“O conqueror of wealth, Arjuna, have you heard this attentively with your mind? And are your illusions and ignorance now dispelled?” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.72)
कच्चिद् एतच् छ्रुतं पार्थ
प्रणष्टस् ते धनञ्जय
kaccid etac chrutaṁ pārtha
praṇaṣṭas te dhanañjaya
“I am sure you are familiar with the concept of onboarding. It is when you start a new job and you have to get up to speed with how things work. Depending on the complexity and the availability of others to help, it can take up to a year before you are familiar with everything.
“Some managers are terrible at it. They do not explain things clearly. They throw out random tasks and ideas, only to rescind the responsibility later on. After you have invested so much time in trying to understand based on the limited knowledge given, they tell you not to bother anymore, that something else is now top priority.
“This got me to thinking of Bhagavad-gita and the transfer of knowledge between Krishna and Arjuna. It was onboarding in a sense, because the guru wasn’t speaking for His own sake. He wasn’t dictating a book or being paid hefty speaker fees.
“Rather, He had a genuine interest in dispelling the doubts in the disciple. Krishna wanted Arjuna to understand clearly. We can confirm this based on one of the concluding Sanskrit verses. The omnipotent one, who had just shown the universal form and given an overview of the timeline of creation and the applicability of the science of self-realization, kindly asked the student if they had understood everything properly.
“What if Arjuna could not remember? What if he couldn’t grasp the concepts? It is not like there was much time to reconsider. They were about to begin a war. They were situated on a battlefield, after all. What happens if the disciple feels too much pressure to not let the teacher down?”
These are legitimate questions, but from what we know of Krishna’s pastimes, as documented in many Vedic texts, there is unlimited kindness and compassion. The very promise of being delivered if fully surrendered indicates forgiveness at an unimaginable scale.
माम् एकं शरणं व्रज
अहं त्वां सर्व-पापेभ्यो
मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)
This is because I am the greatest offender a person can think of. I become upset if a friend fails to support me at a critical time. I recall the many instances of assistance that I offered, where I went above and beyond, and now I have some expectation of reciprocation.
If they should fail to accommodate my request in a timely manner, I might get so upset that I start revealing their shortcomings to others. I burn down the house, so to speak. Then I make sure to never speak to that person again.
In the relationship with Bhagavan, which stretches back infinitely, I have committed the greatest offense in forgetting about Him. I have chosen the illusory energy of maya, instead, where I think I can become supreme in enjoyment and authority. This has been a failed endeavor, lifetime after lifetime.
Yet Krishna is still kind enough to forgive. Going back to home, back to Godhead, is always available. The doors to the spiritual world are always open, provided one sincerely wants to go and is ready to make Bhagavan their topmost priority.
This level of compassion provides assurance to the doubting soul. Even if Arjuna didn’t properly understand every principle and concept, the path forward was clear. Fight for the side of justice and leave the outcome in God’s hands. Always keep Krishna in mind, and He would never be lost.
मन्-मना भव मद्-भक्तो
मद्-याजी मां नमस्कुरु
माम् एवैष्यसि युक्त्वैवम्
man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi yuktvaivam
“Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.34)
In the Mahabharata we find that Arjuna did indeed forget some of the knowledge taught to him. He asked for a second explanation, and Krishna was not a miser. The Supreme Personality of Godhead could have chastised the disciple for their forgetfulness, but a material existence is full of defects.
अहम् अज्ञान-जं तमः
aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ
“Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.11)
This means that even if we don’t understand everything passed on by the acharya, we should still proceed in the Divine path. We can always ask more questions, and for many issues the answers lie in the processes themselves. Through further immersion in daily routine and standard practices, such as chanting the holy names, everything necessary will be revealed to us.
Not that intentionally concealed,
All truths will be revealed.
Because Krishna shining the light,
From within knowledge bright.
Even if ignorance conceding,
Still forward proceeding.
When keeping always in mind,
Eventual success to find.