Let us rewind back a several thousand years to huge battlefield in the northern part of today’s India which is completely enveloped by the massive armies of the two warring camps. The finest and the best of the warriors from all over the civilized world have assembled in this battlefield, to fight for one of the two camps. Each one of them has a reason to be here. Some are fighting for honour, while some are fighting for land, some are fighting for displaying their valour, while some others are fighting because they have an obligation. The whole atmosphere is charged up, with battle cries resounding in all directions.
Amidst all this din, a warrior prince, one of the greatest archers of his time, asks his charioteer to take him around, so that he can get a good view of the warriors whom he must contend with in this great display of arms. The charioteer obliges and stations the chariot right at centre of the two armies, such that they get a full view of the mightiest amongst the opponent warriors. He then says, “Look, Oh mighty prince. The entire Kuru army has assembled before us. These are verily the men whom you’ll have to fight.” The prince takes a good look at the enemy. Stationed among them, he sees, his grandfather, his teacher, his friends, relatives, well wishers – his own people! His palms begin to sweat slowly loosening the grip on his mighty bow gAnDhiva. His brows rise, leaving lines of doubts on his forehead. An ominous cloud looms over the battlefield. It takes the shape of uncertainty and grief in the heart of the prince. “How can a person fight against his own relatives. And to what end ? For mere wealth and kingdom ? How can I enjoy that wealth which is stained by the blood of my kinsmen ? Am I not better off leading the life of a mendicant than fighting all these elders who deserve not the sharpest of my arrows but my humble devotion? I am confused. How do I know what is good for us ? This grief, this uncertainty is killing me, it is drying up my senses. The pain cannot be extinguished even if I were to obtain unrivaled prosperity on this earth or even if I were granted lordship over the gods themselves. In this situation, nothing strikes me. Please tell unto me without any hesitation, what is the right thing that will be good for all of us ?”. Saying thus, he sits down on his chariot, depressed. He adds “I shall not fight.”
The charioteer smiles. He was expecting this. The moment the prince asked Him to take him around the battle-field, He knew this was bound to happen. However, He did not hesitate to position the chariot right in the middle of the two armies with the full view of the opponents. He wanted the prince to know whom he was fighting. He knows that the seeds for this battle had been sown long ago. The poisonous sapling that arose was nurtured night and day with hatred, jealousy and greed. The Wax house, the game of dice, they were additional feasts which encouraged the growth of the plant into a mighty tree. All efforts to prune its growth had been tried. But they failed, since the poisonous tree had grown too strong. All these many years of feeding had made it quite strong. Now, it needs to be struck down with the mighty blow, before it can be uprooted completely. He knows all of this very well. He knows more. Thus, when he sees the prince in the shattered state, the charioteer who is not only the prince’s closest friend, but also his mentor and confidante, smiles and tells unto him “You speak like a wise man, but you are grieving for those who are not to be grieved for. The wise don’t lament about the living and the dead. There was never a time when I, you or all these kings did not exist. Nor will there ever be a time in the when any of us shall cease to exist.”
Thus began that divine charioteer the discourse which unraveled the mysteries and the sciences behind all of this. That immortal discourse is today known as the Bhagavad Gita or the Song of the Lord.
In that discourse, He tells the prince Arjuna,
mAtrAsparshAstu kaunteya, shItoShNasukhaduHkha dAH
AgamApAyinonityAH, tans titikshasva bharata. (Chapter 2, Verse 14)
yam hi na vyathayantyete, puruShaM puruShaRShabha
sama duHkha sukhaM dhIraM, so’mRtatvAya kalpate. (Chapter 2, Verse 15)
nAsato vidyate bhAvaH, nabhAvo vidyate sataH;
ubhayor api dRshtontaH, tv anayos tattva darshibhiH (Chapter 2, Verse 16)
Roughly translated to:
“It’s the sensory perceptions O son of Kunti that give rise to opposites such as Cold-Heat, Happiness and Sorrow. These are not permanent, for they arrive and disappear. Hence O scion of Bharata endure them.
The person who is never affected by these opposites, who treats happiness and Sorrow as the same, who is steady under happiness and sorrow, such a person is certainly eligible for immortality, O Best of men.
Of the unreal, there is no being. There is no reality in the non-being. The seers of the truth have verily concluded this after observing the two.”
Ages pass. Great men come and go. They say great things which remain with us for a while before they too like their originators get buried in the sands of time.
But once in ages comes along a someone who breaks free from the shackles of time, arises from the dark dungeons of ignorance and cross the mighty ocean of experience, when the whole world is still soundly asleep. His mere thought enlivens the spirit. His actions inspire people to strive for things beyond the mundane. His words shine like the sun in the sky bearing witness to all that has been said and all that will be said. He is verily the giver of the greatest bliss and the greatest knowledge. Of such a Yugapurush it is said:
vasudeva sutam devam, kansa chAnUra mardanam
DevakI parmAnandam KRShNa vande jagat-gurUm
Wishing all readers a Happy Krishna Janmasthami.