Crisis Management - A Case Study of Arjuna's Rescue, Relief and Rehabilitation by Sri Krishna


Krishna does  not restrict Himself to the higher standard of advice. He comes down  to a mundane level and explains to Arjuna the importance of  performing his duty as a warrior.

He says  “Further having regard to  your duty (your own dharma) you should not waver, for there is nothing higher for a kshatriya  than a righteous war. Happy are the kshatriyas who are called upon to  fight in such a battle that comes of itself unsought as an open door  to heaven, O Arjuna. But if you will not fight in this lawful battle,  then, having abandoned your own dharma and honor, you shall incur sin. People too will recount for ever your  infamy; to a man who has been honored, dishonor is worse than death.  The great chariot-warriors (such as Bhishma, Drona, Kripa etc.) will  think that you have withdrawn from the battle through fear and you  will be ridiculed by them who held you in high esteem. Your enemies  also, finding fault with your abilities, will speak many a word that  should not be uttered.  What could be more painful than this? If you  are killed in the battle, you will go to heaven; if you win, you will  enjoy the earth. Therefore arise, O Son of Kunti, resolved to fight.  Treating alike pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat,  engage in battle for the sake of the battle, thus you shall not incur  sin.”


The  predicament faced by Arjuna was on account of Ignorance about the  Reality. Hence Krishna disclosed to Arjuna the Ultimate Vision of  Human Life by discussing and imparting the knowledge about the Soul  which has the power to resolve all the conflicts faced by the mind  and intellect. The Soul is the non-acting substratum for all the  activities and interactions of an individual. This spiritual  soul-vision gives rise to the feeling of renunciation.

Renunciation  is not a physical pursuit or an external option. Instead, it is a  mental and intellectual elevation, inner enrichment and spiritual  sublimation.  Renunciation does not mean abandonment of activities  because life without action is impossible. It is a compulsion of  nature. What is required is to convert activities as a sadhana,  a spiritual endeavor which will free one of desires. How it is to be  done? Through Karma Yoga and meditation.

In  this process, senses, mind and intellect act and interact but with a  difference making all the bodily processes superficial. The advice  given is to be free from the sense of doership and enjoyership  implying annihilation of ego sense. Every part of the body acts –  eyes see, tongue tastes, ears hear and so on. So ascribe every action  to its origin, its own organ and do not extend it to yourself, the  indweller, the innermost personality. Thus the ownership or doersship  or proprietorship is eschewed. Once the doership is eliminated, the  enjoyership, the feeling just because you have done an act you have  to enjoy its fruits, also gets eroded. The ego gets completely  sublimated to a higher cause and makes the activities light,  effective and noble. Activities are performed but with an inner  freedom. The result is stability with freedom from all kinds of  afflictions and attachments with an equanimous mind.

Krishna  tells Arjuna “Perform well whatever needs to be done with  dis-attachment. By so doing one will attain the Supreme.” By  dis-attached action every act in life becomes a yajna, a sacrifice, a  spiritual act. The Soul is impersonal, impartial and non-actor. If  this Soul-dimension is kept in mind while performing any action, the  actor will be unaffected by such action and its results. Krishna  therefore says “even if one kills all these people, he does not  verily kill nor is he bound by his killings, provided he has outgrown  his doership or ego and his intelligence is not tainted.” He  attains freedom from actions while engaged in action - naiskarmya  siddhi.

Krishna  points out even this naiskarmya  siddhi is not  the final goal; such an integrated mind merely makes one eligible for  self-realization. By undertaking all actions with total reliance on  the Supreme alone one attains the eternal imperishable abode of  Brahman with His grace. He says “Mentally renouncing all  activities, thereby placing them in the Supreme Reality, making the  Supreme as the sole object of interest, let your mind, resorting to  equanimity abide constantly in the Supreme. With the mind resting on  the Supreme, you will surmount all hardships and attain the supreme  abode by His grace. But by resorting to ego if you decide that you  will not fight such a decision will be in vain for nature will compel  you to fight.”

