Wednesday, May 27, 2009

II: 37

Chapter 2, Verse 37

“Die, and you win heaven.
Conquer, and you enjoy the earth.
Therefore, stand up, Arjuna.
And resolve to fight.”

Sri Aurobindo:

“Battle, courage, power, rule, the honor of the brave, heaven for those who fall nobly, this is the warrior’s ideal. To lower that ideal, to allow a smirch to fall on Arjuna’s honor whose inaction would lay itself open to the reproach of cowardice, is to be false to himself and to the demand of the world on its leaders. This heroic appeal is on a different level than the stoic spirituality which precedes it and the deeper spirituality which follows, for in the next verse the divine teacher will bid Arjuna to make grief and happiness, loss and gain, victory and defeat equal in his soul and then turn to the battle… the fundamental teaching of the Gita.

The stoic has harnessed the soul’s power of self-mastery by fortitude, an equality attained by a struggle with one’s lower nature, maintained by a constant vigilance against its natural rebellions. It gives a noble peace, an austere happiness, but not the supreme joy of the wise who live not by a rule, but in the pure, easy spontaneity of the divine nature, because this state of consciousness is possessed in its own right and has no longer to be maintained by effort. The Gita accepts the endurance and fortitude of our struggle with the lower nature as a preliminary movement; but if a certain mastery comes by our individual strength, the freedom of mastery only comes by our union with God, by the alignment of the personal will and the divine will.

In this verse the Kshatriya ideal is placed in its social aspect, not as afterwards in its spiritual meaning. This, says Krishna, is my answer to you if you insist upon joy and sorrow and the result of your actions as your motive of action. I have shown you in what direction the higher wisdom of the Self points you. I have shown you in what direction your social duty and the ethical standard of your Swadharma point you. I will now bid you to rise to an even higher ideal.”

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