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(Gita-3) Don't go too far, you may never return || Acharya Prashant, on Bhagavad Gita (2023)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
63 min
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सङ्करो नरकायैव कुलघ्नानां कुलस्य च ।। पतन्ति पितरो ह्येषां लुप्तपिण्डोदकक्रिया: ।।1.42।।

saṅkaro narakāyaiva kula-ghnānāṁ kulasya cha patanti pitaro hy eṣhāṁ lupta-piṇḍodaka-kriyāḥ

When the castes mix, that spells hell for the family. It destroys the family, in the way that the ancestors all fall because they are deprived of the Pindokdakriya.

~ Chapter 1, Verse 42

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Acharya Prashant (AP): We have looked at the mental states of Duryodhana and then Parth; and there was a great deal to be learned from the trepidation, and angst, and sheer helplessness visible in Duryodhana's predicament. A great warrior, invincible with the mace, is actually anxious to the extent of breaking down. Just that Arjuna is candid enough to admit the same to Krishna; Duryodhana does not admit that visibly. He does admit that if you can read his state, but he does not acknowledge the sheer agony of his state in his own words.

We wondered about the loss of Truth and how human birth is a limited opportunity. And though the relationship between the ego and the Truth is one of eternal love, yet life is not eternal; so that window of opportunity available to you is quite limited, limited not just by the lifespan of us individuals, but by the very elasticity of consciousness. You can stretch yourself so far away from the Truth that a return might become practically impossible.

So, we all know that the saints have sung of the glory of the limited time span available to us in our life as homo sapiens. They have said that if you are born a human being, that's such a privilege and a rare opportunity; better make use of it. But even when we listen to them, it appears that the opportunity stretches at least a few decades, the few decades of our lifetime, right? That's the kind of impression we get if we listen to the saints.

So, they will say, “ Durlabh mānuṣh janma hai ,” and the moment you listen to this, you feel, “Fine, as long as I am alive, the possibility remains open. I can redeem myself any instant.” But when you look at Duryodhana’s state, you discover that the opportunity is even more constrained. First of all, your lifetime is so small, both limited and unpredictable. Secondly, on top of that, to make matters worse for us, the real window available to approach the Truth is only a fraction of a lifetime that is already very small. So, it is a small fraction of a small lifetime. Bad news made worse by careful observation.

Think of it. You hardly have any consciousness worth the word ‘high’ before you are, let's say, fifteen. So, those fifteen years you can immediately strike out from the opportunity available. That is gone. Last five, ten, or fifteen years of your life, you are busy somehow just dragging your body. Dragging your body, somehow to the medical store, then to the dining table, then to the bed, eventually to the hospital; and then others drag your body to the crematorium. So, even that time cannot be counted as time available towards self-realization, right?

Initial fifteen years struck out, last fifteen years not available. How many years remain in between? The average lifespan in India is still in the range of seventy, seventy-five. How many years remain? Let's say forty. Out of these forty, between fifteen and thirty-five, one is so occupied with his or her desires, so smitten by the bug of ambition and worldliness, that time simply flies. You do not realize when you turned thirty-five from fifteen, safely you can discount that time as well. Now how much is the window that's left to you? Twenty-five. In these twenty-five years, if you can do something worthwhile—that's just twenty-five years, mind you, and that too if you indeed manage to match the average life expectancy. In these twenty-five years, if you manage to do something worthwhile, then life is worth it; otherwise, it's an opportunity truly wasted.

Duryodhana is a very dark example of that wasted opportunity, and he realizes that. He realizes that. And practically, Duryodhana being Duryodhana, it is impossible for him to rectify at this late stage. So, you cannot say, “I can keep wasting my life, I can keep drifting away from the Truth, the destiny; and someday after retirement, I will wake up and catch up.” That cannot happen, that does not happen. Theoretically, yes, we keep saying that an opportunity is available even till your last breath. But as we said, that's only theoretical. In theory, that exists but practically that might be too difficult to convert.

It's like saying, “Theoretically, you still have a chance to win a match till the last ball is bowled.” I am talking of a cricket match. Theoretically, yes. Last over, fifty-four runs required—theoretically, yes, there is a chance. But had the bowlers been that bad, they wouldn't have been able to push you down to such a pathetic situation, right? For you to score fifty-four of one over, the bowling side has to be actually bad. But had they been that bad, how would you have been in a situation needing fifty-four of one? Equally, if you can score fifty-four of one over, you have to be a brilliant batting side. Now, if you really are a brilliant batting side, how do you find yourself in such a pathetic state—fifty-four needed of six balls?

So, only theoretically it is possible; really it cannot happen. Someone who never cared for the Truth his entire life, how will he suddenly gain realization in his last six months? So, practically it has to be a continuous effort. Time is already short, and you cannot waste something you already are short on, right? In operations management, we know the concept of the bottleneck. A good manager always focuses on the bottleneck variable, right? Focusing on other things won't help, it's the bottleneck neck that really decides your throughput.

In life, so many other things seem important—you feel like fighting so many other constraints. But really, those who have known, have told us that the final bottleneck is…? Come on? Time. There is nothing in life as much in short supply as this one thing—Time. And Duryodhana lost out on it. And it's the most regrettable thing when you observe a life gone waste, that too a life like Duryodhana's. He was not ‘Duryodhana’ from the beginning, we know that, right? Suyodhana —he was named as someone who would be glorious in war.

Obviously, the guardians didn't mean only the war that involves bloodshed. They were educated people; they were people who cared for something within. So, when they named him Suyodhana , they wanted him to become someone who could win the internal war. And he was well-built, and he had firmness of purpose, and there are a lot of qualities you can attribute to him. Even if he had his vices, he was not alone in having them. Show me one character in Mahabharata that is absolutely virtuous, having no shade of evil at all. There is not a single character. You can keep Shri Krishna aside. Give him the advantage of the fact that he's not a ‘character’. Keeping him aside, show me someone. And even Shri Krishna, appearing as an avatar here, had to bear the curse of Gandhari, right? There are a lot of things, a lot of people accused him for.

So, Duryodhana was an individual with a lot of potentiality. Think of what he could have been. Think of an alternate life that could have been possible. There is a beautiful play that has been composed on the same theme. Think of how everything would have been appended had Duryodhana decided to approach Krishna at an early stage, when he was still young.

