Gita Daily Readings

18th August
Chapter XI: 33
Therefore, stand up and obtain fame. Conquer the enemies and enjoy the unrivalled kingdom. Verily, by me have they been already slain. Be thou a mere instrument, Oh Arjuna.

Commentary

God is the redeemer. At the appropriate time all souls shall vacate their habitation and find a new abode (kshaya). Even if, on account of delusive attachment or infatuation, one wishes to prolong indefinitely the life of one's beloved ones, it is impossible. Hence, lord Krishna has declared in the previous stanza: "Even without thee, these shall not live."

Krishna repeats that argument in this verse: "They have already been slain by me," In fact that spiritual event in the mind of God has to be worked out on the physical plane by human instrumentality. The bhavana (attitude to life) that Krishna inculcates in this verse, the nimitta-bhavana (attitude of being a mere instrument in the hands of God), is an important one. It has several implications.

1. That I am an instrument in God's hands, and do nothing on my own. On the one hand this generates true humility: all glory is God's. On the other, it bestows tremendous power on us: God, who is working through this instrument, is omnipotent. It should be clear that the instrument does not say it is one; it is not even aware it is one! For, true humility is not experienced within oneself, but is seen by others. To function as an instrument is to be totally free of ego.

2. To be an instrument in God's hands itself is great glory. We must accord this glory to his instruments, through whom his will functions viz., saints and all others generally.

3. God's grace flows through our benefactors to us. By expressing our gratitude to them we thank God. By bowing to them we bow to God.

4. We shed the puerile attitude of egoistically refusing helpful human intervention in our life, by saying: "God will help me." The right attitude is: "It is God even now, who is helping me, through this person"; and to that God-in-him we bow in gratitude.

5. All negative emotions like jealousy, hatred, contempt, etc., leave us. Everybody is an instrument in the hands of God.

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