When you feel responsible for everything that happens in your life, you will feel that everything is joyful, because nothing can make you powerless. So, empower yourself with responsibility and unlock the power of feeling.


In these verses from 2.31 to 2.38, Kṛṣṇa works on Arjuna at two levels. At one level He talks to Arjuna at the super conscious plane educating him on what the ultimate Truth is.

He talks to Arjuna about how the undying and indestructible spirit lives on. Here, Kṛṣṇa addresses Arjuna’s fears about killing his svajanam, his relatives, elders and teaches him that what he considers to be the end of life for these people is just one step in their journey.

It is not what you do that matters; it is who you are being that matters. It is your space that matters. Whether you are being complete or incomplete matters.

Kṛṣṇa then descends to the practical level at which Arjuna exists and begins addressing his svadharma, Arjuna’s own dharma, the natural path of his responsibility. Kṛṣṇa explains to Arjuna why, from a societal point of view, he should not run away from the battlefield, but instead, stay on and fight as behaves a warrior. Kṛṣṇa here addresses Arjuna as kṣatriya, the warrior.

In each society there are groups of people who are the designated protectors of that society. They are the warriors, the soldiers, who defend their country and countrymen. In the same manner, there are others who are designated as clerics and priests, as teachers, as businessmen and as workers.

An Enlightened Master can do no wrong even if he kills, because when he kills, it would be with completion, not with compulsion for personal benefit. On the other hand, any average person with incompletions, even while doing an act of kindness, he may be doing something wrong.

When Kṛṣṇa refers to Arjuna as a kṣatriya, he is referring to the entire personality of Arjuna, the great warrior, which has been decided only partly by birth and mostly by training based on his aptitude. Arjuna is the quintessential warrior who knows no fear, and yet is now disturbed by issues of whether he is doing right or wrong by fighting against his kinsmen.

Kṛṣṇa says, ‘Fight! You are a kṣatriya. By fighting as your own responsibility demands, svadharmam api cāvekṣya (2.31), you earn merits and go to heaven. If you run away from this war, you commit a sin for being out-of-integrity with your responsibility, hitvā pāpam avāpsyasi (2.33). You will also be termed a coward and people who know you will laugh at you, akīrtiṁ cāpi bhūtani kathayiṣyanti te ‘vyayām (2.3). You will be dishonored, and for a kṣatriya, dishonor is far worse than death, sambhāvitasya cākīrtir maraṇād atiricyate (2.34).

Do not worry about victory or defeat. If you are defeated and slain you will ascend to heaven. If you are victorious, you will enjoy material benefits in this world itself. Therefore, O Kaunteya, fight as it is your re-
sponsibility as a kṣatriya.’

hato vā prāpsyasi svargaṁ jitvā vā bhokṣyase mahīm I
tasmād uttiṣṭha kaunteya yuddhāya kṛta-niścayaḥ II 2.37

Kṛṣṇa says to treat pain and pleasure, gain and loss, victory and defeat all the same. He says to fight without worrying about the outcome. To fight is your responsibility. You shall incur no sin.

sukha-dukḥe same kṛtvā lābhālābhau jayājayau I

tato yuddhāya yujyasya naivaṁ pāpam avāpsyasi II 2.38

When the Paramātma – Supreme Soul says this, it means that Arjuna does not have to worry about right and wrong, about sin or merit. Isn’t fighting, isn’t killing people a sin, you may ask. Then why is it that Kṛṣṇa encourages Arjuna, not merely encourages, but actually forces Arjuna to fight and kill? What is the operative logic here, you may ask.

There is no logic. Kṛṣṇa’s exhortation is beyond human rationale. It is not what you do that matters; it is who you are being that matters.It is your space that matters. Whether you are being complete or incomplete matters.

An Enlightened Master can do no wrong even if he kills, because when he kills, it would be with completion, not with compulsion for personal benefit. On the other hand, any average person with incompletions, even while doing an act of kindness, he may be doing something wrong.

Kṛṣṇa is not worried about what you do, He is concerned only about who you are being. If your actions are from completion, if they are innocent of motives, whatever you do is right. If what you do is motivated by patterns of fear and greed, pain and pleasure, victory and defeat, you can do nothing right. Whatever you do for gain is sinful.

When you take responsibility to fulfill what others expect from you, the whole Cosmos expresses through you! You will have extraordinary powers, because it is directly seva, enriching others. Whenever you enrich others with a feeling of responsibility, without having any other motive, the Cosmos celebrates your Existence. It just celebrates your Existence!

