The Good Teacher and The Good Pupil - The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple



There are moments when all that we have learnt, believed and practised seems to lead us to perplexity and confusion, and we find ourselves helpless and at a stand-still. The norms and standards of conduct we have followed so far come into sharp conflict and we no longer know what to do or how to act, even when we are aware that some action is necessary. These are moments of crisis, and in our state of helplessness we are apt to give up the battle of life. Fortunate are they who, at such a moment, have a questioning and seeking mind and a teacher nearby to whom they can turn for advice, knowledge and inspiration. At such moments we realize that all life is unending education and that to receive it we must develop the right attitude. A good pupil is a constant learner.

One striking example of the acceptance of discipleship in the midst of a terrible crisis is the story of Arjuna at Kurukshetra that we find in the Mahabharata. This momentous episode provides the occasion for the teaching of theGita, and its importance derives from the fact that  Arjuna can be looked upon as a representative man. The crisis he faces could come upon anyone, for each human being has in him something of the same temperament, turn of thought and balance of strength and weakness as Arjuna. Like Arjuna, we are all subject to the rule of the three modes of the nature-force, or gunas, to use the language of the Gita.

Sattwa, rajas and tamas are the three chains which bind us and, like Arjuna, most of our being is rajasic and pragmatic, with a degree of purer sattwa in respect to our attitude towards moral law, society and the claims of others upon

The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple

us.1 To study Arjuna is to study ourselves. We have included here a most illuminating study of Arjuna, found in Sri Aurobindo's Essays on the Gita under the apt title, "The Human Disciple".

The human disciple, Arjuna, was fortunate, we might say, to have with him at a critical moment of his life the divine Teacher, Krishna; and we might wonder if very many of us would be so fortunate at the critical moments of life. Yet whether or not we accept the concept of divine omnipresence, we will find, if we watch ourselves and our surroundings with the eyes of an earnest seeker, that there are sermons even in stones. In any case, the Gita assures us that Krishna, the divine Teacher, is always near us to guide and teach, and that his help is unfailing. The figure of Krishna is the symbol of the Divine's dealing with humanity.

Arjuna, as we know him in the Mahabharata, is the rajasic man who governs his rajasic actions by a high sattwic ideal. At the opening of the episode in the Gita, we find him advancing to the field of a gigantic struggle, to Kurukshetra, with the full acceptance of the joy of battle, as to "a holiday of fight". He has confidence in the righteousness of his cause, believing that the sons of Dhritarashtra are unjust and wicked and that they should be destroyed in order to establish a reign of justice and good. He advances in his rapid chariot, driven by Krishna, tearing the hearts of his enemies with the victorious clamour of his war-conch. He asks Krishna to set his chariot between the armies so that he can look upon the kings who had come there to champion the cause of unrighteousness and, disregarding law, justice and truth, to establish the rule of selfish and arrogant egoism. But as he looks at them, and as he sees on the other side his teachers, guardians and brethren, he is inwardly defeated by the uprush of the tamasic quality. He recoils in horror, dismay and dejection, his mind bewildered and his reason at war with itself. His being collapses towards the principle of ignorance and inertia. "I will not fight, " he declares. Casting down his Gandiva, the divine bow and inexhaustible quiver, he cries out, "It is for my welfare that the sons of Dhritarashtra armed should slay me unarmed and unresisting. " He argues that the path of renunciation is preferable to the terrible action of war.

Krishna, the divine Teacher, knows that Arjuna is experiencing the typical tamasic recoil from action of the sattwic-rajasic man. He discourages this recoil and enjoins Arjuna to go on with the fierce and terrible action that confronts him. And


1. Sattwa connotes balance, equilibrium and a tendency towards knowledge and light; rajas connotes impulse, desire, ambition, drive, dynamism and a tendency towards action and battle; tamas connotes inertia, sloth, idleness, ignorance and a tendency towards mechanical repetition and inaction.

The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple

he points the disciple towards an inner renunciation which will be the real solution to his crisis and the way towards the soul's calm, self-possessed action in the world. Not a physical asceticism, not escapism, but an inner askesis is the teaching of the Gita. What Krishna impresses upon Arjuna is the necessity of the battle of life; and in Arjuna's case at that point in time his battle of life is the war of Kurukshetra.

