How Strange It Is

Was reading Chapter 11 and I started laughing. Krishna being him was able to put up with Arjuna.

Every now and then, Arjuna behaved just like us. His devotion was unwavering however, he was still a man of his beliefs.

In one such instance:

In previous chapters, Krishna emphasized and glorified his formless impersonal infinite nature. He also stressed on the relationship between the individual self and the Brahman, himself.

After all that,

Arjuna: I agree you are all that you declare yourself to be. But…..
Arjuna: I wish to see your imperishable cosmic form.
Krishna: Okay, but you cannot see with your physical eyes. So, I will grant you divine vision.
Krishna: Behold, Arjuna. Observe the entire universe within me. This form of mine was never revealed before.

So, Krishna revealed his infinite form without a beginning, middle or end. Arjuna wasn’t expecting that. He was terrified.

Arjuna: You are so fierce yet I wish to know you. But I do not understand your nature.
Arjuna: Having seen your original form; I feel joy and fear at the same time.
Arjuna: I want to see your four-armed form with mace and disc and you wearing the crown.(46)
Krishna: Why are you afraid? No mortal has ever witnessed my cosmic form. This is me. No sacrifice, charity, studying Vedas, rituals or severe penance can make any mortal eligible for this. You are witnessing my divine form.

Do you see what I am referring to?

He asked for the imperishable cosmic form. What was he expecting to see?

We are so blind. We want to believe our own nonsense.

Even if God decides in giving audience in his real form. We would request him to take the form of Ravi Varma’s painting of him.  Something like the one below with four hands.

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We would outrightly tell him. And the conversation may go something like this

We: This is what we know of you and we wish to see you like this.
God: This is not ME. The painting is beautiful and so is his imagination. But what you are witnessing right now is me.
We: No, No. Sorry. I will stick to what I know.
God: It’s okay. You didn’t know then. Now you know Me. Worship the real Me.
We: All my life I have known you the Raja Ravi Varma way. It is difficult for me to change and learn. Why don’t you change according to me?
God: Now you know all the Gods are nothing but my form. At least stick to one and eventually, you will realize the truth.

It’s both funny and ironic how laziness and ignorance can stop us from knowing the very Self. If we say it is out of love that I wished to see God my way then the same love should allow us to see him the way he is, isn’t it?

Nothing interests us. Life itself is so complex and fierce as his cosmic form yet it doesn’t get our attention. Strange it is.

Image: Internet.

Does it matter how we perceive Krishna in The Gita?

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Social Psychologists’ term us as cognitive misers who downplay every stimuli other than the ones we find useful. Since we have this problem it is important to re-look at the character Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita.

If we look at him as someone who advised Arjuna at battlefield, we might ignore his teachings as only relevant to Arjuna. If we look at him as a God, we might never be able to implement his lesson as there is a fear of being categorized by our mind as an entity different from us. If we look at him as a Guru/Teacher, we will end up trying to apply his teachings. Thank God, for the reinforcements we had as children@School to act upon teacher’s advice .

Before seeking instruction from one of the best Teacher the world had known, we need to set aside our prejudices and judgmentalism. To do that, we ought to go off from the autopilot mode to an elaborate processing. Yes, we are capable of doing this but we need a good reason to do so.

We need to ponder at finding its importance in our professional or personal lives. Many Corporate Gurus termed him as a Tactful Leader and used his teachings to set leadership values. So, we aren’t the first to test him at the professional front and will easily find many reasons to imbibe his teachings. Yet, take some time out to see Gitas’ relevancy in your life to making it better.

From the standpoint of Arjuna, he had the wisdom to accept and admit being taken over by doubt and dastardism which is so not a trait of warrior(He in Chapter 6, shl 39 says Etanme samsayam Krishna Chetum Arhasya Asesatah). He seeks refuge as a disciple and request to discipline him is indicated in Shlok 7 of Chapter 2.

Karpanya Dosopahata Svabhavah
Prcchami Tvam Dharma sammudha Cetah
Yac Chreyah Syan Niscitam Bruhi Tan Me
Sisyas Te ham Sadhi Mam Tvam Prapannam

Arjuna casts away all defensive manoeuvres’ and prepared his mind to a neutral state to soak up in the teachers’ advice. By the way, it is a great leadership quality to possess in disciplining our minds and opening up to new ideas to make profitable decisions. Most of our problems arise when doubts overwhelm us and we lose the clarity of thoughts. Acting blindly in doubt is a sure recipe for trouble.

If we succeed to taking Gita as our teacher, we will see the song Divine uplifting us slowly but steadily from being human to spiritual. We will no longer be entangled in the character of Krishna but would look at Gita as a jewel box full of hand-picked precious gems- especially for us from The Great Upanishads.