Chapter 2: Krishna is Complete and whole,

Question 2



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Question 2


No, I did not say that Mahavira and Buddha were masochistic sannyasins. What I said was that sannyas in the past was masochistic. If you look at the lives of Mahavira and Buddha, you will see that they are for renunciation of life. I did not call them masochistic. I know they achieved the highest in life, and their unhappiness is very different. Their unhappiness is a kind of boredom arising from happiness; their unhappiness is not the absence of happiness. No one can say they turned to sannyas for want of happiness in life; it was not so. But the irony is that when there is too much happiness it becomes meaningless. So they renounced happiness. So while happiness became meaningless for them, its renunciation had meaning. They put a pronounced stress on renunciation. They stood by renunciation.

For Krishna, not only is happiness meaning less, its renunciation is also meaningless. Krishna's understanding of meaninglessness is much deeper. Try to understand it.

If I cling to a thing, it means it has meaning for me. And if I renounce it, then also, in a negative sense, it has meaning for me, because I think I will suffer if I don't give it up. I don't say that the sannyas of Mahavira and Buddha arose from suffering. I don't say so at all. Their sannyas flowed from a condition of happiness. They left this happiness in search of some higher kind of happiness. So in this matter there is a difference between them and Krishna.

Krishna does not renounce this happiness for the sake of some greater happiness; rather, he uses it as a stepping-stone to reach the other happiness we call bliss. He does not see any contradiction between the two kinds of happiness: the higher happiness is only the extension of the lower. Bliss, according to Krishna, is not opposed to the happiness of this world: it is the highest rhythm of the same music, the same dance. For Krishna, happiness contains some rudiments of bliss: one can have a little glimpse of bliss even in happiness. Happiness is the beginning of bliss; bliss is the climax of happiness.

It is from a situation of happiness that Buddha and Mahavira came to sannyas, it is true, but renunciation remains their stance: they renounce the world; they leave it. Renunciation has a place in their gestalt, and this gestalt assumes a good deal of importance in the eyes of masochistic people. Where Bud&a and Mahavira left the world out of boredom, the masochists thought they had done so because of suffering and pain. Interpretations of Buddha and Mahavira were done by the masochists as well. Not only Krishna, even Mahavira and Buddha had to suffer at the hands of the masochists. Injustice -- of course, in smaller measure -- was done to these two luminaries in the same way it was done to Krishna.

We are unhappy, we are in misery. When we leave the world we do so because of our unhappiness. Buddha and Mahavira, however, left the world because of happiness. So there is a difference between us, on the one hand, and Mahavira and Buddha on the other, because the reasons for our renunciation are different.

Buddha and Mahavira are sannyasins of affluence; nonetheless there is a clear cut difference between Buddha and Mahavira, on the one hand, and Krishna on the other. The difference is that where Buddha and Mahavira renounce happiness, Krishna does not renounce it. Krishna accepts that which is. He does not find happiness even worth renouncing, let alone indulging. He does not find happiness even worth renouncing. He has no desire whatsoever to make even a slight change in life as it is; he accepts it totally.

A fakir has said in his prayer, "O Lord, I accept you, but not your world." In fact, every fakir says, "O Lord, I accept you, but not your world." This is opposite to the position taken by an atheist. The atheist says, "I accept your world, not you." Thus theists and atheists are two sides of the same coin.

Krishna's theism is quite unique. In fact, only Krishna is a theist: he accepts what is. He says to God, "I accept you and your world too," and this acceptance is so complete, so profound that it is difficult to know where the world ends and God begins. The world is really the extended hand of God, and God is the innermost being hidden in the world. The difference between the world and God is no more than this.

Krishna accepts the whole. It is important to understand that Krishna does not give up anything, neither pain nor happiness. He does not renounce that which is. With him the question of renunciation does not arise.

If we understand rightly we will see that the individual, the ego, the I begins with giving up, with renunciation. As soon as we renounce something I-ness into being. There is no way for me, for the ego to be if we don't give up anything.