To fully grasp this we must understand that ancient Indian civilization aimed to minimize the incidence and disaster of war. To achieve this aim it limited military obligation to the small class of Kshatriyas. The rest of the community was guarded from slaughter and outrage. War was considered an inevitable part of a certain stage of human evolution, when people are not sufficiently trained morally and spiritually to develop a social life based on mutual goodwill. At the same time, ancient Indian civilization maintained that harmony is greater than war, and love more the manifest divine than death. There was a constant stress on transcending the need for clash and warfare. Krishna himself undertook the mission of peace to Duryodhana. It was only when Duryodhana rejected Krishna's proposal that war became inevitable.

In this world of Ignorance, where our ascent is through a forest of wild forces, we are required to accept the battlefield of Kurukshetra. In due course, however, we must move towards the replacement of physical force by soul-force, of war by peace, of strife by union, of devouring by love, of egoism by universality, of death by immortality. While awaiting the day when that would be realized, ancient Indian civilization imposed conditions on the conduct of war so as to assure the minimum harm to the general life of the race. High ethical ideals and every possible rule of humanity and chivalry were exacted from the warrior. War of this kind and under these conditions is what the Gitaenvisaged. War is considered an inevitable part of life at a certain stage of human evolution, but even then is so restricted and regulated as to serve, like other activities, mankind's ethical and spiritual development —for this is regarded as the whole real object of life.

Perhaps today we are at a stage in evolution where no degree of violence seems justified. Yet it cannot be said that we have transcended the stage where life itself is a battlefield. The kingdom of God on earth is yet to be established and until then the call to battle is inevitable. And even when Truth prevails, the call to action shall still remain. It is fundamentally this call that the divine Teacher gives to the human disciple.

The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple

Painting by Rolf, Auroville

The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple

Arjuna is the fighter in the chariot with the divine Krishna as his charioteer. In the Veda also we have this image of the human soul and the divine riding in- one chariot through a great battle to the goal of a high-aspiring effort. But there it is a pure figure and symbol. The Divine is there Indra, the Master of the World of Light and Immortality, the power of divine knowledge which descends to the aid of the human seeker battling with the sons of falsehood, darkness, limitation, mortality; the battle is with spiritual enemies who bar the way to the higher world of our being; and the goal is that plane of vast being resplendent with the light of the supreme Truth and uplifted to the conscious immortality of the perfected soul, of which Indra is the master. The human soul is Kutsa, he who constantly seeks the seer-knowledge, as his name implies, and he is the son of Arjuna or Arjuni, the White One, child of Switra the White Mother; he is, that is to say, the sattwic or purified and light-filled soul which is open to the unbroken glories of the divine knowledge. And when the chariot reaches the end of its journey, the own home of Indra, the human Kutsa has grown into such an exact likeness of his divine companion that he can only be distinguished by Sachi, the wife of Indra, because she is "truth-conscious". The parable is evidently of the inner life of man; it is a figure of the human growing into the likeness of the eternal divine by the increasing illumination of Knowledge. But the Gita starts from action and Arjuna is the man of action and not of knowledge, the fighter, never the seer or the thinker.

From the beginning of the Gita this characteristic temperament of the disciple is clearly indicated and it is maintained throughout. It becomes first evident in the manner in which he is awakened to the sense of what he is doing, the great slaughter of which he is to be the chief instrument, in the thoughts which immediately rise in him, in the standpoint and the psychological motives which make him recoil from the whole terrible catastrophe. They are not the thoughts, the standpoint, the motives of a philosophical or even of a deeply reflective mind or a spiritual temperament confronted with the same or a similar problem. They are those, as we might say, of the practical or the pragmatic man, the emotional, sensational, moral and intelligent human being not habituated to profound and original reflection or any sounding of the depths, accustomed rather to high but fixed standards of thought and action and a confident treading through all vicissitudes and difficulties, who now finds all his standards failing him and all the basis of his confidence in himself and his life shorn away from under him at a single stroke. That is the nature of the crisis which he undergoes.

