Chapter II: 21
|Whosoever knows the self to be indestructible, eternal, unborn and inexhaustible, how can that man slay, Oh Arjuna, or cause to be slain?|
Daily, we are aware of three states of consciousness. In deep sleep, there is no diversity. In the dream state one (the mind) creates an illusion of diversity in itself! In the waking state, there is an apparent diversity: apparent because it is based on primordial ignorance and it will not stand investigation. These three states are experienced by the single ego, but the laws governing them are different. You cannot prosecute a man for killing another in a dream! Nor can he ignore a wall because he did not see it in his sleep.
The same argument applies to the different states of spiritual awakening, too. It is true that ultimately God alone exists and that he is eternal and immortal. But, in the state in which Arjuna found himself, he could not ask Krishna the very pertinent question: "If all these heroes are essentially indestructible, why do you ask me to kill them?" He had not transcended the gross state of experience of the physical world and had to play the game in accordance with the laws that governed that state. Here we have a strange paradox. The battle of life has to be fought in the world which we should investigate all the time and realize that it is the effect of our own ignorance. Failure to fight the battle of life in this spirit will sanction ignorance and seal the door through which we should rise into the higher states of consciousness.
This is the extremely delicate art of living: to play our part in this world as though it were a reality and yet never to forget the ultimate reality which appears, through mistaken perception, as the world.
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