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 quarreling with friends, why should we, who can see the crime in destroying a family, engage in these acts of sin?
Arjuna is alert regarding others greed and he wants to inquire when the other person is overtaken by greed why we should do crime in destroying them and engage in this sin. But he becomes unconscious regarding himself. He is not able to become alert that seeing the greed in the other person is a reflection of his greed. Right now the greed in them shows that his greed of being pious is more important than the assignment of universe.
When we are not able to see that the other person is just a reflection of ourselves, it only means we are unconscious of ourselves.
This statement of Arjuna is very much appealing to us for only a single reason, that, we don’t want to act. This is mental laziness. In my blog Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.8, I have explained in detail regarding mental laziness.
As we are mentally lazy and our whole education system is based on giving ready-made answers. Because of those ready-made answers you never develop your intelligence as there is no necessity – you ask the question and a computer(google) can answer them.
Unless a question is solved by you yourself, your intelligence will never be sharpened, your consciousness never becomes alert. You go on accumulating ready-made answers in your mind, in your memory, which is simply a load, of no use. In any situation which is fresh and new you will be at a loss what to do, because you don’t have the ready-made answer.
You can believe any answer given from outside, but you cannot trust it. You can manage, you can force yourself to believe it because the person who has given it seems to be the right person. But all these are guesses – and a belief is not a trust. Belief is always in somebody else; trust is something that arises in you as a fragrance of your being – as your intelligence sharpening, as your consciousness growing.
Whenever we find any reason and explanation for not taking any action, get alert, as you are slipping into the unconsciousness.
To keep our consciousness sharp and alert we need to remind ourselves continuously what more I can do? For example while washing the hands if you remind yourself what more I can do, immediately you will be able to focus on washing hands, feeling the touch of water, feeling the sensation in the body. Your whole act of washing hands will give you subtle freshness and enthusiasm. Same act will become act of self-alertness, sharpening your consciousness. The simple reminder to yourself what more I can do has brought you out from your unconsciousness.
The act from which you feel freshness and enthusiasm is sharpening your consciousness.
I remember a quote by Abraham Lincoln Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
Preparation time is more important than our act.
We all watch movies. I recall an interview of Akshay Kumar by Anupam Kher. Akshay Kumar said in that interview that the two minutes of movie which we watch, requires 8-9 hours of shooting and all the other preparations like set, dialogue, lyrics, story, dress selecting, etc are not included in 8-9 hours of shoot. This means for two minutes of a movie it requires minimum of 5-6 days of preparation.
Sharpening our consciousness is life time assignment.
Pandavas during their life what they have done is practice of sharpening their consciousness. This example will give more clarity. When Arjuna was cursed by Urvashi he accepted it and after the acceptance of the curse he requested her to modify it and she agreed. As he was knowing that only through acceptance without resistance he can transform it. Ultimately the same curse became a blessing during their last year of exile. Unless you sharpen your consciousness you cannot transcend anything. Only through our sharpness we can come out of our unconsciousness and transform unfavourable circumstances to favourable circumstances. As Arjuna throughout his life had practised to sharpen his consciousness and for this reason in his unconsciousness he is turning to Krishna not for any desire but for support in bringing him back to his own consciousness. His turning to Krishna and not to others, shows his willingness to come out of his unconsciousness. Without hiding any of his body sensations, thoughts and emotions he describes to Krishna.