It is difficult to find a more egoless person than Krishna. He is utterly egoless. And because he has no ego whatsoever, he can, with utmost ease, say things that sound egoistic. He tells Arjuna, "Give up everything and surrender to me, come to my feet." This seems to be a statement of great egoism. What greater egoistic statement can there be than to say, "Give up everything and come to my feet"? It is ironic that this statement, which seems so obviously egoistic even to ordinary minds like ours, does not seem so to Krishna himself. He has at least as much intelligence as we have; he should know it is an egoistic declaration. But he makes it with amazing ease and innocence and spontaneity. Really, only a person who is not in the least aware of his me and mine can make such a declaration.

What does Krishna really tell Arjuna? When he says, "Leave everything and come to my feet," he means to say that Arjuna should set aside everything and go to the feet of life itself, should accept life as it is.

It is amusing that Krishna exhorts Arjuna to fight. If we look at the dialogue between the two, Arjuna appears to be more religious, and what Krishna says is not that religious. Krishna provokes him to fight, and Arjuna refuses to do so. He says, "It is painful to kill my own people. I won't kill them even for the sake of a kingdom and a king's throne. I would rather go begging in the streets, rather commit suicide rather than kill my relatives, friends and teachers who are on the other side."

What religious person can say that Arjuna is wrong? Every religious person will say that Arjuna is absolutely right, that he is filled with a sense of righteousness, that he is on the path of religion. He will say he is a sage, a man of wisdom. But Krishna tells him, "You are deluded and you have gone off track. Your sense of religion has utterly left you."

And then he tells Arjuna, "You are mad if you think you can kill someone. No one ever dies. And you are mistaken to think you can save those standing before you. Who has ever saved anyone? And you cannot escape war, nor can you be non violent, because as long as the I exists -- and it is this I that is anxious to save itself and its family and relatives -- non violence is next to impossible. No, be rid of this nonsense and face reality. Set aside your sense of I and fight. Accept what is facing you. And what is facing you is not a temple where prayers are made, it is war. It is war you are facing. And you have to plunge into it. And so drop your I. Who are you?"

In the course of his exhortation Krishna makes a very interesting and significant remark. He tells Arjuna, "All those you think you have to kill are already dead. They are just awaiting death at the most you can serve as a medium for hastening it. But if you think you will kill them, then you will cease to be a medium, you will become a doer. And don't think you will be their savior if you run away from the battlefield. That would be another illusion. You can neither kill them nor save them. You have only to play a role; it is nothing more than play-acting. Therefore go into it totally, and do your part unwaveringly. And you can be totally in anything only if you put aside your mind, drop your ego and cease looking at things from the angle of I or me and mine."

What does it all mean? Do you understand what Krishna means to say? It is of tremendous significance to understand it.

It means that if someone drops the viewpoint of the ego, he will cease to be a doer, and then he can only be a player, an actor. If I am Rama and my Seeta is kidnapped, I will cry for her. But the way I cry for her will be quite different if I am acting his part in a drama on his life. Then I will also cry, and maybe my crying is going to be more real than that of the actual Rama. Indeed, it is going to be a better performance, because the real Rama does not have the opportunity to rehearse his role. Seeta is lost to him only once and he comes to know of it only after she has been kidnapped. He is not prepared for it. And as a doer, he is lost in the act of crying. He cries, screams, and suffers for Seeta.

That is why India does not accept Rama as a perfect incarnation of God. He cannot be a perfect actor; he is more a doer than an actor. He tries and fails again and again. He remains a doer. So we describe his life as that of an ideal character. He is not an actor, a player.

An actor does not have a character, he has just a role to play. So we describe Krishna's life as a real play, a performance. Krishna's life is a leela; he just plays his part and plays it perfectly. Rama's life has a character, it is idealistic; Krishna's life is a free play, a leela.

Character is a serious thing. A man of character has to approximate his conduct to a set of ideas, rules and regulations. He has to pick and choose; he has to choose between good and evil, between shoulds and should-nots. Arjuna is trying to be a man of character; Krishna is trying to make an actor of him. Arjuna wants to know what he should do and what he should not do. Krishna asks him to accept that which is, that which comes his way, and not to choose, not to bring his mind, his ego into it. This is absolute acceptance -- where you have nothing to deny.

