Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita (September 2000, Super School Auroville) - Track 11

So Arjuna when he saw there was so much of injustice being done by the Kauravas, they had restrained themselves greatly that was also part of Dharma. Conflict should not be invited. If conflict is there you should try your best to settle the conflict amicably. They're done everything for that purpose. Ultimately that failed. So the only way out was now to fight. Arjuna was one of the principal actors in this trying to settle the battle without fighting he had failed and therefore a decision was taken jointly by all the Pandavas and all the friends of Pandavas that now fight is the only method of settling so as to secure justice. This was the decision. Therefore in this argument that you read although he doesn't say any time, "I know that my Dharma is a kshatriya's Dharma and I must fight." This argument you don't find in this statements which I read out to you. He doesn't say I know very well that I must fight but if you read the whole argument it is present every time. He knows that he has to fight and yet when he finds he cannot fight there is a reason. You see the conflict. He knows the Dharma that he must fight and yet the situation is such where he is constrained to say, "I cannot fight. I will not fight." The Dharma is categorical imperative. If you see the three things, which I had given you yesterday − hedonism, utilitarianism and the categorical imperative, − Dharma is categorical imperative. Why should you fight? You must fight because that is a Dharma; whether you succeed or you don't succeed it's not for success that you fight. It's your Dharma to fight. It's not for consequences. He knows very well that he has to fight he has come here to fight. Some people who don't read Bhagavad-Gita properly they think that Arjuna forgot his Dharma and he tried to escape and then Sri Krishna came and said look you have forgotten your Dharma. Then he remembered and then he joined the war. This is a very simplistic argument. Arjuna did not forget his Dharma. But he had now before him a new Dharma presenting itself. And there's a clash of two Dharmas when he says, "if I kill I will commit sin because if I kill my ancestors, my grandfather, I am deviating from my origin and if I kill the origin it would be sin. It was another categorically imperative. Do not kill your origin. So kshatriya Dharma was also categorical imperative − fight, because you are a kshatriya. Now comes before his eyes another categorical imperative − don't kill your origin. If you do so it's a sin. The other arguments are minor arguments. The major argument is this that if I kill my originator, I will commit sin. Now this sharpness of the conflict makes him paralyzed. When you should do one thing and you should do exactly the opposite, two contradictory things are demanded of you at the same time. What do you do? That's why Arjuna says, "My mouth is parched, my limbs are quivering, the hair on my hand and my feet they stand on my end because of this great conflict of two Dharmas. It is this conflict that Sri Krishna answers. So this is a very important argument which we have to detect from all these words which are there. Why Arjuna is arguing so much? He had only one simple argument, "I must fight, I am a kshatriya." Why is he arguing, labouring, so much? Because now he is confronted with a situation with other ideas arise in the mind, which are in conflict with the Dharma. It showed that even the system was not capable of answering the question. If you follow the system answer was very clear to him. So Sri Krishna even says, "don't bother about the system." If you see whole of the Bhagavad-Gita at the end, you will find Sri Krishna saying, "Do not worry about this system. There is something still higher when the two Dharmas' conflict. There is something else to be done."

There's something else that was not in the view of our Arjuna at all. It's a third element in this whole argument. When two Dharmas collide, what must be the solution? Both are good Dharmas, both are correct Dharmas. It was not as if Dharma was known to him and he forgot it and now he had to be reminded of it. Sri Krishna's answer is not that look you are kshatriya therefore you must fight. That is not his answer. Although at certain times, he speaks about it also, but that is not his final answer. His answer is give up all Dharmas. When Dharma's collides he says give up all Dharmas. And that which is not known to you now, which you are not even referring to, which you must refer to actually if you want a solution to the problem is the Divine's Will. Now, you see the whole argument the word "divine" does not appear. You read the whole argument the word "divine" does not appear at all in the whole argument. He doesn't speak of the Divine's Will at all.

And yet he speaks a language of a very wise man. Therefore when Sri Krishna begins the answer, is very nice to read the answer that Sri Krishna gives. At least the first few words. If you want to read the whole thing, which will come later on but even the first few words are very, very important. He says, Sri Krishna says, (this is eleventh verse in the second chapter) he says thou grievest for those who should not be grieved for. And yet speakest wise seeming words − you speak as if you are very wise.

Then the enlightened man does not mourn either for the living or for the dead.

He puts up a new proposition.

And then as he expands further, he says, "You forget which the wise men never forget that there is Immortality. In your whole argument you are only claiming killing, dying. But look the wise men are aware of the immortal."

In your whole argument there is no reference to immortality at all, because you are not referring to the immortality and the consequences of immortality.

If you know that there is immortal even in death, that even when the death occurs the immortal does not die then the whole consequence would be different, argument will change. It's a new element that Sri Krishna introduced in the argument. So now let us recapitulate.

