The Yoga of Knowledge
Last week we witnessed Arjuna resisting going into battle and stating his reasons for this, then doing a turn-about, and then asking Krishna what to do “for certain”. Then in one final blow, Arjuna refuses to take Krishna’s instruction, saying “I shall not fight”. Let’s see how Krishna responds to this:
At this, Krishna began to laugh, O Descendant of Bharata, as they stood there between the two armies, and to the dejected Arjuna, he spoke these words…
Well good! A little humor in trying times is good medicine.
‘Descendant of Bharata’ refers here to the blind king, Dhritarashthra, to whom his minister Samjaya is speaking as we listen in. ‘Bharata’ refers to Dhritarashtra as a descendent of an early emperor by that name. Bharata means ‘continuously acquiring knowledge’ and is the true name of India, the spiritual center of Earth, where people have endlessly continued to engage in acquiring knowledge of Truth over millennia.
Self-reference: At this point in the story, that place within you where there is continual acquisition of knowledge is currently under the rule of blind authority governed by ignorance of Truth. But Krishna is about to enlighten us:
The Embodied One and the Being
Krishna spoke: You have mourned that which should not be mourned, and yet you speak as if with words of wisdom. Neither for the living nor for the dead do the wise morn.
There was never a time when I was not, when you were not, or when these lords of men were not. And there will never be a time when we shall cease to be. All of us exist from this time forward.
Just as childhood, adulthood and old age happen to the body of the embodied one, so shall the embodied one acquire another body. In this matter, the wise are not deluded.
This teaching, as with all of Lord Krishna’s teachings, can be understood on more than one level. On the face of it, Krishna is telling us not to concern ourselves with life and death, because life and death doesn’t pertain to the Real You, ‘the embodied one’, and the body you are using will be replaced anyway. These verses are worth contemplating for this alone. But we must also remember who is speaking to whom in this story, and the subject of their conversation.
Arjuna has been mourning the deaths of all his relatives before the battle has even begun, and his guru, Lord Krishna, has responded. But who are Arjuna’s relatives who will be killed in this battle, and whose loss “need not be mourned”? Arjuna’s relatives are the warriors of his own armies as well as those of the enemy. He is literally related to all of them.
Self-reference: “These lords of men”, the warriors of both sides, some of whom are rulers of their only principalities, are your relatives. At this point in your sadhana, the reinstatement of your rightful place as ‘ruler’ of your own entire kingdom is being disputed, and your relatives have taken sides. (By going back to the earlier verses in chapter one up to verse 20, you will discover some of the more prominent ‘lords’.) War or no war, they aren’t going anywhere, for they “exist from this time forward”. These relatives are the genetic material in your own body. They will continue to be, but they are going to change, become transformed. What they are cannot die but will receive new ‘bodies’.
We must also remember what will happen with the activation and ascension of the evolutionary force (kundalini), for this is exactly what is about to happen. This is the Mahabharata war, the ‘battle’, the crashing together of opposing forces. It is Hatha Yoga, the union (yoga) of the sun (ha) and moon (tha) energies in your body, which is the awakening, the quickening, of the evolutionary force within the body.
Now we understand something about Kundaini that is not common knowledge. Like Arjuna, we are going to come to realize that Kundalini is not some mystical “experience”, or some sensation we feel, or a vision we have had. It is a genuine and very real force that has only one objective: evolution. Yours. And it is not interested in whether you like it or not. It is going to win whether you think you are allowing it to win or not—it is a force of nature, and it is Divine. You can go along with it or you can resist it, but it will ultimately win. The only question is, if it is going to win anyway, why do you have to get with the program? You don’t. But since it is going to do what it is going to do anyway, why wouldn’t you? Resisting it only puts things off and causes despair, as chapter one has demonstrated (“Arjuna’s Depression”).
So how does one not resist this, when it seems like we are about to find ourselves in the midst of a ‘war’, and what would be the outcome? The following verses and the remaining chapters will clarify all of this.