‘To be or not to be’ could be a question that haunted Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet, but for Krishna’s Arjuna, it was ‘To fight or not to fight’! Although Arjuna made an effort to contemplate on his moral dilemma, the war was inevitable for him and he had to fight it, no matter what. We, each of us, meet such a predicament everyday as we ‘struggle’ to achieve something in our endeavor called ‘survival’… and not ‘life’, mind you cause ‘Life of Struggle’ is an oxymoron (it intends that you enjoy struggle and are not willing to rise above it) and ‘Struggle for life’ is a completely different thing! Majorly there are 3 things that govern the entire struggling being in the form of a human – Power, Wealth and Immortality! What? You find the last one uncanny or intriguing or completely out of place…? I will discuss it in a minute, let me first tell you that all these 3 are wrong motives for any struggle and if a shrewd mind resolves that ultimately all this struggle is for being happy, I am sorry my friend, you’ve sadly mistaken…
‘Being Happy’ is a state of mind that requires nothing like abundance or influence but acceptance. Acceptance necessarily should not be a losing mentality or apprehensive attitude as in accepting defeat, success and victory also needs to be accepted diligently. The pure and joyous happiness needs no struggle and hence is absolutely stress-free; whereas ‘Happier’ is some fantasy state as it has a reference that is impermanent. Whenever a mind searches for something that is better than something else that it has experienced already, it becomes anxious and an anxious mind can never be stable, let alone happy. The anxiety is not only because of the fear of unknown but, at times, even about the certainty of the turnout as it makes the mind predictable enough to become depressed. So if the motive is changed, there is a change in the attitude and with an accepting attitude, where’s the struggle…?
Now coming to the immortality, have you ever seen any other animal or species that has a tradition of getting married or starting a family? Let’s not stretch it that far and beat around the ‘social animal’ bu--sh--! Have you ever seen any other ‘unsocial’ animal that is monogamous and faithful to a partner? And what do you think of this ‘monogamy virtue’ of human… moral evolution of physical intimacy? Love is again a completely different thing and platonic love transcends not only bodies and beauties but life and time as well, so we are not talking about the ‘love’ here. Secondly ‘marriage’ was never a conditional consequence of love; all the legendary love stories around the world tell us! So what was the motive of marriage and family… reproduction to continue the race? Oh, then why it had to be a certain father / family name that progeny should carry forward?
When the primeval man got wiser and started to understand more about itself than other species and the ecology it was part of, it figured out that his days were numbered and he could not live long enough to enjoy all the worldly belongings and possession he had acquired or could acquire in his course of life. At this point his first attempt was to discover something, a potion like nectar or a mudpack that could make his body age-proof, to make him immortal. After the R&D he put in to develop such remedy with all the intellect he had then, it resolved that nothing of such sort is possible. With the evolution, greed in him had reached the peak and the consciousness was yet to be developed (it’s under construction till date, that’s a different story!) The shrewd man at that point decided to have his 'legal heir' who will inherit his entire legacy from his name to every belonging he possessed and a bizarre struggle started which, after witnessing numerous blood-shading with rise and fall of many dynasties and empires, is still on! To sum it up, the fundamental root-cause of any struggle of a Human Being boils down to its uncanny desire of immortality; rest are just the tools to fight that war which continues forever…
The only mantra that can save the mortal souls from the agony of this struggle is what Krishna said to Arjuna in his most philosophical discourse of the history of mankind known as Bhagwad Gita –
हतो वा प्राप्स्यसि स्वर्गं जित्वा वा भोक्ष्यसे महीम् ।
तस्मादुत्तिष्ठ कौन्तेय युद्धाय कृतनिश्चय: II
सुखदु:खे समे कृत्वा लाभालाभो जयाजयौ ।
ततो यूद्धाय युज्यस्व नैवं पापमवाप्स्यसि II
Die, and you will win heaven; conquer, and you enjoy sovereignty of the earth.
Therefore, stand up, Arjuna, and be determined to fight your combat.
Accept pleasure and pain equally and so gain and loss, victory and defeat.
Get ready for the fight; then, fighting thus you will not incur sin.
I am on my path of duty and trying to bring my mind to the state of equanimity… (A long) Way to go…!