Gita series - Part 3. Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1. Verses 32-37:
As Arjuna’s mind is in conflict, he goes further to empty all his thoughts to Krishna. Basically he does this to regain his self-confidence. It is a common occurrence in our daily life that if we have mental grief, we share it with someone close to us so that we feel relived. Same is the situation with Arjuna now. He is crying over the shoulders of Krishna. Arjuna continues “For whose sake we are fighting this battle, they are here and ready to lay their material happiness, pleasures and their very lives. (Arjuna then lists of such relatives). Oh! Madhusudana! Though they want to kill me, I do not want to eliminate them even if I get the three worlds. What pleasure do we derive in slaying these sons of Dhritarashtra Oh! Janardana! Only sin will accrue if we kill them. Killing them is not justified. Oh! Madhava! How we can derive happiness by killing our own kith and kin.” Arjuna addresses Krishna by three different names. Krishna is known as Madhusudana as he killed a demon called Madhu.
Demons whenever used, means spiritual ignorance and its associated mental modifications such as ego, attachment, desires, etc. All epics invariably refer to slaying of demons by Gods or demigods and goddesses. Such deeper interpretations always go along with the moral of the concerned epic. Next he addresses Krishna as Janardana, which means giver of knowledge. Then he addresses Krishna as Madhava, the giver of wealth. Arjuna addresses Krishna by various names and each of these names signify the qualities of the Brahman. Arjuna wants to please Krishna by using various names, as he needs a definite answer from Krishna. Arjuna for sure knows that the answer to all his questions solely lies with Krishna. Krishna is Arjuna’s preceptor also. Arjuna belongs to the class of warriors and as such killing the enemy is not a sin for him. Material happiness such as owning kingdoms etc belongs to the class of warriors. Due to his mental conflict, he forgets his basic duties. That is why it is always said that one has to keep his mind pure, away from confusion and conflicting thoughts. Mental stability is very important in spiritual pursuit. Mind is used to move our level of consciousness from lower levels to higher planes. Importantly, Arjuna does not want to destroy those enemies who have vowed to kill him. This thought cannot come to Arjuna, a warrior of class. He almost goes to the edge of renunciation as discussed in the earlier posting. Progress in spirituality cannot be significant if one has negativity of thoughts. But, unfortunately this is the state of Arjuna’s mind. True renunciation means not getting attached to the luxuries and comforts and nothing prevents anybody to forgo them. What the scriptures teach is to disassociate from the objects of pleasure.
Arjuna by nature has the characteristics of renunciation, an inborn quality. His soul is spiritually advanced. The situation of Arjuna explains that at times of great difficulties, a spiritually evolved person can transform into an ordinary man. Progress in spirituality should be stabilized. Arjuna says that he will commit a sin if he eliminates his enemies. This rule does not apply to the class or warriors. If a soldier kills enemies in protecting his country, it does not amount to sin. If a lion kills a deer for its food, lion is not committing a sin. Sin or otherwise depends upon the circumstances under which an act is done. Arjuna has forgotten all the teachings he has received, as he is in the state of disturbed mental condition. In fact he has forgotten that Krishna is by his side. Here attachment (towards his cousins and masters and other relatives) is leading to renunciation and not the spiritual path. A true renunciation comes out of spiritual pursuit only. In the same way a true happiness is derived only in the state of bliss and not otherwise. The happiness derived from other sources is due to maya. Such happiness is always illusionary and temporary. For reaching the stage of bliss, mind should be free of thoughts, which is not the case with Arjuna here. (to be continued)