On the battlefield, you very well know all these are middle-aged people, well into their forties, fifties, and sixties. The Kauravas and the Pandavas, they are not young people really. And now, here stands someone who knows he has already lost it. Feel the fright. See how a chill runs down your spine. You have already lost it and you know that. It's an epiphanic moment—a sudden realization, a realization without doubt. You have seen it, it's the magic of the moment. Nothing has been left ambiguous or uncertain. It's very clear to you, the story of your entire life has flashed in front of your eyes like the flash of a thunder in a dark night.

Ever experienced that sudden flash of lightning and it's absolutely dark? That one second, and you can see everything. And that which you see, does not please or amuse you. It just tells you, “You have lost it and it's not too late to make amends.” You want to be in that stage? And it's quite probable to land there. You had everything, you had all the opportunity, and you probably were brighter than the rest; and you still lost it. You want to be in that stage?

So, that's one thing that's not been very widely commented upon, but I think it deserves a lot of attention—the agony of Duryodhana, and the message and the lesson it has for us. The lesson is very clear—yes, the opportunity is there but it's slipping away fast. And once it's totally gone, it's not that you would die, you would continue to still live. That's the very, very scary, spooky aspect of it—you will continue to live without any possibility, any hope of realizing the very purpose of life. You will continue to be as alive as the bark on a tree trunk. People will point at the tree and will say, “It's a living thing,” and the bark very well knows how alive it is; it's just attached to something alive. It's near something alive, but it lost its own life long back. There is no possibility, all that remains is the shedding. The future does not consist of realization, that probability is gone. The future now consists only of physical death, that's the only significant event left for you—Death.

The beauty of life lies in learning, right? The beauty of life is when you know that you need a tomorrow, because you will be better tomorrow. Otherwise, the flow of time is not needed at all. Those who have known, have called the flow of time as an illusion. Why do you need the flow of time? Why is future needed at all? Future makes sense only if tomorrow you can be better, more learned, more liberated, right? And if you cannot be that, then time is simply a harassment.

Imagine if there is no possibility left for you, no possibility of freedom. What is Time for you now? Let's say, you are jailed for life, and it's been assured that you are not to come out of jail till your last breath. Now tell me, what is the future for you? You are still physically alright and probably you will live another ten, twenty years. And it's been arranged that you will spend the next twenty years in your cell in the jail. Now tell me, what is the future for you? Just the prospect of more and more torture. What else is future?

Because we live to be liberated, we live to grow, to learn, to become better, right? And if that possibility is closed, what is the future for you? Why must you live on? And Duryodhana has seen that. It's the worst feeling you can ever have in life, and I sincerely wish that none of you come to that. The feeling that you are already dead, but you still have to continue walking for few more decades till you drop dead. The realization that it's already over for you, and you cannot even die. How do you then live through those remaining years? Tell me, please.

Duryodhana was valiant. He had realized he has already lost it, so he sped up. He said, “Fine, let me then hurry towards my eventual destruction.” The first day he realizes it's over for him, eighteenth day he is gone. So, he has to bear it for a maximum of eighteen days. Actually, more than eighteen, because he was not immediately dead after this battle with Bhima. But that’s all right, eighteen, twenty days, whatever. What if you close your opportunity for yourself at the age of twenty-five or thirty? And it's quite possible, you can do that. You are still twenty-five, you are just thirty, thirty-two something, and you have shut the door on yourself; and you know that you will still continue to live. How terrible is that? Or is that not? Life is over and yet you are not dead. That’s Duryodhana.

And Duryodhana is lucky because he was at least honest enough to stand squarely against Krishna. That's an indicator of some kind of love—love gone wrong. Even if he is arranged against Krishna, he is at least facing Krishna. People do that in love, no? They want to look at you, so they will stand or sit opposite to you. If your beloved is sitting there, you won't want to be somewhere behind her, or next to her, or away from her. You will want to be seated right opposite her. So, Duryodhana at least had that degree of honesty. He said, “Fine, if I can't be by his side, if I can't be an Arjuna, I will at least be directly opposite to him.” So, he got liberated pretty soon. He didn't have to bear the agony of living through lifeless decades.

What if you are neither with Krishna, nor against Krishna, simply indifferent to Krishna? That's how most people are. They don't even have the guts, the honesty, the Love to openly defy Krishna. They won't come out in the open. Even their opposition lacks sincerity. Even in their enmity, they have no sincerity. So, they are simply away. They are not fighters, they are deceivers. They will not openly defy Krishna, they will deceive. They will say, “We are with you, we are in your army.” And when somebody says that he belongs to your own army, that fellow gets the right to stand behind your back, right? And when the fellow gets the right to stand behind your back, he can stab you in the back. Duryodhana cannot stab Arjuna or Krishna in the back, that much honesty he has. He has ensured he is standing right in the front.

The worst way to express your enmity with Krishna is to belong to his army. Even if you don't stab him in the back, you can at least snore at the back. The general is expecting that the army is all set for war, but here you are. He is standing, facing the enemy and the soldiers are snoring. The soldiers don't even have the guts to cross over, declare that they are in opposition and simply go to the other side. The soldiers don't have the guts. So, they will continue to be arranged behind the leader, and they will stab or snore from there. Duryodhana was sincere. So, it got over pretty quickly for him. For most people, it does not get over that quickly. The punishment is that one has to live on. Are you getting it? Is that clear?

Now, we want to understand Arjuna's state. Let’s put the Gītā in perspective. What is it that Arjuna stands for? Write point wise. Because only when you understand what Arjuna stands for, will you understand the very purpose of Gītā . The Gītā exists to solve a problem posed by Arjuna. The Gītā exists to truly defeat certain arguments made by Arjuna. The Gītā is a discourse against Arjuna's position as enunciated in chapter one, right?

What is Arjuna's position? Write down point wise. You cannot have just two or three points. And a lot of points you will come to by way of implication, so exercise your mind. What can a solution mean to you, if you do not know the very problem it is solving. Truth is supposed to dissolve the mind, right? We want to know the mind of Arjuna. There are seventeen chapters after the first one, are an attempt to dissolve the mind of Arjuna. But where are the knots? What is it that stands crystallized within Arjuna's mind? What is it that Krishna is seeking to work on? Where are the tumours that the expert surgeon is trying to surgically remove?

(Audience answers)

Yes, attachment. So, these are biological. You said attachment, he said fear; these are biological. So, first is attachment, obviously biological. Second is fear, probably yes. The biological part is over here—attachment and fear. Now you come to the social part.

Audience : Religious beliefs.

AP: What exactly?

Audience: Believing that giving water and rice to their dead ancestors gives them peace.

AP: So, by implication what does that mean? What is he actually believing in?

Audience: In Vaidika karma kāṇḍa , the teaching he has gone through.

