Sharpening Our Consciousness – In Gita Verse 1.37-38 O Janārdana, although these men, their hearts overtaken by greed, see no fault in killing one’s family or quarrelling with friends, why should we, who can see the crime in destroying a family, engage in these acts of sin?

Arjuna stands amidst the battlefield, observant of the greed consuming the hearts of others. His inquiry is poignant: why commit the crime of destruction, the sin of engaging in conflict, even if the other is driven by greed? Yet in this reflection, Arjuna unwittingly casts light upon his shadow – his inability to recognise that in criticising their greed, he reveals his own. The greed he sees is but a mirror of his innermost drives – his wish to be seen as pious outweighing the cosmic duty bestowed upon him.

The recognition that others serve as reflections of our inner world is pivotal; to miss this truth is to walk through life in a shroud of unconsciousness.

Arjuna’s reluctance speaks to us because it echoes our own resistance to action, a symptom of mental laziness. In a previous blog post, Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.8, I delved into the nuances of this insidious inertia, Mental Laziness.

Our educational systems, structured around pre-packaged answers, have lulled us into complacency. The absence of intellectual rigour needed to discover solutions independently has dulled our intelligence. A society relying on Google for answers is bereft of original thought; their consciousness lies unsharpened, their memories burdened with information that is of no authentic use.

In every unique situation where a pre-made answer doesn’t suffice, we stumble, unprepared, for we haven’t honed the skill of navigating the uncharted.

True wisdom is not in the acquisition of answers but in the trust that blossoms from within, the fragrance of an awakening being. Belief is a fragile construct, often reliant on another’s wisdom. Trust, however, is the bedrock of self-awareness, springing forth from the well of our consciousness.

Beware the justifications we concoct to avoid action, for they signal a descent into unconsciousness.

Sharpening our consciousness is a practice that threads throughout our daily actions. Take the mundane act of washing hands: by asking ourselves, “What more can I do?” we ignite a spark of alertness. The sensation of water, the movements of our hands – these sensations become a medium of awakening, an act transforming routine into a conscious practice.

The effervescence of enthusiasm and freshness that accompanies our actions is the honing of our consciousness.

We are reminded by Abraham Lincoln’s wisdom who said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Preparation is the cornerstone of accomplishment.

Consider the world of cinema, where a two-minute scene is the culmination of days, if not weeks, of preparation – a testament to the dedication required to craft a moment of perfection.

The lifetime assignment of sharpening our consciousness is vividly exemplified by the Pandavas. Arjuna’s encounter with Urvashi’s curse reveals the transformative power of acceptance. By embracing his fate without resistance, Arjuna turned a curse into a boon, which later proved crucial during their incognito exile. It is through relentless refining of our consciousness that we can transmute adversity into opportunity.

Arjuna, in his moment of despair, turns not to just anyone but to Krishna- for in his unconscious state, he seeks the light of consciousness. His candidness, bearing no secrets of body, thought, or emotion, speaks of his earnest quest for clarity and truth.

Let us, like Arjuna, strive to keep our consciousness keen and our hearts open, transforming every moment of unconsciousness into an opportunity for growth and awakening.


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