Arjuna is, in the language of the Gita, a man subject to the action of the three

The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple

Gunas or modes of the Nature-Force and habituated to move unquestioningly in that field, like the generality of men. He justifies his name only in being so far pure and sattwic as to be governed by high and clear principles and impulses and habitually control his lower nature by the noblest Law which he knows. He is not of a violent Asuric disposition, not the slave of his passions, but has been trained to a high calm and self-control, to an unswerving performance of his duties and firm obedience to the best principles of the time and society in which he has lived and the religion and ethics to which he has been brought up. He is egoistic like other men, but with the purer or sattwic egoism which regards the moral law and society and the claims of others and not only or predominantly his own interests, desires and passions. He has lived and guided himself by the Shastra, the moral and social code. The thought which preoccupies him, the standard which he obeys is the dharma,1that collective Indian conception of the religious, social and moral rule of conduct, and especially the rule of the station and function to which he belongs, he the Kshatriya, the high- minded, self-governed, chivalrous prince and warrior and leader of Aryan men. Following always this rule, conscious of virtue and right dealing he has travelled so far and finds suddenly that it has led him to become the protagonist of a terrific and unparalleled slaughter, a monstrous civil war involving all the cultured Aryan nations which must lead to the complete destruction of the flower of their manhood and threatens their ordered civilisation with chaos and collapse.

It is typical again of the pragmatic man that it is through his sensations that he awakens to the meaning of his action. He has asked his friend and charioteer to place him between the two armies, not with any profounder idea, but with the proud intention of viewing and looking in the face these myriads of the champions of unrighteousness whom he has to meet and conquer and slay "in this holiday of fight" so that the right may prevail. It is as he gazes that the revelation of the meaning of a civil and domestic war comes home to him, a war in which not only men of the same race, the same nation, the same clan, but those of the same family and household stand upon opposite sides. All whom the social man holds most dear and sacred, he must meet as enemies and slay, — the worshipped teacher and preceptor, the old friend, comrade and companion in arms, grandsires, uncles, those who stood in the relation to him of father, of son, of grandson, connections by blood and connections by marriage, — all these social ties have to be cut asunder by the sword. It is not that he did not know these things before, but he has never realised it all; obsessed by his claims and wrongs and by the principles of his life, the struggle for the right, the duty of the Kshatriya to protect justice and the law and fight and beat

The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple

down injustice and lawless violence, he has neither thought out deeply nor felt it in his heart and at the core of his life. And now it is shown to his vision by the divine charioteer, placed sensationally before his eyes, and comes home to him like a blow delivered at the very centre of his sensational, vital and emotional being.

The first result is a violent sensational and physical crisis which produces a disgust of the action and its material objects and of life itself. He rejects the vital aim pursued by egoistic humanity in its action, — happiness and enjoyment; he rejects the vital aim of the Kshatriya, victory and rule and power and the government of men. What after all is this fight for justice when reduced to its practical terms, but just this, a fight for the interests of himself, his brothers and his party, for possession and enjoyment and rule? But at such a cost these things are not worth having. For they are of no value in themselves, but only as a means to the right maintenance of social and national life and it is these very aims that in the person of his kin and his race he is about to destroy. And then comes the cry of the emotions. These are they for whose sake life and happiness are desired, our "own people". Who would consent to slay these for the sake of all the earth, or even for the kingdom of the three worlds? What pleasure can there be in life, what happiness, what satisfaction in oneself after such a deed? The whole thing is a dreadful sin, — for now the moral sense awakens to justify the revolt of the sensations and the emotions. It is a sin, there is no right nor justice in mutual slaughter; especially are those who are to be slain the natural objects of reverence and of love, those without whom one would not care to live, and to violate these sacred feelings can be no virtue, can be nothing but a heinous crime. Granted that the offence, the aggression, the first sin, the crimes of greed and selfish passion which have brought things to such a pass came from the other side; yet armed resistance to wrong under such circumstances would be itself a sin and crime worse than theirs because they are blinded by passion and unconscious of guilt, while on this side it would be with a clear sense of guilt that the sin would be committed. And for what? For the maintenance of family morality, of the social law and the law of the nation? These are the very standards that will be destroyed by this civil war; the family itself will be brought to the point of annihilation, corruption of morals and loss of the purity of race will be engendered, the eternal laws of the race and moral law of the family will be destroyed. Ruin of the race, the collapse of its high traditions, ethical degradation and hell for the authors of such a crime, these are the only practical results possible of this monstrous civil strife. "Therefore," cries Arjuna, casting down the divine bow and inexhaustible quiver given to him by the gods for that tremendous hour, "it is more for my welfare

The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple

that the sons of Dhritarashtra armed should slay me unarmed and unresisting. I will not fight."

