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RE: Reg why Arjuna was chosen?

From: Jai Simman s/o R. Rangasamy (
Date: Sat Jun 09 2001 - 16:31:03 PDT

Hare Krishna to all the wonderful Vaishnavas who are making this list
livelier by the day.

Regarding why the Lord chose Arjuna and not anyone else, I beg to be allowed
to provide the following reasons.
Of course, these are my personal realisations based on shastric evidence.
They may not be authoritative. It is best to consult a Vaishnava Acharya in
this regard. Nevertheless, Adiyen has had a few realisations on this matter,
no matter how smallish they maybe.

As pointed out by Sri Narasimhan Prabhu, Arjuna was given the honour of
hearing the Gita from the Lord because he was
bhakta and sakha - a devotee and an intimate friend. Further to this, the
subject matter of the Gita itself reveals the reason in many ways.

Firstly, we must understand the relationship Arjuna has with Krishna. In
terms of age, they are contemporaries. Yudhisthira and Bhima were both elder
to Krishna. Krishna relates to the former with the respect of an elder as is
evidenced in many instances of the Mahabharata. Bhima's disposition is more
physical in nature and while he too on several occasions obtains advice from
the Lord, he is not as intimate as Arjuna in his dealings with the Lord.
Perhaps the age factor may be pertinent here in the type of rasa or mellow
which they exchanged. And Yudhisthira and Bhima tend to be more reverential
than fraternal vis-a-vis the Lord. But Arjuna is of a similar age to the
Lord. Both of them behave as very intimate friends. Thus sakhya rasa
prevails. In the 9 processes of devotional service beginning from sravanam
kirtanam and ending with atma mivedanam, Arjuna is given as the example of

This has direct bearing on the Bhagavad Gita. If we are to purview the
contents of the Gita, we may notice that the turning point comes when Arjuna
forsakes his friendly talks and accepts Emperuman as Guru. Yudhisthira and
Bhima already have this reverential mood. Of course Arjuna too certainly has
it as we see from the incident when he comes to ask for the Lord's help in
the war. At this time, he sits at the feet of the Lord, unlike Duryodhana
who sits at the head with no sense of reverence and only expediency in his
mind. But Arjuna also has a sense of familiarity in his dealings with the
Lord. And this element of familiarity has been utilised by the Lord to
impart to us a fundamental message about spiritual life, ie.
One must accept spiritual authority (the Guru or Acharyan) with a sense of
reverence and respect, not merely entertain an equal relationship based on
friendship. Only with the latter, can effective learning and smashing of
ahankaram (false ego) take place:-

tad viddhi pranipatena
pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam
jnaninas tattva-darsinah

"Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from
him submissively and render service unto Him. The self-realised soul can
impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth".    (Bhagavad Gita

The turning point of the Gita comes when Arjuna gives up the mood of
equality born of friendship and starts enquiring with this submissive mood.

sisyas te ham sadhi mam tvam prapannam

"Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct
me."     (Bhagavad Gita 2.7)

Until this point, both personalities were speaking as sakhas or friends and
friendship would entail argument and counter argument with no end in sight.
But when discipleship is entertained by Partha, only then does learning take
place and Krishna blasts the ignorance that covers his disciple. Since
Arjuna has a sense of familiarity that borders on forgetfulness of the
Lord's supreme position at times given the intimacy, The Lord by His will
momentarily covers Arjuna's recognition of His supreme position to impart
through Arjuna this message to Mankind. Spiritual life is not a matter of
having an Acharyan as a way of fashion, to joke and to argue as f riends. It
is a serious business where one must surrender his false ego and come to
hear with humility and submissive enquiry. One must be prepared to get
smashed and defeated and to learn, imbibe and progress with a service
attitude. In order for this to be shown via the Gita, a suitable candidate
who could best exemplify this change is required and the Lord chose Arjuna
in this regard.

This theme recurs even after Arjuna is awe stricken by the supreme position
of Emperuman after He displays His Viswaroopam.

sakheti matva prasabham yad uktam
he krsna he yadava he sakheti
ajanata mahimanam tavedam
maya pramadat pranayena vapi

yac cavahasartham asat-krto 'si
eko 'tha vapy acyuta tat-samaksam
tat ksamaye tvam aham aprameyam

"Thinking of You as my friend, I have rashly addressed You, "O Krishna," "O
Yadava," "O my friend," not knowing Your glories. Please forgive whatever I
may have done in madness or in love. I have dishonoured You many times,
jesting as we relaxed, lay on the same bed, or sat and ate together,
sometimes alone and sometimes in front of many friends. O infallible one,
please excuse me for all those offences."    (Bhgavad Gita 11.41-42)

Therefore, while Arjuna is a pure devotee who never forgets the Lord,
Emperuman placed him in that ignorant position for a moment, to teach us His
supreme position and not think of Him as one of us. These important turning
points teach us the mood required for approaching the Bhagavad Gita. We have
to approach the Gita in the manner that Arjuna approached the Lord, giving
up all notions of overt familiarity and importance to oneself and giving all
importance to the Lord. Only then will the message be clear and beneficial.

Please forgive Adiyen for any offences committed.

Hare Krishna

R. Jai Simman

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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