Krishna and Arjuna-On the imperishable soul

 

Value- Truth

Sub value- Wisdom

The first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita discusses about Arjuna the great warrior who is leading the Pandava army to fight against Kauravas including his step brothers, uncles and other relatives, teachers, guru and other respected elders, kings, allies with whom he had close relationships. In his own army as well are his own brothers, cousins, uncles and other kings. Lord Krishna is his friend and charioteer who is giving guidance and is the support of Arjuna. The war is about to commence in the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

krishna arjuna 01

Arjuna asks Lord Krishna to drive his chariot into the centre of the battlefield so he can see whom he is facing in battle.  As he recognizes so many familiar faces, his feelings get the best of him, his whole body reacts and he is overcome with sorrow.

He loses his will to fight, saying even if they wish to kill him, he does not wish to kill them. He sees no point in the battle – if it is gaining rulership of the earth, it is not worth it and if it is to gain glory in heaven – it is also not worth killing his own kinsman.  Arjuna becomes confused, discouraged and lays down his weapons saying he will not fight.

krishna arjuna 02

Having spoken thus, Arjuna threw aside his arrows and his bow in the midst of the battlefield.  He sat down on the seat of the chariot, and his heart was overcome with sorrow.

Krishna tells Arjuna that in time of such danger, it is not fitting for him to throw down his weapons.  This will be seen as cowardice and will bring disgrace and so he urges him to stand up and fight.  Still, Arjuna cannot reconcile himself to bloodstained hands even if he is victorious in battle.  His grief is so great that he falls into a deep silence

It is at this point that Lord Krishna delivers his first teaching on life and death and outlines the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita and the central themes of its teachings.  He teaches what true wisdom is, the nature of the Atman, the futility of grieving over the inevitable, the difference between knowledge and experience,  the importance of following one’s dharma and the philosophy of Karma Yoga.  Krishna teaches Arjuna to use his discrimination and tries to guide him out of his spiritual confusion, which Arjuna mistakenly takes for compassion.

Even though Arjuna’s words seem wise, the truly wise mourn neither for the living or the dead.  True wisdom is able to discern between the real and unreal. Life is continuous – there is never a time when anyone ceases to exist.  Human beings live through a cycle of birth into the body, they age, die and then take new bodies.  True wisdom is not deceived by the appearances of the cycle.  Human life in this world of duality is made up of the opposites: pain and pleasure, heat and cold which are impermanent and Lord Krishna’s advice to Arjuna is that he must endure these. Whatever is unreal can never come into existence and whatever is real cannot cease to be.  The Imperishable pervades everything and everyone.  The real Self is embodied in these bodies but does not die when the body dies.  Lord Krishna compares the changing of bodies to the changing of clothes.  The wise are not deceived by the illusion of death.

For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.

Learning

For most of us, the battlefield is not a physical war, but symbolic of the challenges of living one’s life.  We are, in a way, on a battlefield, where we are faced with our positive ambitions and desires, duties and obligations to self, family and society and poised against us, are negative characteristics and temptations. We are overwhelmed by the array of problems standing against us.  We get confused, paralyzed when we have to make decisions, weighing our own interests, those of others whom we love, our duties, possible outcomes, possible consequences of our actions or the actions of others with whom we have struggles. Then we look out for help and if we have the grace like Arjuna, an enlightened Master comes to guide us and help us understand the difference between real and unreal.

Courtesy- http://bhagavadgitamodernlife.blogspot.sg/p/chapter-2-yoga-of-knowledge.html

 

 

Master’s messages-2.5-Real and unreal world

illusory world

One can realise the real and unreal world only through experience.

Experience is needed for one to realise that this world is unreal. Just like a fire is taken to be only as a light till one touches and experiences the heat from it; one realises that it has both heat and light. Similarly through experience man can realise that the world is real as well as unreal.

Story based on the above message

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/story-of-the-gold-ornaments/

 

Master’s messages-2.4- Devotion and Faith

The two oars to cross the worldly ocean- Devotion and Faith

oars

Bhakti (devotion) and Shraddha (faith) are 2 oars required to the cross this samsara. When there is faith; devotion comes on its own. Complete faith and trust in God with pure devotion can help one cross this world with all its ups and downs. It gives one strength and confidence to face challenging situations in life. Faith in our own self as well as in God. The lord melts at the devotion of the devotees and takes care of their needs; whatever is best for them will happen.

Story based on the above message

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/the-old-man-and-his-god/

Courtesy- Sri Sathya Sai Speaks- Vol 1, Chapter 2

Krishna and Karna- Is life fair or unfair?

Master’s messages-2.2 Pain and pleasure

“Life is a journey of pain and pleasure.”

haridasa

A ‘Haridasa’ (a mendicant) has a pair of cymbals in his one hand which represents the 2 aspects of life; namely good/bad, joy/grief, pain/pleasure and he holds in his other hand the tambura (stringed instrument) which represents the samsara or the world. The cymbals provide the ‘taala’ (beat) and the tambura provide the ‘shruti’ (tune/pitch). As both of these are required to enhance the effect of glory of God sung from the mouth; the experiences of the world will one day surely lead us to understand the glory of the Lord.

