Musings on the Bhagavad Gita 12: Know Yourself – 2

The All Pervading One, the Singular Source of Everything, All That Is – is one without a second. That binds us all together. Let us pause for a while, and understand the implication of statements made by Krishna that He is the wetness of the waters, the radiance in the moon, the brilliance of the sun, the sound in the air, the fragrance in the earth…. He goes on and on, the list is exhaustive.

            “All such visible manifestations”, says Krishna, “are like beads strung on the invisible thread….” The Invisible is holding together the Visible.And, mind you, these beads are cotton beads, cotton pearls, made of the same thread. They look different from the thread holding them together, in reality, however, they are not different. Apparently different, essentially they are one and the same.

The Arjuna within Each One of Us must understand this point to effectively play our role on the stage of life, in this colossal drama of life. It is only then that we can defend ourselves and others against injustice and atrocities without hatred; and, more importantly, without remorse.

            It is about fixing a necklace, a necklace of cotton beads made of the same thread, the same material as the string holding them together.

            Having said that, we must also ensure that it is really about fixing the necklace. If a bead must be replaced, then it must be replaced for the sake of the necklace. It is not for the purpose of destroying the necklace.

Without a Proper Understanding of this point, we cannot effectively play our role in this drama of life. Compassion, for instance, is the highest virtue; but, it must be accompanied with a high sense of responsibility.

            It is foolish to show compassion towards wrongdoers without reprimanding them, without an attempt to correct them. Yes, you can reprimand them compassionately, you can correct them compassionately. But, you cannot simply forgive their wrongdoings without making them realize the serious implications of their wrongdoings, of their evil actions.

            Unchecked, a wrongdoer may consider his wrongdoing as a virtue and harm others without any remorse. Thus, compassion without a high sense of responsibility can also be harmful. 

We are Still in the 7th Chapter, as Krishna explains the Three Basic Traits in all humanbeings: “The Sattvika are calm by nature, yet always active, they are not given to sloth; the Rajasika are dynamic, but they can also become hyperactive; and, the Tamasika are lethargic….”

            Coming back to the analogy of the necklace, all these three traits are found in the beads – some are perfectly strung on the thread, some are very tight, and others are very loose. These beads are us. These qualities are within us.

            Krishna emphasizes: “I,” meaning the Supreme Being, the Supreme Reality, the Thread holding them together, “am not affected by such qualities, though holding them together.”

This is an Invitation to Raise Our Consciousness. As long as our focus is upon the beads, we are affected by such qualities. Once we shift our focus to the Divine Thread holding them together, we are not affected by them. Then, the act of repairing the beads and fixing the necklace becomes easy.

            Many of us complain, “How do we retain our higher consciousness while working in this world, facing all the ills of society?”

            The question is absurd. It has several faults. But, we will always be asking such questions if we considers ourselves separate from the consciousness. We are not separate. We are That Consciousness, That Divine String holding all the beads together.

            What is this world? What is society? And, what ills are we talking about? All and everything – the world, this society, all the ills and the ease, good and bad – are but combinations of the three basic traits of all things mentioned above.

Because of Different Proportions of such traits, we conceive things differently. We take pride in the calm beads; we are disturbed by the tight beads; and, we cry over the loose beads. We do not understand that the proportions can be fixed. We can do it, for we are the thread, the string, the core material of all those beads.

            Caught in the web of bead-consciousness, we are affected by the nature of those beads. Sometimes calm, at other times we cross the limits of dynamism and become hyperactive, thus causing unnecessary tension to ourselves… And, when lethargy overpowers us, we become non-productive. “Come to Me,” Krishna refreshes his invitation, “whatever be your motive, rise in consciousness, know your True Nature, come to Me….”

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