In the previous chapter on Sāṅkhya Yogaḥ, Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna that knowledge of the Self is the supreme path to Enlightenment. He explains the nature of the indestructible Self. Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna to shed all root patterns of fear, abandon his desires and go beyond success and failure; to practice authenticity in action, to be unattached and steady in completion of the Self, the state of Brahman.
Arjuna is still in the space of inauthenticity. He is confused as to what he should do. At one level, he understands what Kṛṣṇa says to him. However, the explanation about the spirit living on while the body dies, and the idea that all those he is about to fight and destroy have already been destroyed in the cosmic sense, does not appeal to him. Arjuna is a warrior. To him, what is seen in front of him is what exists. He sees all his elders and relatives arrayed against him in battle and he has to make a choice to kill or be killed. This is the physical reality that he faces. Kṛṣṇa tells him not to take this reality seriously. He says all the living people in front of him are already dead, and therefore he is committing no sin by killing them again. In fact, if he does not fight them, he is being out of integrity; by running away from the battle as an inauthentic coward. He also tells Arjuna that he has the right to do his duty but no right to its results. Continue reading →