But it is arduous, really arduous to accept the whole of existence without choosing. Total acceptance means there is no good and bad, no virtue and vice, no pain and pleasure. Total acceptance means one drops for good the old ways of dialectical thinking, of thinking by splitting everything into two, into its opposites. Krishna tells Arjuna there is really no birth and death, that no one is ever born and no one ever dies, that no one kills and no one gets killed, so Arjuna can plunge into war without fear and with abandon, so he can play freely with war.

Everything on this earth is divine; everything in existence is godly, so the question of right and wrong does not arise. Of course, it is really arduous to understand it and live it.

The vision of Krishna is extremely difficult for a moralistic mind to decipher. A moralist finds it easier to understand an immoral person than Krishna. He can brush an immoral man aside by calling him a sinner. But in regard to Krishna he finds himself in a quandary. How to place him? He cannot say that Krishna is a bad man, because he does not seem to be so. And he also cannot gather the courage to say that Krishna is good, because he is goading Arjuna into things that are obviously bad, very bad.

Gandhi found himself in such a dilemma when he wanted to discuss Krishna. In fact, he was more in agreement with Arjuna than with Krishna, How can Gandhi accept it when Krishna goads Arjuna into war? He could be rid of Krishna if he were clearly bad, but his badness is not that clear, because Krishna accepts both good and bad. He is good, utterly good, and he is also utterly bad -- and paradoxically, he is both together, and simultaneously. His goodness is crystal-clear, but his badness is also there. And it is difficult for Gandhi to accept him as bad.

Under the circumstances there was no other course for Gandhi but to say that the war of Mahabharat was a parable, a myth, that it did not happen in reality. He cannot acknowledge the reality of the Mahabharat, because war is violence, war is evil to him. So he calls it an allegorical war between good and evil. Here Gandhi takes shelter behind the same dialectics Krishna emphatically rejects. Krishna says a dialectical division of life is utterly wrong, that life is one and indivisible. And Gandhi depicts the Mahabharat as a mythical war between good and evil where the Pandavas represent good and the Kaurawas represent evil, and Krishna urges Arjuna to fight on behalf of good. Gandhi has to find this way out. He says the whole thing is just allegorical, poetic.

There is a gap of five thousand years between Krishna and Gandhi, and so it was easy for Gandhi to describe a five-thousand-year-old event as a myth. But the Jainas did not have this advantage, so they could not escape like Gandhi by calling the whole Mahabharat a metaphor. For them it had really happened. Jaina thinking is as old as the VEDAS.

Hindus and Jainas share the same antiquity. So the Jainas could not say like Gandhi -- who was a Jaina in mind and a Hindu in body -- that the war did not really take place or that Krishna did not lead it. They were contemporaries of Krishna, so they could not find any excuse. They sent Krishna straight to hell; they could not do otherwise. They wrote in their scriptures that Krishna has been put in hell for his responsibility for the terrible violence of the Mahabharat. If one responsible for such large scale killing is not committed to hell, what will happen to those who scrupulously avoid even killing a fly as the Jainas do? So the Jainas had to put Krishna in hell.

But this is how his contemporaries thought. Krishna's goodness was so outstanding and vast that even his contemporary Jainas were faced with this difficulty, so they had to invent another story about him. Krishna was a rare and unique man in his own right. It is true he was responsible for a war like the Mahabharat. It is also true he had danced with women, had disrobed them and climbed up a tree with their clothes. Such a good man behaving in such a bad way! So after dumping him into hell they felt disturbed: if such good people as Krishna are hurled into hell then goodness itself will become suspect. So the Jainas said that Krishna would be the first Jaina tirthankara in the next kalpa, in the next cycle of creation. They put him in hell, and at the same time gave him the position of their tirthankara in the coming kalpa.

It was a way of balancing their treatment of Krishna, he was so paradoxical. From a moralistic viewpoint he was obviously a wrong kind of man, but otherwise he was an extraordinary man, worthy of being a tirthankara. Therefore they found a middle way: they put him in hell for the time being and they assigned him the hallowed position of their own future tirthankara. They said that when the current kalpa, one cycle of creation, would end and the next begin, Krishna would be their first tirthankara. This is a compensation Krishna really had nothing to do with. Since they sent him to hell, the Jainas had to compensate. They compensated themselves psychologically.

