gita.
It is in this context of ‘Kurukshetra’, ‘Dharmakshetra’, of the theme of the battle of life, in the background of the concept that the world is not an accident, world is not a nightmare, world is not a dream, world is not nothingness, world is not a mere bubble, but this world is something in which the Divine Himself is active and He is the supreme master of the whole situation, against this background, the whole of the Bhagavad Gita’s problems and the solution arise.
I think we shall stop here today. We shall begin the consideration of the text of the Bhagavad Gita. Today we restricted only to the first two words of the text of the Gita: dharmakṣetre kurukṣetre
Comment: According to my understanding there is the entire meaning of the whole Gita in these two words dharmakṣetre kurukṣetre.
Answer: That is true, but also that you have to go beyond Dharma. sarvadharmān parityajya, (XVIII, 66), that also is a truth, in fact the final message of the Gita is that ‘When Dharma collides with Dharma, you go beyond all Dharmas’, and that is the Divine’s will and that is the real solution. Dharma is a solution at the lower level of existence, but that when Dharma collides with Dharma, and very often it does, your demand of love may demand you to give up your Dharma for something else: both are your demands. When the two Dharmas collide with each other, then what is the solution? And the real problem of the Bhagavad Gita is not the problem of Dharma: the problem is of the ‘collision of Dharmas’. On one side there is one Dharma, on the other side there is another Dharma. Swadharma also, is not sufficient. Bhagavad Gita says that ‘All Dharmas you go beyond’, māṁ ekam, that is ‘My will’; you see what is ‘My will’, and ‘My will is the supreme will and this is most compassionate will, wisest will, it is the most efficient will, therefore you follow it.’