In this story, the Lord Vishnu, whose duty it is to protect the universe from corruptive forces, takes the bodily form of Sri Krishna. He then lowers himself, out of love, and takes the humble position of charioteer to Prince Arjuna, a reluctant warrior. The battle is over a kingdom, one that will be, according to Price Arjuna, “fruitless” if it is won by the spilling of his relatives’ blood. Arjuna initially believes that “when a family declines, ancient traditions are destroyed” (Ch 1, 40-41). Though a noble belief, Sri Krishna tells him that he is incorrect. Krishna then begins to set Prince Arjuna on his “path to salvation,” teaching him the ways of a selfless life. The most amazing aspect of all of this, I find, is that throughout the entire story – through all of Prince Arjuna’s reluctance and stubborn beliefs – Krishna, the deity, never abandons him. This love and devotion, shown by a deity for a subject, is amazing. It is a kind of two-way worship that I admire greatly.
The beautiful idea of the true Self, or Atman, is raised in Chapter Two. The Self is never born and therefore never dies, allowing one to work through life for the benefit of the greater good and not personal gain. This is reinforced by the idea of Java, the soul, traveling through Samsara, rebirth. This is the reasoning Krishna gives to Arjuna in order to convince him to fight … for he will not actually be killing anyone. Though this seems to me like permission to... [continues]
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