According to the scriptures, the current situation in the world is not a surprise. The fact that we are going through some tough challenges in life doesn’t make the current situation unique.
Yes, there is a persisting pandemic, uncertainty of livelihoods or GDP and a lot of anxiety about what’s happening or going to happen. It is also a fact that some of us are reaching a point of emotional breakdown. But, still, it is not a surprise! These things do happen, have happened in the past and will happen in the future.
Five thousand years ago, a similar emotional breakdown of a mighty warrior was described in the scriptures. Specifically, the situation of Arjuna, a mighty warrior of those days, was described in Bhagavad-Gita. Arjuna was the top warrior of those days. No one could dare to remove the bow and arrow from his hands during a battle. He had and knew all astras (weapons) including Brahmastra and Pasupatastra. He was the hero of the Battle of Kurukshetra. Such an accomplished and talented warrior like Arjuna had an emotional breakdown on the battlefield. He couldn’t manage himself looking at the situation around him.
When Arjuna assessed the situation on the battlefield, which is described in the first chapter of Bhagavad-Gita, he came under emotional stress so much so that his body shivered and trembled. He kept aside his bow and arrow out of confusion and anxiety. Tears appeared in his eyes. He could not recollect himself and decided to give up his duty and go back to some village. He decided not to fight and started giving arguments suitable to his decision. He foresaw a bleak future.
Lord Krishna, who was the driver for Arjuna’s chariot, considered Arjuna’s weakness unacceptable. He called Arjuna’s decision “not advanced and not having higher values in life.”
A conversation ensued between the two, with Lord Krishna’s teachings during this conversation becoming famous as the Bhagavad-Gita. After listening to him, Arjuna stood up with confidence and returned to fight valiantly, ultimately winning the battle.
We should know clearly that Krishna didn’t speak about weapons, mantras to throw those weapons, skills to fight or how to kill enemies. Arjuna, being the leading warrior of those days, knew all these, and he still became emotionally weak. So what did Krishna tell him?
This shows that our skills and expertise in this world can not guarantee freedom from anxiety and emotional breakdowns.
Krishna spoke about the true nature of life. He changed Arjuna’s perceptions on the higher aspects of life. Krishna revealed that all living beings are spiritual in nature but caged inside material bodies. He revealed that our life was spiritual. Focusing on material body, skills and expertise in material realm is not sufficient for life. As spirit souls, we are hankering for higher pleasures, knowledge and existence. This is what Krishna revealed to Arjuna. As soon as Arjuna understood his real nature and the nature of all the enemies in front of him, his perception changed. He fought the war by depending on the Supreme Lord Krishna who was present right in front of him.
Sometimes, people ask me “Swamiji, Bhagavad-Gita was spoken 5,000 years ago suitable to the place, circumstances and time of those days. But, the situations have changed now. Our current lives are completely different from those lives. Do you think that Bhagavad-Gita is still relevant?”
Certainly, there are striking changes. As we enter the 21st century, we are living in a completely transformed society. All the externals have changed. But, when we look at Arjuna’s emotional breakdown and the current situation, we see that internal world of a person has not transformed. Though we made rapid strides externally, we have the same fragilities as Arjuna. In fact, the stress and anxiety of the current society has reached pandemic levels.
Under the current circumstances, Bhagavad-Gita is more relevant. Those days, Bhagavad-Gita helped one Arjuna to come out of internal weaknesses. Now, it can help millions to come out of their anxieties of life.
On the occasion of the new year, everyone should take “Bhagavad-Gita As It Is” and mould their life in such a way that it becomes a way of life. Bhagavad-Gita is a way of life of peace and prosperity. Bhagavad-Gita should be taught to everyone from an age of five years. This will ensure that one becomes a strong devotee of Krishna and a best gentleman of values. Everyone can handle any current situation by depending on Bhagavad-Gita and Lord Krishna. Hare Krishna!
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