At times we encounter hard choices. We can’t go with any of them, because we need both of them. It is in such context, our true affinity and true faith is put to the litmus test. However rational or irrational, strong or weak, or practical or philosophical we may or have been- it does not matter. When time is taking our test, we are just subject, powerless and yet someone with potential of making a better choice. For those who are ambition-less or without any vision for themselves or for those around them, these hard choices might not be as ‘hard’, because the abject poverty – of hope – nibbles down their hope to fight their way across. For surrenderist, it’s never hard to make choices- they go for the easy one. These choices come to those, who respect the existence and meaningfulness of both choices- but yet like to make the best choice.
People, books and literary and philosophical theories have always fascinated me. I have always tried to find some practical meaning in them. But till date, I remain a starter in this quest. This story, which might not be accurate as I have not been through the original text, is extracted from the discussion that centered on finding a guru or meaning of life or finding the meaning of companionship between Arjun and Lord Krishna. This piece starts some time before Lord Krishna shows the Birat Swaroop to Arjun and is just a prelude to the Geeta discourse.
“The target of my arrows are my own beloveds. Those who have loved me, those who have reared me and those who have made me the Arjun that I am today. Oh my dear lord, if I have to face such a choice to fight with my own or fail my own, what is the meaning of being your companion,” asked Arjun to Krishna.
And, thus spake Krishna.
“Arjun, you are blinded with the love and infatuation of your beloveds. Therefore questioning faith on me- a friend who has always been by your side. Before you fulfill your duties as a warrior of faith, of humanity and of righteousness, you should find answers to your dismay and than only do what you were born to do,” said Lord Krishna. He told Arjun that outside the Kurushetra, a crow had hatched eggs and was nursing a baby crow. He advised him to visit this baby crow and ask him the meaning of being friends with him. So, as directed he went to the tree and after opening the context to the crow, got permission to talk with the newly born crow. But as soon as he saw the baby crow, it died. It was an instant death and Arjun felt sad for the death and dejected too for not getting answers.
The man who sees me in everything
and everything within me
will not be lost to me, nor
will I ever be lost to him.
― The Bhagavad Gita
He returned back to Krishna with a sense of guilt that he had killed a baby crow, and briefed him about the turn of events that happened. Krishna fried a smile to Arjun’s concern and again advised him to talk to the newly born Swan in the pond. Arjun went there as told and after seeking permission to ask the question to newly born duck from the mother, he approached the duck. But as soon as he saw the newly born duck, it also died. Instantly. Arjun became even grave and dismayed and therefore once again he surrendered into Krishna’s company.
Krishna carefully listened to Arjun’s complain and even smiled seeing this man getting even more frustrated for finding answer to question. He persuaded him to seek the answers from a newly born Brahmin baby in the nearby village. After initial denial, Arjun nonetheless agreed. He persuaded the Brahmin and got permission to ask the question. Once again, the Brahmin baby instantly died and pushed Arjun into further crisis and guilt- the guild of killing three lives for his own interest to find answers.
He gets annoyed for now being a murderer of baby crow, duck and a Brahmin. So he returns back to Krishna and expresses his anguish for embroiling into such scandalous death. Krishna smiles and once again asks him, “do you really want answers to the question?” Yes. Arjun said and this time around he was asked to seek answers from a prince – whose father was Arjun’s enemy. Nonetheless Arjun entered his palace, unarmed and explained the reason for his arrival there. The King agreed and let Arjun talk to his new born son. Nothing happened as feared. The Prince did not die and smiled when he saw Arjun.
So Arjun asked, “what is the benefit of friending Krishna.” The little prince smiled and was amazed with this seeker’s ignorance. He said, “before being born as a Prince, the highest form of birth, I was born as crow, swan, a Brahmin. You emancipated me from all those births because as a true friend and disciple of Lord Krishna, you have reached near godhood. People come here to fulfill a purpose and to do things that will take them near god, and when i saw you through these past births, my objective of being with the One was fulfilled.
Our traits and behavior is shaped by people around us. In having your friend Him, you have changed yourself like him. Your struggles are beyond life and death, for you are already blessed with divinity.”
Arjun got the zing. He realized that he was there in the battlefield only as medium for executing the God’s wish and that God had chosen him as a friend and disciple to execute the plans that are meant for the welfare of humanity- not that of his family only. He realized that being human is doing tasks that humanity needs to sustain and he realized that in doing so we gain the companionship of Him. In any form, truth and vice can only gain meaning to our lives and a true friend only can help us walking on the way and thereby help to liberate ourself from rebirths.