Arjuna's sorrow

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

Last week we have talked about four human goals, where the last one moksa - liberation from all the searching of fulfilment, actually is the underlying goal of all others three.

Moksa is liberation from the search of fulfilment, doesn't mean we stop our physical needs like shelter, food, comfort, etc. All these needs are not problems to us, but our problem lies on our mind. Most of the time when our needs and wants can't be fulfilled, actually the lacking is not in the object or situation itself, but the mental state of being without. Sense of emptiness, inadequacy, uselessness, helplessness and other forms of sorrow are brought about by un-fulfilment of what I want (raga) and also get rid of what I don't want (dvesa). Our entire life is governed by raga (likes) and dvesa (dislike). One can say that his/her life is very peaceful, everything is there without much effort, no goals to be fulfilled, one is very contented with one's life, but when something undesirable happened, and one is helpless on the situation, yet wishes to get out from the situation, means the sense of inadequacy is there. I am inadequate to fulfil what I want and also inadequate to be free from what I don't want. Sometimes as big as live and death situation, also can be as small as a decision on what to eat. The forms of sorrow can be differing from person to person, but all the sorrows only having their basis on sense of inadequacy of oneself. Therefore every mind is a kuru-ksetra (the field of war in Kuru-family) for us.


In the same manner happened to Arjuna, the student of Gītā teaching. He was facing the dilemma between fighting the war of dharma or retrieve from the war, because of the mental attachment toward his dear and kin on another side of the war. The story start from Pāndava, five brothers namely Yudhisthira, Arjuna, Bhīma, Nakula and Sahadeva, inherited the kingdom from their father Pāndu. The kingdom's territory was divided to two, shares to their cousins Kaurava (100 brothers with the eldest named Duryodhana, children of Dhrtarāstra (the blind king who is elder to Pāndu). Driven by greed and jealousy, Duryodhana won his cousin's kingdom by cheating in the dice game. According to the term of game, the defeated Pāndava were to live in the forest for twelve years and live incognito for another year. After thirteen years, they could return and claim their kingdom. The Pāndava survived their exile and returned to their kingdom, but Duryodhana refused to honour his bargain. After all the peaceful efforts Pāndava did, lastly the war was declared. Some great men who were dedicated to the cause of dharma, moral and ethical code of the land, supported Pāndava. Some others including the most honoured grand-uncle and teachers were on the other side because of certain personal reason. After the conches of war were blowed, Arjuna asked Krsna to bring his chariot between two armies. Krsna took Arjuna's chariot nicely in front of Bhīsma (grand-uncle), Drona (archery teacher), and the rest of his opponents. Seeing this, Arjuna resolve to fight. He fell in to the dilemma between to fight the war of dharma or retrieve from the war, let the adharma announces its victory. Dilemma was there because he knew deep inside what is his duty to protect dharma, but driven by attachment, he didn't want to fight the war. He even thought resort to the life of sanyasa (monkshood), given up everything so the doesn't need to face this condition. The grace was there with him to have Krsna by his side, and he himself also surrender to Krsna, asking for the teaching to release him from this sorrow. From here the teaching begin.


Why such an intelligent person like Arjuna couldn't find the the solution? This is not just happened to Arjuna, it is a fundamental problem of all of us.


First, because we are finding the solution in the wrong place. We are misplacing the search for our fulfilment outside of us without knowing all along the fulfilment we are looking for is myself alone. The sense of limitation is in me, but by thinking of adding anything outside of me, will solve the problem. Misplaced the search means we will never find what we are searching, because it is not there. Same thing happened to Arjuna, he thought by choosing the life of sanyasa, all the problems will be solved.


Second, if one is really lacking, there is no way for one to fulfil the lack totally. We are not talking about lacking of certain object, like a book or anything. If my mind think I am a person who is lacking, no matter how much object we obtained, the sense of lack it always there. Another reason is because everything in the realm of the creation is having the nature of modification, therefore it is limited in nature. No matter how much limited we pursue, we will never get limitless. In this case we will never totally fulfil what we are lacking, except if my nature is limitless alone. There is no lack in me what so ever, then total fulfilment is possible.

Two fold mistakes we are doing, first is to find the solution in the wrong place and second when there is no real lacking in us.


Why we commit such mistakes? You are saying there is no real lacking, but why I always experience the limitation? The limitation I experienced is adhyaropita (superimposed / false attributed) upon me. The limitation is belong to the inert body-mind-sense-complex. My true nature is wholeness alone (pūrnatvam). Therefore one needs to see the fact that limitation is not belong to me and I should giving up (vairagya) to what is not me and own back the true me. By seeing the limitation of all the worldly pursues, and outgrown them, is called vairagya which preceded by viveka (discrimination knowledge between real and not real).


Only by the knowledge of my true self - ātma-jñānam, the ignorance about my true nature together with the notion of limitation as the result of ignorance are removed, then I can be totally free from this life of becoming - samsārah. And this knowledge can not be figured out by our own because we are all endowed with avidya - ignorance about our true nature. This ignorance is unavoidable, because it is the śakti - power in the realm of the creation itself. Because of not knowing my true nature, then taking the non me to be me. This ignorance can be removed only by the teaching of Veda itself, unfolded by the guru. A lot of people can't really accept this idea of Veda is the only pramanam - means of knowledge for the nature of the self. They think who can know myself better than me alone. Therefore the un-ending searching without giving the result continue. One thing we must know that anything outside of us can be known based on our the perception. But self can't be seen. Therefore we need a means outside of us to show who is the real I. Just like one can’t see one’s own eyes, we need a mirror as the means to know how do they look like. Veda is the mirror and guru is the one who cures the disease of our eyes, so we can see clearly that wholeness is my nature. Even though the mirror is available, but with the defect eyes, we also can not see clearly. Just like in the second verse of gurustotram:

ajñānatimirāndhasya jñānāñjanaśalākayā |

caksurunmīlitam yena tasma śrigurave namak ||

Our eyes are cured from the blindness of ignorance by our teacher who applies the medicine of knowledge to us. To that teacher my salutation.


Here in Gītā, Lord himself come in the form of Krsna jagad-guru - teacher of the world, unfolding the teaching to Arjuna and to us.

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