Arjuna's argument has three elements − one is that he brings out arguments which are based upon Hedonism, based upon Utilitarianism and based upon the categorical imperative. There three elements we have seen, which argument is what? The argument of sin is the argument of categorical imperative. The argument where he says that I am not pleased that is hedonistic argument. When he says that I cannot enjoy properly because the people with whom I have to share, they will no more be there. It is utilitarian argument. All the three arguments are also in collusion with each other. If you take one and merge the others then also there would have been a solution, but all the three arguments are put together and they are in collusion. There are themselves in conflict. There is not one standard by which he is arguing, three standards all pell-mell put together.

Therefore the argument is a confused argument. There is confusion in the argument. So that is one part which you can see very easily. There is another part which is behind it, which he knows but which is not explicitly stated that is he should have said that I know that I am a kshatriya and I must fight and that is my Dharma but it is implied in the whole argument that is present. The very fact that he is labouring to put up a separate point of view is because behind him is this knowledge that he has come here to fight, it is his Dharma to fight and yet because of the presence of other arguments which have just come up on his mind at that time. And since we cannot reconcile at least the two categorical imperatives, one according to which you must fight, the Dharma of fighting, the other do not kill the originator of your own self because that will be a sin.

So do not commit sin is another categorical imperative. The two categorical imperatives are in conflict. The third element which I said is not even in mind of Arjuna and if that was in the mind of Arjuna the whole conflict could have been resolved by himself, therefore is not in the picture at all. That argument is absent. He does not refer to the idea of immortality. He does not refer to the idea of the Divine's Will. So it's absent, in the whole argument that is absent. What Sri Krishna brings forth in answering the question was first to establish the idea of immortality and bring out the consequences of the idea of immortality. If soul is Immortal, so that even when the body is killed, the soul is immortal, what are the consequences of that proposition? Philosophically it's a very important statement. Secondly all the time Arjuna speaks of his idea, of his will, what I think, what would please me. He does not refer to what would please the Divine. What is His Will? Therefore Sri Krishna says, "your problem can be resolved only if you go beyond these two categorical imperatives, which are in conflict with each other and arrive at the Will of the Divine." It is said that Bhagavad-Gita is a great book of Karma Yoga and I'll told you what is karma yoga. So let us revise it. Karma yoga has an aim, there's instrument and then there is the method. All right! The aim, the instrument and method or process. Now the aim is in Karma yoga, the aim is the discovery of the Divine Will. We had said that the Jnana Yoga aims at the discovery of the Divine Knowledge. Karma Yoga is a discovery of the Divine Will. Karma Yoga is the discovery of the divine Knowledge and divine Being. This is divine Will. The divine Being is the aim of the Jnana Yoga. And Bhakti Yoga, what is the aim? To enjoy, to discover the joy, the love of the Divine. Now, this book is basically a book of Karma Yoga although it is also Jnana Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. But primarily it is prominently the Karma Yoga, the greatest Gospel of Karma Yoga as known to the ancients has been described in the Bhagavad-Gita. Therefore if anybody asks you what is Karma Yoga? Best exposition of it? It is in the Bhagavad-Gita. What is the instrument of Karma Yoga. Instrument is desire and will and then comes the process.

The process which I told you is actually described in the Bhagavad-Gita is very, very fully. First give up the desire for the enjoyment of the fruits of action. Secondly renounce the idea that you are the doer of action. Do not be like the dog under the cart. Right? Give up the idea that you are the doer of action then third is offer your actions to the Divine and fourth is allow the divine's Will to manifest to you without obstruction, right? This is the process that Sri Krishna explains to Arjuna and all the other chapters from second chapter to the eighteenth chapter is a description of this process. When we have time we shall do the whole of the Bhagavad-Gita one day. It's one of the greatest gospels of Karma Yoga.

Very often people say, why should I act in the world at all. Even in Auroville there is a question there are people who do not see why one should be working. I was very surprised when I heard that people in Auroville, some of the people, do not want to work. According to Bhagavad-Gita to remain without work itself would be a terrible blow. Not for anybody's sake, categorically, that you must work is more than categorical imperative. It is a Divine's Will. So once you know this, it would be impossible for you to remain without working. Sri Krishna, in fact, there is a great statement made in the Isha Upanishad that you should continuously go on working and you should desire at least for hundred years to go on working and yet if you work, you are free from work. It doesn't burden you. You should not say, "O, I have too much work." grumble about it, I want to reduce it. No! You want to increase the capacity of work. So now we have seen the whole argument in totality.

I wanted to deal with that question of sin and hell. So you have to wait a little. All right? When I come again, you raise this question when I come. We shall deal with that question. All right, then we shall go back to The Life Divine and The Synthesis of Yoga.