On the outset of the second adhyãy, Sanjaya says to Dhritarãshtra, ‘तं तथा कृपयाविष्टमश्रुपूर्णाकुलेक्षणम्। विषीदन्तमिदं वाक्यमुवाच मघुसूदनः॥’– ‘Tam tathã krupayãvishtamashrupoornãkulekshanam, visheedantamidam vãkyamuvãcha madhusoodanaha.’ – ‘Madhusudan Shri Krishna said the following words to Arjuna who was overcome with infatuation, in remorse, and whose disturbed eyes were filled with tears’ (Gita 2.1).
This was Parth (Arjuna) in the eyes of Krishna. This is an example of the depth that vision can grasp. While these events were taking place, many would have had the chance to see Arjuna in this difficult situation, but no one would have been able to grasp as much as Shri Krishna Bhagwan did. Arjuna was crying, and almost everyone would have noticed this. Furthermore, he was in remorse. Only a few of the more thoughtful people would have realized this. But Shri Krishna Bhagwan could see even further. Shri Krishna Bhagwan noticed three things about Arjuna: (1) ‘ashrupoornãkulekshanam’ – he was crying, (2) ‘visheedantam’ – he was in remorse and (3) ‘krupayãvishtam’ – he was overcome with infatuation. Along with his tearful eyes and remorse, he could also see Arjuna’s infatuation – as if a complete picture of Arjuna, both internally and externally, was clear in Krishna’s eyes.
From a philosophical point of view, Shri Krishna’s ability to perceive Arjuna’s state is astonishing and awe-inspiring. The philosophical shastras of Sanatan Hindu Dharma give a clear description of the jiva in its bound state. Whenever a jiva which is bound by maya attains a human or other birth, it is associated with the three bodies of maya. These three bodies are the sthul sharir – the gross body, the sukshma sharir – the subtle body, and the kãran sharir – the causal body.
To understand the philosophical depth of the Bhagavad Gita, let us briefly acquaint ourselves with these three bodies.
THE STHUL SHARIR:
THE PHYSICAL BODY
The sthul sharir means our physical body made up of the five gross elements. We can physically experience this body, touch it, see it and describe its form and colour. We can see its actions, such as sitting, speaking, laughing or even crying. We can measure its height and weight.
THE SUKSHMA SHARIR:
THE SUBTLE BODY
Our subtle body is comprised of the mana, buddhi, chitt and ahamkãr. Sukshma means subtle. As opposed to the physical body, we cannot see this subtle body with our naked eyes. Its form and colour cannot be described. Nevertheless, the subtle body is much more powerful than the physical body and influences it. Whatever we think, good or bad, whatever decisions we make, whatever contemplation we do, is all done using the subtle body.
This subtle body has a unique relationship with the physical body. For example, whatever good or bad we think, whatever we decide, whatever we contemplate on, resultantly inspires the physical body to act accordingly. As a result of this, we experience emotions of joy or misery in our hearts. This results in expressions such as laughter, dance, singing, lamentation or crying in the physical body. Thus the subtle body performs a unique role with the physical body.
THE KÃRAN SHARIR:
THE CAUSAL BODY
The causal body is the cause of all misery. It is this causal body that is the cause of the repeated births and deaths of the jiva. Maya, experienced in the form of base instincts such as lust, anger, greed, infatuation, etc. is the causal body of the jiva. This maya has possessed the jiva in the form of the causal body since time eternal. It is from this causal body that the subtle and gross bodies are shaped. One’s thoughts follow one’s instincts. And one’s actions follow their thoughts. In this way, the causal body plays a special role in every aspect of our lives, and is the cause of all our misery and worldly attachments (bandhan). Therefore, to free ourselves from worldly misery and the bondage of births and deaths, we should first understand the root of all of this, i.e., we must know the causal body; and then we must separate ourselves from it.
Here, in the Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna Bhagwan has observed all three of Arjuna’s sharirs: (1) ‘ashrupoornãkulekshanam’ means one whose disturbed eyes are filled with tears. These words describe Arjuna’s physical body, (2) ‘visheedantam’ means in remorse. These words describe his subtle body and (3) ‘krupayãvishtam’ means he is overcome with infatuation. This depicts his causal body.
Truly, Shri Krishna Bhagwan is not just an expert physician, nor is he just a psychiatrist, but he also plays the further role of being a spiritual doctor. Arjuna is sick, spiritually sick. Crying is a physical symptom of this disease. But no one cries without reason. Arjuna is crying due to the remorse in his mind and this remorse is a subtle symptom of his disease. Shri Krishna Bhagwan has pinpointed the reason for this remorse too, it is his infatuation. This infatuation is the main cause of his disease. It is this infatuation that is expressed as remorse and tearful eyes.
Thus, Shri Krishna Bhagwan has not just picked up on the disease, but has also realized the cause of the disease. Shri Krishna then thinks over the cure.
FORESIGHT OF A HAPPY PARTH
The trait of a good and true doctor is that as well as seeing the prevailing miserable state of the patient, he can also visualize his future. This future is engraved with a healthy and happy life. Even though Arjuna is crying in remorse, seized by infatuation, in the Gita, could Shri Krishna have envisioned his future in which he saw a healthy and happy Arjuna? This question is answered in the last adhyãy of the Gita. Shloka 54 of the 18th adhyãy gives us a glimpse of that vision. The words are ‘ब्रह्मभूतः प्रसन्नात्मा न शोचति न काङ्क्षति।’ – ‘Brahmabhootaha prasannãtmã na shochati na kãnkshati’ – ‘One who becomes brahmarup attains happiness, he never grieves and never has any worldly expectations.’
To become brahmarup means to become like Aksharbrahman, to become free of the influences of maya, to become gunãtit. Anyone who wants to be free of the pains of despair, who wants to experience happiness, must become brahmarup. Parth is seized by infatuation, and hence in despair, in remorse and crying. But, if his ãtmã attains the brahmic state (brahmabhotaha), imbibes the qualities of Aksharbrahman, becomes free of the influences of maya and becomes gunãtit, he will immediately be entitled to the boon of being ‘prasannãtmã’ – happy. He attains the level of ‘na shochati na kãnkshati’, that is, never grieves and never has any worldly expectations, and thus no longer has any reason to cry. Not only that, ‘नैनां प्राप्य विमुह्यति’ – ‘Nainãm prãpya vimuhyati’ – ‘he will never again be infatuated’.
It is for this reason that Shri Krishna Bhagwan has now decided to give the infatuated Parth the spiritual remedy of becoming brahmarup.
We should put ourselves in Parth’s situation for a moment. Parth is Pruthã’s son, Arjuna. Parth also means one who is born from the earth. All of mankind is born from the earth. We are miserable, in an infatuated state and in remorse. We are crying and are disheartened. Along with Arjuna, we too should take a sip of this remedy of becoming brahmarup.
Thus, in order for Parth to attain this ultimate spiritual state of becoming brahmarup, Shri Krishna commences giving him the necessary course one treatment after another. Of that, the first treatment is a dose of courage.
Sadhu Bhadreshdas, Ph. D., D.Litt.
Translated by: Sadhu Paramvivekdas