What is Peace
In Srimad Bhagavatam, in a dialogue between Bhagavati Lakshmi and Bhagavan Narayana, Bhagavati Lakshmi asks Him, “The whole world bows down and prays to You and says Your name, but their minds are on me. Why so when it is only You who can give peace?” This is a reminder to us that we have to reorient our purpose to wanting peace to needing peace. When we live for peace, all else comes with it. For one who is peaceful, no situation is unpleasurable.
Bhagavad Gita is the Creator’s song and His teaching. It is in the middle of the Mahabharata which is a historical text of Bharata (India) and like the Ramayana, is relevant even today! It is our personal history. In the Mahabharata, there are constant ups and downs in terms of joy and sorrow, love and hate, victory and defeat, birth and death; much like our lives today.
Bhagavad Gita is known as the fifth Veda and is the authority on self-development or self mastery. Prince Arjuna has innumerable virtues. His name comes from the word ‘arjavam’ which means straightforward and open. He has all but when he is put in the challenge of fighting a war against his loved ones, he has a breakdown. He lacks the virtue of peace. This is our history because we also lose our sense of peace when faced with challenges.
Prince Arjuna’s Question: Chapter 1, Verse 32:
“For, I desire not victory, O Krishna, nor kingdom, nor pleasures. Of what avail, is dominion to us, O Govinda? Of what avail are pleasures or even life itself?”
Despite his intellectual strength, Prince Arjuna has lost his sense of purpose after seeing his relatives, elders, and teachers as the ones he must fight on the battlefield. He is asking the question because he is trying to escape his responsibility to fight this war without feeling guilty. He is looking to Lord Krishna for validation. However, Lord Krishna does not enable Prince Arjuna and does not allow him to escape his responsibility. Prince Arjuna wants peace but Lord Krishna will help him evolve to needing peace by helping him embrace his responsibility.
Lord Krishna’s Answer: Chapter 2, Verse 38:
“Having made pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat the same, engage in battle for the sake of battle; thus, you shall not incur sin.”
Lord Krishna says to engage in battle keeping the body, mind and intellect even. Pleasure and pain occurs at the body level; gain and loss at the mind level; victory and defeat at the intellect level. When we reflect that these ups and downs are what living is or that these opposites will come and go, then we can embrace them which helps us stay even-minded. The message is to engage in your responsibility regardless of outcome because this leads to a quieter mind. When we escape our responsibilities, our mind becomes agitated (due to regret and anxiety) which is sin. Sin should not be viewed as some external punishment; it comes from the inside.
What is peace?
Being freed from mental agitation and anxiety by fulfilling our responsibilities despite the highs and lows of life. Peace is being dharmic which leads to Brahman or infinite joy.
Reflection: How can one shift attitude towards responsibilities from what you can gain to what you can give? We have to become deep thinkers and recognize the utility of helping as this is what will bring lasting, independent joy! Deep thinking will develop when we revolve around those who are already deep thinkers.
- Are we as good or as eligible as Prince Arjuna?
- Yes because of our sincerity in pursuing self-development with reading, writing, reflecting, being in satsang, and serving.
- In terms of context, we have it easier than Prince Arjuna. We aren’t in the middle of a battlefield and don’t have to do what Prince Arjuna has to do.
2. How to move from tasting glimpses of joy to living joy?
- Keep doing what gives you those glimpses of joy and be consistent
- We are at most peace when we are doing what is right
- Have patience because as you keep following your responsibilities this will naturally evolve from tasting joy to living it
3. How do dharma and responsibility relate?
- Dharma and responsibility are the same
- Dharma/responsibility is that which integrates
- When you follow your relative responsibilities, the mind becomes quieter and you are able to tune into your absolute responsibility or Svadharma which is to be peaceful
4. How can there be discussion while Prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna are on a battlefield?
- In a literal sense, Prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna are so close to each other that they can communicate quickly without saying too much because they knew each other so well.
- In a different sense, Rishi Vyasa was able to infer what Prince Arjuna was thinking and what Bhagavan Krishna was saying and then elaborated on their communication
RAW (From All Around Development Course): The RAW was to not use any technology in the restroom. If this was difficult, we should realize how hard it is to break habits. We should make the restroom a true place to rest.
RAW for Sept 17th: Print out Prince Arjuna’s Questions. Read, write, and complete reflections from Questions 2 and 3 .