“The Supreme Lord said: My dear Arjuna, because you are never envious of Me, I shall impart to you this most secret wisdom, knowing which you shall be relieved of the miseries of material existence.” (Bhagavad-gita, 9.1)
इदं तु ते गुह्यतमं
यज् ज्ञात्वा मोक्ष्यसे ऽशुभात्
idaṁ tu te guhyatamaṁ
yaj jñātvā mokṣyase ‘śubhāt
There is no such thing as chance with respect to the lila of Bhagavan. The Supreme Personality of Godhead accomplishes so much simultaneously with every action. Every setting is appropriate, with many layers of significance.
In this respect the disciple Arjuna is not randomly chosen to hear the Bhagavad-gita, which is the timeless song of God that delivers a person from the ocean of nescience. In the oddest of places, a battlefield ready to host a massive war, Arjuna received direct instruction from the original spiritual master, the adi-guru.
1. Appeared in an important family
Arjuna is many times addressed as Bharata, referring to him being a descendent of King Bharata. It is an honorary title based on heredity, but it also indicates qualification. Arjuna belongs to a pious family and thereby grows up with values. Indeed, that excellent bow warrior one time worries over the fate of family traditions after a great conflict.
नरके नियतं वासो
narake niyataṁ vāso
“O Krishna, maintainer of the people, I have heard by disciplic succession that those who destroy family traditions dwell always in hell.” (Arjuna, Bhagavad-gita, 1.43)
Arjuna is sometimes addressed as Bharatarshaba. This means “best of the Bharatas.” Not only is Arjuna part of the family, but he is one of the most important people to appear in it.
2. Son of the pious Kunti Devi
Krishna sometimes addresses Arjuna as Partha. This refers to Pritha, which is a name for Kunti Devi. The title has meaning, since Kunti is known for her chastity and piety. She becomes a widow due to a curse previously placed upon her husband, King Pandu. She has to raise her children by herself.
Compounding the difficulty is the enviousness within the family. The cousins, the Kauravas, turn into rivals, wanting the kingdom for themselves. This comes at the expense of Kunti and her children. They are harassed in a number of ways; sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly.
3. Friendly with Krishna
God is not merely a concept or an abstract. He is not inanimate stone. He is a distinct individual; though He happens to be the greatest. He has the most potency and the dualities of body and spirit do not apply to Him.
He deals with others as they surrender to Him, and in His pastimes as Krishna there is great friendship with Arjuna. They are close with one another, though the relationship has to temporarily change on the battlefield.
First, Krishna assumes the subordinate role of chariot driver. Next, He becomes the topmost superior in teaching Arjuna about the ways of life and death and duty. Krishna is the guru and Arjuna the disciple. Friendship is incompatible with that relationship, but it was a factor in leading to the discussion.
Krishna directly notes this qualification in a specific verse. He says that since Arjuna is not envious of Him, He will reveal secret wisdom that will relieve the distresses of a material existence. Lack of envy in this situation means that Arjuna does not compare himself to Krishna. He is not trying to be better or excel in a field of endeavor. He genuinely wants the best for the son of Devaki and Vasudeva.
Through Krishna’s mentoring, Arjuna proceeds towards victory. He is famous for his fighting ability and also for carefully listening to those words of wisdom. He followed through on them, which is even more important. Thus today the two are celebrated in a combined fashion. Krishna is even commonly addressed by a new name: Partha-sarathi. The one who creates all the universes through breathing, who is the husband of the goddess of fortune, will willingly play the role of charioteer to a person of exceptional qualifications.
Not randomly to hear,
Krishna intentionally near.
First as charioteer guiding,
Then as guru to whom confiding.
Because no envy in him,
Arjuna poised to win.
In battle and well also beyond,
Qualified through yoga’s bond.
Categories: the four