Preparing Arjuna To Take Up His Action With Knowledge and Commitment

Having provided the intellectual framework for Arjuna, and responded to his most pressing questions and concerns, Sri Krishna now needs to move Arjuna from the realm of the intellect to the field of action. He needs to reconcile the internal conflict between the new intellectual framework that Arjuna has received, and the action that Arjuna is expected to carry out. For this to occur, there needs to be a dramatic and concrete experience that radically changes the psychological framework under which Arjuna has been operating, and this change is the shift of perspective and standpoint from the normal, mentalized human perspective to a vision that can see and experience from the divine standpoint. This is in fact, the experience that the Gita is leading up to in the famous 11th chapter. The intervening chapters now are required to prepare Arjuna for what he is going to see and experience, and to flesh out the framework of the divine standpoint he will need to integrate into his life and action. We must keep in mind that at the same time that Arjuna is being provided an intellectual framework for a Divine Presence in all things and a Divine Will, he is being asked to undertake the most violent type of action in the form of taking up arms against people he also recognizes as friends, relatives and revered elders and teachers. After his psychological breakdown, which we saw in the beginning of the Gita, it is clear that Arjuna needs more than a powerful intellectual argument to resolve not only his doubts, but motivate him to undertake the action with full force and effect. He needs to emerge not only with the comfort of the idea to justify the action, but with the overwhelming experience that can wipe away any doubt or hesitation.

Sri Aurobindo describes the need: “But intellectual clarity is not enough; he must see with the inner sight illumining his blind outward human vision, so that he may act with the consent of his whole being, with a perfect faith in all his members, sraddha, with a perfect devotion to the Self of his self and the Master of his being and to the same Self of the world and Master of all beings in the universe.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part I, Chapter 4, The Secret of Secrets, pp. 287-288

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