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From confusion to clarity – part I PDF Print E-mail
Gita - Gita Articles

esa te 'bhihita sankhye buddhir yoge tv imam srnu buddhya yukto yaya partha karma-bandham prahasyasi Thus far I have declared to you the analytical knowledge of sankhya philosophy. Now listen to the knowledge of yoga whereby one works without fruitive result. O son of Prtha, when you act by such intelligence, you can free yourself from the bondage of works. ||2:39|| nehabhikrama-naso 'sti pratyavayo na vidyate svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.

||2:40|| vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana bahu-sakha hy anantas ca buddhayo 'vyavasayinam Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one (eka-budhi). O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched. ||2:41||

Before we take up these shlokas, let us recap what we have covered so far. Where is Krishna heading to and how does he plan to achieve that? I have mentioned several times before that Gita is methodical, systematic and scientific. It is not a fiction, nor is it an academic intellectual pursuit. Gita is practical and is for use in our day-to-day life.

Why do I say that? Arjuna is confused in the beginning of Gita. He gets quite emotional and is seeing around him with the goggles of love and affection. Arjuna respects his Gurus and he cannot conceive how he can ever kill them. His concern sounds genuine to most of us. But soon the same Guru is going to attempt to kill his brother Yudhisthir. Arjuna’s goggles will change to the goggles of hate. And he will now say that how come anybody dares to try to kill my brother? And the situation changes. Krishna is simply asking Arjuna not to wear any goggles. Krishna is asking Arjuna to get to sum-bhava and then act out of sum-bhava.

Krishna’s whole attempt is to bring clarity (ek-budhi, 2:41) to Arjuna’s thinking process. At the beginning of Gita Arjuna’s mind is all confused. Arjuna understands the need of the war. He knows why he is there in Kurukshetra. But, other factors are influencing him as well. He cannot balance it out and the predominant force at the beginning of Gita that has taken over Arjuna is the desire of not fighting. Krishna works on trying to center Arjuna, and a centered Arjuna can have clarity and then whatever decisions Arjuna makes will be o.k.

Let us understand this from an example. Examples are not perfect but can be used as means for coming close. It is important to understand gyan (let us say wisdom), buddhi (intellect), man (mind), indriyas (sense organs) and vaasanas (desires) before we get very far in Gita. These words are used quite frequently from now on in Gita and they have very distinct meanings.

I am myopic and that means I use glasses to see things at distance. I am sitting on the side of a lake but do not have my glasses. Obviously, I can’t see very far. My son points out to me that there is a boat on the lake, quite far but he can see it clearly. And it is so beautiful. I naturally ask for my glasses. And he instead of handing over my glasses asks me to think about it. Just think that it is beautiful. He went on to describe it in more detail. And he was ready to paint it on a piece of paper so that I could see it close on paper. It sounds ridiculous, but we do that all the time in our real life. We all are ready to jump to conclusions without knowing what is going on. Anyway, to continue the story, my son then hands me my dark glasses and I can now see the boat. And the boat is beautiful but everything is has a red hue. I go on and get my proper glasses and I am able to see the beautiful boat. And we had a binocular to get a close view as well. And it felt so good. This is clarity. This is gyana. Knowing it as it is is gyana.

And that is what Krishna is trying to do here. Of course there is no boat, there is no lake and there is no distance. Everything and everyone is close by. The proximity is the problem. We are so close to ourselves that we do not want to see it. When we are upset about something in our lives we immediately start looking for a cause outside which might have upset us. We never want even to think that it may be my state of being that is causing me to get upset once or twice every day. And some beings stay upset all the time. Krishna will say that if you get centered, you will never get upset. And that is why, all this emphasis on a centering growth (yoga). We will come back to this again. But for now let us continue the story.

The boat is so beautiful. I would like others to know about this lake and the beautiful boat on the lake. I cannot bring everyone there, but what can I do. The buddhi has to help me here. I can take pictures, make video, pain or simply write a poem. The buddhi (intellect) has to work for me. And this role of intellect is important.

Both, my son, and me were so impressed by the boat. It is so much fun to be there on the boat. We both started talking about how to have that boat. We want the boat. We can perhaps buy a similar boat. But, no we want it now. This is man (mind). The man (mind) desires to have it for the pleasure of indriyas (sense organs). The buddhi (intellect) has to come and help here again. And, the buddhi is always neutral. It will give all the options available and try to describe the risks and benefits. And the open options may be beg, borrow or steal.

As we saw, Arjuna is confused. He is not centered. Krishna is going to try to center him so that he can think clearly and use his buddhi (intllect) to its fullest. To Krishna, man and its assoiciates (desires and sense organs) is the seat of confusion. What kind of glass is Krishna going to prescribe Arjuna?

Awareness and abhyas (pracice) are the tools in this journey from confusion to clarity. Krishna also had close up visions (like the binocular in our example) that he showed glimpses of to Arjuna. He used them as tools to get Arjuna to the center. And that was unique. Krishna has withheld nothing in Gita. When the time was ripe and Arjuna was ready, Krishna did not hesitate in showing his virat rupa and Krihna will do it again if one of us is in the ready state where Arjuna was then. Let us explore this in our next column, “Confusion to clarity II.”

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