Understand, if the gap between who you are and who you want to be is without responsibility, it is greed. If it is with responsibility, it is possibility! When there is no responsibility-bridge, it is greed. When you are building the responsibility-bridge to achieve what you want to be, then it becomes a possibility; it is no more greed!

I tell you, Kṛṣṇa is enriching Arjuna with the bridge of responsibility to expand Arjuna’s shrinking identity as a kṣatriya. Even Śrī Rāma had to build the bridge to reach Sītā! When you add responsibility to greed, the gap suddenly reduces. The gap reduces drastically! Responsibility infused into thinking removes the agitation and disconnection with you.

We always feel that responsibility is a burden. NO! It is a power!

Responsibility directly leads you to leadership consciousness. As long as you feel responsible only for your family, you remain as the head of your family. When you feel responsible for the community, you become a leader of the community. As your feeling of responsibility expands, your leadership quality also expands.

The decision to feel responsible for the whole Cosmos is Enlightenment! Feeling responsible for the Whole and declaring to live by your feeling is responsible declaration, known in Hindu spiritual practice as nididhyāsana.

Responsible declaration unlocks the power of feeling, prema śakti in you. But the moment you hear that you are responsible for everything happening around you, you think, ‘If I feel responsible for all the garbage on the streets, I will be stuck cleaning it up the whole day! I will not be able to do anything else!’

Please listen! I am not saying that if you feel responsible for the streets, you will need to clean them yourself. I am also not saying that you will NOT clean them yourself. Anything may happen, but don’t be afraid to dive into the feeling of responsibility just because of your imaginary complications. Don’t stop yourself from feeling it at all.

Understand the science of feeling. You can feel anything as joy or anything as pain – it is your freedom! Even the greatest achievement can bring pain to you, and even the worst experience can be a joyful learning. You have the ability to decide how you want to feel!

Listen: whenever you feel empowered, you are joyful. Whenever you feel powerless, you experience suffering. All your suffering pain, anger, guilt, fear, jealousy, frustration is nothing but powerlessness expressing in different ways! When you feel responsible for everything that happens in your life, you will feel that everything is joyful, because nothing can make you powerless. So, empower yourself with responsibility and unlock the power of feeling.

By unlocking the power of feeling, you will always act from a space of power and completion and start focusing on the solution, not the problem; without worrying about its outcome. As Kṛṣṇa says, you will begin holding success and failure, pain and pleasure the same and just fulfill your responsible declaration. With responsibility, your inner space expands and opens up new possibilities and you gain higher control of your life. Ultimately, you raise yourself to the next level of success and evolve into a new being.

Please listen. When you take responsibility to fulfill what others expect from you, the whole Cosmos expresses through you! You will have extraordinary powers, because it is directly seva, enriching others. Whenever you enrich others with a feeling of responsibility, without having any other motive, the Cosmos celebrates your Existence. It just celebrates your Existence!

What happens when the fear of loss of reputation and loss of identity disappears? Will your greed still last? Fear and greed are strong motivators because we are not sure about ourselves; we are caught in self-doubting pattern. We do not know who we are and we do not take responsibility for who we want to be. Here Kṛṣṇa is breaking that mould. Act without fear and greed, He says. Do not worry about consequences. Do not doubt yourself and your actions. This is against all societal and religious conditioning.

Kṛṣṇa, as the transcendental Parabrahman, is not concerned about the practical and societal consequences of Arjuna walking out of the battlefield. He is only concerned about what that would do to Arjuna’s inner self. He wants Arjuna to reclaim his inner space, which is occupied by his self-doubt. If Arjuna had truly been steeped in ahiṁsa, non-violence, Kṛṣṇa would have never attempted to persuade Arjuna into violence.

Arjuna however, was trying to avoid fighting, not because of any moral and conscientious objection, but out of his root thought pattern of emotional attachment to his kinsmen and others arising out of his own identification with them.

In these verses from 2.31 to 2.38, Kṛṣṇa is trying to bring Arjuna out of his root pattern, his dilemma, which has obscured his normally clear vision. Kṛṣṇa is trying to get Arjuna to transcend his conditioned actions based on fear and greed relating to the killing of his kinsmen, his svajanam. He is getting him to act out of completion, out of his svadharmam, without worrying about the outcome.

source: chapter 2, Bhagavadgita Decoded

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