“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
Was Arjuna showing kindness and compassion at the beginning of Bhagavad-gita? Or was he mired in ignorance, displaying the foolishness of a person who did not understand the higher principles of life, anarya?
कुतस् त्वा कश्मलम् इदं
kutas tvā kaśmalam idaṁ
“The Supreme Person [Bhagavan] said: My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life. They do not lead to higher planets, but to infamy.” (Bhagavad-gita, 2.2)
Does his concern for others warrant praise or criticism? Would they extend him the same courtesy? That is to say, if they were carrying forward a mission of duty, at the last minute would they be concerned with Arjuna’s demise, if he were to stand in the way of the work being completed?
The factual situation depicted in Mahabharata also symbolizes the struggle for the person proceeding along the path of genuine yoga. There will be roadblocks along the way, and not always from expected sources.
1. Friends and family
Simply put, they don’t want you to succeed. It is sad to admit, but the situation is the reality. You will have to ask them for an in-depth explanation, if they are willing to be honest. If you were to choose any other direction, perhaps they would lend more support.
For instance, if you showed incapability in basic areas of responsibility, such as getting up on time, landing a job, keeping a job, and paying the bills, maybe they would feel an urgency to help. They would pity your situation, subtly considering you inferior to them.
With yoga, on the other hand, you are essentially competing with them. You are trying to advance in the highest mission of all. By definition, you have to leave others behind. That is because they have not yet placed that pursuit in the highest priority of attention.
2. People who we otherwise respect
They may put a priority on sense gratification, on prolonging the temporary life and enjoying as much as possible. Your interests do not align with theirs. They may be respected in their field. They may be highly esteemed scholars or nationally recognized teachers.
There is a collision of interests, nonetheless. Why would they support you in your endeavor for perfection of consciousness when they are going in the opposite direction? If they view you as infringing on their way of life, in even the slightest manner, they will have a fight or flight response. Fight against your interests or put their own aside.
3. Disgruntled losers who criticize your guru in public
These words might sting the most. It is one thing to have friends and family go against your interests, but it is another to have to stomach offensive words meant to take down the person who means everything to you.
The guru opened your eyes. They brought you out of the darkness and into the light. They filled your heart with transcendental knowledge. They are your guide, birth after birth. Serving their lotus feet is everything.
People who know nothing about spiritual life, who are totally mired in their own illusion, take to criticizing. They say that the person you are following is mean. That guru is outdated in their mode of thinking. They recommend needless torture and ruin people’s lives, at the expense of their own advancement in stature.
With Arjuna’s situation, there was no reciprocation. The people he was concerned over did not return the favor. We know not of any intention to drop the weapons and stop the war. Rather, Duryodhana, the leader of the opposing side, would not give even an inch of land that rightfully belonged to Arjuna and his family.
It is regrettable to lose the support of friends and family. It is difficult to face the roadblocks along the way, but the achievement on the other side is worth it. The shelter of the Divine is the meaning to our existence, it is the eternal happiness linked to a fountain of youth for the soul. To experience something valuable requires dedication, perseverance, and some assistance from a higher authority, who is more than willing to step in, as He did with Arjuna on the chariot.
Already the guide within,
For Arjuna stepping in.
On the chariot delivering so,
Prior into war to go.
Such that Arjuna with compassion,
But others not in the same fashion.
Not for his wellbeing caring,
Knowledge those attachments tearing.
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