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Fear of loosing PDF Print E-mail
Gita - Gita Articles

yavan artha udapane
sarvatah samplutodake
tavan sarvesu vedesu
brahmanasya vijanatah

All purposes that are served by the small pond can at once be served by the great reservoirs of water. Similarly, all the purposes of the Vedas can be served to one who knows the purpose behind them ||2:46||

We are quite familiar with what we have and feel uncomfortable if there is possibility of loosing it. It does not matter how difficult the life is, it is known and familiar to us. There is a land and there is a small hut on it. The roof leaks but it can be patched. The door does not close properly, but it can somehow be put together. The wife is unhappy but life goes along. The sun rises and sets, the night comes and life continues. There comes a new man and says that he can give a loan to build a new house on the same lot. Now this causes a disturbance in the harmony of a difficult life. The hut has to be taken down. Where shall we live in the mean time? How shall I pay off the loan? I may have to find another job and work harder. It is a gamble. Do I want to do that? I am not ready for that. I am not prepared to loose what I have. Status quo, however miserable it may be, is quite comforting to me.

This is the basic fear. We do not want to loose what we have. The above story may not be a perfect example, because it may not be that difficult to take the offer to build a new house. It is possible to see the problems of the hut and then move on. The important point is the awareness of the difficulties and the preparedness of making a change. Just knowing is not enough, although, knowing is the first step. By the way, if a new house is built on the space of the hut, this will provide all the benefits that were present in the hut, and more. But that more is not obvious at the time of making the decision. Only the problems are obvious. The helping person does not understand why I will not agree to build the house. In his eyes, I am making a foolish decision by choosing the hut over a nice sturdy house.

And that is what Krishna is trying to impress here in this shloka. But, it is harder to comprehend. It is harder because Krishna is talking about leaving not the small leaky hut but leaving attachment to a big mahal (mansion). The mansions have bondage as well. Goodness has its own attachment and the attachment is so subtle. When you dismantle a leaky hut and build a nice sturdy house, you get something better. But, what you get when you loose attachment to a mansion? And that is hard to comprehend by our mind. Krishna can see it and that is why he says that what you get in the limits of mind is also present in the limitless that is beyond mind. Arjuna is familiar with the little pond of knowledge that he has tried so hard to acquire and preseve. Krishna as his friend and Guru wants Arjuna to drop it. Arjuna has to drop the treasures that he has and it is hard for him to understand what he is going to get out of it. Goodness is the hardest thing to drop in life because that is what we all strive for. We all want to be established in the satguna. And here comes Krishna and asks us to drop the satguna as well.

Words have limitations and so do the Vedas. Krishna would have included Gita as well because Gita is also words. The essence of the Vedas and the Gita are not in those words. The common expression for today is ‘in between words.” Krishna wants to take Arjuna from the world of ‘(shabda) words’ to the world of ‘no words (akshar).’ And that is taking to the source of these words. Once Arjuna gets to the source, he does not loose anything. The Vedas still hold for him, but he knows the source of the Vedas too.

Let us try to understand it from another angle. I have discussed it before as well. I am a surgeon. We as medical students read surgical textbooks. Reading surgical textbooks is one thing, doing surgery is another? You still need the books to guide you to do the surgery. But, if you want to be innovative and devise a new technique, then you have to, for a moment, drop what you know. New does not and cannot come from the textbooks. Textbooks can incorporate the new, but the books cannot be the source foo the new. Inventions do not come from the known; it comes from the unknown.

Krishna is saying to Arjuna to drop the last attachments. Attachments to his knowledge of Vedas need to be dropped. It is going to be very hard for Arjuna to drop all his values, the values deeply rooted in the Vedas. Krishna is saying to Arjuna that by doing so, he is not going to loose anything. Instead, Arjuna is going to keep what he knows but will also have the experience of the ultimate. Arjuna can meet the source of the Vedas itself, and after that Vedas will come alive to him much more so than what he knows today. Is it worth holding on to the leaky hut, or for that matter even the mansion and loosing the ultimate source?

The strange thing is that after gaining the ultimate, nothing is really lost; everything that is available at the time of loosing is still available. Goodness is the default of such a person. No effort is needed to maintain the qualities of goodness. Buddha, Mahavira or Krishna do not make an effort to be good, goodness flows from them. And this is unlike many moralists who practice to be good; goodness is an effort for them and not a natural state of being.

The reason we do not think of this ultimate source is because it is not in the grasp of our mind, and mind is all we are familiar with. Gita is a journey from mind to no mind, from books to the source of books, and from mundane to divine. We shall go with the flow. Let Gita descend in our lives.

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