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From: Bharadwaj, Jaganath (jbb0_at_nreca.org)
Date: Tue Jun 02 1998 - 14:33:53 PDT
Arjuna: "Oh Govinda! Is it possible for those under the misconception that the body is the soul, to avoid grieving over the separation of the soul from the body?" Sri Bhagavaan: "Oh Strong-armed One! Even if you consider the soul to be the body that is caught up in the never ending cycle of birth and death, there is no reason to fear either your own death or the prospect of killing others. The soul cannot be destroyed. If you accept the concept of the eternality of the soul, then there is no reason to fear hell as a result of killing of Bhishma and the others. Even if you consider the body to be the soul, then how can an object that is destroyed here in the battle field or elsewhere on earth proceed to hell? In that case why do you fear the prospect of killing Bhishma and the others?" Arjuna: "Oh All knowing One (Sarvajna)! You say that the soul is totally separate from the body. But there is no discernable evidence of the soul being separate from the body." Sri Bhagavaan: "Oh Phalguna! The soul is an object that is totally different in nature from the body we experience. It is eternal and wondrous. It can be experienced only by one practicing a lot of austerities (tapas). The result of such austerities causes sin to be almost destroyed and a great accumulation of pious deeds (punya). Only such a person can perceive the soul. Only a person who has accumulated so much pious deeds even gets to hear the Srimad Bhagavad Geeta. One who speaks of the soul and one who hears about the soul are both rare. Even after hearing about it, one does not come to know about the nature of the soul." Arjuna: "One can discern considerable difference in species and attributes of the bodies of living entities from the demigods down to insignificant creatures. Similarly we can see differences in the way souls experience pleasure and pain through various bodies. The souls occupying the position of the demigods, humans and the like are called divine, for example. Is it therefore, similarly possible that some souls may have eternal existence whereas other souls may have finite existence?" Sri Bhagavaan: "The perceived difference between various categories of beings from the demigods downwards is confined to the body. Even if pleasure and pain is experienced by the soul, varies from soul to soul, it is caused by the connection of the soul with the body. Therefore, the soul is eternal and indestructible. Statements that refer to souls occupying the position of gods as being divine merely give importance to the inseparable nature of the soul form the body. "Oh Arjuna! Understand that for your caste, killing the enemy is the highest duty just as performance of the Agnishomiya sacrifice is understood to be auspicious though it results in a violent death to a cow. For a soul that has obtained the body of a human being in the Kshatriya class there is no greater opportunity to attain perfection, than to fight in a war that has chanced upon it as a duty. (Arjuna did not seek this war. It was his elder brother's duty to request the Kauravas to return the kingdom, after they had fulfilled their end of the bargain in the second game of dice. Sri Krishna Himself went as the Paandavas' ambassador. This mission failed. It was now Arjuna's duty to help his elder brother and the king of Indraprastha regain his lost kingdom, as it was his elder brother who supported Arjuna all these years.) Get up and fight! This battle is getting delayed because you have not made an effort to fight. This is the way for you to attain pleasures unmixed with pain. It is by securing a great deal of merit (punya) in previous lives, that you have chanced upon such an opportunity." Arjuna: "What will be the consequences of a Kshatriya refusing to fight in a war?" Sri Bhagavaan: "Oh Paartha! If as a Kshatriya you abandon a battle which has begun, considering it to be a sin, even though it is your highest duty, you lose the opportunity to gain limitless pleasure unmixed with pain (after this life) and fame as a result of victory in this life. Instead you accrue sin, which is the cause of pain. Not only will you lose fame. You will earn notoriety. Notoriety is worse than death (for a Kshatriya). It will be the cause for hellish experiences. Arjuna: "Keshava! I am not refusing to fight them because of fear. It is only my affection for them which is making me refuse to fight them." Sri Bhagavaan: "Arjuna! Even if your thought process takes you in that direction, this is not the time to display affection to your relatives. Wouldn't everybody else think and gossip - He (Arjuna) got frightened and ran away from the battlefield, after seeing the Kaurava army comprising of eleven akshownis and led by Mahaarathis like Karna, from in between the two armies? What can cause you more pain than hearing such words from the sons of Dhritaraashtra, who bear nothing but hatred towards you? Therefore, get up and fight. If you get killed by your enemies, you will go to Svarga and enjoy happiness. If they were to get killed by you, you will inherit a kingdom with no enemies and enjoy comforts. It does not behoove you to avoid fighting, after having taken birth in an elevated princely family." Arjuna: "Oh Madhusoodhana (the killer of the demon Madhu)! Even if one were to offer me Lordship of the three worlds, I will decline such temporal pleasures. I am only interested in Moksha." Sri Bhagavaan: "Dhananjaya (winner of wealth)! If you consider fighting in this war to be a mere duty, because you have taken birth in a Kshatriya family, and fight without consideration of fruits like elevation to the land of Svarga, and without worrying about victory or defeat, you will be relieved from the ocean of nescience, or suffering as a result of ignorance." Arjuna: "Kanna! You say that fighting in a war is performance of karma Yoga for a Kshatriya. I wish to hear about the glories of such an elevated path. Please tell me more about this method of attaining liberation (moksha)." Sri Bhagavaan: "If one has started performance of Karma yoga, but is unable to continue it because of residence in inauspicious places or the current time is not suitable for practicing this yoga, one does not lose the fruits of what one has practiced till now. You do not run the risk of any negative consequences of incomplete practice. Even a feeble attempt at practicing this Karma Yoga relieves one from the fear of Samsaara (a state of existence without the knowledge of oneself and one's relationship with God)." Arjuna: "Oh Devakinandana (Son of Devaki)! Is one allowed to practice rites to fulfil one's desires, or is one prohibited from doing so?" Sri Bhagavaan: "Paartha! One who performs rites to obtain comforts and wealth, is unable to concentrate his mind on the goal of liberation. Therefore, those desirous of liberation (moksha) should not be attracted to the performance of rites that will only give material benefits." If you enjoyed the above post please support Sri Ranganatha Temple which made this possible. Send your tax deductible check to Sri Ranganatha Temple. 117 Demarest Mill Road, West Nyack, NY 10994. or visit http://dileepan.busi.utc.edu/ahboard.html for monthly direct debits from your bank account. Please visit Sri Ranganatha Temple homepage at http://www.geocities.com/~ahobilam/ranga.html and enjoy the beauty of this archa avataram from the comfort of your home or office. adiyen jaganath.