The Mahabharata & The Ramayana
- What is Arjuna’s dharma (duty) as a member of the ksatriya caste? How does this conflict with his personal feelings about killing his kinsmen? What does Krishna advise him to do...and why?
- How can killing one’s own cousins be right?
- What satisfaction can come from such a victory when the price is so high?
- What value can the kingdom have when compared with its cost?
Krishna’s Revelation The Path of Bhakti (Devotion)
After teaching Arjuna the basic principles of Upanisadic wisdom (jnana-yoga) and karma (karma-yoga), Krishna goes on to reveal his true nature to Arjuna:
|The Blessed One spoke:
- How is Krishna’s claim that he is the essence and sustainer of the entire world related to the basic principles elucidated in the Upanisads? Is he simply saying the same thing, or is there a difference?
- What are the implications of Krishna’s claim with regard to the problem of karma (action)?
In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna presents a special form of meditation that leads to a state of absorption that he calls brahma-nirvana:
II. Jnana Yoga The Discipline of WisdomThis path focuses on a direct contemplation of the Atman-Brahman identity by contemplating the wisdom of the Vedas in general and the Upanisads in particular:
|A leaf, or a flower, a fruit, or water, whatever one offers to me with devotion—I accept it, because it is a gift of devotion, because it is offered from the self.
|Whatever you do—whatever you eat, whatever offerings you make, whatever you give, whatever austerity you perform—Arjuna, do it as an offering to me!
|In this way you will be freed both from the bonds and also from the fruits of your actions, whether good or bad. Train yourself in the yoga of renunciation. Freed thereby, you will come to me.
|Among all beings I am always the same. No one is hateful to me. No one is especially dear. But if they worship me with utter devotion, they will be in me, and I will be in them.
|No matter how badly a man has lived his life, if he worships me and worships nothing else, let him be considered upright and wise, for he has come to recognize what is right.
|He quickly commits himself to duty and righteousness, and he enters into eternal peace. Arjuna, understand this well: no one who is devoted to me is ever lost to me.
|For, Arjuna, no matter how low their birth may be—whether they are women, or villagers, or low-caste slaves—those who rely on me all attain to the final goal.