Story based on message 2.2

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2017/03/01/pain-and-pleasure/

Source- Sathya Sai Speaks- Vol 1, chapter 2

 

Master’s messages-2.1 Bhakti leading to surrender

 

“One attains self realisation only when one is ready and the time is right.”

Lord is a mountain of Love and can be attained by Bhakti (devotion). Total surrender is the highest form of Bhakti. When devotion is just emerging; as a sapling a fence is needed to protect the tender plant, the fence of sanathana dharma is needed to protect the devotion. Sanathana dharma is the eternal religion with its rules, regulations, commands etc. The spiritual practices of chanting the Lord’s name, doing selfless service, reading the scriptures, leading a noble life are all the initial things to start off in a spiritual journey. When one is mature in this and then begins the quest of self realisation; he attains the knowledge when the time is right. A fruit when it is green will not fall even if the gale is furious, but when it is fully ripe it drops to the ground even in the silence of the night.

Story based on message 2.1

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2017/02/22/receive-the-knowledge-of-the-supreme/

Source- Sathya Sai Speaks- Vol1, Chapter 2

 

 

 

King Janaka and Ashtavakra

Value- Truth

Sub value- Strength within

ashtavakra

Once King Janaka became enlightened, he fell at Sage Ashtavakra’s feet. He said to Ashtavakra, “What am I going to do with my kingdom and my palace – these things are not important to me anymore. I just want to sit at your feet. Please let me stay with you in your ashram in the forest.”

But Ashtavakra replied, “Now that you have attained, your life is no more about your likes and dislikes. Your life is no more about your needs because you have none actually. Your people deserve an enlightened king. You must stay as their king.”

Reluctantly, Janaka stayed back in his palace and governed his kingdom with great wisdom.

Janaka was a true blessing to his people because he was a fully enlightened master, but he functioned as a king. In India, many sages and saints were once kings and emperors who willingly and voluntarily gave away everything they had and walked as beggars, with great dignity. There have been many like this – Gautama Buddha, Mahavira, Bahubali – but an enlightened king was a rare being. Janaka remained a king but as often as possible, whenever his regal responsibilities gave him some time, he would visit Ashtavakra in his ashram.

At the ashram, Ashtavakra had gathered a few monks who were being taught by him. These monks slowly began to resent Janaka because whenever he came, Ashtavakra went out of his way and spent a lot of time with the king because they had such a good rapport with each other. The moment Janaka came, both of them lit up. With the monks whom Ashtavakra was teaching, he did not light up the same way. There was something between Janaka and Ashtavakra, which was resented by the monks.

The monks would whisper to each other, “Why has our Guru sold out to a man like that? It looks like our Guru is getting corrupted. This man is a king. He lives in a palace. He has got so many wives and so many children. He has so much wealth. Look at the way he walks. He walks like a king. And look at the way he is dressed. Look at the ornaments he wears. What is spiritual about him that our Guru should even pay attention to this man? We are here totally dedicated to our spiritual process. We have come here as monks but he is just ignoring us.”

Ashtavakra knew that this feeling was growing among his monks. So one day he arranged for something to happen. He was sitting and speaking to the monks in a hall and king Janaka was also present. As the discourse was going on, a soldier came barging into the room, bowed down to Janaka but not to Ashtavakra, and said, “Oh king, the palace is on fire! Everything is burning. The whole kingdom is in disarray.”

Janaka got up and just yelled at the soldier, “Get out of here! How dare you come and disturb the sathsang[1] and how dare you bow down to me and not to my Guru! Just get out of here!” The soldier fled from the room. Janaka sat back down and Ashtavakra continued to speak.

A few days later, Ashtavakra set up something else. All of them were once again seated in the hall and Ashtavakra was giving a discourse. Right in the middle of the discourse, a helper in the ashram came running into the hall and said, “The monkeys have taken the clothes off the clothes-line and are playing havoc with the monks’ garments.”

All the monks immediately got up and ran to save their clothes. They did not want the monkeys to tamper with them. But when they got to the clothes-drying area, there were no monkeys and their loin cloths were still hanging on the clothes-line. They realized what had happened. They hung their heads down and walked back.

Then as a part of the discourse Ashtavakra said, “Look at this. This man is a king. A few days ago his palace was burning. His whole kingdom was in turmoil. Wealth at its peak was burning, but his concern was that his soldier disturbed the sathsang. That was his concern. You are monks. You have nothing. You don’t have a palace, you don’t have a wife, you don’t have children, you have got nothing. But when the monkeys came and picked up your clothing, you ran. Most people would not use your clothing even as mop cloths. That is the kind of clothing you wear. But for that loin cloth, without even paying attention to what I was saying, you just ran out to save those worthless pieces of cloth. Where is your renunciation? He is the true renunciate. He is a king but he is a renunciate. You are monks. You are using things that other people discard, but there is no renunciation in you. This is where you are. That is where he is.”

Learning

One’s progress within oneself has nothing to do with what a person does on the outside, what is most important is, what a person is doing within him or herself. What we are doing with the outside world is just social; we conduct ourselves as it is suitable for the situation in which we exist. It has social relevance but no existential or spiritual relevance. How we are within ourselves is all that matters.

Courtesy-http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/podcast/the-story-of-ashtavakra-and-janaka/

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