Lurking right behind you...ha! ha! made you look! (lurkitty) wrote in gita_talk,
Lurking right behind you...ha! ha! made you look!

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Chapter 2 v2:1 -2:8

I had thought to break here and make a transitional post comparing Arjuna's dilemma with that of Job. Stated simply - both are in despair over the loss or potential loss of all that they hold dear. In the case of Arjuna, he turns to his friend Krishna. In Job's case, his friends also play a part, though it is a far darker one. Where Krishna, as we will soon see, is the voice of reason, Job's friends serve as a foil to discuss all the ways a man can fall from his path. Job is the one speaking reason, yet he is still in need of divine intervention. Just assume that I made some huge post about this, and we'll move on.

2:1 Then arose the Spirit of Krishna and spoke to Arjuna, his friend, who with eyes filled with tears, thus had sunk into despair and grief.

2:2 Whence this lifeless dejection, Arjuna, in this hour, the hour of trial? Strong men know not despair, Arjuna, for this wins neither heaven nor earth.

2:3 Fall not into degrading weakness, for this becomes not a man who is a man. Throw off this ignoble discouragement, and arise like a fire that burns all before it.

It is quite apparent, taken literally, that Krishna is Arjuna's close friend and confidant. But what of the context of Arjuna's struggle with his internal demons? Who, or what is Krishna? The answer lies in Sanjaya's narration: "Then arose the Spirit of Krishna and spoke to Arjuna". Krishna is, then, the voice of spirit or faith.

One of the problems with reading the text in English vs. Sanskrit is wondering whether the tone is the same. I read these two verses and thought Krishna was saying, "Yo, be a man, suck it up!"

Another reading of these passages and I conclude that Krishna is admonishing Arjuna that despair will get him nowhere at this point. Arjuna is known as a mighty warrior, and it is against his nature to simply lay down and succumb to despair. Krishna is calling on him to be the radiant person he really is.

2:4 I owe veneration to Bhishma and Drona. Shall I kill with my arrows my grandfather's brother, great Bishma? Shall my arrows in battle slay Drona, my teacher?

2:5 Shall I kill my own masters who, though greedy of my kingdom, are yet my sacred teachers? I would rather eat in this life the food of a beggar than eat royal food tasting of blood.

Arjuna acknowledges here that "killing" his old way of thinking is killing things that taught him valuable lessons - got him this far in life.

2:6 And we know not whether their victory or ours will be better for us. The sons of my uncle and king, Dhrita-rashtra, are here before us: after their death, should we wish to live?

2:7 In the dark night of my soul I feel desolation. In my self-pity, I see not the way of righteousness. I am thy disciple, I come to thee in supplication: be a light unto me on the path of my duty.

2:8 For neither the kingdom of earth, nor the kingdom of the gods in heaven, could give me peace from the fire of sorrow which thus burns in my life.

As one who has been in despair, I recognize Arjuna's response. He knows what he is doing, He knows he is in a state of self-pity, yet he can conceive of no way out. This reminds me of one of my college professors, she taught Abnormal Psychology, and she was the first one I heard say, "Insight is the booby prize". Knowing the fact that you are in a state of self pity is not the same as getting out. Arjuna appeals to Krishna for help in the dark night of his soul.
Tags: arjuna, krishna, sanjaya
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