AP: Once you say that it's important to offer Tarpaṇa etc. to the dead ancestors, what is it that you are fundamentally believing in? There is a particular concept behind that.

(Audience answers)

Jīvātmā , right? That there is something called a jīvātmā that transmigrates. So, that's the principle behind Arjuna—transmigration of the soul or jīvātmā. That's where Arjuna is coming from, and that's something the Gītā stands to dissolve and attack.

Very interestingly, in favour of the principle of transmigration of the soul, people have been quoting the Gītā ; whereas the Gītā exists to deny that principle. That's exactly what Arjuna is stating as his position, right?—If kids of the wrong kind of caste combinations are born, then that will be very bad for all the departed souls.

So, you started from there. Fine. The principle of transmigration of the personal soul. What else does Arjuna believe in?

Audience: The caste system.

AP: Caste system. What else does Arjuna believe in? Women as property. It's a very patriarchal mindset when he says that you know, women should not be allowed to mingle with people from the so-called lower castes. As if women cannot decide on their own, as if Arjuna is the great and final patriarch on whom rests the responsibility to protect women's chastity and minds.

What else does Arjuna believe in? Rituals. It's a very ritualistic mindset. And that's the reason why Shri Krishna has to attack the karma kāṇḍa portion of the Vedas again and again in the ensuing chapters. So, ritualism. Ritualism, patriarchy bordering on misogyny, superstition and caste.

By today's yardsticks, what Arjuna has said in chapter one is quite offensive. That was the going system in those days, so one must not judge, right? Because people operate according to the values of their own time and age. You cannot apply today's standards to an Arjuna that was two thousand five hundred years back. But still, we see what is it that Krishna is up against. We now clearly see how formidable is the challenge. We also see how contemporary is the challenge. Did you see that? It's not easy to tackle someone who carries that kind of a social load. And if you don't believe me, then try. Someone who believes in those things, try arguing with him.

Krishna obviously had the advantage of proximity and also authority. Arjuna to a great extent had already accepted Krishna as the authority—an authority that was standing proximate to the to the learner. Arjuna already was someone who was open to learning. So, Krishna had these two advantages. But even with those advantages, it is a very uphill thing to tackle someone with that kind of a mental load. And we have listed four points under the social tab. Forget all four, someone who carries even just one of those is going to be a tough nut to crack. Try talking someone out of his patriarchal beliefs, you will understand what I mean. Try talking someone out of caste, next to impossible.

Now, you also know what to do when you battle these kinds of problems and mindsets. Krishna didn't directly talk of these things, instead he introduced Arjuna to the self. Which basically means—look at Krishna’s method, not just his words, look at the method he has chosen—which basically means that if you want to tackle caste, or patriarchy, or ritualism, or superstition, then the only tool is self-knowledge. You cannot simply declare these as evil, or sins, or vices and hope that the population will discard these things. That won't happen.

That's why you find that in spite of very liberal education, people still continue to be casteist. That's why you find that even scientists are extremely superstitious at times. Because it is self-knowledge that will defeat superstition, not just science. I am not denying the important role of science, I am saying that science alone will not succeed. Could science alone succeed, Krishna would have taught Arjuna science. Krishna doesn't teach Arjuna science. Arjuna is superstitious, Krishna doesn't teach him science. Arjuna is a casteist, Krishna doesn't teach him Marxist Revolution. Not because that revolution is something abhorrable or incompatible with spirituality, simply because it won't succeed. It won't succeed.

So, Krishna doesn't launch himself into a diatribe against casteism and other evils. No, he doesn't do that. Once Arjuna has finished speaking, Krishna comes directly to self-knowledge—who you are. Once you know who you are, all these problems are attacked at their root. Once a fellow starts developing a degree of self-knowledge, you do not then need to additionally tell him to not to be casteist. If you are a casteist, that simply means you have zero self-knowledge. If you are superstitious or ritualistic, it simply means you have zero self-knowledge. Introduce self-knowledge and all these things will vanish like they never existed. You won't even need to talk about them or attack them directly, they are gone.

There is some jaggery kept here, behind Anuj’s (audience member) back. So, a lot of flies are there in the room—one hundred and forty-four of them. What do I do? Fight each one of the one forty-four, is that the way? Is that the way? There are one hundred and forty-four mental and social evils—some arising from the body, some coming from society. What do I do? I fight each of them individually? Imagine there is this lump of jaggery kept somewhere and what am I busy doing? I am chasing individual flies with a swatter.

This kind of wisdom is the last thing we can associate Shri Krishna with, right? He is not going to do such an obviously senseless thing. What does he do? He picks up that unwanted stuff in the room of Arjuna's mind and throws it out. What is that lump of jaggery to be called? What is that? That is called Ego. Another name for ego is self-illusion, right? Self-illusion. I believe in something that does not exist and call it as the Self—that's ego. Self-illusion. I tremendously believe in something that actually has no existence. Not only do I believe in it, I think of that thing as Self—that's ego, self-illusion. That’s the unwanted lump kept at the center of our existence, and it attracts a lot of flies and other stuff.

So, Krishna says, “No, no, no. It's pointless debating caste or women with Arjuna. I know where all of it is coming from, I will immediately hit at the center.” What do you call it these days? Headshot. Finished! No point beating about the bush. And believe me, if Krishna chooses to beat about the bush, a thousand Gītās will not suffice. Such is the grip of these things on the mind.

In Hindi, they say that which never goes is called caste. But in English, in translation, it loses its bite. The bite is there in the vernacular— Jo kabhī nahīan jāti, vo hai jāti. So, a thousand Gītās and a thousand years will not suffice. Caste is something you just cannot get rid of by arguing directly against caste. That is something you can attack only through self-knowledge. Only self-knowledge is the solution.

You know what is happening in the US these days? When we had the first few waves of migrants crossing over to the U.S and Canada, they were mostly upper caste people from India, right?—I am talking of Indian migrants. Now, since the last twenty years or so, or twenty-thirty years, a lot of the so-called lower caste students and professionals also started moving over to the U.S. So, what happened was that Indians went there and carried caste even to those offshore destinations. They say when an Indian goes abroad, there are two things he definitely carries with him—one is pickle, the other is caste. He cannot leave these things back in India. You cannot say, “I am going there but I cannot carry pickle.” The mother or somebody—Aunt, Būā , Fūfī will definitely push a can, a sizable can of Achāra in your luggage. Pickle in the luggage and caste in the mind.

