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4 Aug 2010


Posted by Oblivion in Philosophy | 12:55pm

Even as he dropped all weapons and armour in the midst of the battlefield, Arjuna, the inimitable warrior, was fighting a battle with himself. Will he relish victory, exterminating the kin, he pondered.

Of what sweetness
Shall victory be
When I must slay
Those who I call mine

Of what merit
Shall peace be
Cold as death
A bitter fruit of war

Who will win? Who will lose? Who will die? Who will survive? What is right? What is not? What for, after all? Does the Lord, the Omniscient One, have the answers? Can He assure that nobody dies?

Lord Krishna's face radiated serenity and quiet. He turned to the dejected Arjuna and said with conviction, "Arjuna, I have no answers to your plight. Only this much is true - the war is the outer, the warrior is the inner. I cannot control the outer dimension. It's a battle; anything can happen. I can, however, control the inner dimension. I can assure you salvation, but cannot assure you of the next meal. Do what you can as best as you could; whatever happens, happens. That is all there is".

9 Comments | "Dimensions" »

  1. By Linus:

    13 Aug 2010, 8:04pm [ Reply ]

    perspective 1: if all choices are pre-destined or controlled by the divine, then there's no reason to admire pandavas or condemn kauravas. there's no reason for categorising actions as good and evil and rewarding and/or punishing anyone. then maybe shakespeare is probably right about the world being a stage and we being just actors. in a play scripted and directed by the divine. so good and evil become just conventions, in order for the play to run. that would suggest that there's no intrinsic difference between good and evil and that they are interchangeable. with this presumption, the concept of karma - as you pointed out - is rendered meaningless. when he calls pack-up, the play ends. for good.

    perspective 2: however, because he is divine and omnipotent, it rests on him to control the limits for his control as well. you get the freedom to choose and act, but neither your actions nor the consequences can be beyond his control. so divine control and karma co-exist. this admits destiny as a priori.

    what say?

  2. By oblivion:

    13 Aug 2010, 1:24pm [ Reply ]

    @Divi: Sorry I didn't mean to be pedantic when I suggested reading it 4/5 times. Only, some insights are hidden at times and they reveal themselves on reading a few times. It's just a point of view, but since it has come up we might discuss as well. The concept of 'karma' involves the distinction 'good/bad' deeds, the incentives (reward/punishment) accordingly, and the justification (for suffering/happiness across lifetimes). If it's looked at this way, it admits the place of 'will' - in that the chap 'chooses' to do deed X or deed Y in a certain situation. This implies the chap himself has total control of choices. If we assume the control rests with Krishna instead, then it implies one is merely divined to choose a certain deed. The deeds and consequences are programmed by Krishna. If this is so, the whole baggage of 'karma' crumbles, for, then, the distinctions or incentives or justifications don't make any sense. If Krishna has programmed everything, the point that the doer pays for bad deeds across lifetimes is flawed. The chap isn't a doer, technically, for he has no control.

    If, on the other hand, 'will' has a place, then Krishna is not the one who is controlling. In which case, He cannot control the consequences (outer dimension) either. Interestingly, neither can the doer, regardless of exercise of will. Effectively, the outer is beyond control. This explains Krishna's emphasis on "focus only on the deed; not on the results/consequences".

    Krishna ordained Arjuna to perform his duty as a warrior - implies He has only persuaded Arjuna toward a choice, but didn't assume any control. The allusion to "nobody kills, nobody is killed" only implies transitory state of the body vis-a-vis permanence of the soul. It doesn't contest 'will' of the body/mind/soul entity or exclude control over the choice. His reference to "control" is merely symbolic - of being a divine presence permeating everything in space and time. This implies duality is a delusion - further implies that the division of killer/killed is a delusion. Symbolic. It doesn't in any way refute choice or absolve the doer of the choices. On the contrary, the emphasis is very much on "focus only the choice/deed, for that alone is. Results/consequences are beyond". When duality is a delusion, the soul (inner dimension) is Krishna Himself. And if this is true, grieving for the dead or the past or future is an act of ignorance. Verily so, He suggests, "the enlightened grieve not for either the past or the future".

  3. By Divi:

    11 Aug 2010, 10:21pm [ Reply ]

    It doesn't need the "4-5 times read" you suggested to "see" that there might be the so-called "flaw" or conflict in the argument... i know what you meant by that seeming 'flaw.' However, Krishna says, He controls everything, He already Knows the Outer Dimension because He Controls it - We seem to think humans have choices at every stage of life, however, life and where it goes is controlled by Him in that we eventually end up making the choices We are Divined to by Him, 'cause we are in His control all the while... Is there a "flaw" here too?

  4. By oblivion:

    11 Aug 2010, 12:05am [ Reply ]

    @Divi: fair enough. logical point. but there's a flaw. read it four or five times and it could be obvious.

    the beauty of the gita is that its interpretation is open.

  5. By Divi:

    9 Aug 2010, 7:45pm [ Reply ]

    @ oblivion: you said "neither the great warrior nor the lord himself could control the events without..." Actually Krishna says, in the Gita, the Outer Dimension is Controlled by Himself, they are pre-Destined in the sense that it is His Work and Doing, and that humans can only do their "Karma" as Willed by Him and only He would control all of the rest - the outcomes, the dimensions, the events following events, and the situations following situations...

  6. By oblivion:

    8 Aug 2010, 8:27pm [ Reply ]

    @V: i was more intrigued by the point that neither the great warrior nor the lord himself could control the events without. regardless of what arjuna did after krishna's message, the outer dimension would remain beyond control.

  7. By oblivion:

    8 Aug 2010, 8:22pm [ Reply ]

    @chandoo: can we, seriously, control the outer? it's a delusion that we can. chance is the biggest, but overlooked and underrated, determinant.

  8. By V:

    5 Aug 2010, 12:28pm [ Reply ]

    ... and then Arjuna, heart-broken, rained hundreds & thousands of poisoned arrows on his most beloved great-grandfather, for, to kill Bhishma, only would ensure that Arjuna eventually survived the war...

  9. By chandoo:

    4 Aug 2010, 1:51pm [ Reply ]

    so it turns out that controlling the outer dimension is just a wish? unreasonable and misplaced? (because the lord himself admits he cannot control the outer?)

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