The character of this inner crisis is therefore not the questioning of the thinker; it is not a recoil from the appearances of life and a turning of the eye inward in search of the truth of things, the real meaning of existence and a solution or an escape from the dark riddle of the world. It is the sensational, emotional and moral revolt of the man hitherto satisfied with action and its current standards who finds himself cast by them into a hideous chaos where they are in violent conflict with each other and with themselves and there is no moral standing-ground left, nothing to lay hold of and walk by, no dharma. That for the soul of action in the mental being is the worst possible crisis, failure and overthrow. The revolt itself is the most elemental and simple possible; sensationally, the elemental feeling of horror, pity and disgust; vitally, the loss of attraction and faith in the recognised and familiar objects of action and aims of life; emotionally, the recoil of the ordinary feelings of social man, affection, reverence, desire of a common happiness and satisfaction, from a stern duty outraging them all; morally, the elementary sense of sin and hell and rejection of "blood-stained enjoyments"; practically, the sense that the standards of action have led to a result which destroys the practical aims of action. But the whole upshot is that all-embracing inner bankruptcy which Arjuna expresses when he says that his whole conscious being, not the thought alone but heart and vital desires and all, are utterly bewildered and can find nowhere the dharma, nowhere any valid law of action. For this alone he takes refuge as a disciple with Krishna; give me, he practically asks, that which I have lost, a true law, a clear rule of action, a path by which I can again confidently walk. He does not ask for the secret of life or of the world, the meaning and purpose of it all, but for a dharma.

Yet it is precisely this secret for which he does not ask, or at least so much of the knowledge as is necessary to lead him into a higher life, to which the divine Teacher intends to lead this disciple; for he means him to give up all Dharmas except the one broad and vast rule of living consciously in the Divine and acting from that consciousness. Therefore after testing the completeness of his revolt from the ordinary standards of conduct, he proceeds to tell him much that has to do with the state of the soul, but nothing of any outward rule of action. He must be equal in soul, abandon the desire of the fruits of work, rise above his intellectual notions of sin and virtue, live and act in Yoga with a mind in Samadhi, firmly fixed, that is to say, in the Divine alone. Arjuna is not satisfied: he wishes to know how the change to this state will affect the outward action of the man, what result it will have on his speech,

The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple

his movements, his state, what difference it will make in this acting, living human being. Krishna persists merely in enlarging upon the ideas he has already brought forward, on the soul-state behind the action, not on the action itself. It is the fixed anchoring of the intelligence in a state of desireless equality that is the one thing needed. Arjuna breaks out impatiently, — for here is no rule of conduct such as he sought, but rather, as it seems to him, the negation of all action, — "If thou boldest the intelligence to be greater than action, why then dost thou appoint me to an action terrible in its nature? Thou bewilderest my understanding with a mingled word: speak one thing decisively by which I can attain to what is the best." It is always the pragmatic man who has no value for metaphysical thought or for the inner life except when they help him to his one demand, a dharma, a law of life in the world or, if need be, of leaving the world; for that too is a decisive action which he can understand. But to live and act in the world, yet be above it, this is a "mingled" and confusing word the sense of which he has no patience to grasp.

The rest of Arjuna's questions and utterances proceed from the same temperament and character. When he is told that once the soul-state is assured there need be no apparent change in the action, he must act always by the law of his nature, even if the act itself seem faulty and deficient compared with that of another law than his own, he is troubled. The nature! But what of this sense of sin in the action with which he is preoccupied? Is it not this very nature which drives men as if by force and even against their better will into sin and guilt? His practical intelligence is baffled by Krishna's assertion that it was he who in the ancient times revealed to Vivasvan this Yoga, since lost, which he is now again revealing to Arjuna, and by his demand for an explanation he provokes the famous and oft-quoted statement of Avatarhood and its mundane purpose. He is again perplexed by the words in which Krishna continues to reconcile action and renunciation of action and asks once again for a decisive statement of that which is the best and highest, not this "mingled" word. When he realises fully the nature of the Yoga which he is bidden to embrace, his pragmatic nature accustomed to act from mental will and preference and desire is appalled by its difficulty and he asks what is the end of the soul which attempts and fails, whether it does not lose both this life of human activity and thought and emotion which it has left behind and the Brahmic consciousness to which it aspires and falling from both perish like a dissolving cloud?

When his doubts and perplexities are resolved and he knows that it is the Divine which must be his law, he aims again and always at such clear and decisive knowledge as will guide him practically to this source and this rule of his future action.