Revealing  His Divinity who was playing the role of a player and the playwright,  Krishna tells Arjuna “Be engaged in Me, be devoted to Me, worship  Me and prostrate before Me. By this you shall indeed attain Me. I  promise this because you are very dear to Me. Abandoning all dual  notions of dharma  and adharma take  refuge in Me alone. I shall redeem you from all sins. Grieve not.”  The connotation of this advice is that there is no effort or  practice; it is a transformation to make the mind Godly, to become a  devotee, to feel you are of God and for Him alone. Let everything you  do be an offering to the Supreme. No selection, denial, preference or  prejudice should assail the mind. Thereby your actions will not bind  you. Thus Krishna concluded His spirituo-philosophical message in  Crisis Management to Arjuna.


Krishna’s  sole objective of his long discourse was to treat the mind and  dissolve all its emotional impurities and to solve the riddles of the  intellect tormenting Arjuna. He therefore wanted to find out the  response from Arjuna, to know whether His words had got any effect on  him. He asked Arjuna “Have you listened to these words, O Partha,  with an unswerving mind? Has your delusion resulting from ignorance  been exterminated, O Dhananjaya?”

Once  these twin objectives were achieved there is nothing left to deal  with in respect of the inner personality of a human being. Bodily  disorders are for the medicinal sciences to deal with. Spirituality  and philosophy have the aim of dealing with the invisible subjective  constituents of the mind and intelligence. There is no doubt that  Arjuna and Krishna have accomplished this subtle, inner complex task  effectively as evidenced by the response of the former to the  latter’s question. Arjuna declared with an emphatic tone “By your  grace, Krishna, my delusion is dispelled; I have regained my memory;  I stand stable with all my doubts dissolved. I shall do as you say.”

This  is a confession of Arjuna that he is not the earlier person  overwhelmed by sorrow and delusion but a transformed hero, poised and  self-confident, capable of fully accomplishing what is expected of  him. He did achieve the purpose for which he and all his warriors  came to the battlefield at Kurukshetra. He won the war and the  project ‘rescue, relief and rehabilitation of Arjuna’ undertaken  by Krishna became a landmark in the annals of human history. Krishna  successfully rescued Arjuna from an impending disaster arising from  his doubts and indecisiveness, provided great relief to him through  His multi-dimensional advice and rehabilitated him in an extremely  comfort zone in such a way that Arjuna could fight and won the  battle.


What  was the end result of the efforts of Krishna? The dominant question  in Arjuna’s mind was about death and killing, that too of his near  and dear ones. Krishna’s answer to this is that there is no death  at all for anyone and equally so, there is no birth. To think of  death is a sheer fallacy. This insight comes only by probing into the  spiritual presence that enlivens the body. Enquiry into the Soul  alone can redress the problem and agitation caused by death. So  Krishna’s first words of advice were “Gain the knowledge of the  immortal Soul and overcome all anxiety, agitation and doubts of the  mind.”

“Having  done this, do what you have come here for – namely, fight” – tasmad yudhyasya were the words used by Krishna repeatedly. Krishna also said many  times that grief was uncalled for over anything whatsoever.

Applying  these words in our lives, we should not think of condemning or  withdrawing from our usual activities, come what may. In striving  well lies the human dignity and fulfillment. While doing so we should  not be lamenting for anything at all. Instead we must find full joy  and harmony in everything.

Thus  the whole episode derives eternal relevance and utility. It discusses  the problems of the mind and intelligence and offers a complete  solution to them all as was the case with Arjuna at the end. This  makes the Bhagavad Gita a full fledged philosophical gospel of  universal dimension. That is why it has been read, re-read,  explained, interpreted and disseminated with matchless fidelity, zeal  and fervor by ascetics, scholars and Knowers across the globe even  after thousands of years of its declaration.

Also  read by same Author

1. Bhagavad Gita chapter-wise commentary in PDF
2. Yoga Vasishtha – a Treasure House of Philosophy
3. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras
4. Mundaka Upanishad
5. Concepts of “Desire” and “Demand”: Vedanta goes beyond Economics
6. Bhaja Govindam – a Stress Management Technique

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