“O King, as I repeatedly recall this wondrous and holy dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, I take pleasure, being thrilled at every moment.” (Sanjaya, Bhagavad-gita, 18.76)
राजन् संस्मृत्य संस्मृत्य
संवादम् इमम् अद्भुतम्
हृष्यामि च मुहुर् मुहुः
rājan saṁsmṛtya saṁsmṛtya
saṁvādam imam adbhutam
hṛṣyāmi ca muhur muhuḥ
“How can anyone take joy from this world? It is a serious question. I legitimately want to know. I am not asking in a rhetorical manner. All I see is pain and suffering. I don’t see fairness. The wicked rise to the top. The people who take advantage of others live comfortably.
“Saintly people are stretched to the limit. They have no peace. They feel a constant burden. They are always ready to help. Someone I know recently passed away, at a young age. In the many years that I knew them, I can’t remember a single time that they did anything for themselves.
“They were always thinking about the welfare of others. They were a pillar of strength. They were virtue personified. They embodied every saintly quality you could think of. I don’t know anyone who can say a bad word about them. They touched so many lives.
“And yet look at what happened to them. They were forced out. The immediate family is left to suffer. Bad things happen to good people, all the time. It really is ridiculous. What is the point to it all?
“You tell me to read Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam, but I see the same suffering. Those poor Pandava brothers. Queen Kunti. They didn’t deserve what they got. Bhagavad-gita is spoken on the battlefield, where countless lives were lost.
“This is the cost of war. This is the price to greed. The envy never stops. This world is terrible. That is my conclusion. I cannot be convinced otherwise.”
In the concluding verses of Bhagavad-gita, we hear the testimony of Sanjaya. He is something like the reporter on the scene of an important news event. He relays everything he witnesses to the audience at the time, which is just one person.
Sanjaya says that he feels joy every time he remembers that conversation between Krishna and Arjuna. That conversation took place in this world. Though the actual event is thousands of years in the past, the length of time since elapsed does not have an impact on the factual basis of what took place.
Sanjaya’s joy is not from the death and destruction. It is not from the setting or the events leading up to the battle at Kurukshetra. The joy is not from the pain and suffering that took place in the aftermath. Win or lose, every person will succumb to time. This is the guaranteed destiny for every person.
जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्
ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च
तस्माद् अपरिहार्ये ऽर्थे
न त्वं शोचितुम् अर्हसि
jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyur
dhruvaṁ janma mṛtasya ca
tasmād aparihārye ‘rthe
na tvaṁ śocitum arhasi
“For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.27)
Sanjaya takes joy because the topics discussed are not of this world. It is similar to Krishna Himself. Though He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He appears periodically. This is in the original form. Krishna is God; not a version of Him.
Since the appearance is within the land of birth and death, the less intelligent do not recognize Him for who He is. They think He is a conditioned soul like everyone else. They think He is another competitor to enter the arena of temporary sense gratification, seeking control over others in order to exploit.
अवजानन्ति मां मूढा
मानुषीं तनुम् आश्रितम्
परं भावम् अजानन्तो
avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā
mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam
paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto
“Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.11)
The subject matter of the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna is transcendental. This means that it transcends birth and death. It is beyond the unfairness we see in the world. It is above tragedy. It is of a different nature compared to visible gain and triumph.
Bhagavad-gita is like finding the true reality. It is giving meaning to this existence. It shines the light on the purpose of the living being, who has vitality with a higher level of consciousness within the human birth. The proper pairing for that consciousness is the Supreme Lord, who is also the Supreme Consciousness.
Sanjaya takes joy from recalling that conversation, and by good fortune we have the ability to remember the same. This means that whatever tragedy we witness on a daily basis, there is a link to transcendence. There is a way to find something beyond this world.
That conversation between guru and disciple benefits anyone who hears it. That conversation explains life and death, and the many dualities occurring in between. Someone who knows Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead has no reason to lament. They understand that the living being always lives, whether they are manifest before us or not.
क्षिप्रं भवति धर्मात्मा
न मे भक्तः प्रणश्यति
kṣipraṁ bhavati dharmātmā
na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati
“He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O son of Kunti, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.31)
The eyes of Supersoul are everywhere, which means that no good deed goes unnoticed. A saintly person may suffer a tragic end before our eyes, but their influence lives on and on. They are never destroyed, and the life of devotion continues into the future, where they continue to influence others in a positive manner.
To another realm has gone,
Our loss to dwell upon.
In moment from our vision left,
Of remaining years theft.
But never defeated the same,
Saintly people the world to gain.
Such that by Krishna maintained,
Virtue of potency sustained.