So, they have now pushed legislation there and they have said that caste is now an acknowledged form of discrimination. And a lot of Indians were quite unhappy at that. It's happening, it's currently in the news. A lot of upper-caste Indians are quite unhappy. They say, “You know, we don't know what is caste. You see, we are modern progressive people. We are immigrants actually, and you are giving the natives something to beat us up with? They will call all of us a casteist.”

But if such a step was needed to be taken, there actually was some rationale behind it. The fact is, Indians indeed do carry caste wherever they go. And that caste discrimination, that caste consciousness had started showing up even in North America. So, the society and the government there decided to do something about it. Think of it. How is caste so eternal, so long lasting? They say a cat has nine lives. Caste has more than ninety-nine at least, it just doesn't die.

Now you see why I am calling Krishna’s challenge as formidable. It's very difficult to wipe these things off somebody's mind, especially of the mind of a Kṣhatriya belonging to the upper caste. He's simply saying, “I cannot bear to see my women, my Kṣhatriya women mating with these low caste unworthies.” That's what Arjuna is saying. That's the kind of challenge Krishna is facing. Do you see this?

And there are several other mindset issues that Arjuna is facing that you can draw by implication, by implication. For example, if someone believes in caste and is superstitious, and believes in the transmigration of soul, and such things—what Arjuna is saying is, “I believe that once people die, there is something called the soul that goes to a place called Pitṛu loka and there it continues to stay till it is liberated. And when it is liberated…”—and such things. If someone believes in all those things, then it is also quite likely that the fellow would be demonstrating a lot of other problematic symptoms in his life.

Now look at Krishna’s delicate position. He is fighting for Pandavas, right? Krishna has arranged himself on the side of the Pandavas. Arjuna would be wielding an important position of power if Krishna’s side wins, correct? If Krishna wins, Arjuna will get a lot of authority in the kingdom, would he not? So, Krishna is basically fighting and teaching to give a lot of authority to Arjuna and others, there are others. But Arjuna being a principal one, Arjuna will get his fair share of authority, won't he? So, Krishna knows that I am fighting to give a lot of authority to Arjuna, and look at Arjuna—what kind of attitude he is displaying? Is he going to govern the kingdom with this value system? Krishna must be horrified, because it is Krishna’s personal responsibility, right?

Krishna is saying, “Personally, I am vouching that Arjuna is better than Duryodhana or Karna.” Otherwise, what is the need for the battle? Otherwise, Duryodhana can be allowed to have the kingdom. The battle is being fought, ostensibly, to give the people of Hastinapur the best ruler possible. That's the very purpose of the battle, right? If a great ruler is not to be provided to the kingdom, then the battle is totally unnecessary. Anybody can rule. The battle exists so that the kingdom can have the best ruler.

Now Arjuna is supposed to be a part of the ruling combination. These are five brothers, and Arjuna is one of the seniors and the best fighter among the five. So, Arjuna will surely have a pole position in the ministerial portfolio and everything. And who is Krishna awarding that pole position to? A casteist, a superstitious person, ignorant of the self. So, Krishna would be totally horrified. He would be saying, “What am I doing? If he is displaying these tendencies, am I sure he is actually even better than Duryodhana?”

Because if you look at Duryodhana, he accepted Karna even when it was not certain what caste Karna belonged to. In fact, it was more certain that Karna did not belong to any of the prime castes. He was taunted as a ‘*Sūta-putra*’ his entire life, because his father used to take care of horses and the chariots. So, Duryodhana didn't have that strong caste element in his mind, at least from that instance, we can draw some kind of a conclusion. Not very strong conclusion, but we get some faint idea. So, when it comes to the caste thing, Duryodhana looks better off than Arjuna. And Krishna must be wondering, why am I on this side? Why am I on this side? And will I make this man the king, or the minister, or the commander-in-chief of the armies? Will I become responsible for that kind of a misstep?

So, now you see what the Gītā is. In some sense, the Gītā is an expression of Krishna’s personal responsibility. Krishna is saying, “Since I have taken it upon myself to make the Pandavas victorious, therefore I take it upon myself that the victorious party will not remain unworthy of ruling Hastinapur. Because my job does not stop merely at defeating Duryodhana, my real job was the establishment of Dharma ; that's what I am really fighting for. And Dharma means that the king has to be someone who is self-illumined. Otherwise, how is Dharma being established?

And this fellow, look at chapter one. “What kind of drivel is he talking? How far he is from self-realization? And tomorrow he sits on the throne, and people will blame me.” They will say, “You made him sit on the throne. Now see all kinds of casteist steps he is taking. He has all the power and authority now. He says that only Kṣhatriyas are qualified to take important positions.” Is that not quite likely? Look at Arjuna's mind and look at the kind of things he is saying.

Had Arjuna succeeded in going to the throne remaining as he is in chapter one, think of what he would have done to the administration. Would he have allowed women in important positions? And he would have patronized all kinds of superstitious priests, and he would have wasted the treasury on all kinds of hollow rituals, no? Those rituals are very expensive, and priests will come and say, “You know, two-thousand animals have to be slaughtered. And a great temple has to be built, otherwise the country will suffer famine and drought. You build that great Temple.”

Now, even if the treasury cannot support the construction of that temple, yet it has to be done, because that's what the priests are saying. Is this kind of a king good for the kingdom? So, Gītā becomes Krishna’s personal responsibility to purge Arjuna's mind. Otherwise, Krishna would have said, “See, it's not a question of you running away. If you don't improve, I will run away. Because I cannot take it upon myself that I gave this kind of a king to Hastinapur. And how will I justify Duryodhana's death? I ensured that that entire huge army is defeated, and all those mighty warriors are killed just so that this kind of man can succeed to the throne?”

By throne, I mean a position of power. Now don't come to me by saying that Yudhisthira would have become the king, not Arjuna and all those. Keep that aside. Think of the churn inside Krishna's mind. These are the thoughts in his mind. He is saying, “If Arjuna is who he is, as been displayed in chapter one, what am I doing supporting Arjuna? Why should I support him at all? So, he has to improve. He has to improve; else he doesn't deserve to win. Else he doesn't deserve to have me by his side.”

Think of even Karna, even Karna is not ritualistic. Arjuna is so vulnerable to his physical self, right? Karna, if we believe what the Mahabharata says, had been told—the great secret had been let out. It has been disclosed to him by Krishna himself that his body belongs to the Pandavas, that he is in fact their eldest brother. And yet he was able to overcome bodily affiliation. Think of Karna. He has been told the side to which his body belongs, and his body definitely belongs to the Pandava side. All five are his brothers and that too younger ones and Krishna told him, “You go there, and they will touch your feet. You are the eldest one, elder even than Yudhisthira.”

