The Difficulties of the Spiritual Seeker : 6.

The Teachings of Bhagavadgita :

The first chapter, which is a yoga no doubt, is yoga in a very, very specific sense. Difficulties and doubts of the type expressed in the first chapter are not likely to arise in the minds of people who are normally happy in the work-a-day world. When you investigate deeply, philosophically, into the structure of things, you'll have doubts which would not have occurred to your mind normally. Nobody bothers about how the world came in, why the sun is rising always in the east, and where does it go in the night. These questions do not arise in the minds of anybody; everything is taken for granted. But when you start probing into these difficulties, mysteries – why the planets are going round the sun, and what is it that is happening when we have seasons and when we are feeling heat in summer and cold in winter – though these questions are never put by anybody and they are all taken for granted, yet when you put these questions you have to scratch your head three times before you answer them. "What is happening? Why is it cold in one place and hot in another place even in the same season?" etc., etc. These are to give you only some gross instances of problems that you may have to face when you question anything; otherwise, everything is fine.

Without going into large details, since we have not much time before us, I sum up this principle of a problem arising before a spiritual seeker as put forth by Arjuna in his own words in the first chapter. When you take to the path of yoga, certain difficulties will arise in your mind. Some questions will arise. One: "Is it really going to be a successful adventure on my side? Am I really going to get anything, or am I a fool?" This question will not arise in the beginning. These questions will arise after some time, after years of practice, because you will find that you have achieved nothing, for some obvious reasons. Then the question will arise, "Is this a profitable adventure or is it merely a will-o'-the-wisp that I am pursuing? There is no surety that I'm going to succeed when I've achieved nothing for the last many years. If for the last twenty years I have achieved nothing, what is the certainty that I'm going to achieve anything in the future, tomorrow onwards?" This question arose in the mind of Arjuna: "Is it certain that I will win victory, or will the other side win victory? Am I going to conquer the world, or will the world conquer me? Is it wisdom on my part to face this world, or will I return shamefaced?" This is a question which will harass your minds. The other question is, "What will be the consequence of my having achieved a success in this adventure – even if it be a success? If I attain to the heights of spirituality, what happens afterwards? What is the consequence? What for is this pursuit? If the pursuit of yoga implies a disassociation from sense contact, an involvement in things of the world, and a restraint upon the usual social attitude of the mind – namely, like and dislike, etc. – when I restrain myself in this manner, by the senses as well as by the mind, I may lose all the values and the pleasures of this world. I will have no connection with anything, which is tantamount to saying that I have lost everything. What is the use of going to the kingdom of heaven, even if it be a possibility, by losing all the wonders and the beauties and the pleasures of life? What am I going to eat in the kingdom of heaven, if all things that we have here are to be abandoned in the name of God? If all the army of the Kauravas is going to be destroyed, and all my kith and kin are not to be here, what for is this success even if I am going to win victory in this battle? If everybody dies in the name of justice, what for is this justice – for whose purpose?"

Swami Krishnananda

To be continued ...

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