Last time we had spoken of the battle of life and the Kurukshetra itself, and we had pointed out that as long as a human being is on this earth, at the present stage of evolution, struggle for existence is the law imposed upon all of us, and whoever wants to escape from the struggle, he forfeits its right to be a human being because that is the lot in which he is born and he has got to accept the burden of the struggle.
There is of course the law of cooperation, of association, of peace, of concord, of harmony, but these are still to be attained, there are not natural to human beings at present, except in a very minor manner; it is struggle which is important and one must be ready to struggle. A civilisation which prevents people or children from the struggle is a civilisation which will go down into perdition that is why it is in that context, Sri Krishna points out that men are here to fight and therefore He says, “You must fight”. He has still not answered other arguments, He has simply pointed out the psychology from which Arjuna is suffering: he is suffering from klaibyaṁ, from cowardice, from confusion of the mind and from feebleness: therefore he must fight.
The argument of Arjuna continues, and this is a summary of the arguments which are already expounded in the first chapter:
“O Madhusudana! Tell me how I shall attack with arrows the most venerable Bhishma, the grandfather and Guru Dronacharya in the battlefield.” (II, 4)
“It is better to live in this world by begging rather than killing the most venerable elders. Even if I kill these elders for worldly gains, all my enjoyments will be smeared with their blood.” (II, 5)
“We are not sure who is stronger amongst us and who will win the war. Moreover, the sons of Dhritarashtra are arrayed against us, after killing whom we ourselves would not like to live any longer.” (II, 6)
But now, he comes to agree with very important confession:
“I am confused, I am confused about my duty and owing to my low spirits, I have lost my grain therefore I ask you to tell me what is certainly the best for me, I am your disciple, I have taken refuge in you, please do instruct me.” (II, 7)
It is such a great opportunity for Arjuna to have Sri Krishna as a charioteer; if there was nobody like Him around him what would have happened to the whole war; but this is symbolic.
Through the Bhagavad-Gita we are told that every human being has Krishna by his side as a charioteer. It is not only Arjuna. In our life, remember that always Sri Krishna is with you, whether you are aware of it or not, whether you make use of Him or not, but He is always present as He was present as a charioteer to Arjuna. And, until you ask Him the question, He will give you His own impersonal answers, as He did in the beginning, when He explained to him very straight and accused him of cowardice. But when he asks the question as to what is the right thing for him to do, then Sri Krishna will answer the question in detail. Therefore it is best that symbolically what Arjuna is, so we should be in our life, all the time asking questions, as to what God would desire from us. He says:
“Even if I were to attain undisputed sovereignty over the whole world, and conquer even the gods, I do not see how I could remedy this grief which is consuming my senses.” (II, 8)
Now, is the question of grief. There is no question of other discussions but there is a sorrow in the heart. In fact, one of the great marks of a soul that is bound, in bondage, is this: that there is a deep seated sorrow in the heart of man.
There is the famous story of Chhandogya Upanishad, where nārada goes to a teacher, sanatkumāra and says: “Please, teach me” (chānd. Up. VII,1). And then sanatkumāra says: “Tell me first of all what you know”. He describes all the sciences and arts and various kinds of occult processes of which he was the master, but at the end he says, “In spite of all this knowledge, I am in grief”. There is sorrow, śoka. And then he asked, ─ what is the remedy for the sorrow: “Is there a knowledge by which sorrow can be removed?” And here the basic condition of Arjuna is that of deep sorrow; the deep sorrow which comes out of bondage.
In fact, one of the ways by which we can understand the whole teaching of the Gita is ‘the science of bondage and liberation’. How one can be liberated from sorrow, how one can be liberated from the conflicts of duty and Dharma, of Dharma with Dharma, of the right claims and personal relationships? How one can resolve these conflicts, arrive at a state of freedom in which one sees clearly, without any confusion, the exact work that has to be done, with the right capacity to do it and execution of it, and yet incurring no bondage at all. This is the question that is addressed by Sri Krishna in the whole of the Gita. In fact, the greatest weakness of human beings arises out of sorrow. There is no condition in the world that is most hopeless, as helpless as the condition of sorrow; and it is that condition which now Arjuna confesses and says: “I don’t see that even the gods can remove this sorrow in which I now am inflicted with”.
“O king! Having thus spoken to Hrishikesha, Arjuna said, ‘O Govinda, I will not fight’ and became silent.” (II, 9)
He has of course asked the question, but still he does not believe that this question can be answered by anybody. Even when he says to Sri Krishna: śādhi māṁ (II, 7), even then, he concludes and he says, “I will not fight”.
“O Bharata! Hrishikesha smilingly spoke these words to grief stricken Arjuna who was standing in the midst of both the armies.” (II, 10)