Bagawat Geeta Class 8
Summary of class on December 19th:
Verses 29-34 continues with Arjuna’s emotion of shOka (sorrow) and VyAsa here wants to show the intensity of the sorrow. Arjuna is describing how he is physically affected (limbs drooping, mouth drying up, body trembling, hairs standing, the Gandiva slipping, skin on fire, mind wandering). He cannot see how killing one’s kin is going to be of any benefit. Those he is seeking to kill are the ones with whom he is associating pleasures and enjoyment, so what is the point?
Swamiji says that emotional problems do not happen in one thought but arise from continually repeated thoughts, with each repetition increasing the anger/frustration. It is a thought build-up process. A single or first thought is an experience and does not give rise to anger, jealousy or depression. Thereafter repetition of the thought is in our hands, as to whether or not we want to allow a small ripple to build into a big wave.
Swamiji contrasts Arjuna’s attitude with what vedAnta is trying to teach us. Arjuna is a typical human being. He is attached to many things and thinks that all the relationships, etc., impact his life’s meaningfulness. According to Vedanta, your life is worthwhile by itself. Nothing adds to it. Don’t connect purpose or meaning to anything else. My life is complete because of itself, not because of anything else. A man of right vision sees dharma as the most important thing in life.
Krishna allows Arjuna to exhaust his feelings so he keeps quiet. Although it may appear that Arjuna is being compassionate towards his kin, it is not so. A person’s vision of dharma gets clouded through attachment and not in compassion.
In verses 35, a transition is being made to the next stage of depression, from shOka to mOha (delusion, wrong judgements). His mOha problem is exhibited in verses 36-47. The delusion is one of confusing dharma with adharma. In Ch 2 Krishna explains that, going to war is punnyam and running away from it is pApam. Arjuna thinks the opposite here.
Here Swamiji digresses to talk about pApams. Dharmashastra contains a huge list of pApams that are recited during the thread changing ceremonies. The 5 worst type of pApams (Pancha mahA pAthakAni) are as follows:
- Burning down somebody’s property
- Poisoning someone
- Using weapons to kill an unarmed person
- Stealing others’ property
- Taking the land or the wife of another person
DuryOdana is guilty of all five and therefore if a kshatrya does not give him capital punishment, he is committing a sin.
In verse 37, Arjuna concludes indirectly that we can sacrifice dharma for happiness. In verse 38, Arjuna thinks he has a clear understanding of the situation and uses logic to justify his thoughts. When the mind is confused, the intellect often comes into play by providing logical arguments for the wrong thoughts. Here he is saying that it was not really the Kauravas’ fault that greed has supressed their wisdom and their inability to see the consequences of the war. Arjuna reflects on the potential killing of not only close relations but also close friends, whom he is supposed to protect.