Mahabharat Episode 48: The Truth About Krishna and Arjuna’s Relationship
Sadhguru answers a question on parallels between Arjuna/Krishna and Nara/Narayana – or are they one and the same? Find out about the dynamics of these duos, and how their different responsibilities complement each other.
What happened so far : Ashwatthama kills the Pandava’s children in their sleep and Arjuna gets vengeance by removing the magic jewel embedded on Ashwatthama’s forehead, which was the source of his power. When the jewel is removed by Arjuna, Ashwatthama completely loses his sanity.
Questioner: Sadhguru, you have likened Arjuna and Krishna’s relationship to that of Nara/Narayana. Can you tell us more about that?Sadhguru: This theme of Nara/Narayana manifests in many different ways. The significance of this is, even if God comes down to man’s world, he needs man’s assistance. Even if God lives in your home, he needs your assistance – otherwise it does not work. You may have Divine presence with you, but without your assistance, still it will not be fruitful. That is the message.
Different Names, One Concept
Nara/Narayana, in this combination, acted many times. Are Arjuna/Krishna the same people? Arjuna, we can say, is the same being. To some extent, the memory carries him and gives him a certain bone density which we call destiny. We will look at Krishna later because there is no such thing as Krishna. Krishna is like a wisp. That which is the basis of everything is manifesting itself in a certain way; it could dismantle itself anytime. In other words, Nara means the same source manifested in a more compulsive manner – Narayana means the same source manifested in a more conscious manner.
Because of the burden of consciousness, Narayana’s own action gets limited. He chooses Nara who is a little more compulsive for action. The same theme reflects in other cultures – God and his Son acting in tandem. Nara/Narayana means just this – the same source manifesting on one level much more or absolutely consciously, on another level more compulsively. A compulsive life is capable of more action; a conscious life should not be very active. That is the symbolism.
Krishna comes as a charioteer; he does not fight; he is not in the action. When you commit the “crime” of being both conscious and action-bound, in many ways, you cripple yourself and limit the duration and scope of your life. So they acted in tandem. If Krishna himself chose to be action, then the scope and duration of who he is would come down. But in this life, the duration does not matter for him; he is only looking at the scope.
Action – Yes, Fruit – No
Only the human mind and the human body are individual. So here, the “something more” which is beyond body and mind, is universal and comes in the form of Krishna/Narayana. That “something more” always travels with Arjuna/Nara. Krishna says, “O Arjuna, I am bound to you. I will be with you every moment of your life, in everything you do. Leave it to me. Don’t hesitate, just act.” You need to understand the intelligence behind such words. The normal understanding would be, “Oh, Krishna said, ‘Leave it to me,’ so I will leave it and sleep.” If I tell someone, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care,” the idiots won’t do anything.
When Krishna says, “Leave it to me and act,” he is only saying, “Leave the results to me. Don’t leave the action to me. The action is still yours. If you were to leave the action to me, you wouldn’t exist. I would act myself – why would I need you? Leave the fruit of action to me – you keep the action.” It is very important that you understand this and are conscious of it every moment of your life – that the action is yours, but the fruit of action is not yours. There are many forces beyond your understanding, perception, and imagination. In this galaxy, the solar system, and the Earth as a planet are just specks.
Pure Action versus Consciousness
The forces that are acting upon this planet right now are not in your perception. Some force in this galaxy may do something – you may disappear, the planet may disappear, the solar system may disappear, the very galaxy may disappear. Even the galaxy is a small happening in the cosmos. That is why when the yaksha asked, “What is the most amazing thing?” Yudhishthira said, “The most amazing thing is, though humans are mortal, they think they are forever and they are everything.” Ignorance is the most amazing thing. People manage to remain ignorant, no matter how many times you remind them.
So Arjuna is pure action. Krishna is consciousness. Krishna goes on reminding his “action tool” Arjuna that this is the way, but the action tool begins to think it is by itself. You popped out of this planet from nowhere, and you will go back one day, but you think you are a complete world by yourself. In your perception, the cosmos cannot exist without you. When you sleep, hasn’t the cosmos evaporated?
The Only Way Out
Right now, you exist, and you are in this chakravyuha, a wheel trap. You don’t know how you got into it; for sure you don’t know how to get out of it. But if you cease to exist, you are out. Suppose you are sitting in a hall; all doors are locked; you do not know how to get out. But if you just evaporated, you are out. You are neither inside nor outside, but you are out. So we divined how to cease to exist. That is why whatever action is fine, but when they want to go beyond that, everyone looks at Shiva.
Krishna did not start a single day of his life without worshiping his personal linga that he carried with him always. No matter what, no matter where he was, even in the eighteen days of the battle, though everyone sees him as God, Krishna always worshipped the linga before he started his day. Because the only way out is to cease to exist. Shiva means that which is not. That which is not is the only thing that can be free from everything. That which is, is bound to be in some kind of a trap.
That which is, is bound to be in some kind of a wheel, some chakkar, some kind of spin is going on all the time. No matter what you do, you spin out of one chakkar and spin into another chakkar, endlessly. Whether you like it or not, you are a part of it. For example, if dirty politics are going on in the country, whether you like it or not, you are a part of it. If it spins out of control, it will suck you in. “We are sitting at the Velliangiri Hills; we are not concerned about all the nonsense that happens outside” – that is not true. If it spins out of control, it will suck you in. Anyway you are part of some chakkar, consciously or unconsciously. Better to be there consciously. The only way to come out of all chakkars is to cease to exist.
A Living Formula
Every day, even Krishna reminds himself that Shiva is the way. To cease to exist is the way. The kaya (body) will anyway die; it will anyway cease to exist; the earth will absorb it. Whether you are a Yudhishthira, a Duryodhana, or a Krishna – the earth will absorb you. The kaya is not the problem; the other aspect of who you are is the problem. To make that cease to exist is the whole game. That is the fundamental formula that Krishna is trying to give out. It is not like a teaching. He is making his life into a formula, to make that which is beyond the body cease to exist, because that is the only way you can be free.
To be continued..
Editor’s Note: A version of this article was originally published in the Forest Flower magazine, May 2019. To subscribe online, click here. The Mahabharat series is based on Sadhguru’s talks during the one-time Mahabharat program that took place in February 2012 at the Isha Yoga Center. Through the lives and stories of the varied characters, Sadhguru takes us on a mystical exploration into the wisdom of this immortal saga.