02.08 – When we find ourselves in trouble, do we also find ourselves?
Arjuna found himself in big trouble at the start of the Bhagavad-gita. He was anguished by the prospect of fighting a war in which he would have to kill his beloved elders. This agony forced him to recognize (02.08) that nothing of what the world had taught him to pursue would bring relief. Not the sovereignty of the earth. Not even the delights of heaven.
Amidst this trouble, Gita wisdom helped Arjuna to find himself. He understood that he and all his loved ones were indestructible spiritual beings who would live on even if their bodily shells were destroyed in the war.
Arjuna found himself in terms of not only his identity but also his destiny. Through Gita wisdom, he understood that what he valued most, what in fact everyone valued most, was love. Everyone longs to love and be loved. By directing this longing towards the all-attractive Supreme Being Krishna and through him to all living beings, he would find life’s ultimate fulfillment. Seeking that fulfillment instead of sensual enjoyment would redefine life as an opportunity to express and experience spiritual love. This sweet, sublime, supreme love was his destiny, a destiny that he could always advance towards, irrespective of worldly gains and losses.
We too can similarly use trouble as an impetus to go deeper into ourselves, beyond the superficiality of our routine life. Normally, we seek and enjoy sensual pleasures that are peripheral to our core identity as souls and central value of undying love. When trouble disrupts our life, we can wallow in self-pity or resentment at the world’s unfairness. Or we can ask ourselves: “What is truly worth pursuing in life? What actually counts?” If we seek answers using Gita wisdom, then trouble helps us to find ourselves.