And he told all this to Karna in quite a poetic and compelling way. He said, two of them will wash your feet, two will stand behind you and guard you. And more poetic stuff, very alluring. Karna said, “Fine, no need.” And on the contrary, you see Arjuna being carried away by his physical associations, and Karna was the one who could resist his physical associations, right? Do you see that? Equally Karna’s allegiance to Duryodhana is not ritualistic or social, it is coming straight from his core. He's saying, “Duryodhana supported me in my lowest hour. How do I ditch him now? When I was a nobody, he pulled me up, he honoured me, he actually granted me an entire kingdom. Otherwise, I was just coming from a very ordinary place. He made me Angraaj. So, how do I deceive him now?” Now, that's not ritualistic, mind you. This position is not ritualistic. This position is an expression of deep inner values—personal values, not social values. Personal value.

So, Krishna must be wondering, in some way Duryodhana is better than this chap; in another way, Karna is better than chap. What am I doing supporting him then? When it comes to resisting the body and the biology, Karna is superior to him. Why must I support Arjuna? Because it's not a matter of who has been my friend since long, it's a matter of gifting the right king to the people of Hastinapur—that's the entire purpose of the war. That's what is meant by the establishment of Dharma . My likes and dislikes aside, my personal preferences aside, how can I let someone like this ascend to the throne? Yes, I love Arjuna. He's not just my disciple, he is my friend. We have spent so many beautiful years together and we have laughed and made merry as friends do. But still, my accountability is not just to one person, but to the entire population of the nation. So, I have to ensure that only the worthiest fellow succeeds to the throne.

And what Arjuna is displaying here is surely not symptoms of worth. Now do you see the whole thing? Is there some perspective now? Do you see where the Gītā is coming from? Do you see? Do you see the pressure that Krishna is experiencing? Yes? Can you clearly identify Arjuna's position? Can you see that Arjuna's position is not historical, but very, very current, extremely topical, very relevant, very contemporary? None of what Arjuna is saying is something unseen today.

Look at all the points you have listed. Each one of them is present today as well, and very strongly at that, right? That's what makes the Gītā immortal. That's what will make the next seventeen chapters speak to you. That also tells you that if you have problems belonging to any of those points, then seek no other solution. The only solution is self-knowledge. Self-knowledge. Where do all the problems of the individual and the world come from? Self-illusion. Because you do not know yourself, so you create a mess within and without. Simple. Full stop!

You look at any rubbish prevalent anywhere, without thinking a second, you could immediately declare it is coming from self-illusion. Declare first and argue it out later. Declare first, because that's a certainty that if there is a problem of any kind, anywhere; it can arise only from one thing—lack of self-knowledge. Having declared that, now you can think the whole thing through. Now you can argue it out and create the various linkages and ask yourself, “How exactly self-knowledge leads to this thing?” Obviously, when you will think through the thing, you will be able to establish a whole sequence of arguments, and that's not too difficult. But faith comprises—and that's the definition of faith now—faith comprises looking at anything that is ugly and immediately declaring without batting an eyelid, it is coming from a lack of self-knowledge.

There are no problems except the mother problem, and the name of the mother problem is E-G-O. There is no other problem, so don't wonder too much about your problems. The moment you find yourself in a mess, in a soup, just tell yourself, “It is just my lack of self-knowledge.” Now, how is it your lack of self-knowledge, you can continue to think about that. All day think about that—how it is your lack of self-knowledge. But first of all, immediately admit, acknowledge that it is nothing apart from lack of self-knowledge; that must be instantaneous. The argument, I am saying, you can continue to build for two more days. You can take all the time that you want, but the declaration has to be instantaneous.

So, should we conclude without thinking? In this matter, yes. And that's called faith. Your problem is—you think where thought should not interfere. And you know, when you think where thought should not interfere, that simply jeopardizes thought. Even your thought loses its quality. You think so much, and there is no power in your thinking. Your thought is like a lame and limp man trying to run, trying to cover a distance. How will he manage? It is faith that provides life to thought. Are you getting it?

But this thing applies only to the mother question. Do not start applying this thing to any other question. The mother question is—what is the mother cause of any problem that I see anywhere? And the answer to that has to be, I am saying instantaneously, the ego. In other matters, do not start playing this trick. Otherwise, you will be called, and you deserve to be called a bigot.

सङ्करो नरकायैव कुलघ्नानां कुलस्य च ।। पतन्ति पितरो ह्येषां लुप्तपिण्डोदकक्रिया: ।।42।।

saṅkaro narakāyaiva kula-ghnānāṁ kulasya cha patanti pitaro hy eṣhāṁ lupta-piṇḍodaka-kriyāḥ

When the castes mix, that spells hell for the family. It destroys the family, in the way that the ancestors all fall because they are deprived of the Pindokdakriya.

~ Chapter 1, Verse 42

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So, the forty-second verse.

When the castes mix—obviously Arjuna at work here—when the castes mix, that spells hell for the family. It destroys the family in the way that the ancestors all fall because they are deprived of the Pianḍodak kriya .

Pianḍa , Pianḍa means a lump, a ball. So, there is some ritual involving making Pianḍa —balls of grains, rice, etc. and then offering it to the deceased ancestors. That is offered, some other stuff is offered, even clothes are offered, water is offered, food is offered, flowers are offered, a lot of milk is offered, yogurt is offered. And all that is supposedly meant to please the ancestors who are hungry for those things.

For a long time, it has been the ritual that once the person is gone, then you send behind him all the things that a person needs in his journey, because the deceased soul, the jīvātmā , is supposed to be on a journey. So, you have to give them all the things that they need in the journey. So, first of all it's very dark there, so you give them light. So, again and again, you have to offer them light. Especially when the sun is setting, then it is ensured that you offer them light, otherwise they will not be able to see, and they will stumble.

Many places it still happens that you offer them vehicles. Obviously, the vehicles are cornered by the pandit, the priests. It's still a common sight to see somebody being offered a bicycle, and that bicycle supposedly goes to the one traveling through the various lokas . Food has to be offered daily; they are hungry. So, that's what Arjuna is referring to here. And those things can be offered only by someone of the right pedigree, and the right relationship. So, if your pedigree is not all right, which means you are not coming from the right kind of father and mother, then your offerings will not be accepted; in fact, the ancestors will get angry. And if they get angry, you better watch out, anything can happen.

