Bhagavad Gita: Ch. 1-6

I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed reading the Gita. Arjuna’s dilemna (although the word dilemna seems too light a word to describe the anguish of his inner turmoil) strikes me as so human and honest that it made the story come to life for me.

As Arjuna is going to war against members of his own family and friends, he despairs. He cannot understand the good of slaughtering those that he loves and cares about, and wonders if the kingdom he seeks to rightfully regain is worth the loss of so much life, and if his cause justifies killing his kinsmen. Krishna’s response to his dilemna was intriguing. He tells Arjuna that there is no difference between life and death, saying “Death is inevitable for the living; birth is inevitable for the dead.” (2:27) The dilemna, Krishna tells him, lies not in the death of his kinsmen but in the fulfillment of his dharma.

In my own life I have not experienced anything as extreme as Arjuna’s dilemna, but I have experienced the dilemna between doing what is right but is also painful and doing what makes me comfortable but is not right. I have always been a people pleaser and a peacemaker, and when the need for confrontation arises I dread it with every fiber of my being. I’m afraid I have failed to do what is necessary in favor of avoiding pain, and as a result I have allowed people to take advantage of me and ultimately diminished a little bit of my identity. These are difficult things to realize about myself, but I hope that in the future I can face this dilemna with a greater knowledge of myself, and with the strength to do what is right even if it is painful. As Krishna says to Arjuna, “Even a little effort toward spiritual awareness will protect you from the greatest fear.” (2:40b) I hope this can be true for me.

 

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