Perspective …. Arjuna Vishada Yoga!
Perspective ……….. Perspective of an individual exercises profound effect on his expression. This is evident in the case of artists. The foundation of a creation rests on how an artist looks at the subject. If an artist’s approach to a subject, thought or an event is different, then the artistic expression that emerges from it can also be dramatically different.
Christopher Marlow generates a horrific picture of man’s lust of power and fame in ‘Doctor Faustus’, a tragic play based on a concept of a mortal possessing heavenly powers. The same concept is depicted in a hilarious comedy ‘Bruce Almighty’… what differs is approach… Perspective of the artist towards a concept.
Arjuna Vishada… The same is true about the first chapter in Gita. Since this chapter has been consistently presented in the form of Arjuna’s lament, most of the readers find it melodramatic and Arjuna, an emotional fool! The solicitous side of Arjuna doesn’t surface unless we change our perspective… Conscience.
Conscience … the intellect to know the difference between right and wrong.
Conscience …. the patience that makes you think about the consequences before taking any step.
Conscience …. the difference between Arjuna and other warriors who had inhuman and destructive powers and were eager for war…
Numerous great warriors during the Mahabharata war were equipped with infinite power and divine weapons. Majority of them were eager to practice those weapons. But how many of them were mindful of the immeasurable damage these divine weapons could bring? Most of them were marching impatiently burning with selfishness or vengeance.
Perspective…….. ‘Eye for an eye makes the whole world blind’. Sheer Aggression or Vengeance as an approach to victory causes extermination!!
How much more should the conscience of a hero who has the power to destroy millions of families be awakened? Arjuna manifests this conscience. The restraint appears through Arjuna Vishada.
He does not dare take up arms unless he’s convinced of the inevitability of war and destruction. Not because he is weak or faint-hearted, but because he is confident of his destructive power. He is aware of the all-encompassing effects of genocide…
Arjuna stands out in this chapter not only as a mighty warrior but also as a mature, prolific and prudent leader. He is sure that if he has to be the future ruler, he has to take every step thoughtfully. Since the society will set him as a role-model and will follow his footsteps. That is why he inspects the horrible consequences of war from different perspectives and roles. Effects on all factors such as an individual, family, society, religion, economics, politics, values…
Knowing all this, he wants a satisfactory answer as to why is he waging war? Because as a prudent person and a future ruler, he has to take the moral responsibility of this war and justify it to the next generations. That is why he is anxious to take up arms without getting fully convinced.
Attitude … Inquisitiveness ….
Apart from presenting the ferocity of war and Arjuna’s maturity, there can still be a feature in Chapter 1. Which appears in the subsequent chapters as well. Curiosity …. desire for knowledge ….
There is a story in the Mahabharata. It is said that Drona used to play a trick while teaching archery to the Kauravs and Pandavas. In the morning, he would send each student with a container to fetch water. Since the vessel given to Ashwatthama had wider mouth, he used to come back earlier than others. Then Dronacharya used to teach him some distinct tricks till other disciples arrived. Only Arjuna comprehends this clue and manages to reach with Ashvatthama to become the beneficiary of this special class. Later he was also chosen to perform penance and travel to obtain divine weapons. Moreover, the fact that Arjuna was closest to Lord Krishna amongst the Pandava siblings clearly indicates that Arjuna was not only a mighty warrior but also a curious scholar.
That’s why mere Yudhisthira’s word or Krishna’s order isn’t enough for him. He knowingly turns down such appeals. His conscience keeps alarming that an annihilation demands much more substantial and comprehensive purpose than just vengeance.
Hence before taking any step he seeks multifarious enlightenment from Krishna. He wants to understand inevitability of war from different perspectives.
Arjuna, a curious seeker and a true worshiper of knowledge was the reason why a divine being like Krishna detailed the knowledge in 17 Chapters. Greater the seeker’s curiosity, greater the scope of knowledge! Therefore, attainment like Gita resulted out of the curiosity of a seeker like Arjuna.
And of course, if it was not for Arjuna Vishada, would Krishna have recited Gita? And would we have received it so easily?!
Therefore, the knowledge in the 17 chapters of Gita is a gift of Arjuna Vishada.
What is this gift … Sankhya Yoga …. in the next part …
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