The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple

How is the Divine to be distinguished among the various states of being which constitute our ordinary experience? What are the great manifestations of its self energy in the world in which he can recognise and realise it by meditation? May he not see even now the divine cosmic Form of That which is actually speaking to him through the veil of the human mind and body? And his last questions demand a clear distinction between renunciation of works and this subtler renunciation he is asked to prefer; the actual difference between Purusha and Prakriti, the Field and the Knower of the Field, so important for the practice of desireless action under the drive of the divine Will; and finally a clear statement of the practical operations and results of the three modes of Prakriti which he is bidden to surmount. To such a disciple the Teacher of the Gita gives his divine teaching. He seizes him at a moment of his psychological development by egoistic action when all the mental, moral, emotional values of the ordinary egoistic and social life of man have collapsed in a sudden bankruptcy, and he has to lift him up out of this lower life into a higher consciousness, out of ignorant attachment to action into that which transcends, yet originates and orders action, out of ego into Self, out of life in mind, vitality and body into that higher nature beyond mind which is the status of the Divine. He has at the same time to give him that for which he asks and for which he is inspired to seek by the guidance within him, a new Law of life and action high above the insufficient rule of the ordinary human existence with its endless conflicts and oppositions, perplexities and illusory certainties, a higher Law by which the soul shall be free from this bondage of works and yet powerful to act and conquer in the vast liberty of its divine being. For the action must be performed, the world must fulfil its cycles and the soul of the human being must not turn back in ignorance from the work it is here to do. The whole course of the teaching of the Gita is determined and directed, even in its widest wheelings, towards the fulfilment of these three objects.

Text from Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, pp. 18-25.


1. Dharma means literally that which one lays hold of and which holds things together, the law, the norm, the rule of nature, action and life.

The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple


Learning in the Mahabharata

According to the Mahabharata, the great epic of action, Bhishma was the guardian of the Pandu and Kuril princes committed to his care. He had appointed Drona as their preceptor. The Pandu princes were five: Yuddhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Sahadeva and Nakula. The Kuru princes, sons of Dhritarashtra, were one hundred, of whom Duryodhana was the eldest.

Drona was learned in all the Vedas, and he specially taught his students Dhanurveda, the science and art of warfare, in all its branches. "Unstring your bow and teach these princes the science of arms," (1:134) Bhishma directed Drona, while giving him charge of the education of the princes. Drona himself was taught by the great Rishi Agnivedha. At one place, Drona says: "I was engaged there in serving my preceptor, and lived with him for a long time as a humble-minded Brahmacharin with matted locks on my head."

Though Drona gave equal instruction to all, Arjuna became the foremost in agility and skill. It is said that Arjuna took great care in worshipping the preceptor and that he showed great devotion to his study of the science of arms. He became a favourite of Drona. Arjuna practised with his bow even in the night. Pleased with him, Drona taught him the art of fighting on horseback, on the elephant, on the car and on foot. He taught him how to fight with clubs, the sword, the lance, the spear and the dart, and how to defend himself against great numbers of adversaries.

As for the other pupils, Duryodhana and Bhima specialized in the art of fighting with clubs, Nakula and Sahadeva in handling the sword, Yuddhishthira as a "car-warrior", while Ashwatthama, Drona's son, excelled in the use of all arms.


The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple

Ekiavya practising archery — Painting by Nandalal Bose

  Drona was a reputed teacher and his physical power was extraordinary. The Mahabharata tells us that Drona was eighty-five at the time of the battle of Kurukshetra, yet he acted "as if he were a vigorous youth of sixteen". Drona also knew "how to instruct one to wear the breastplate so that it should be invulnerable". Dhanurveda was not studied in the same way as the other Vedas, by memorizing texts. The learner was required to study Dhanurveda in isolation, by practising with his arms, and, if necessary, he could seek the aid of a teacher to be shown their use. In the story of Ekalavya, however, we find the student imbibing his lessons through an extraordinary process. Ekalavya had left home for the sake of his practice which included both physical and spiritual exercises. He approached Drona to accept him as a disciple, but Drona refused. Then Ekalavya made a clay idol of the teacher and practised the art of archery taking inspiration from the idol. It is said that he excelled to such an extent that he could have become superior to Arjuna but for the fact that when asked by Drona to give him his right thumb as a gift, he unhesitatingly gave it away.