Gandhi has an advantage: he is far removed from Krishna in time, so he settles the question with great ease. He does not have to send Krishna to hell, nor to make him a tirthankara. He solves his problem by calling the Mahabharat a parable. He says the war did not really take place, that it is just an allegory to convey a truth about life, that it is an allegorical war between good and evil. Gandhi's problem is the same one that faced the Jainas of his time. Non-violence is the problem. He cannot accept that violence can have a place in life. It is the same with good. Good cannot admit that bad has a place in life.

But Krishna says that the world is a unity of opposites. Violence and non-violence always go together, hand-in-hand. There was never a time when violence did not happen, nor was there a time when non-violence did not exist. So those who choose only one of the opposites choose a fragment, and they can never be fulfilled. There was never a time when there was only light or when there was only darkness, nor will it ever be so. Those who choose a part and deny another are bound to be in tension, because in spite of denying it, the other part will always continue to be. And the irony is, the part we choose is dependent for its existence on the part we deny.

Non-violence is dependent on violence; they are really dependent on each other. Light owes its existence to darkness. Good grows in the soil of what we call bad, and draws its sustenance from it. At the other pole of his existence the saint is ultimately connected with the sinner. All polarities are irrevocably bound up with each other: up with down, heaven with hell, good with bad. They are polarities of one and the same truth.

Krishna says, "Accept both the polarities, because both are there together. Go with them, because they are. Don't choose!" It can be said that Krishna is the first person to talk of choicelessness. He says, "Don't choose at all. Choose and you err, choose and you are off track, choose and you are fragmented. Choice also means denial of the other half of truth, which also is. And it is not in our hands to wipe it away. There is nothing in our hands. What is, is. It was, when we did not exist. It will be when we will be no more."

But the moralistic mind, the mind that has so far been taken for the religious mind, has its difficulty. It lives in conflict; it divides everything into good and bad. A moralist takes great pleasure in condemning evil; then he feels great and good. His interest in goodness is negative; it comes from his condemnation of evil. The saint derives all his pleasure from his condemnation of sinners; otherwise he has no way to please himself.

The whole joy of going to heaven depends on the suffering and misery of those who are sent to hell. If those in heaven come to know there is nothing like hell, all their joy will suddenly disappear; they will be as miserable as anything. All their labor will go down the drain if they know no hell exists. If there is no hell, every criminal, every sinner will be in heaven. Where then will the saint go? The happiness of the virtuous is really dependent on the misery of the sinners. The happiness of the rich really stems from the misery of the poor; it does not lie in richness itself. The happiness of a good man is really derived from those condemned as sinners, it is not derived from goodness itself. The saint will lose all his glamor and cheer the moment everyone becomes good; he will instantly become insignificant. Maybe, he will try to persuade a few ex-sinners to return to their old jobs.

The whole significance of the cosmos comes from its opposites, which are really complementaries. And one who observes it wholly will find that what we call bad is the extreme point of good and, similarly, good is the omega point of bad.

Krishna is choiceless, he is total, he is integrated, and therefore he is whole and complete. We have not accepted any other incarnation except Krishna's as whole and complete, and it is not without reason. How can Rama be complete? He is bound to be incomplete, because he chooses only half the truth. He alone can be whole who does not choose -- but simply because of not choosing he will come up against difficulties. His life will be an interplay of light and shade. Now it will be illumined; now, shaded. It can never be a monotone; it cannot be flat and simple.

The life of one who chooses will be all gray, flat and simple, because he has cleaned and polished a corner of his life. But what will he do with the rest of it, which he has rejected and left uncared for? His living room is bright and elegant, well-furnished and decorated, spick-and-span -- but what about the rest of the house with all the rubbish and refuse pushed under the carpet? The rubbish will gather and stink under the carpet.

But what about one who accepts the whole house with its neatness and its rubbish, with its lighted parts and its dark corners? Such a person cannot be categorized. We will see him in our own light, in the light of our choices and preference, of our likes and dislikes. If one wants to see good in him one will find it there. And if a man wants to see only evil in him, he too, will not be disappointed, because in his life, both good and evil are present together. In fact only linguistically, are they two. Existentially they are different aspects of the same thing. They are really one.

