2. The Secret of Discipleship
The Mahabharata story tells us that Krsna and his beloved pupil Arjuna were great friends all their lives.
They had plenty of time to talk about atma jnana - self-realisation.
On the other hand it seems to be very improbable that right in the middle of a battle, two people, who were the kingpins in the battle, found not only the time, but the psychological climate to discuss philosophy.
I am not saying this did not happen - but there again, that may have a relevance to us.
When Krsna placed the chariot between the two armies and pointed out to Arjuna the people with whom he had to fight, Arjuna collapsed.
Having collapsed, he was not prepared to admit "I am not capable of standing. I am trembling, I am nervous."
Arjuna, the student, was a learned person - and it is highly impossible to teach a learned person.
He said: "Krsna - I should not fight these people. I am not weak, I know the truth, I know what is righteous and what is not righteous; if we kill all these men here there will be an overpopulation of women ... All these moral laws on which the society is based will crumble and we who are responsible for this will all go to hell."
There is not a single flaw in that argument because it is based on cultural patterns, tradition and righteousness as it is taught in the religious schools - not on the battlefield.
Arjuna's problem was that he knew what was right and what was wrong.
Is that a problem?
If you know what is right and what is wrong, why do you not do what is right and avoid what is wrong?
Because the doer of the action is far removed from the knower of right and wrong.
The doer of right and wrong is burdened with the memory of what is right and wrong.
He is burdened with knowledge.
Instead of knowledge - of truth becoming flesh - the knowledge has remained unassimilated and it prevents him from functioning in the here and now.
There is a funny story: a fox and a cat met in the wilds.
They were discussing methods of escaping when attacked.
The cat said: "Climb the tree."
The fox said: "You are stupid. I know a hundred methods. I can chase the hunter, I can throw mud in his eyes, I can run away, I can howl."
As the fox was saying all this, a hunter came.
The cat quickly went up the tree, but the fox was trying to figure out what to do.
You can guess that he did not come to a conclusion, he did not have to - because his conclusion came immediately!
When all this knowledge is stored up as memory, it paralyses the doer of the deed.

The Bhagavad Gita - Introduction | EN

Swami Venkatesananda

The Song of God - Introduction - Swami Venkatesananda - enlarged 4th edition – 1984 - published by The Chiltern Yoga Trust, Cape Town, South Africa
1998 - 2017

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