In our life, we face problems every day. Most of them are created by our own actions. Many times we get scared by just thinking, how will we handle it, what are we going to do or what will happen to me? We immediately start thinking of either getting rid of the problem some way or other. But no matter what, problem does not disappear on its own we have to go through the problem, whether we like it or not. At the end of each problem, they make us stronger and give us an ability to face much bigger problem in life.
Let’s think for a moment and look back, we have had already went through numerous problems in our life. At first when a problem came in, we felt exactly in the same way, wanted to get rid of it immediately but it just did not go so easily. We had to go through it and finally one day they went away, and we became stronger to face new problems. So if that is the reality that no matter what we have to face the problems, then why not face it properly. I know it sounds more philosophical and it is easy to say when you are on the other side and not facing that problem rather just preaching it. But I think to some extent the following illustration (from Bhagvad Gita) gives a direction as how to face it.
The knowledge of Bhagavad Gita
was given by Lord Krishna in the battle of Mahabharata which was fought between Kaurva and Pandava. Both belonged to the same family, but Kaurva did not want to give even an inch of kingdom to Pandva. Krishna tried all possible options like a diplomat and asked Kaurva that if giving half of the kingdom is not possible, just give them 5 villages and Pandavas will be happy. But Duryodhana did not give even an inch of land. Thus, in order to get the justice war became imminent. In the team of Pandava – apart from five brothers, Lord Krishna leaded the chariot of Arjuna, on the other side, team of Kaurva consisted of great Bhisma, Drona, Kripa Acharya (these were respected by both team) along with Karna (brother of Pandava).
Just before the battle was about to start, the greatest warrior from Pandava team – Arjuna when he saw the team of Kaurva, especially all the respected personalities and family members on the other side, he felt like giving up and did not wanted to fight the war, he wanted to run away, as he found himself very weak. At that moment he expressed his desire to Krishna that he does not want to fight the war. At that point, Krishna provides him the purest knowledge of universe in a friendly manner in just 700 verses – just to tell him a simple fact that don’t give up, let’s face it and fight the war, running away is not an option. If he wins he will rule the kingdom and if dies in the war, heaven will salute him as he is fighting for justice and truth.
Each of us is made of Arjuna and Krishna, at some point each of us become weak and do not want to face the war or problem (there are some wars, which are always going within each of us, like should I do this or not). At that point we have to come in contact with the Krishna within us which is our consciousness and get the true guidance and courage to face it. I think victory and defeat is not as important as how we take the challenge to fight the problem.
The five brothers of Pandva denotes certain attributes, they are
- Follow Dharma and stay steady (Yudhisthira)
- Courage and strgenth (Bhima)
- Focused mind (Arjuna)
- Not focused on family only, having dispassion (Nakula)
- Company of good friends (Sahdeva)
Once you have above five characteristics then you need to have your God or Master (Krishana) to your side to lead towards victory. Because, if you study the battle of Mahabharata, without the help of Krishna, Pandva would not have won the battle, no matter how much strength they had. Krishna means black, dark. One who is dark absorbs everything - including light - he is so magnetic. Krishna denotes all possible dynamic skills and knowledge, which is required at the moment you need it.
The character of Dhirtrashtra (father of Kaurva) denotes the one who snatches the wealth of others, such a person is blind by nature. Also, he had blind love for his son in which he could not even see or got courage to object to whatever his son was doing. His wife Gandhari took an oath to blindfold her to show love towards her husband because he was blind by birth. Gandhari signifies the conscience. When the conscience also puts on blind folds, you end up giving birth to a 100 bad ('Du') offspring. In other words, both parents closed their eyes from knowledge and happenings and let their children grow in their own way. And, the result of that was Dhirtrashtra did not only lose his kingdom but destroyed all his family.
On the other side, the character of Draupadi denotes suffering; she was always suffering and became the main cause of the war. Bhisma stayed with Kaurva even by the knowing the fact that he was on the wrong side, because of his commitments. Wrong commitments bind us in a detrimental way, like they bound Bhishma. If we look carefully, he had a habit of always taking some sort of vows every time which made him bind himself on the wrong side. I think we should learn from his action that we should not be taking such vows which become our own cage from which we cannot even come out even we want to. But Krishna was very practical and taught to skillfully escape from our wrong commitments. If we are only following our commitments without skill, we end up like Dharmaraj Yudhisthira who lost everything, including his wife! Duryodhana kept taking advantage of Yudhisthira by holding him to his commitments but never honoring his own.So, escaping from a problem is not the solution, because problem will continue to stay in some form or other, so it is important to realize that there is problem and accept it to face it. Life is painful, and the pain starts from the moment we are born and continues till the end, there is no escape from it, this is the process of life, however suffering is our choice because that will depend on how we take the pain. After making all of our efforts, if felt that I cannot handle this pain anymore, surrender to the divine, and the pain will slowly start disappearing.
Note: The above text is inspired and based on my opportunity to attend a discourse on last Thursday with Swami Pragayapad from Art of Living Foundation on the topic of Bhagavad Gita. After listening to his talk, I thought to summarize and write my own thought and understanding.