04.04 – When we give Krishna the benefit of doubt, he gives us the benefit of freedom from doubt
When things go wrong in our life, doubts may assail us: “I am trying to be a good person, a good devotee. Why isn’t Krishna doing anything to help me? Does he care? Does he even exist?”
How do we deal with such doubts?
By learning to give the benefit of doubt to Krishna.
Instead of assuming our way to be the right way and labeling all other ways as wrong, we stay open to the possibility that Krishna might have a better plan. After all, he is far more intelligent than us.
Arjuna exemplifies this attitude of giving Krishna the benefit of doubt in his question (04.04). Krishna had stated earlier (04.01) that he gave the essential message of the Gita to the sun god in the past. Arjuna found this incomprehensible, for Krishna was born after the sun god. But instead of skeptically rejecting Krishna’s statement, Arjuna humbly asks: “How am I to understand this?” Krishna answers (04.05) by expanding the framework of discussion to encompass a past life when that knowledge transfer occurred.
This expansive framework applies not just to Krishna’s words but also to his actions. His plan extends far beyond what we consider good contextually to include what is the best for us eternally.
By giving Krishna the benefit of doubt, we prevent the wall of resentment from building between us and him. Instead, we open the window of understanding, thereby letting him guide us in his own inimitable way. If we don’t let the changed circumstances stop us from serving Krishna faithfully and intelligently, gradually we realize that things have worked out far better than our plan. Then our doubts disappear, our faith strengthens – and we march confidently through life’s journey back to Krishna.
Arjuna said: The sun-god Vivasvan is senior by birth to You. How am I to understand that in the beginning You instructed this science to him?