Therefore I maintain that Buddha and Mahavira have their choices, are not choiceless. They are good, absolutely good, and for this very reason they are not whole. To be whole, good and bad have to go together. If all the three -- Buddha, Mahavira and Krishna -- stand in a row, Buddha and Mahavira will obviously shine brighter and attract us more than Krishna. Buddha and Mahavira look spotlessly clean; there is no stain whatsoever on their mantles.

If we have to choose between Mahavira and Krishna we will choose Mahavira. Krishna will leave us in some doubt. Krishna has always done so, because he carries with him all the seeming opposites. He is as good as Mahavira is, but in another respect Mahavira cannot be his equal, because Krishna has the courage to be as bad as Genghis and Hitler are. If we can persuade Mahavira to stand on a battlefield with a sword in his hand -- which we cannot -- then he will look like a picture of Krishna. Or if we make Genghis shed his violence and give up everything and stand naked like Mahavira, pure and peaceful like Mahavira -- which is not possible -- then he too will resemble Krishna.

It is next to impossible to judge and evaluate Krishna; he defeats all evaluation, all judgment. With respect to Krishna we have to be non-judgmental. Only those who don't judge can go with him. A judging mind will soon be in difficulty with him and will run away from him. He will touch his feet when he sees his good side, but what will he do when he comes across the other side of the shield?

Because of this paradox, each of Krishna's lovers divided him into parts and chose for himself only that part which accorded with him. No one had the courage to accept the whole of Krishna. If Surdas sings hymns of praise to Krishna, he keeps himself confined to the time of his childhood. He leaves the rest of his life; he does not have the courage to take him wholly. Surdas seems to be a cowardly person: he put his own eyes out with needles -- he blinded himself -- for fear of a beautiful woman. Think of the man who chooses to go without eyes lest those eyes arouse his lust for a woman, lest he falls in love with her. Can such a man accept Krishna totally? It is true Surdas loves Krishna as few people do. He cannot do without him, so he clings to his childhood and ignores his youth. The youthful Krishna is beyond him.

Surdas could have accepted him if, in his youth, Krishna had gone blind like him. Krishna's eyes must have had rare beauty and power they attracted and enchanted so many women, as few pairs of eyes have done. In history it is rare that a single person's eyes were the center of attraction for thousands of women. They must have been extraordinarily captivating, enchanting. They were really magnetic eyes. Surely Surdas did not have eyes like his his eyes were very ordinary. It is true that women attracted him, but I don't know if he also attracted women. So Surdas had to remain content with the childish pranks of Krishna. He ignored the rest of him.

That is how all the scriptures about Krishna are -- fragmentary. As Surdas chooses his childhood, another poet, Keshavadas, opts for a different Krishna, the youthful Krishna. Keshava is not in the least interested in the child Krishna, he is in love with the youthful energy of Krishna, singing and dancing with his village girls. Keshava's mind is youthful and vigorous and hedonistic he delights in the indulgence and exuberance of youth. He would never go blind; if he could, he would even keep his eyes open in the dark.

So Keshava does not talk of Krishna's childhood; he has nothing to do with it. He chooses for himself the dancing Krishna. It is not that he understands Krishna's dance, he chooses it because he has a sensuous mind, a dancing mind. He eulogizes the Krishna who disrobes young women and climbs up a tree with their clothes. Not that Keshava understands the deeper meaning of Krishna's pranks, he does so because he derives vicarious pleasure from Krishna disrobing the women of his village. So he too, like Surdas, has chosen a fragment of Krishna, a truncated Krishna.

That is why the GEETA talks of a Krishna who is utterly different from the Krishna of the BHAGWAD. It is so because of the differing choices and preferences of his devotees and lovers. Krishna himself is choice less and whole, but we are not. And only a man who is himself choiceless and whole can accept and assimilate the whole of Krishna. Those of us who are fragmented and incomplete will first divide him into parts and then choose what we like. And when you choose a part, at the same time you deny the rest of him. But you will say that the remaining Krishna is a myth, an allegory. You will say that the rest of Krishna will suffer in hell till the end of creation. You will say you don't need the whole of Krishna, that a fragment is enough for you. So there are many Krishnas, as many as his lovers and devotees.

