Difficult situations and critical moments are like the surprise tests that were subjected to while at School. By definition, they are surprises but we need to be prepared for it. Gita teaches us how to think and prepare ourselves to handle the difficult situations in our life.
The Hero, Arjuna is a good person and has only noble intentions. He is brave and well-trained in warfare – he was Drona’s best student. He had powerful brothers to support and Krishna as a friend to advise. Despite of all these positive aspects, he was unable to face the situation. All his knowledge and training was of no help. He was reduced to a helpless state and was unable to think and act. If this is is the fate of Arjuna, the great hero, what chances do we have. I may have the best education, secure job, supporting family etc but I may become an Arjuna-when I am confronted with a difficult situation. How do I handle such critical moments in my life? How do I prepare myself ? Who is my friend Krishna ? Where can I find him ? When and How do I listen to him ?
No doubt I need to acquire knowledge and gain expertise – but these alone will not help me at the critical moment. Then what else will help me to face the critical moments ?
As long as Arjuna thought that he was the one who is going to kill his cousins and teachers, he was in confusion and grief. Krishna explained to him that all of us are born, die and re-born – go through several births as per an Universal law. The atman (the in-dweller) is permanent and does not go through any change – the external body is changes just like we change from old clothes to new clothes. Arjuna has to only do his duty of fighting as a true warrior to defeat the bad people and establish righteousness. He has to discharge his duty which is only a small piece of the grand plan. He should not think that he is doing things out of his free will and confuse himself. It is Krishna who is making Arjuna kill Duryodhana, it is Krishna again who makes Duryodhana do bad things and die ultimately. Though there were warriors fighting in the battlefield, it was Krishna’s Sudarshana Chakra that was going around and killing every body. Life is more like a play where we all come and enact our respective roles. The Director of the Play has the script in place and sets the stage for us to deliver our roles. So Krishna advises us to do our duty by focusing on the action rather than getting distracted by the results of the action. Arjuna understand this funda, becomes self-aware and surrenders himself to Krishna.
Arjuna was lucky to have Krishna explain to him the fundas. But how about us – who is our friend Krishna and where do we find him ? Gita says Atman is our best friend and is also our worst enemy. He is our best friend if we understand him well and is our worst enemy when we don’t understand. So Atman is our Krishna. We can find him inside ourselves – no need to search outside. How do we find him – through introspection and contemplation. Ramana Maharishi asked “Who am I? (naan Yaar)” and found his friend Krishna. Nachiketa asked “What happens to me after death ? Where do I go?” and found his friend Krishna. Krishna talks to us when we listen to him. So we need to free-up some space in our Mind and listen to our in-dweller Krishna.
Beyond our knowledge and expertise, we need self-awareness to meet the critical moments in our life. We need to have clarity on who we are and what our role is. Having figured that out, we should stick to our duty and play our part to the best of our ability. Although our role is pre-determined, how best we play that role depends on our attitude and effort.