But the lesson of Gita is that we should accept reality
One must wonder as to why we do not want to accept reality. Why do the majority of us want to live in denial? Because it is difficult; it is easier to live in denial. It wasn't so, it would not have taken Lord Krishna to speak the entire Gita to convince Arjuna, who accepted what the Lord wanted him to do only in verse #18.73.
What was Arjuna's initial position? He didn't want to fight the inevitable war, and he gave many reasons for it. Sample some of his arguments. Arjuna didn't see the opposition Army consisting of persons who were bent upon perpetrating ‘adharma’ (injustice) as what they were; he saw them as relatives.(1.28) He could see only adverse consequences, nothing favourable in killing them.(1.31) He would rather die than desire either victory, kingdom or pleasures.(1.32) He was strongly of the opinion that it would be sinful to kill his relatives.(1.36) Arjuna even foresaw sacrosanct family values getting destroyed, predominance of immortality, women of the family getting corrupted resulting in illicit progeny, etc. Such an act by him was surely going to result in a long stay of hell for his side. (1.44)
How did Lord Krishna manage to bring Arjuna around to see the reality? The Lord started with the knowledge of soul, while Arjuna was seeing only material bodies. This is what most of us do too. We don’t want to accept the reality of previous lives, future lives, etc. For the ignorant mass, the present life is everything. This wrong perception prevents us from seeing the truth of our existence.
We don’t believe in the ‘Karmaphala Principle’, which is crucial for accepting reality, the system of reward and punishment, which is fate. Once we accept the reality of the soul, we begin to accept death – the most painful reality. This is where actual realism comes.
The next reality is being dutiful. Even animals are dutiful towards their progeny. We cannot be worse than them. We must accept to do whatever is necessary according to time, place and circumstances. If we are mentally prepared to do that, life becomes more meaningful. Because as human beings, being dutiful is the foremost requirement. These duties are towards ourselves, our families, our professions, etc.
We, being small, are incomplete in every sense; we need God’s help 24x7. A good connection with God makes us complete, we being parts of Him. (15.7) Then nothing is beyond us. We can accept whatever the realities of our lives.
Then, comes mind control. Aren’t we dictated to by our minds? Don’t they define us? Therefore, God has insisted that we try to control our minds. We have to be in control, not our minds. Then, where will there be any difficulty in accepting what we must?
‘Maya’ may try to bemuse, confuse, and make us see everything upside down, which is liking what hurts and avoiding what helps. This is where the human species is well placed; it has all the tools to live a quality life. We just have to accept to be good in all respects, which happens by embracing the mode of goodness in all our activities, as detailed by Lord Krishna in the Gita. Gradually, we will become habituated to accept the ups and downs of life. (2.14) Acceptance makes living easy. It shows faith and hope for the future. Will we then be ready to accept what we must and go on steadily ahead? Those who can live their lives in the way explained by Lord Krishna in the Gita can look forward to a quality life, notwithstanding challenges, which loom ahead.
(The author is a spiritual teacher)