- Arjuna’s Questions
Among five brothers of Pandava, Arjuna was one of the world’s greatest warriors. In the crucial battle of Kurukshetra, he had to fight against kauravas. However, just before it, when he saw his friends, cousins, and teachers, his heart suddenly melted and he became doubtful about his choice and whether the battle was really viable. Arjuna perceived the war and deaths that it can bring as something cruel. He weighed the consequences of the battle from the perspective of god or evil for his kinship. In such a way, he believed that the life on the earth was the highest value and no one has the right to take it away. Hence, the decision to struggle and slaughter each other did not seem a wise one, because it meant death of his close people. Moreover, Arjuna would despise any wealth won in such brotherly violence. Seeking for clarity and instruction from the Godhead, Krishna, Arjuna asked him whether he considered the acquiring of transcendental knowledge preferable to working and why they must be a part of the battle. Arjuna called to such question in order to make a right decision and get to know what really matters in life. Evidently, the fear of sin for killing people and sufferings caused by the loss of his close people were the main factors that kept Arjuna from fighting. This act indirectly questions the legitimacy of the orders of the infallible Lord Krishna and the life cycle.
- Arjuna’s Duty According to the Vedic Ideal
Lord Krishna attempted to dispel Arjuna’s concerns for sinful reactions through a series of explanations. One of them was the Vedic ideal. According to it, Arjuna had to perform his actions without showing desires of attachment in order to avoid the bondage in the cycle of life. No selfish motivation or anxiety about the result should influence the actions that make duties. Lord Krishna told Arjuna that he should follow the exclusive Vedic activities by absorbing the consciousness. The conscious actions can make the soul realize the experience without failure. According to Krishna, the eternal soul or atma is causing all his actions. Committing the prescribed actions with their acceptation and without any feelings or attachments to the objects or people is the only way to expurgation, pacification of the mind, and perception of the absolute truth. Thus, Arjuna had to dedicate his fight in the battle to the higher duty and feel free from desire and attachment.
- Alternative to the Fight
In the battle of Kurukshetra, Arjuna refused to fight and said that it was better to live on alms than to kill his own people. He did not believe in superiority of transcendental knowledge and did know the ways to rise to the higher levels of existence. Arjuna’s alterative to the mind and soul superiority were the temporarily ones that implied human life and family ties. He preferred working and living the steady peaceful life to absolute truth perception and serving the higher duty that meant engagement in a horrible war. He wanted neither victory nor the pleasure of kingdom for he followed his own desires, attachment, and selfish motivation instead of the supporting the universal balance and following Krishna’s rules.
- Krishna’s Path
When Arjuna wanted to leave the battle field, Lord Krishna said that his enemies were not worthy the grief, because the wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead. He told that every soul acquires body after death, so he should worry about his enemies’ souls. Krishna showed the path of right and duty that support the harmony in the world. He said that a person’s spirit is eternal and cannot be destroyed unlike the body that is only a temporarily life manifestation. The war was fought to establish morality. Therefore, it was considered to be righteous and more necessary than a fight for dominance. The final aim is a great matter of all deeds. Krishna warned Arjuna that if he does not fight and failes in his duty, he would not only lose his reputation in the society, but also throw the great Krishna’s plan into disarray. In such a way, Krishna showed Arjuna the path of responsibility and making the right decisions.
- The Key to Liberation from Rebirth
Lord Krishna said Arjuna that human body dies unlike soul or spirit. Therefore, after the biological death, a new life starts in a new body that may be human or animal depending on Karma. Krishna said that people get power from eternal and immutable spirit of the Supreme Being. Consequently, they should obey rules and regulations in a decent way to achieve the real goals of life. Thus, a person can enrich his/her life and make his/her destiny colorful only if his or her actions do not violate the rules of the life cycle. If Arjuna does not follow his responsibilities, then he would be responsible for his mistakes. However, if he does follow his duties, he will free his mind and comprehend the world and life structure. Finally, the perception of one’s roles in the whole life cycle and getting pleasure from one’s duties implementation are key factors to individuals’ liberation.
- Vedic Views of Supporting the World
Lord Krishna upheld the Vedic view of supporting the world by describing the responsibilities of a person in the life cycle. He explained Arjuna that people must take their actions by understanding the consciousness and mind as characteristics of a soul, which is eternal and never dying. With regard to this, the relatives and friends in the battlefield all make the unnecessary attachment to the material temporary life. Instead, their souls that will get free anyway through reincarnation will not die; therefore, there is nothing bad in their killing, because the atma is not hurt. Moreover, if Krishna’s rules require anything, people have to consider these demands as the highest aim. Everything that is on the way to the duty implementation is hostile.