Momentum – In Gita Verse 2.9 Sañjaya said: Having spoken thus, Arjuna, chastiser of enemies, told Kṛṣṇa, “Govinda, I shall not fight,” and fell silent.

Arjuna is in a state of profound uncertainty. Sanjaya narrates that even after declaring, “I will not fight,” Arjuna remains seated in his chariot. This firm declaration amidst extreme uncertainty reflects his internal conflict. Despite his request for enlightenment, he continues to make his own decisions, asserting, “I will not fight.”

It is essential to delve deeper into this situation. Often, when individuals speak with great confidence, it masks their underlying uncertainty. A man who repeatedly asserts his determination often harbours significant doubt within. Similarly, when someone professes unwavering faith in God, it may indicate a lack of true faith. The need to assert such beliefs suggests an underlying insecurity. When a person continually claims to speak the truth, it may conceal a propensity for falsehood.

We often attempt to mask our internal uncertainties with definitive statements. We strive to present certainty externally, even when it is absent internally.

Arjuna’s statement, “I will not fight,” is intriguing. He has made a definitive decision, leaving little room for further discussion with Kṛṣṇa. If he has resolved not to fight, what remains to be sought from Kṛṣṇa? What advice would be given?

Sanjaya’s observation that Kṛṣṇa laughed is noteworthy. What prompted this laughter? Is Arjuna’s predicament laughable? Despite Arjuna’s deep sorrow and distress, Kṛṣṇa laughs for the first time after hearing his statement.

Kṛṣṇa’s laughter arises from recognising the contradiction in Arjuna’s behaviour. He sees an uncertain man making a definitive statement. Kṛṣṇa laughs at Arjuna’s self-deception. He perceives the cracks in Arjuna’s mind and heart, recognising that his decisive statement is a façade.

We often hide our internal uncertainties by projecting certainty. When we speak of love, we may conceal underlying hatred. When we profess theism, we may hide atheism. Human behaviour is often contradictory, with external appearances masking internal realities.

Kṛṣṇa’s laughter is timely and appropriate. It may seem harsh, given Arjuna’s sorrow, but it highlights the duality in Arjuna’s behaviour. Arjuna’s contradictory actions – building and destroying simultaneously – reveal his divided personality. Kṛṣṇa’s laughter underscores this duality.

This situation is not unique to Arjuna; it is a common human experience. When we are entangled in the objective world, we often lose awareness of our present actions. We may abandon our goals to appease others, as Arjuna did when he saw the objective world and his relationships within it.

Reflect on instances in your life where you abandoned your goals not due to incompetence but out of respect for others.

Consider the example of Gore Gopal, who, after graduating as an engineer, decided to take sannyasa despite resistance from family and friends. He pursued his goal without yielding to opposition, ultimately achieving success and happiness, which also brought joy to those who initially resisted.

When faced with reservations from family and friends, we often abandon our goals due to an inability to maintain internal balance. This results in carrying a sense of pain throughout our lives.

The mind finds it challenging to remain balanced, often swinging from one extreme to another. Like a clock’s pendulum, it gathers momentum to move from one polarity to the opposite. This movement creates a superficial logic, but life’s deeper reality is that opposites coexist.

Meditation aims to achieve balance. Buddha taught the importance of “right effort,” emphasising the difficulty of maintaining equilibrium. A balanced mind does not gather momentum to move elsewhere and can be at ease with itself.

When Arjuna declared, “Govinda, I shall not fight,” and fell silent, it indicated his inability to think clearly. He had yielded to external pressures, creating momentum to swing from one extreme to another, without true self-awareness.

In my blog on Bhagavad Gita Verse 1.21-22, I discussed how Arjuna, when seeking to observe both parties, was self-alert and balanced. He did not ask Kṛṣṇa to show only the opposing side but wanted to see his own side as well.

Once Arjuna lost self-awareness, he became stuck on one side, creating momentum to swing to the other. He knew that if he did not fight, he would carry the guilt for the rest of his life.


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