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4. Not the Whole, but Truth
What is of extraordinary beauty in the first few verses of the second chapter is that Krsna seems to look at things from all angles.
If you have a problem, it need not always have a single simple solution or answer.
For instance, if you are aggressive, the problem may be psychological, physiological, social, cultural or spiritual.
How do you find the truth then?
It is not possible for anyone to have a total view of life.
For instance, you are taking a bath in the Ganga in Rishikesh; someone is taking a bath about fifty miles upstream; another is drowning in Calcutta.
Is anyone taking a bath in the Ganga? Yes.
The total Ganga? No.
Can we say that no one is taking a bath in the (total) Ganga?
That also is not right!
Then is it not possible for us to come to grips with the totality of things which is the truth?
Is that only a speculation of philosophers?
Are we bound to fragmentation, is there no way out of this?
Yes, there is, and it is extremely simple.
It is the fact that each one can only look at the truth from his own point of view.
You cannot look at any problem from anyone else's point of view.
The recognition that this is only my point of view - not the whole truth - and that there are other points of view, is the whole truth!
There is the clear understanding that, as long as the mind functions, it can only comprehend a fraction of this truth.
If you do not understand that, it creates a twofold problem.
One: you think you have isolated yourself from the totality, and two: you think that a fragment of the totality is the totality.
The moment this understanding arises in your heart, you become humble, simple, adaptable and universal.
All confusion arises on account of fragmented thought.
Thought can only be fragmented, it is the source of fragmentation.
It is not possible for the thought process to comprehend the whole truth.
So, whilst you attack the problem from several angles, you do not pretend that that alone is sufficient.
This is precisely why Krsna advances several arguments.
No one solution is adequate to any problem.
When you realise that, as long as thought functions, it can only function fragmentarily, then you immediately understand the whole truth.
This realisation is the very basis of humility and sincerity and non-fanaticism and an exploring spirit; you are free from vehemence or fanaticism.
These are the qualities I noticed in Gurudev Sivananda.
Krsna uses several arguments to make Arjuna 'fight' - that is to do what had to be done.
Krsna insists that you have to do something.
Never mind what you like to do, and what you do not like to do.
Find out who it is that determines what has to be done.
Then Krsna suggests several ways of looking at the problem of death.
Death is inevitable.
Why do you worry and bring high philosophical arguments into this problem which is so simple?
If you think you are the body, the body will die.
If you think you are not only the body, that you dwell in this body, then you will not die.
There is another remarkable argument in the course of the first few verses of the second chapter:
The unreal has no being, there is no non-being of the real.
The truth about both has been seen by knowers of the truth. (2:16)
Fantastic!
'You are worried that these people are going to be killed.'
What is going to be killed is the body, and the body (the form) is condemned to die.
But that which is, is not destroyed.
You cannot possibly wipe out that which exists.
That which does not exist does not exist; you cannot create something which does not exist!
The mind indulges in a peculiar double trick.
Looking for reality, it somehow thinks it is different from the reality.
That is precisely why you are looking!
You are looking for the truth, because you think that you are different from the truth.
If you honestly and totally believe that, probably you will get somewhere.
But, having mentally dissected yourself from reality, suddenly you think that you are the body.
This is what they call 'maya' - illusion.
Merely look at this, and you will see that that which is is, there is no illusion.
If this thing called illusion is thus disposed of, then you begin the correct investigation of the truth.
You suddenly realise that illusion is not the perception of a non-existent object (like the mathematical zero) but that because you wanted to see something you assumed must exist, you failed to see what 'is'!
Total emptying of assumptions is the immediate realisation of what is - the reality.

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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