“Arjuna said: O killer of Madhu [Krishna], how can I counterattack with arrows in battle men like Bhishma and Drona, who are worthy of my worship?” (Bhagavad-gita, 2.4)
कथṁ भीष्मम् अहṁ सङ्ख्ये
द्रोणṁ च मधुसूदन
kathaṁ bhīṣmam ahaṁ saṅkhye
droṇaṁ ca madhusūdana
“They mean the world to me. They can insult me all they want. They are free to make fun of me, even in front of other people. At least they are my friends. At least they are willing to provide companionship.
“I think this is vital for proper mental health. Instead of spending large sums of money visiting a professional counselor, just talk to one of your friends. Find someone who you can trust. Open up to them, and they will open up to you. Just letting out your feelings is healthy.”
“I know that some students in the classroom like to give trouble to the teacher. Especially if there is a substitute for the day, it is open season. Throw things while they aren’t looking. Flip the light switch. Unplug the cord for the television. All in all, be a general nuisance.
“I was not like that. I respected my teachers, including those I did not get along with. I felt they deserved to be heard based on their standing. Even with the squabbles, I am forever grateful for what they taught me. It is not easy to stand there and present yourself as an authority figure, in front of a skeptical and poorly behaved collection of youth.”
3. Close relatives
“When I was growing up, there weren’t such distinctions. The son of my uncle was treated as my brother. They were loved just as much. There was sometimes greater closeness, as we did not live in the same house. There might be more conflict with my brother from the same mother.
“Needless to say, I am so thankful for them. These relatives will offer assistance, without question, when you need it most. They won’t judge during that time. They won’t spread the news across the network that makes up the community. There is implicit trust, from start to finish.”
“I know some people might get tired of the grandparents complaining about how easy the current generation has it. In their day, you see, they had to walk five miles to school, in six feet of snow, with no days off. Somehow the travel was uphill, both ways.
“With a little maturity, you come to appreciate everything they did. Times were different in their era, but they adapted. They sacrificed so much for the future generations. We indeed have it a lot easier, and it is because they went and paved the path first.”
The bow-warrior named Arjuna faced a struggle against a similar category of people. They happened to be on the other side of a great war, which was moments from beginning. Though the battle lines were drawn, though everyone knew what was at stake, both for victory and failure, there was some hesitation from Arjuna.
He was the leading fighter for the Pandava side, and he couldn’t help but recall the affection he held for those friends, relatives and teachers on the other side. Dronacharya was his guru. How can someone fight to the death against someone who taught them everything they know?
Bhishmadeva was the revered grand ancestor to both sides of the warring family. No one was more respected than Bhishma. This was true even for Krishna, who happened to be Arjuna’s charioteer.
There were also cousin-brothers. Arjuna essentially grew up with these people. Now he would fight a war that involves killing. We may not like this particular relative or that, but imagine ending their life. Imagine having to proceed when you are reluctant to follow through.
It is no surprise that such a backdrop made the ideal setting for the latest release of Bhagavad-gita wisdom. It is timeless in both directions. That wisdom spoken by Krishna was equally available at the beginning of the creation. It is still alive today due to the parampara system, and it will continue to be valid thousands of years into the future.
Within that presentation we learn that material activities are always full of faults. There is no perfect way, considering that there are ups and downs, gains and losses, births and deaths. We may have affection for someone, but that is not guaranteed to last.
We come together almost by coincidence. We have a mother and father, but someone else has a different set of parents. I am friends with you today, but tomorrow we might become mortal enemies. I respect my grandparents, but with old age they may lose their senses and better judgment.
Following the interests of the Supreme Lord is the proper way. Fortunately for Arjuna, God happened to be there as the charioteer. This way the doubts could be settled. Krishna was not impressed by Arjuna’s kindness and compassion towards the other side, as yuddha should not be marred by irrational sentiment or hesitancy.
Better to proceed, to defend righteousness, than to abandon everything on a whim. Especially considering the justification was protection of material life, Arjuna had no basis to stand on.
Though we may not be situated in the middle of a battlefield at present, the same principles apply. Friends and family may be against our pursuit of perfection of the consciousness. People who we otherwise respect put a priority on sense gratification, on prolonging the temporary life and enjoying as much as possible. Disgruntled losers criticize our guru in public, not knowing any of the principles of spiritual life, totally immersed in the illusion put forth by maya.
There are too many contravening forces to count, but with the guidance and support of Shri Krishna and His representatives, there is every chance to succeed, to cut through the knot of nescience and reach a state of enlightenment and bliss, even prior to quitting the body.
Into swirl of doubt sent,
When recalling time spent.
With guru and elders too,
Worthy of respect who.
Arjuna not ready to proceed,
Without fight to concede.
On material interest misplacing,
His guru that ignorance erasing.
Categories: the four