The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple

Drona's Test

It is related that in one of the tests given to his pupils, Drona planted a wooden vulture on a tree- top and said, "You have each one turn. Take aim well; stand with arrows fixed. When I give the signal, shoot at the bird's head."

Then he turned to Yuddhishthira: "You first." Yuddhishthira lifted his bow and took aim.

"Do you see the bird?"


"Look again. Do you see the bird?"

"I see the tree, the bird, I see you, and my brothers."

Drona repeated the question, and received the same reply.

"Stand aside," Drona said, irritated. "Your turn is over."

The same question was put in turn to each of the others, including all the sons of Dhritarashtra, and the same reply was received in each case. Dismissed by Drona, they stood aside.

When Arjuna's turn came, Drona smiled. "Do not disappoint me. Look straight at the bird. When I give the signal, shoot."

Arjuna stretched the bowstring and waited.

"Do you see the bird, or the tree, or myself?"

"I see the bird. I see no tree. I do not see you."

Drona was pleased. "Describe the bird."

"I see no bird," answered Arjuna, "I see only the head of a vulture."


The vulture's head snapped and fell to the ground.

Drona embraced Arjuna, who had the needed concentration and singleness of purpose.

Krishna the Teacher

Perhaps the war of the Mahabharata was a mistake, but it became inevitable when Duryodhana refused to give a legal share of the kingdom to the Pandavas, sons of Pandu. The forces were unequally divided, the armies on the side of Duryodhana being far more numerous than those on the side of the Pandavas. Teachers like Drona and grandsires like Bhishma, who were revered by the Pandavas, stood on the side of Duryodhana. Krishna was on the Pandava side but had declared that he would not use arms during the battle and had offered his own army to Duryodhana.

In the episode of the Mahabharata narrated in the Gita, we find Arjuna arriving at the battlefield in the chariot driven by Krishna. He requests Krishna to place the chariot at a strategic spot from where he can have a clear view of the formation of the armies. While viewing these formations Arjuna is overwhelmed by his sentiments, overcome by grief and depression. The way in which Krishna deals with Arjuna gives us an example of the methods of an ideal teacher. Krishna knows intimately the characteristics of the disciple's temperament. He knows that although Arjuna speaks high philosophical ideas of peace and renunciation, his thoughts and motives do not come from a

The Human Disciple

The Human Disciple

philosophical mind. Even while he loves Arjuna, he is aware of his friend's and disciple's limitations. He understands at once that Arjuna is passing through a terrible crisis due to the sudden collapse of every norm and law that has so far guided his pragmatic and rajasic character. He knows the depth of the crisis and brings him out of it by large and long and even winding steps, appealing to Arjuna's intelligence and heart at various levels and, finally, by uplifting him to a new and higher dimension of vision and experience. At no stage does Krishna show any impatience; on the contrary, he allows Arjuna to question him critically and towards the end of the dialogue, when he had told Arjuna all he had to tell, he said, "Now do as you wish and decide." There is in this dialogue an atmosphere of free questioning, and surprising and delightful revelations that evoke deep reverence and uplifting experience.

As was said earlier, most of us, like Arjuna, are pragmaticand tend to base our decisions on personal or social ethics without trying to understand the subtleties and complexities involved. We have hedonistic ideas or utilitarian ideas or ideas of the categorical imperative, and often a mixture of all three, and we apply them in accordance with certain fixed attitudes, without examining the scope and province of their application. We are not aware of their inadequacies or inner contradictions. Thus we are bound to get deluded and perplexed, and in critical circumstances find ourselves in a state of bankruptcy.

The extract presented here might prove to be extremely useful to all of us who are earnest in our actions and keen to learn the secret of facing the severest challenge of life.


Sri Aurobindo. Essays on the Gita. Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, vol. 13. Pondicherry, 1971. Lai, P. The Mahabharata of Vyasa. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, 1980. Mukherjee, Radha Kumud. Ancient Indian Education. London: Macmillan, 1951. Rajagopalachari, C. Mahabharata. New Delhi; The Hindustan Times, 1950. Roy, Biren. The Mahabharata. The Indian Airman [Calcutta] 1958.


1. According to pragmatism, tile truth of a proposition cannot be determined by any intrinsic quality, coherence or clarity, or even by correspondence with actual fact, but only by the success of the proposal contained in the proposition. In other words, pragmatism maintains that truth is what works, what is practicable.

The Human Disciple

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