That's what Arjuna is referring to—the mighty warrior. And Krishna is saying, “Have I already made a mistake in supporting him? If I have, then I will make amends.” The Gītā , you could say then is an exercise in compensation. Now that I have decided to support him, I better educate him as well. Otherwise, the fault will be all mine. If Hastinapur gets a superstitious ruler, the fault will be all mine.

दोषैरेतै: कुलघ्नानां वर्णसङ्करकारकै: ।। उत्साद्यन्ते जातिधर्मा: कुलधर्माश्च शाश्वता: ।।1.43।।

doṣhair etaiḥ kula-ghnānāṁ varṇa-saṅkara-kārakaiḥ utsādyante jāti-dharmāḥ kula-dharmāśh cha śhāśhvatāḥ

These are the destroyers of the family and by these wrong deeds (of such people who destroy the family), by bringing about the wrong kind of union of castes. The immemorial, the timeless, religious rights of the case are destroyed and the family too is destroyed.

~ Chapter 1, Verse 43

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So, these are the next, next verse.

These are the destroyers of the family. Who are the destroyers of the family? Those who marry into the wrong castes. And by these wrong deeds (of such people who destroy the family), by bringing about the wrong kind of union of castes. The immemorial, the timeless religious rights of the caste are destroyed, and the family too is destroyed.

So, you could add another point to your list—the wrong kind of family system is what Arjuna supports. You also see here now, how the family system is intertwined with the caste system, at least in India, how these two go together—the family and the caste. You also see how the family, the caste, and rituals, and superstitions, they all are one.

Now you would also see why a lot of learned people did not look too favourably upon the institution of the family. Now do you see that? Because these things all go together—family, caste, rituals, superstitions, and so many other things. And at the root of all of them is self-illusion or self-ignorance. You will not find any self-realized man frantically advocating the institution of family or marriage. They have either been indifferent or have sometimes actively denounced for this reason. Because all these things go together. Getting it?

You remember Ṣhaḍripu ? By the way, you have also listed down six points by now. And when we talked of ṣhaḍripu , we said these six always move together as in a family—a family of six, a bundle of six. These six that you have jotted down, they too go together. That's why it is very difficult to fight even any one of them individually. You attack one, you will find you have attacked everything. You also know now that if you attack the mother problem, which is lack of self-knowledge, where all will the shouts of resistance come from.

If you are someone trying to bring self-knowledge to the people, look at the points you have noted down and you will immediately realize which are the places that will oppose you the most. You can predict that, it's so mechanical. If you talk of self-knowledge, these are the people and the places that will cry hoarse, as if you are killing them, because you are actually killing them. People who advocate superstition, people who advocate caste, all these people; people who demean women, people who are not concerned with self-knowledge but with various kinds of stories like these, people who talk of jīvātmā , people who talk of floating spirits—they are the one who will attack you vehemently as if their lives are being threatened.

And you will say, “But I never spoken anything directly against you at least. I only talked of self-knowledge.” And they will say, “Self-knowledge is like poison to us. If you talk of self-knowledge, you will see daggers out. Because we are insects that can survive only in the darkness of self-ignorance, and you are trying to throw light upon us. The moment light hits us, we die. You are our enemy; you are our killer. How can we tolerate you? So, we have to oppose you.”

Do you see what is happening? Do you see why the Gītā is so dangerous? Do you realize that the war is being fought right now? The Gītā does not talk of an ancient war, it talks of the war right now. Do you also see how difficult it will be for you to remain with the Gītā and Krishna, if you have a particular attitude towards women, or towards caste, or something? Do you see that?

Now, go close to your core and ask yourself—what is your attitude towards women? What would be your attitude towards your wife, specifically? Because Arjuna is specifically concerned about wives—what will happen to the wives after we die? “We possess them while we were alive and I cannot bear to think that my wife will be mating with someone else, especially a so-called lower caste person after I am gone.” So, we want to possess them even after our death. That's the kind of attitude towards the wife. What to do?

And you could add another point to your list now when we come to the next one. There is a word he uses here— Anuśhuśhruma . You know what that means—it has come to me by way of hearing, I have just heard.

उत्सन्नकुलधर्माणां मनुष्याणां जनार्दन ।। नरकेऽनियतं वासो भवतीत्यनुशुश्रुम ।।1.44।।

utsanna-kula-dharmāṇāṁ manuṣhyāṇāṁ janārdana narake ‘niyataṁ vāso bhavatītyanuśhuśhruma

Oh Krishn! I have heard that getting permanent residence in hell is inevitable for those men in whose families the various rituals have been abandoned.

~ Chapter 1, Verse 44

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Arjuna says, “You know, I have heard dear Krishna, that going to hell is inevitable for those men.” Also mind here, that Arjuna is not so concerned about the place the women will go to after their death. He is very worried about the residence that the men folk will get once they are gone.

So, “Oh Krishna! I have heard that getting permanent residence in hell is inevitable for those men in whose families the various rituals have been abandoned.”

So, you could add one more point—someone who has not made a primary study, a primary and individual study of the scriptures, he goes by hearsay; that’s Arjuna. “I have heard that this kind of thing happens.” But please, you could have read the Upaniṣads . At least you could have engaged Krishna in some deep conversation. Krishna was with you since decades and if you are still saying all these things, what does that tell about you Arjuna? What were you talking to Krishna all these years about?

That should hit you like a boulder on the heart. Just being with a learned one does not suffice. Saying, “You know, I live close to him,” does not matter at all. Look at the kind of attitudes Arjuna is displaying in spite of being best friends to Krishna. When did you really initiate a conversation? Looking at this verse, you really feel there was ever a conversation on this topic? Please tell me. This apparently is the first time Arjuna is opening his mind to Krishna. Otherwise, they were talking about all the things, various things.

Arjuna liked a particular woman belonging to Krishna’s family, you know very well, and he disclosed that to Krishna. And Krishna said, “Fine, I will help her elope with you.” So, those things were discussed. This thing was never discussed and now this thing is coming up, coming up at a most inopportune time. Right when the first burst is about to be fired, Arjuna reveals his dark side. And Krishna is wondering, what's going on? What is he saying? And he never talked of these things all these years. He was the greatest archer in shining armour. Now all the shine is gone. Forget the armour, there is no shine even on his face. Now he is talking of all these dead and dark things. What a moment he has chosen!

