It is this readiness to surrender to the Master that brings completion to Arjuna and enriches him to take the responsibility to win the war, which in reality is the war within himself.


Despite what Kṛṣṇa had said with total clarity, that Arjuna should get up and fight, Arjuna now recounts all his previous arguments. It is as if he had not listened to Kṛṣṇa at all.

To become a Sannyāsi, Śrī Kṛṣṇa says, ‘Go to Sannyāsa out of completion.’ Bhagavān is only saying one thing, ‘Out of completion, take any decision. Out of completion, take any decision!’

He once again implores Kṛṣṇa, ‘You, as the Lord of the Universe, have the right to destroy what you please. As the Lord, You destroyed the demons Madhu and Keśin and many other enemies. How can I, a mere mortal, be bold enough to wage war against my grandfather and my teacher, with the intent to kill them? They are ones I should worship, not destroy. I shall be condemned if I fight them.’

Arjuna is now pleading Kṛṣṇa,

Oh Lord, leave me now! I will beg and eat becoming a Sannyāsi.’ He continues, ‘It is better for me to seek alms as an ascetic or even a beggar than kill these eldersśreyo bhoktuṁ bhaikṣyam apīha loke (2.5). Once my hands are stained with their blood, how can I enjoy worldly pleasures? I am confused as to which would be better, for them to slay me or for me to slay them, yadvā jayema yadivā no jayeyuḥ (2.6). How can we live after slaying our kinsmen and elders? – yān eva hatvā na jijīviṣāmas.

Understand, Bhagavān is not against Arjuna’s Sannyāsa. He does not want Arjuna to take Sannyās out of powerlessness.

Arjuna says, ‘Oh Lord, leave me. I will beg and eatbhoktuṁ bhaikṣyam.’

No!

I tell you, Arjuna would not have become a sannyāsī. He would have gone and asked for food in a royal way, ‘Hey, give me food.’ If somebody doesn’t give, he would have picked up his Gāṇḍiva bow and arrow to shoot the person for his food.

To become a Sannyāsi, Śrī Kṛṣṇa says, ‘Go to Sannyāsa out of completion.’ Bhagavān is only saying one thing, ‘Out of completion, take any decision. Out of completion, take any decision!’

Whatever you think is yours and whatever you think is you, is different from the truth. It is the Master who can lead you through the path of self-completion, as Kṛṣṇa is now leading Arjuna. To be led, you need the attitude of surrender, the decision to surrender your powerlessness.

Listen. Bhagavān denies Arjuna even his decision to take Sannyāsa because Arjuna takes that decision out of powerless pattern. He accepts Arjuna’s decision to fight, because he took the decision out of powerfulness, completion! Whether it is Sannyās or fight, powerlessness never leads your life to any next steps.

Arjuna says further,

Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of misery and weakness – kārpaṇya doṣhopahata svabhāvaḥ (2.7). I can see no solution to my dilemma. Even if I slay these people and gain control over the earth, or even control over the heavens, what good will it do me? In this condition, I ask you to tell me, for certain, what is best for me, yat śreyaḥ syān niścitaṁ brūhi tanme. Now I am your disciple and the soul is surrendered unto you. Please instruct me – śiṣyas te’haṁ sādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam (2.7).’

I must now tell you an important truth.

Here Arjuna says, ‘My soul is surrendered unto you – māṁ tvāṁ prapannam.’ This is a lie. Had his soul been truly surrendered to Kṛṣṇa, he would simply have followed what Kṛṣṇa said and would not have waited for an intellectual explanation.

Arjuna says his soul is surrendered to Kṛṣṇa but when Kṛṣṇa asks him to do His bidding, he is not ready to do so and is confused! Surrender out of confusion is not surrender, as you do not even know if you are doing the right thing. Understand that surrender after clarity, intelligence of śāstras, out of completion, is true surrender.

Here Arjuna surrenders only verbally as he says that he is confused, that his mind is bewildered, sammūḍha cetāh. You must either do what you think is right or do as the Master instructs. Here Arjuna wants the Master to say what he wants to hear, not what the Master wants to say. So, although Arjuna says he has surrendered, he has not done so.

Time and again, people come to me for advice and ask, ‘Swamiji, I have this problem. Please advise me what to do. Whatever you tell me I shall do.’ Then, if I ask them to come to the ashram for a few days or attend a meditation course, they give me a dozen reasons why it cannot be done. Some even say, ‘Swamiji, the time has to be right before we do that. Perhaps the time is not right.’

Nonsense..simply nonsense!

Understand, you are not controlled by some unknown destiny that you can conveniently blame just because you cannot do something right. Your destiny is in your own hands. Each one of you has the power to decide what you want to do, what you want to create. So does Arjuna!

Arjuna is asking Kṛṣṇa to tell him what he needs to do in the same way that I just described how people come and ask me. Kṛṣṇa knows this only too well. However, only out of compassion, Kṛṣṇa continues to enrich, express and teach him the Truth.

Here begins the śāstras. The two verses that Kṛṣṇa speaks bidding Arjuna to give up his powerlessness and stand up and fight are sūtra, techniques. But as Arjuna is not ready to receive them, he has to commence the śāstra, the background knowledge.

Kṛṣṇa, fully aware of Arjuna’s dilemma, moves forward in his mission to destroy Arjuna’s identity, the root pattern. The Guru, Master is a surgeon who removes the cancer of ego, the root thought pattern. This is what Kṛṣṇa does throughout the Gītā dialogue. To give Arjuna credit, he stays through this surgery. Many weaker men would have run away from the operation theatre, this battlefield, with no desire to let go of their identities. Arjuna’s greatness lies in his integrity, his powerful determination, his decision to listen to his Master and be guided by Him.

So, Arjuna implores his Master, ‘Kṛṣṇa, please tell me what to do. I am your disciple. You are my refuge.
Arjuna’s integrity lies also in not making any decision when he is feeling powerless. When you are in the space of powerlessness, the only one decision you have to make is to come out of powerlessness. No other decision should be made. When you are in powerlessness, any decision made leads to more and more powerlessness, more and more suffering.

In his deepest powerless moments, the only decision Arjuna takes is to come out of his powerlessness. He declares to Kṛṣṇa that he is His disciple and exposes his inauthenticies to Kṛṣṇa. It is this readiness to surrender to the Master that brings completion to Arjuna and enriches him to take the responsibility to win the war, which in reality is the war within himself. This is the war that each one of us is fighting each day with our powerlessness, if we are truly aware. This is the war that we need to fight to drop our root pattern, our mind, and the identity that binds us to all the bondages upon this earth.

Listen! Whatever you think is yours and whatever you think is you, is different from the truth. It is the Master who can lead you through the path of self-completion, as Kṛṣṇa is now leading Arjuna. To be led, you need the attitude of surrender, the decision to surrender your powerlessness.

source: chapter 2, Bhagavadgita Decoded

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