Krishna is like a vast ocean on whose endless shore we have made small pools of water we call our own. But these pools don't even cover a small fraction of the immensity that is Krishna. You cannot know the ocean from these petty pools. The pools represent Krishna's lovers and their very limited understanding of him. Don't take the pools for the ocean.

So I am going to discuss the whole of Krishna, the complete Krishna. Because of this, many times in the course of these talks, you will find it difficult to understand me. Many things will defy your mind and intellect, and a few things will even go beyond you. I would like you to rise to the height of the occasion and in spite of your mind's conditioning, prepare yourself to go along with me. If you remain bogged down and cling to the Krishna of your concepts, you will, as you have done so far, again miss the complete Krishna. And I say that only an integrated Krishna, a whole Krishna can be of use to you, not the truncated one you have known so long.

Not only Krishna, even an ordinary person is useful only if he is integrated and whole. Dissect him and you have only his dead limbs in your hands; the live man is no more. So those who divided Krishna into fragments did a great disservice to him and to themselves. They have only his dead limbs with them, while his whole live being is missing. The real Krishna is missing.

There is only one way to have the whole of Krishna, and that is to understand him choicelessly. And understanding him so will be a blissful journey, because in the process you will be integrated and made whole. In the very process of understanding him, you will begin to be whole and holy. If you consent to drop your choices and preferences, and understand Krishna in his totality, you will find, by and by, that your inner contradictions and conflicts have diminished and disappeared, and that all your fragments have come together into an integrated whole. Then you will attain to what is called yoga or unity. For Krishna, yoga has only one meaning; to be united, to be integrated, to be whole.

The vision of yoga is total. Yoga means the total. That is why Krishna is called a mahayogi, one who has attained to the highest yoga. There are any number of people who claim to be yogis, but they are not really yogis because they all have their choices, they all lack unity and integration. Choicelessness is yoga.

These talks on an undivided and whole Krishna are going to be difficult for you, because intellect has its own categories, its own ways of thinking in fragments. Intellect has its own ways of measuring men, events and things. These measures are all petty and fragmentary. It does not make much difference whether one's measure is new or old, modern or medieval, metric or otherwise. It does not make any difference whether the intellect is old or new, ancient or modern, classical or scientific. There is one characteristic common to all intellect: it divides things into good and bad, right and wrong. Intellect always divides and chooses.

If you want to understand Krishna then for these ten days drop your judgment altogether, give up dividing and choosing. Only listen and understand without judging, without evaluating anything. And whenever you come to a point where your understanding, your intellect begins to falter and fail, don't stop there, don't retreat from there, but boldly enter the world which is beyond rational understanding, or what you call the irrational world. Often we will come across the irrational, because Krishna cannot be confined to the rational; he is much more than that. In him, Krishna includes both the rational and the irrational, and goes beyond both. In him, Krishna also includes that which transcends understanding, which is beyond understanding.

It is impossible to ht Krishna into logical molds and patterns, because he does not accept your logic, he does not recognize any divisions of life as you are used to doing. He steers clear of every kind of fragmentation without accepting or denying it. Although he touches all the pools of your beliefs and dogmas and superstitions, he himself remains untouched by them he always remains the vast ocean that he is. Evidently he is going to create difficulties for you. And the greatest difficulty you will face is when your own tiny pools dry up and die, and Krishna's ocean lives and goes on and on and on. He is beyond and ever beyond.

Krishna's ocean is really all over; he is all-pervasive. He is in good and he is in bad too. His peace is limitless, yet he takes his stand on a battlefield with his favorite weapon, the sudarshan chakra in his hand. His love is infinite, yet he will not hesitate to kill if it becomes necessary. He is an out-and-out sannyasin, yet he does not run away from home and hearth. He loves God tremendously, yet he loves the world in the same measure. Neither can he abandon the world for God nor can he abandon God for the world. He is committed to the whole. He is whole.