Arjuna has made no study of the Upaniṣads , otherwise he would have known what the Self is, what the body is, and that there is nothing called hell and heaven. That the so-called other worlds just do not exist. Or that if they exist, they exist only in the mind. Even this world exists only in the mind. So, even if you want to claim that other worlds exist, they exist only in your mind. Arjuna has made no study of that sort. When it comes to Vedānta , Arjuna looks totally uneducated; that's why Arjuna is you. Do you resonate now? No study! Otherwise, how can a reader or a knower of Vedānta talk of such things?

You know, this is the most uncomfortable chapter for you, right? After this is a lot of Jnyāna and that you have specialized in assimilating without absorbing. You take it in, and you let it out without any absorption happening in between. This chapter is probably the most important chapter and the most underrated chapter in the Gītā . People skip over it, because you know Krishna is not yet speaking. Why must we listen to what Arjuna is saying? But son, the first thing in self-realization is self-acknowledgment, and self-acknowledgment can happen only in chapter one. This is where your self is.

Chapter two onwards, there is no you there, there is only Krishna. You are found only in chapter one. So read Chapter one forty times and acknowledge that this is you. So, we won't let it come to a quick end. I will reserve more agony for us, at least till the next session. Yes, questions.

Questioner 1 (Q1): Namaste Acharya Ji. I was just thinking about the state of Arjuna's mind. What makes him a worthy student with so many flaws in him?

AP: At least he is letting it out. See, because you probably have not yet been a teacher, so you do not know what the teacher’s principal challenge is. The teacher’s principal challenge is that the worst students are also the ones who never let the teacher in. The worst patients are also the ones who avoid doctor like death. So, Arjuna is the best in spite of all his flaws because he is talking. He is talking, so he is the best.

What is the best thing that a patient can do? You are a patient, right? You cannot be an illumined soul; else you wouldn't have been a patient. We are talking of patients of within. What is the best thing that a patient can do? The best thing that a patient can do is that he can approach the doctor and talk. Even at this moment, if you see, the worst patient you look around and you will find him avoiding the teacher. Should I say say—statue? Okay, statue! See, look around.

So, that's Arjuna’s qualification—he opens up. He looks at Krishna in the eye. He is not obsessed with self-preservation; he is not obsessed with resisting Krishna. And once you let the doctor in, after that the doctor will perform. But if you don't even open the door, what can the doctor do?

Q1: Sometimes a thought comes that how much should one share.

AP: The question should not be how much should one share. The question is—what is the worth of what I share? You can share all your crap, no end. And you very well know that means nothing. But the real thing that you need to share, you will never share. Arjuna’s uniqueness lies in the fact that he has let out his core concerns—his ugliest self he has exposed in front of Krishna.

Most of us are so insecure, even in front of the teacher we want to maintain some kind of a nice-looking image. We know we are very ugly within, and just as we abhor ugliness in others, we are very scared of our own ugliness as well. You know what you do to ugly people, right? You kick them away, don't you? So, you are afraid that if you will reveal your own ugliness to the teacher, he will kick you away. Even in front of the teacher you want to maintain some kind of a cosmetic face, and you never let him see your ugliness. It's just that when you don't let him see your ugliness, he sees another level of your ugliness.

What Arjuna is doing here is no mean thing. He is telling Krishna, ”This is me. And even if this is all just a load of crap, Krishna, this is me. But what do I do? This is me. And I believe in all these things that I am saying now.”—the six points that you have noted. Arjuna is saying, “I am not telling you of all these things because I want to get rid of them. I sincerely believe in all these things; I am just letting you know.”

It's a very difficult conversation altogether, for both the parties actually. Not easy for Krishna to hear and not easy for Arjuna to speak out. It's a beautiful chapter. In fact, there is beauty even in Duryodhana's angst. The agony that Duryodhana is displaying here is something very raw, something coming right from his core. It's a very beautiful chapter, a very humane chapter.

Questioner 2 (Q2): Sir, when there is a huge challenge in front that breaks all the status quo, and we don't know what will happen, everything is at stake, and it will take a lot of hard work; the simple tendency is to run away. And the things like karma kāṇḍa seem to be just excuses, an accepted social norm to justify that tendency to not stand up to that challenge. We have other social norms which are well accepted and considered right, we give those reasons as the justification of the primary fears. I have seen this with me as well.

AP: That's true, that’s true, that’s true. At some point, Arjuna might acknowledge that all the social constraints and concerns he is expressing are just eye wash. It's not that he really cares too much about caste, or patriarchy; he might say that. It's true. The real thing that he wants to guard or secure is simply the darkness within—self-illusion, expressing itself in a very biological way. “I don't want to fight, and I don't even know why I don't want to fight.”

But it has to be rationalized, it has to be justified. So, for rationalisation, the social side of arguments has been constructed. You could say that. Yes. Equally, if Arjuna does not believe strongly in those social arguments, it will be difficult for him to keep a straight face in front of Krishna; because Krishna is the master seer and Arjuna knows that. He's been with Krishna for long years, you cannot talk crap to Krishna. So, there is definitely a degree of confidence Arjuna has in these social customs and institutions when he speaks out to Krishna in their favour. It's a bit of both—it's a bit of justification and also a bit of belief.

Questioner 3 (Q3): Sir, you said the purpose of the war in Gītā is to give the right king to the people of Hastinapur. Is there any relevance to the war with the self as the Gītā is all about choosing the right battle?

AP: Yeah, the relationship is that unless the right external conditions are there, for most people self-realization becomes very difficult. You require a king who would at least listen to Krishna. Otherwise, where will the Gītā come from? Even Krishna, if you see in his bodily form, comes as an external condition, right? The Gītā does not really arise from Arjuna’s heart. It comes from physically seen, an external source. The Krishna stands as a separate body, a separate external body in front of Arjuna, right? And only then Arjuna can benefit from the Gītā .

Now, for the entire population to be raised, for Dharma to be established, you require a king who will bear the proximity of a Krishna. If the king himself cannot tolerate Krishna, like Duryodhana, how will he and why will he create conditions in which Gītā reaches the entire population? The king will say, “Even I don't want the Gītā .” Why will the king want to make the Gītā reach every single student and citizen?

Q3: Sir, most of my difficulties lie in my indecision and like I am not able to choose my priorities. Should I be battling with these external conditions, or should I be accepting it?

AP: In external conditions, you have to exercise choice to the greatest extent possible. On one hand, external conditions are largely indeterminate, also unpredictable. On the other hand, you are not just a choiceless shuttlecock on a badminton court. You have volition, you have choice. You have some choice in choosing the conditions that surround you, but you have a great choice in choosing your attitude towards your conditions; and both these choices have to be exercised.

