Spiritual Musings - Bhagwad Gita

Today, I just thought of writing about this amazing metaphor from the Bhagvad Gita, where Krishna and Arjuna are standing right in the middle of two armies in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. As I see it, it is one of the most amazing pictures you can see as it holds many different and contradictory messages within itself. So, I am going to try my level best to decode these messages through today’s spiritual musing.
So, the metaphor I am referring to which greatly intrigues me is the scene of Mahabharata, the final battle in Kurukshetra where armies of both sides are eagerly awaiting the final call for the war, so that they may charge towards their enemies. It is now, that Arjuna, in his perplexed state, wants to observe both armies, standing in the middle of the field, and then gets cold feet about fighting the war against his own relatives. As Arjuna sits dejected on his chariot, leaves his bow-arrow and the discussion ensues between Krishna and Arjuna (Bhagvad Gita, Song of the God)
Now, I find this situation very intriguing and feel that it has many different messages for the whole of humanity. Here, I will try to write about some of them.
1. Watching Equidistant – There is a specific mention in Bhagvad Gita that Arjuna requested Krishna to take his chariot right in the middle of battlefield, so that he can observe both armies from equidistant. Now, what does it mean? Is it not the message about being a Witness or Observer of the events in life and seeing them from a neutral viewpoint (equidistant) without leaning towards any side? As I see, Bhagvad Gita begins with the message of being in the witnessing State of mind.
2. Krishna’s Role – Then it is difficult to believe that God’s incarnation Krishna is guiding Arjuna to fight the war which is going to kill millions of people. It becomes more difficult to believe when we see that same Krishna went as a peacemaker only a few months’ back to make peace between these two warring armies. Now, the same Krishna is standing in battlefield and guiding Arjuna to fight the battle. He looks so contradictory but if we pay attention then he is doing the same thing. Living in the moment and doing his job in that moment. As I see, people like Krishna live in the moment. When he went as a peacemaker, it was his job to break the ice between two warring groups and he did that. Then when he went into the battlefield as the head of the Pandavas’ side then it was his job to win the war for them. So, if we look little deep down then there is no contradiction.
3. Place – Then the place of this discourse of Bhagvad Gita itself gives lot of messages. Normal discourse between Guru and Disciple happens in some Ashram or Forest setting etc. Bhagvad Gita seems to be the only instance where the discourse between Guru and Disciple is happening right in the middle of battlefield. Also, if we look into this discussion between Arjuna and Krishna then we may see that Arjuna is trying to escape from War and Krishna is trying to pull him back in to the war.
So, if I interpret this metaphor then we can say that battlefield is a representation of life, two armies ready to fight war are representation of challenges and adversities of life. Arjuna trying to escape is like a normal human mind trying to escape from problems of the life and Krishna pushing Arjun back in to the war is representation of Guru telling the Disciple to face challenges of life and not to escape.
It has to be kept in mind that Arjuna was even talking about taking Sannyas and becoming a beggar rather than killing his “OWN” people. Krishna’s insistence on fighting the battle or facing the challenges of life is a clear message that we can’t escape from life and the challenges posed by life. There is nothing like a person leaving this materialistic world because wherever you go, you will be inside this world only. That Ashram or Mountain or Forest etc. is also a part of the same world. We can never go away from the world as Arjuna was saying and as many escapists say.
So, message is very clear to face the challenges of life as that is the only way to improve and evolve in this life.
4. Armed Vs Unarmed – Then another interesting observation here is that a warrior (Arjuna), who was all the way ready to fight the war, developed cold feet when the time of the war arrived and on the other hand; Krishna, who was never in favor of war, was the one who tried to motivate Arjun to fight the war. This is again a very contradictory picture but may be life is full of contradictions and we change our stances many a times in life as per the situations. This is again a message of living in the moment and taking decisions or actions as per the requirement of life in the moment. Krishna didn’t feel that he is contradicting himself when he motivated Arjun for war as that was the need of the moment. As I see, all the contradictions or oppositions in our life are only counterparts which help us to grow and evolve.
5. Death is False – But the message which mesmerizes me most is the one of the foundational message of Bhagwad Gita that “No one kills and No one gets killed in this existence.”
This is where it makes most sense to see Krishna and Arjun in this picture in their respective postures. Krishna KNOWS that “No one kills and No one gets killed in this existence” and that’s why; he had entered the battlefield unarmed and unshielded. When he knows that he can’t kill anyone then why he should lift weapons on his shoulders unnecessarily. Hence, he puts the first condition of joining the war by saying that he will not lift weapon and will not kill anyone. As he knew that he cannot kill anyone anyways, it was obvious that this came as only condition.
We try to do something only when we think we can do it. When Krishna knows that He cannot kill anyone then why He would even try for that by carrying a weapon with Him?
But on the other hand, Death is very real for Arjun. Hence, he came with weapons/shields and he is perplexed.
Arjun is representation of Human Mind which is afraid of losing things or people whereas Krishna is the representation of Consciousness which is forever alive.
6. Intention – An important question was asked to Osho that if we take the meaning of Krishna’s message of “No one kills and No one gets killed in this existence” literally, then why killing someone is considered a sin?
Osho answers that killing someone is not a Sin as nature will take only a few seconds to give re-birth to that killed person. Within a few moments, Mind-Body-Soul will again come together and the journey will resume. Sin is in this thought or intention where a person thinks or believes that he can kill someone. So, if we see existentially then Sin happens at the same moment when a person keeps the intent of killing another person, no matter if actual event of killing happens or not.
So, intention or thought is more important. Hence, focus should be on what is going on inside mind rather than what is happening as an actual event.
7. War Mongering? – Then many people have this idea that Bhagvad Gita is kind of War Mongering as War of Mahabharata could have been avoided if Krishna had not pushed Arjun into War.
I would reproduce portion of Geeta Darshan by Osho here to clear the doubts –
“When Emerson read Mahabharata for the first time and reached the portion of Bhagwad Geeta, he got scared and closed the book. Henry Tharo had similar problem. He said that I couldn't believe that story would take such a turn and God's incarnation Krishna will instigate Arjun for war and killing people. Other people like him also have similar views. Mahatma Gandhi even rejected the portion of Bhagwad Geeta as imaginary. He said nothing like Bhagwad Geeta ever happened. He was a man of non-violence, how he can accept that his God Krishna favored war over peace? But here is where you find the difference between a truly religious person and so-called religious person.
So-called religious people feel that Arjun was right. He was talking about non-violence; he was talking about world peace, about respect to elders and Gurus. He was a good person. This Krishna dragged him into war unnecessarily.
But truth is that Arjun never opposed war. He was a true Kshatriya. All he did throughout life was to fight wars. Actually, it is hard to find a warrior like Arjun. Arjun never said that he doesn't want to fight war. His only problem was fighting against his own people.
So, what does it mean? If there are other people in battlefield then you are still ready to kill them? And where did this idea of world peace go when he was fighting wars throughout life, killing people, making children orphan and ladies widow? Today, you are in front of your relatives and teachers, so suddenly you are reminded of world peace and non-violence?
Krishna caught this very early and Krishna knew that Arjun has no capabilities of becoming Buddha or Mahavir. He will avoid this war and then fight another war against other people. He is not against the idea of war. So, he was never becoming non-violent. He was only adding selfishness to violence, I am fine with killing others but I won't kill my own people. So, he was heading towards a greater violence. Hence, Krishna's whole effort after that was to prevent Arjun from this greater violence and at least keep him a Kshatriya who fights wars as his duty towards society and without any selfish interests.
Geeta Darshan - Osho”
Hope this helps. Thanks,


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