Krishn had the arduous task of assuaging the feelings of the mighty warrior Arjun who had suddenly developed cold feet and decided to not wage the war for which the entire Kuru clan had descended on the battlefield of Kuruksehtra. The Pandavas’ winning factor in this धर्मयुद्ध or Virtuous-War depended squarely on the broad shoulders of Arjun who, unfortunately, was overwhelmed with negative energies of the kind only an unprepared student feels prior to an examination.
On seeing Arjun keep aside his famous bow, Gandeeva, & slump in his chariot nervously, Krishn got angry and on impulse, scolded Arjun to get rid of this helplessness & stand for the war reminding him of his duties as a Kshatriya. But the rot of nervousness had seeped so deep in Arjun’s mind that all his 5-प्राण (Life-Forces) & 10 इंद्रिय (Sensory & Action organs) had already given up the thought of doing anything.
Krishna, then decides to impress upon him the philosophy of KarmYoga which explains the importance of doing the karmas or duties with no attachments to the fruits or the results of our actions. In a series of dialogues with Arjun, the Lord explains this supreme philosophy in a sublime manner, the verses of which are compiled in Bhagwad Geeta. A few of these verses throw some light on this philosophy;
सुखदु:खे समे कृत्वा लाभालाभौ जयाजयौ |
ततो युद्धाय युज्यस्व नैवं पापमवाप्स्यसि || (2.38)
The specific point that Krishna makes here to Arjun is that by thinking alike in situations such as happiness-sorrow, profit-loss & victory-defeat and fighting only for the sake of fighting will not earn him any Sins arising out of killings of his kith & kin. The larger point here for us is to adopt a similar attitude of sameness in all the life situations & perform our karmas or duties without getting entangled in the web of emotions arising due to the fruits or results of karmas.
A similar profound way of explanation is also found in this verse;
योगस्थ: कुरु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनञ्जय |
सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्यो: समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते || (2.48)
Here the Lord says, perform all actions or duties in Yog. To be in Yog is to be in Union with self. Only a stable mind can achieve this state of Yog thereby implying that performing actions while being in Yog makes one a Yogi. In this verse, Krishna also tells us to abandon attachments to materials or to fruits of actions thereby explaining the larger perspective of sacrifice here. Asks us to treat success and failure alike which is a very noble way of teaching the importance of निष्काम karmas (fruitless actions) that transcend every fruit or result or attachments in life. But all this can be achieved by समत्वं alone. Because समत्वं or Equanimity of mind is the highest state of Yog.
Finally, to drive his point further, Krishn gives his own example & tells Arjun that there’s no task pending for him to do in these 3-worlds since during the जगत creation itself he had set the laws of nature and karmas. But still he has taken this physical form to re-establish Dharma & is personally driving his chariot as a part of his Karma in the current birth or अवतार. Because if he fails to perform his prescribed duties then he will be setting a wrong precedent in the society as people would then follow his path & abstain from karmas or action.
न मे पार्थास्ति कर्तव्यं त्रिषु लोकेषु किञ्चन |
नानवाप्तमवाप्तव्यं वर्त एव च कर्मणि || (3.22)
यदि ह्यहं न वर्तेयं जातु कर्मण्यतन्द्रित: |
मम वर्त्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्या: पार्थ सर्वश: || (3.23)
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