Just very loosely put, in your external conditions you can have at most ten-twenty percent choice, right? Because, life, we do not know the next thing it can throw at us. So, external conditions let’s say you have a ten twenty percent say, but even if you have a ten twenty percent say, please exercise it. Internally, you should have a seventy eighty percent say, and please exercise it—both these choices need to be exercised.

Questioner 4 (Q4): Sir, I have few questions, more of conclusion, from verse number twelve. Verse twelve mentions that the first conch was blown by Kaurava side. So, the onus of the war is not on Krishna. That was my one observation from verse twelve. If you look at verse twenty-one, a Sanskrit word is mentioned called yoddhu-kāmān .

AP: That simply means rearing to fight.

Q4: It means desire for war.

AP: Desire for war, eagerness to fight.

Q4: So, I think that it's not right to say that we have a certain desire, that is desire for war. I think every desire is a desire for war. I mean unless there is an internal friction, internal war going on, how can desire even arise? I mean keeping aside Mumukṣā —that is one particular desire that is different. Other than that, all desires are desires for war only.

AP: Yesterday, when we were recoding the Ashtavakra Gītā session, there was this beautiful passage, that simply put it into words. It said, “ Dvaita is the mother duahkha , mother suffering. And where there are two, there is war. There can be no other relationship between two.

Q4: So, duality is desire.

AP: Duality is desire. Desire is war. Desire is violence. There can be no relationship between an incomplete self and the world it projects, except that of violence. As a hungry man, you dream of food. What will you do with the food in your dream?

Q4: Consume.

AP: That’s what. That's what the world and all our experiences are. We are the hungry man in the dream, and because you are hungry in the dream, obviously there would be food and you will rush after it. And if you don't get food, you will feel even more annoyed, and that's violence.

Q4: The next thing is from verse twenty-five. Verse twenty-five is where Arjuna names people from Kaurava side. Arjuna named Bhishma first and then Drona. I thought that Bhishma is the symbol of body and Drona is the symbol of mind.

AP: We could say that, yes.

Q4: So the body comes first—the child is born; the body is first and from there the dualistic consciousness arises.

AP: From the Kaurava’s side, Arjuna was the most attached to Bhishma. Krishna didn't have to convince him too much when it came to plotting to assassinate Drona. That was not too difficult for Krishna. But when it came to Bhishma, you know some commentators have said that the first few days of the war was simply a shadow battle. The war didn't really even happen as long as Bhishma was alive. And that was not just first few days, that was several days of the war, almost half the war; Arjuna was so reluctant to fight.

And also, practically it has been said that Bhishma, owing to his age, was no more the warrior he once was. So, Bhishma did not fight fiercely because he could not, and Arjuna did not fight fiercely because he was so attached. So, it was shadow boxing going on in the first few days and Karna was kept out of it. Bhishma had said, “As long as I am at the helm, Karna cannot fight.” And that is what infuriated Krishna so much. He said, “What kind of facade is this? The old man cannot fight, you refuse to fight, and in the middle of you two I am the charioteer.” So, that explains his explosion that particular day.

Q4: You were also mentioning the flaws in Arjuna. You mentioned a lot of things such as flesh-attachment, then misogyny, then caste, then superstitious. Then the last thing you said was he easily believed in whatever he heard. So, the term for that is credulous. Credulous is the person who believes whatever he is told.

AP: Gullible.

Q4: Ok, Gullible. So, these were the problems which were troubling Arjuna. My question is, what is the motive of Shri Krishna to eradicate these problems? Is it the fact that maybe Arjuna is in suffering state, so let me relieve him from his pain? That’s his compassion. Or that, his primary goal is to win the war so that Hastinapur has a good leader? Or the third is that, if he has such notions, then women and lower caste people will suffer when he becomes the king? Or is there some fourth objective or all of these?

AP: Please understand. People like Krishna don't have personal preferences or biases. By the mere chance of life, obviously they will be close to a few people, and they will not be close to others. That's the normal ebb and flow of life, right? Even if you are Krishna, you are still acting as a normal human being and are subjected to the normal vagaries of chance, correct? But the objective is never limited to the few people a Krishna is close to.

So, Krishna appears close to Arjuna, but it behoves a much lesser individual to work exclusively for the sake of Arjuna. That's what ordinary people do. They say, “This one is my friend, so I am working for his wellness or his benefit. That one is my husband, or my wife, or my father; so, I want them to have pleasure, or property, or fame.” These are the symptoms of very ordinary people.

So, Gītā , even though narrated to Arjuna specifically, is not meant to benefit just one person. That's not how Krishnas operate. They never exist to benefit just one person, or one community, or one group of people, or one family. No, no, no. Their purpose is always much larger; the scope of their activity is much wider.

So, even though Arjuna is the obvious recipient here, yet the ones being benefited are the entire population of Hastinapur, and that by implication affects the entire mass of the country; because Hastinapur was not just powerful, it was also very central. Have you wondered why almost all the kings across India had assembled in this war, on one side or the other? Why did everybody need to take sides? Why did everybody need to be represented on the battlefield? Because it was a very, very important war. The one who controlled Hastinapur would have a great say on the future and the lives of the entire subcontinent, that's where Krishna’s purpose lies. Dharma-sansthāpanārthāya , and Dharma is not about helping out your buddy. Dharma is about being impersonal; so impersonal, that you want to help even your enemies.

You don't want to help your buddies, you also don't want to help just those who are siding with you, Dharma is so impersonal that you want to help even those who want to trouble you or even assassinate you. You remember those words?—“Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” That's the spirit of Dharma . So, Krishna obviously cannot be just for Arjuna.

Q4: So, Krishna wants to help even enemies, but the enemies don't want to be helped.

AP: Even Arjuna does not want to be helped, let alone enemies. It's a complex thing. We want to be helped and we don't want to be helped. It's like someone comes to you and you can see trouble on their face. And you ask them, “What's the matter?” And they say, “Nothing”. So, they want to be helped; because it's evident, they have come to you. And when you ask them, “What's the matter?” What do they say? “Nothing.” And you press a little, “But, something is the matter.” And they say, “Why are you troubling me?” So, you say, “If I am troubling you, then I am going away, I think you better be left alone.” And they say “No, no. Please stay with me. Don't go away.” They want to be helped; they don't want you to go away. But if you want to help them, they will resist you. It's a complex thing—the ego. It hates the Truth, and it's blindly in love with the Truth.

Q4: So, that is why duality can survive. Because otherwise, if you choose one thing, then duality will fall away.

AP: You could put it that way.

Q4: Thank you so much!

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