Krishna has yet to find a devotee who will be totally committed to him. Even Arjuna was not such a complete devotee; otherwise Krishna would not have had to work so hard with him. It is evident from the GEETA, from the lengthy statement made on the battleground, how doubting and skeptical and argumentative Arjuna is. Two warring armies are facing each other on the grounds of the Kurukshetra. the bells of war are tolling, and Arjuna is stubbornly refusing to take up arms and fight. Against Krishna's exhortations he is raising question after question -- which run through eighteen chapters of the GEETA. Again and again he gently protests Krishna's seemingly bipolar vision. He says that Krishna is paradoxical, that he says things that contradict each other.

The questions he has raised in the GEETA are consistent and logical. He feels baffled and confused and asks Krishna to explain the same thing over and over again. But Krishna fails to explain and convince Arjuna; even a total person like Krishna fails. And then he takes recourse in another method: he unfolds himself, his reality before Arjuna.

Krishna knows Arjuna is right logically: he is confused and demands consistency. Krishna really confuses him. On the one hand he talks of the significance of love and compassion and, on the other, urges him to boldly take up arms and fight his enemies. So Krishna is tired of talking, because it is a moment of war. Trumpets have sounded, and this man Arjuna, who is the kingpin of the whole drama, is still hesitating, wavering. If he runs away, the whole game will fall to pieces. So when arguments fail, Krishna unfolds his whole being, his immensity before him, and Arjuna is greatly disturbed to see it. Anyone would be disturbed to see it, because Krishna's real being, his universal being, comprises all the contradictions of existence. One sees that life and death are there together. But one cannot accept them together.

In our ordinary life, birth and death are distanced by a span of time -- say seventy years. We are born seventy years before our death; we die seventy years after our birth. This distance between birth and death makes us think that life and death are separate things. But when Krishna confronts him with his immense body, his universal being, Arjuna sees life and death together in him. He sees both the creation and destruction of worlds taking place simultaneously. He sees the sprouting seed and the dying tree together. And he panics, seeing the immensity and paradox of Krishna's totality. In the midst of it he entreats Krishna to stop; he cannot bear it any longer. But after seeing this he stops raising questions, because now he knows that what we see as inconsistencies and contradictions in life are nothing but integral parts of the same truth -- which is one. And he quietly joins the war.

But it does not mean that Arjuna is fully convinced. Although he has had a glimpse of reality, his mind, his intellect, yet continues to doubt. Doubt is the way of the mind.

Whatever questions you may have, you can direct them to me, but please don't raise questions about Krishna while understanding Krishna. Use all your intellect with me, but understand Krishna without questions. You are going to have very trying times with him, because many times he will leave the world of the rational and enter the irrational, which is really the space beyond the rational You may call it the super-rational. There you will need patience and great courage -- maybe the greatest courage possible. Be prepared to walk with me into that unfamiliar unknown territory where your little lighted world will come to an end, where you will enter a sort of altogether dark space. In that unlit space you will find no pathways, neither doors nor openings. You will find nothing there that will resemble the forms and faces you have been familiar with in the past. All old forms will dissolve and disappear, and all consistencies and contradictions will simply cease to be. And it is only then that you can come close to that which is immense, to that which is infinite, to that which is immeasurable -- the eternal.

You can have that rare opportunity if you are prepared, with courage and patience, to go the whole length with me. It is not that Arjuna has some special ability to see the immense, everyone has that ability. Everyone can raise the questions he raises. So if you are prepared to journey into the mysterious, into that which transcends the rational, the known, you will be equally entitled to confront the immense, the eternal. That immensity is awaiting you.

All my efforts here, during these discussions, will be directed towards bringing that immensity to you. A personalized name for that immensity is Krishna. We don't have really much to do with Krishna, he is just the symbolic name for the immense, the total. So don't be disturbed if at times we digress from him. My efforts will always be directed towards the one goal, towards the immense, the infinite, the eternal. And it can happen to you too, if only you are prepared for it. It is not that it can happen at Kurukshetra only, it can happen right here at Manali.


Next: Chapter 2: Krishna is Complete and whole, Question 3


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Chapter 3






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