Krishna reveals his true form to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra,
as told in the Eternal Song, the Bhagavad Gita
“Umā, fight back why don’t you? You let yourself be massacred.” I was told.
“What about Arjuna? He had to fight. Why not me? I will fight by you.
How can I stand to see lies surmount the truth? Why do you?”
Indeed, it was Arjuna’s sanctioned duty as a Kshatriya to take up arms along with his fellow warriors and set his arrows into flight to hit their mark. No matter how dearly he remembered the warring family assembled with an army against him on the hallowed battlefield, he was called to challenge them where they stood, even though and ironically because they each represented a familiar part of his life’s journey past.
No matter how doubtful, remorseful and well intentioned he was in his soft-hearted attempt to abandon the offensive and spare others their fate at his hand, he was obliged by nature of his birth, capacity and aptitude to serve front and center—as only he could and therefore should—if all was to be so consciously and faithfully aligned to the bigger picture.
The bigger picture like a macrocosmic puzzle cannot be seen or known in its entirety by the individual, until that immanent totality explodes at once all co-existing parts of itself through the means of one tunnelling, throbbing coalescence.
Lord Krishna revealed his real divinised form before Arjuna to illuminate the way and to literally spur and drive him on as charioteer into the fields of Self-realisation, upon which skilful surrender into dharma was the one true engagement informing all action. Such is the yoga of duty served for the balance of natural order upheld.
Arjuna was shown that if he did not rally all senses to serve as an integrated function of his inherent design that ordered and powered instrumental existence, then where—if he left that battlefield—could he go? Where could he escape to where his purpose for being would not follow along with him, in him, as him?
Access into the extant yogic transmissions of India has long granted the tried and trued practitioner knowhow of what works, to divulge the generative, substantiative, and liberating applicability of existence. One quickly rediscovers that the purpose for being is organically fulfilled by being interactively true to one’s fundamentally whole self, with growing awareness in due course of appropriate conditions for the far reaching play of viable presence.
Krishna expounded teachings embedded in the underlying philosophy of yogic traditions such as Ayurveda, the medicinal “Science of Life”. Acting upon the elemental understanding that our greater duty is to conform with our own true nature, our uppermost consideration would be to know our fundamental self first.
Who and what are we? What is life for? What is death for? Until we begin to follow who we are by nature, knowing how best to align with and serve natural order, then what steers our focus and will to divide and offer up selflessly the fruits of our labour? And what illuminates viability of our heart’s mind to “resign all work to God”—a desire such as one to live in grace for—that is self-fulfilling by just thinking upon it?
Arjuna’s doubt was self-doubt, a natural consequence of regular ignorance. That ignorance is one leading consequence of distraction from self. Distraction from self is one leading consequence of fear of the conveniently forgotten. The resistance to remember is one leading consequence of avoidance of inconvenient pain. The pain of separation is one leading consequence of the natural urge to search further and further outside of oneself for more of oneself, until one forgets that the original urge to voyage so far afield was born of the unadulterated impulse to be—one with all, in all, as all, as that one Self who in truth is second to none, because there is no “other” than what is one whole of all its parts.
The natural, underlying urge is to be free to be. Free to perform one’s part. The counter force is to quell that urge by shaming the nature of its aim, and forcing the abortion of its process. And the strategised retaliation against the inevitable resurrection of that inborn urge to be wholly free, is to pounce on its infancy and fallaciously obscure the organic sanction of any self-aroused, meaningful purpose to grow and freely circulate.
Until Arjuna remembered his absolute nature, through the intervening grace of irreversible affirmation—as a significantly functioning part of the whole of which he is in reality inseparable and irreplaceable—it was fear that had been steering him. And once he experienced and allowed for the divine nature of the one, true reality to overwhelm his brittle understanding of right from wrong, he could see what had always been so: that he was chosen to fulfil a task that only he could do full justice to, and that task was to be true to what was real, for him. And he arrived at this refreshed self awareness, by speaking the doubt and asking the big questions, directly commanding through prayer, embodied revelation of God.
In so reflecting, I find myself poised to answer the original question, “Fight Umā, why don’t you? For you are by birth a warrior and trained to rally all senses as a means to serve what is real for you. Remember the teaching of Arjuna the Archer in The Gita?”
Reflecting further, I ask—What fight? Is this a fight for us on a hallowed battlefield like Kurukshetra, with agreed rules of engagement? Or is this a loaded game, set up much like the high stakes gamble that Arjuna’s Kaurava cousin, Duryodhana jealously angled for by playing on his blinded father’s attachment to him and by playing into his crooked uncle’s scheme to humiliate and dethrone the Pandava Yudhisthira, Arjuna’s brother and rightful king?
Lost in anger, greed and revenge, the Kauravas continued to undermine the Pandavas’ naturally earned recovery of rights to their own kingdom. They overruled the Pandavas’ early and repeated motions of peace, for peace is no prize for those who lust for the controls of conflict.
See here shown by the Gita, a series of vitriolic attempts by people who cannot and therefore will not stomach another’s power and success because they are not yet successfully processing their own sense of inadequacy.
In the emptiness, bitterness erodes the sense of self possession and connectivity with another. In the seemingly unending hollows, no experience fully satisfies and the rabid hungering raises an acidic sea of spite that bubbles over and sears the cellular safety measures that nourish the sense of satiation and cushion the mind from pain.
And so begins a vicious cycle that backfires on itself to leave undigested mounds of mouldering hurt and fermenting hate, that seek more of it selves to grow in defence against the love and reasoning that will be perceived as an affront. For such a pain addict, perverse connection and relief might be found by projecting and eventually attaching to their self appointed opponent to see and validate the painful impact they have that tantalises and overstuffs their addled appetite.
Here and there growing mobs assemble as opponents representing each a part of their own lives’ journey past. But no matter how the estranged may slice and dice, hack and stack, what blow can displace the truth, if truth itself takes no side?
The truth fears not loss, nor hungers for its win. It is self substantiated. Knowing this, “honesty is the best policy”. What game that stakes your peace of mind is ever worth playing unless we play in earnest for the truth, and only truth, so help us God, truly speaking.
Words dedicated to my beloved, departed mother, Gita.