Gita Rahasya -Tilak 26

Karma Yoga Sastra -Tilak


The works Mitaksara and Dayabhaga etc. which deal with the Hindu Law, attempt to harmonise the Smrti texts on this principle. But the books of Hindu Law are not unique in this respect. Even, the numerous sectarian writers belonging to the numerous subsequent sects, of Christian and Mahommedan religions, twist in the same way the original works on those religions namely the Bible and Quran, and it is on the same principle that the followers of Christ have ascribed meanings to some of the sentences in the Old Testament of the Bible, which are different from those given to them by the Jews. Nay, wherever the number of the authoritative treatises or writings on any subject is fixed in advance and one has to subsequently justify one's own position on the basis of these limited authoritative books, the same method of determining the meaning of any book is seen to be followed. This also accounts for the way in which present-day legislators, pleaders or judges, very often twist one way or the other, former authoritative or legal treatises.

If such be the case with purely worldly matters, what wonder is there that divergent commentaries based on different traditions have been written on the Upanisads and the Vedanta- Sutras and side by side with them, on the third book out of the Prasthanatrayl, namely, the Bhagavadgita? But if one leaves aside this doctrinal method, and pays a little attention to the upakrama, upasamhara etc., of the Bhagavadgita, it will be seen that the Blessed Lord preached the Gita to Arjuna at the critical moment before the Bharata war was actually started, when the armies of both sides had formed themselves into ranks on the Kuruksetra and were on the point of opening the fight, and that He has done so with the idea of inducing Arjuna, — who had become dejected and was on the point of renouncing the world, — to perform his duties as a warrior by preaching to him the gospel of the Brahman. When Arjuna began to see who had come to fight with him taking the part of the unjust Duryodhana, he saw the old ancestor Bhisma, the preceptor Dronacarya, the preceptor's son Asvatthaman, the Kauravas ( who though antagonistic were yet his cousins ), and his next-of-kin, relations, friends, maternal uncles, paternal uncles, brothers-in-law, kings, princes, etc. ; and realising that in order to win the kingdom of Hastinapura, he would have to kill these people and thereby incur the greatest of sins like the destruction of one's own clan, his mind suddenly became dejected.

On the one hand, the religion of the warrior was saying to him: "Fight!", and on the "other hand, devotion to his ancestors, devotion to his preceptors, love for his brethren, affection for his relatives, and other natural laws were pulling him backwards. If he fought, it would be a fight with his own people, and thereby he would incur the terrible sin of killing his ancestors, preceptors, relatives etc. ; and if he did not fight, he would be failing in his duty as a warrior ; and when in this way he was between the frying-pant and the Are, he was in the same position as a person caught between two fighting rams ! He was indeed a great warrior, but when he was suddenly caught in the moral net of righteousness and unrighteousness, he felt faint, his hair rose on end, the bow in his hand fell down and he suddenly flopped down in his chariot, crying : "I shall not fight ! ", and ultimately the distant feeling of his duty as a warrior was overcome by the naturally more proximate feeling of love for his brethren and he in self-deception began to think to himself : — "It would be better to beg in order to fill the pit of the stomach, rather than that I should win the kingdom by committing such terrible sins as killing ancestors or preceptors or brethren or relatives or ex- terminating even the whole clan.


References And Context