No Black and White in Life
Just before the Kurukshetra war began, Krishna offered his entire army to Duryodhana. Sadhguru recounts this situation to illustrate that there is no black and white in life.
Questioner: If Krishna came to establish dharma, why did he offer himself or his army to Duryodhana?
Sadhguru: The situation around the Kurukshetra war was such that no one could remain neutral. You had to choose one side. Being the chief of the Yadavas, Krishna also had to put his lot either with the Pandavas or the Kauravas. Personally, he did not want this war and would have preferred to remain neutral, but that was not possible. He had no hatred against Hastinapur. He did not just choose Duryodhana; Bhishma, Dronacharya, Kripacharya – many venerable leaders were on the other side. He was not against them, and they had huge respect for him too. Both with Duryodhana and with the Pandavas, there was a distant blood relationship. When a relative comes and asks your help, a “no” would be difficult according to the Kshatriya dharma.
There was Kshatra Tej, the dharma for the warrior class, and Brahma Tej for the spiritual class. Krishna tried to bring about some kind of alliance between the Kshatriyas and the Brahmins. These guidelines and rules were created for the society to function smoothly. They said, a Brahmin must sit and study the Vedas for a certain number of hours a day. If the same dharma was enforced on a Kshatriya, he may not be competent to do it, and if he did this, he would not be a good administrator and definitely not a good warrior. The same goes for all the other classes. That is why they established different types of dharmas for different categories of people who had different duties to perform in the society. But at some point, the Kshatriyas started thinking only in terms of what is good for them and their dharma without considering all the others and their dharmas, which disturbed the harmony in the society. Krishna and Vyasamuni strived to bring Kshatra Tej and Brahma Tej closer together so they could function as a cohesive force for the benefit of all.
Since according to the Kshatra Tej, when a relative comes and asks for something, you cannot say “no,” Krishna gave them the choice between himself and his army. From a military standpoint, an army is definitely the better choice. Duryodhana believed that taking the army was sensible, though he did not get the first choice and was perturbed about that. When given the choice, the Pandavas had said to Krishna, “Whether we live or die – if we live, we want to live with you. If we die, we want to die with you. Without you, what will we do?” And that is what made the difference for them.
Now, your question is, “If Krishna is standing for dharma, how can he put his armed might on the side of adharma?” He was not a moralistic person who made black-and-white judgments about anyone. He neither believed the Pandavas were absolutely pure beings, nor that the Kauravas were absolute evil. This was not the way he looked at life. He constantly maintained a good relationship with the Kauravas. Duryodhana’s wife Banumathi was a devotee of his. He did not see the Kauravas as out and out evil – he just saw that they were causing much evil at that time and he would have liked to put an end to that. This does not mean he held any kind of hatred or anger against them, nor did he judge them as evil. He saw that human beings are always a combination of everything. That is why you have to strive to establish dharma within yourself; otherwise, you will become adharma. Any human being is capable of becoming adharma any moment of his life. There is no insurance that you will never fall into adharma. You have to strive to be aware; you have to strive to be on the righteous path, or else you will easily slip off. This goes for every human being, until you attain to such a level of consciousness where you cannot fall anymore.
In many ways, Krishna tried to encourage Duryodhana to strive for dharma. Even at that point when he gave this choice between him and his army, he still tried to avoid the war. In a way, it was a very intelligent move to give the army to Duryodhana. That way, Duryodhana felt that “Krishna is on my side,” thinking the Pandavas were fools to take one person instead of a 100,000-man-strong army. This could have been something for Duryodhana to latch on to and bring peace, but it failed.
Questioner: Sadhguru, you have been talking about three aspects – one is Krishna’s playfulness, the second is inclusiveness, and the third is love and devotion. I have three questions in this context. First, how can one be playful without losing the intensity that the practices have ignited? Second, I increasingly tend to do the minimum for friends and family. I just want to be on my own. I’m not sure what is meant by including everyone. And third, I think the mind’s constant over-activeness or judgment hampers love and devotion. So how can these three aspects be applied in day-to-day life?
Sadhguru: They cannot be applied – they can be attained. They are not some kind of policies or tricks that you apply in your life. You have to become that. You have to become inclusion. You have to become love. This is not something that you can do or make use of. It is something that you surrender to. It is something that you allow to burn you up. You are no more important.
It is because you are still on the application level, since you want to use something, that we gave you practices. I wish we could abolish the practices in the program. They are beautiful; they are definitely sustaining forces for a human being, but people evaluating the program and being there with me in terms of a takeaway is stupid. That way, they will not get anywhere. Maybe their health will improve, but they will not know anything beyond that in their lives.
There is nothing to apply. There is no take away. Don’t try to be devout; don’t try to be loving; don’t try to be inclusive. You cannot do that. You have to become that. You cannot do love. Love is much, much bigger than you. You can become a part of it. There is no method to fall in love. When you don’t make yourself important anymore, love will happen. If you are too full of yourself, there is no possibility of love in your life. You may know relationships; you may know give-and-take, but you will not know how to burn. If you don’t know how to burn, you will have no light of your own.
Editor's Note: Watch the Leela series, where Sadhguru explores the life and path of Krishna.