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From Vishad to Gyana (Sankhya) PDF Print E-mail
Gita - Gita Articles

The second chapter of Gita ends with a wise note, this is the purest form of knowing, the sankhya yoga. Gita starts with a simple enquiry from Dhritarashtra. He asks Sanjaya as to what is happening in the plce of war. Duryodhana makes his round. The war is declared. Arjuna goes for inspection and this leads to introspection. Arjun’s love for the close ones clouds his judgement. They may end up dead in the war. Krishna is a good listener. This is significant to understand. Even though Krishna does not utter a single word, the first chapter is called a dialogue. But for Krishna Arjuna would not have been in this situation. Arjuna had fought the same group of people once before. Krishna was not there and theses concerns did not arise for Arjuna.

It is also important to realize that Arjuna’s concerns were because of his moha (attachments) and not because he suddenly got enlightened or awakened like Buddha or Mahavira. Arjuna’s concerns have nothing to do with Ahimsa of Mahavira or even Gandhi. Arjuna is simply concerned about the death of people he felt close to. It is as if you or I see impending death of our sister or brother. Situation would have reversed in a minute once arrows were to be fired to Yudhisthir (his brother) or Abhimanyu (his son). Arjuna would have jumped back in the fight because they were closer to him than the ones whom he had been concerned about.

The story moves on. Arjuna is in no state to fight. He is emotionally disturbed. In medical terms he has a psychological breakdown and has somatic effects. This is also called psychosomatic disorder. His physical body refuses to cooperate. A crisis has happened. There is despair (vishad) in Arjuna’s being. Arjuna is an intellectual and is able to rationalize by reasoning. But, Krishna can see through clearly what the real issues were. The first chapter ends here with the title of vishad yoga.

It is important to note what we do with the doctrine of Gita. It is often said that Gita is to be read towards the tail end of our lives. Gita is no good in the prime of our lives. This is so interesting. Whatever is not important in the prime of our lives is important in the later parts of our lives. It is not so for Arjuna. Arjuna is at his prime. He is not old and he is not a sadhu or sanyasi. He is like most of us. We have been to schools and colleges and are ready to start our lives. Obstructions happen and we have to deal with them. Gita has the answers but we want to delay knowing these to a point where all our energy is fading. In my views Gita is book for the prime of our lives. It has the technology of how to deal with real life situations. It has means to deal with the wife, the son, the boss and the workers. And, we want to delay using these methodologies. It has the resources to take us beyond where conventional education can lead. And we want to deny that by delaying until we do not need it. Arjuna jumped on it in his prime and so did Vivekananda in our times. Krishna’s working sanyas is a revolutionary concept and revolution can only happen at our prime. But we want to delay it until there is no energy to revolt. No, I urge you please not to do that. Bring Gita into our live now; there is no need to wait until tomorrow. An opportunity denied is an opportunity lost.

Arjuna is in despair. He has laid down his weapons. But he is receptive. And this receptivity, this preparedness of listening to what Krishna has to say has made Gita possible. Have you tried talking to a person in despair? A lot of them stop listening. They want to maintain the status quo. There is as if some sort of pleasure in being there. They do not want to move from where they are. Crisis or despair is an opportunity but most of us do not want to see it that way. The awareness is heightened. But we close our doors. It is important for us to understand that Arjuna was willing to walk the mile with Krishna. Krishna simply changes the track of the thought process. Arjuna was on a firm ground as far as his logic is concerned. It is hard to beat Arjun’s logic.

But, Arjuna was on a soft ground from his being point of view. He was selfish in the sense that his logic came from concerns for his loved ones. I live in the USA. People are dying in different countries all the time. Some die of hunger. The terrorists kill some more. That is not my problem. But when Americans died in the destruction of world trade center (WTC), it is my problem. Suddenly terrorists are on my agenda. And I declare a war against terrorism. Where were my values before that? The logics are not everything. Pakistan has been calling the terrorists freedom fighters. They had been able to convince some people of that by their logic. Krishna will give importance to the intentions more than the verbiage of logic. If Arjuna was truly enlightened and reached the status of Mahavira, Krishna would have saluted him and left him alone. But, that was not the case.

We have not really learnt our lessons. Instead of bringing Gita in our lives, we use Gita to draw support to our views. I was recently talking to a friend of mine. He is a part time politician. He knows that I have interest in Gita. We were discussing pure politics. But he was quoting Gita in every other sentence. Yes we are smart. We can prove anything we want using our scriptures. But that is not the purpose of Gita. Gita has to reflect in our lives. It has to show in how we live and what we do. If we are not successful, Gita has not entered our lives. If we are not in harmony, Gita has not descended in our lives. If we are not peaceful inside, Gita has not come in practice for us. Quoting Gita is not what we need. Gita has to shine through our lives.

The second chapter has quite a few twists and turns. A lot has been said in this chapter. Prabhupad calls it summary of Gita. It is interesting that just after vishad yoga there could be the sankhya (purest form of knowing) yoga. What a contrast? This has been made possible because of listening and observing of Krishna and the receptivity of Arjuna. There has to be many questions and concerns. Let us follow Arjuna’s receptivity and let him ask the questions. This will help us in bringing Gita in our lives.

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