“I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I foresee only evil, O killer of the Keshi demon.” (Arjuna, Bhagavad-gita, 1.30)
न च शक्नोम्य् अवस्थातुं
भ्रमतीव च मे मनः
निमित्तानि च पश्यामि
na ca śaknomy avasthātuṁ
bhramatīva ca me manaḥ
nimittāni ca paśyāmi
“Have you ever been put into a situation where someone demanded a solution and you had no possible way of providing one? Don’t worry, I will offer some examples. It is not fun, let me tell you. It is the worst kind of pressure.
“Don’t mistake this to be complaining about having responsibility in life. I will readily acknowledge that certain pressures are good. The alarm clock, for instance. If every person weren’t required in the office at a certain time each day, hardly anyone would show up. If that latest assignment did not carry a deadline, a person would take their sweet time working on it.
“I am talking about cases where there is literally nothing that can be done. For instance, have you ever been with an elderly person with brain issues? Imagine that every five minutes they get up from the living room sofa and go into the kitchen. They want to eat something. The problem is, they just ate. They don’t remember what happened sixty seconds ago, let alone what day it is.
“Reasoning with them is pointless. If you tell them not to go in the kitchen, they ignore you. They simply will not listen. This situation repeats throughout the day. The elderly person ignores everything that you say, from when it is time to sleep to when they are looking for someone who is not home.
“In another case you have a small child. They are crying intensely. They want something specific from the mother, who is feeling terribly unwell. At this moment she cannot provide for what the child wants. The child will not listen to reason. They are kicking and screaming. The mother then yells at you for being a useless father, for not having control over the situation.
“These are just a few examples from ordinary life. From here we can study the case of Shri Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. His cousin and good friend was set to lead the way towards victory in the war to end all wars. Arjuna was the preeminent fighter for the Pandava side, but there was a hiccup.
“Moments prior to commencement of hostilities, Arjuna had doubts. Grave ones, at that. He wanted to quit. The many years of torment and misery his family faced at the hands of the wicked Duryodhana. The frustration, the pain, the anguish, the heartache, the austerity – Arjuna was prepared to forgive it all.
“He was something like a conscientious objector, but prior to making the final decision he decided to run things by Krishna, who was seated on the chariot, ready to steer. Was that not too much pressure to put on a friend? How can you leave one of the most important decisions in the history of the world to someone else? To me, that is not fair.”
Fortunately, Krishna, who is also known as Keshava, which means the killer of the Keshi demon, can assume the burden of the entire world. He literally did so when appearing in the incarnation of the boar, Varahadeva. He is the origin of the material and spiritual worlds, as He effortlessly creates, maintains and destroys through His expansion of Narayana.
Krishna is also the adi-guru. This refers to the original spiritual master. In the case of a direct relationship, where the disciple does not have to rely on recorded instruction alone, you can get one-on-one advice. Arjuna was in a special circumstance, and due to the closeness of the relationship he did not hesitate in making the approach.
If they had not been so close, perhaps Arjuna would have been too embarrassed. After all, the first words from Krishna in response were of the admonishing tone. He could not believe what He was hearing. How had Arjuna descended to the point of speaking like someone who completely lacked culture?
Nevertheless, the mercy is limitless. Krishna is Arjuna’s friend, and He has also been my greatest well-wisher since before I can remember. He hears prayers offered simultaneously in the multitude of universes. He remembers every incident from history, whether recorded or not. He knows the future, as He is time itself.
Krishna empowers His representatives to similarly carry the burden of success for future generations. The acharya makes tremendous sacrifices for the benefit of others, many of whom they will never meet. Taking their example of accepting the burden seriously, I decide to stay steady on the path of dharma, never forgetting the love and affection that was shown to me: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
With difficult decision to live,
Not too much burden to give?
From Arjuna to charioteer seated,
Lacking direction feeling defeated.
Krishna handling world’s weight,
Not troubled in that particular state.
Where as guru offering to guide,
The wise in Him to confide.