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Season 3 - Episode 1

2.1 - 2.3: Arjuna is Confused

10 min - Talk


Now we dive into the teachings together. In Chapter 2 of the Gita we have 72 slokas (verses) to explore. James recites and translates verses 2.1 - 2.3, introducing us to Arjuna's dilemma and setting the stage for the intimate conversation and unfolding between Sri Krishna and Arjuna. You will feel moved to get up, stand up, be steady, and remember who you really are.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

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Sep 18, 2015
Bhakti, Jnana
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So in the second chapter we have 72 verses to explore and it's considered a distillation of the whole teaching and the first verse is spoken by Sanjaya and Sanjaya, he speaks very few verses in the Gita, he's basically the commentator who's telling Dhrtarash the blind king what happens and he speaks this first verse in the second chapter and then Krishna speaks a couple of verses and then we have Arjuna explaining why he feels so overwhelmed. So to start with I'm going to recite the first three verses, the one that Sanjaya speaks and then two that Krishna speaks and then we'll look at what these verses are communicating. Sree Bhagavanu accha, kutasthva kashma lamiram, rishami samupastitam, anariyajushtama svarghyam, nakir tekaram arjuna, krayibyama smagam afpartha, naitat vayupapaditya, kshudram redaya daurabalyam, cactva tishtapa and tapa. So these are the first three verses. In the first verse Sanjaya says, tandhata ka peyavishtam ashupurna kulekshanam vishirantamiram vahkyam uwachamarusudana. So uwachamarusudana means spoke Krishna known as Marusudana. So Krishna and Arjuna are both referred to by many different names during the course of the text and it's always significant. So Madhusudana literally means the one who conquered or overcame the demon called Madhu and this demon called Madhu was so difficult to overcome that Krishna overcame him very easily. Madhu also means literally sweet or honey and in life sometimes there's a certain tendency we want to overcome yet as we got into that tendency or that habit it seemed so sweet, yes? For example, sometimes in life there's something that we do and as we start doing it it seems so tempting, so sweet, so agreeable but then we find if we keep doing it it doesn't really help us feel very good. So both of these ideas have been communicated by this name Madhusudana. He's the one who knows how to overcome those tendencies that initially have a sweet allure but over time can leave us feeling trapped or limited and Krishna is the one who has proven time and again just like in the instance when he overcame the demon Madhu that he knows how to overcome situations that seem almost impossible to get out of and so what situations Arjuna find himself in? He's in this situation that's completely overwhelming for him. Normally Arjuna goes to the battlefield feeling kind of in his element feeling full of confidence but this morning when he sees all around him these near ones these dear ones the people who would normally like to fight for he doesn't know what to do and it's like the ways of being or the tendencies or the habits that he's always relied on up to that point somehow they're now no longer quite good enough they're not far-reaching or inclusive enough to help him out of this situation but who's the teacher? Madhusudana, Krishna the one who knows even when a situation is very intimidating very challenging there are ways out and so this is the first name we hear referring to Krishna he's the one who knows how to get out of these really difficult situations and how is Arjuna?

So it says Madhusudana he spoke and so the following verse is Krishna will start to speak but who is he speaking to? So his ikjuna, his aspect is ashru purna, ashru tears, purna full so his face is full of tears. Kripayavishta and he feels overwhelmed by this compassion or sometimes people say misplaced compassion because he sees all around in this situation he feels sorry for himself so one of my teachers says anytime you feel confused or kind of self-pity you're really making an excuse and actually you've got to look at the situation a bit more keenly but Arjuna is so forbidding it's so intimidating to look keenly at this situation he just feels overwhelmed by it but when he feels overwhelmed and he collapses then what happens Madhusudana starts to speak to him and so I find it really quite beautiful that the chapter begins like this because it reminds me there's a when I was growing up there was this pop song one of the lines it said help comes when you need it most and there's this idea that we find again and again in many spiritual traditions that when you really need help if you relax enough to allow it in then that help will come so Arjuna he feels overwhelmed but when he actually acknowledges that he's overwhelmed and he doesn't know what to do it's like it opens the gate for new insights or new information to actually rise up into his awareness and so what does Madhusudana say when he starts speaking to Arjuna so here's Arjuna on the floor overwhelmed and what does Krishna say no he doesn't say oh they're there Arjuna it's all right first thing he says is kuta ha he says why he says why have you let this weakness come upon you at the crucial moment it doesn't suit you Arjuna it's not worthy of you it's not going to do you any good it's not going to do any good here on earth it's not going to bring you heaven afterwards this is not good enough for you Arjuna you're a great hero so rise up like the great hero you really are and throw off this meagre feigned heartedness so beautifully he says kutasthva kashmalamiram vishane at the crucial moment samupasthita it's like why do you let this weakness come upon you at the crucial moment it's not worthy of you it's not going to take you to heaven it's going to bring you infamy not fame so what are you playing at Arjuna and then he continues so he says here he maybe could guess from my gesture he says get up so this is actually my favorite bob Marley song get up stand up this is what he says to Arjuna he's on the floor he says get up stand up stand up for your rights you know you have the capacity to choose how you meet life this is one of the key ideas in yoga we never know what we're going to encounter but we do have some choice or we can choose how we meet what we encounter so life we can never predict it we can be sure it's going to be unpredictable but we can determine how we meet those challenging situations and so he says to him how did you even let this weakness come upon you it just doesn't suit your Arjuna having thrown off this meagre faint-heartedness rise up and then he calls him parantapa and this name is significant because parantapa means you who scorch your enemies so Arjuna many times in the past you've overcome difficult adversarial situations you overcome challenges you know how to do it so remember that remember your true power and rise up get up stand up be steady and remember who you really are and so here one of the beautiful teachings and it's really quite a you know just so beautiful the idea is that when we're a human being when we're feeling a difficult situation the very fact that we are feeling it's difficult is the proof that we can change it because we can only experience the difficulty because we're a conscious being and when we're conscious we can choose how we meet the situation and so the idea stand up remember who you really are so when you feel overwhelmed the very fact that you are feeling overwhelmed is only possible because you're aware because you have consciousness so stand up and use your consciousness in a more skillful way Arjuna because really you're a great hero so stop dithering around on the floor and get up and remember who and what you're really made of which is the stuff of consciousness


Holy wow.. this is just what I needed today! So very sweet and I love the parables. Thanks and peace!
Well - haven't we all felt like Arjuna does here? Get up, stand up! Yeah!
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Ouf! Just randomly tuned in here and it is EXACTLY what I need to hear. There are no coincidences!  : )
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Get up stand up, and even heroes feel overwhelmed, I need to remember that in real life because I recently mentioned to someone I felt overwhelmed and got no sympathy...what to do?  Turn to our inner reserves, the teacher is always inside !
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Yes Caroline! As you say, as the Gītā reminds us, we just need to keep practising orienting to that deep inner guidance. May we each find the courage to tend our soul and heed its guidance, and honour our opportunity to help usher in something more wonderful than we would even have dreamed was possible.

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