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Author Topic: SCIENCE OF RELIGION By:- Swami Chinmayanand  (Read 2341 times)

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SCIENCE OF RELIGION By:- Swami Chinmayanand
« on: February 15, 2007, 08:47:53 AM »
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  • THE PSYCHOLOGICAL BREAK-UP
    We have already seen how on the battle-field of Kurukshetra tension was slowly mounting up. Duryodhana had already started showing signs of nervousness. At this moment Arjuna, with the confidence of a seasoned warrior, asks Krishna to drive his chariot between the two armies that he may himself survey the enemy lines.

    Krishna drives up the chariot and places it in front of Bhishma and Drona—who were also the Pandava's teachers—and says, " Behold, O Partha ! All these Kurus gathered together. " This is the only sentence Shri Krishna utters in the entire First Chapter. Yet it is an all-important one for herein Krishna may be said to be deliberately drawing Arjuna's attention to the assembled Kauravas. It is an innocent sentence, quietly uttered, yet one which triggers off the entire Geeta with its clipped, brevity— Partha Pashyaitan Samavetan Kurooniti.'

    Arjuna slowly swept his gaze over not only the Kaurava army, but also his own. He saw there, " fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons and friends too. " Seeing so many friends, relatives and acquaintances, poised for war against each other, he, probably for the first time, realised the tragedies of a total fratricidal war.

    His composure broke down. He was a man, it seemed, defeat­ed by the vagaries of his own mind. A feeling of " compassion " over-whelmed him. It is a human- habit to glorify weaknesses such as this and extol them with high-sounding names of virtues. Thus a rich man is often called charitable when he builds a temple with the secret -ambition of perpetuating his own name in time.

    All mental processes are unpredictable and complex. All his life Arjuna had waited for just such an opportunity to oust the Kauravas in fair battle, where he knew their sly moves would stand no chance against his own mighty prowess. But when such a chance presented itself, it seems strange that he should have lost heart and found himself lacking the confidence to measure up to such a situation.

    Arjuna's self-confidence, at this juncture, deserted him and overwhelmed with grief, (Kripaya Parayavishtaha) in sorrow and dejection (Visheedann idam abraveet), he said (1-28-29) " Seeing these my kinsmen, O Krishna, arrayed, eager to fight, my limbs fail me and my mouth is parched; my body quivers and my hair stands on end."

    He then enumerates the symptoms he feels. These very same symptoms, modern psychologists would say, are characteristics of what they would call, " anxiety-state-neurosis."

    “Seedanti mama gatrani'—my limbs fail me; ' Mukham cha Parishushyati'—my mouth is parched; ' Vepathushcha Shareere Me '—my body shivers all over;” ‘ Romaharhashcha Jaayate '—my hair stands on end. Again " Gaandeevam Sansrate Hastaat'— the Gaandeeva—bow slips from my hand and ' Twakchaiva Pari-dahyate'—my skin burns all over.

    These then are the physical symptoms characterising the state of his mental break-up, for he adds, " I am also unable to stand up and my mind is whirling around, as it were. " (Na cha shaknomi avasthamtum Bhramateeva cha me manaha).

    And for the next few verses he prattles on, giving conclusive proofs that he is in the grips of severe hysteria. At this stage, no modern psycho-analyst could have done better than Krishna. He just allows Arjuna to rattle on, to bring out all his pent-up warped emotions, quietly listening, making no attempt to arrest the flood of Arjuna's magnified dejection and his misplaced compassion for his friends and relatives. The " patient" is himself giving an account of his physical and mental condition, pouring his sentiments into the quietly receptive ears of Krishna.

    It does not take much to diagnose Arjuna's entire anti-war tirade as erruptions of a hysterical mind, drowned in blinding grief and despair. Here is escapism. An urge to run away from the problem in the face of it; an impulse to shirk the weight of responsibility; a mental shrinking from the thought of inevitable consequences. Arjuna is headed for a dangerous collapse of personality. He tells Krishna, (1-31) " I see bad omens, O Keshava, and I see no good in killing my own kinsmen in battle. " He tries to take shelter behind even superstitions, myths and beliefs—as long as they hide his confusions and perplexities and help him maintain a righteous front and regain what he can of his lost dignity.

    Such mental shrinkage and cowardice in the face of grave situations loot us of our own successes. The cracks in Arjuna's mental makeup slowly widen and soon Krishna has a clear view of the shattered individuality in Arjuna.

    At some stage in life, we all have to face such dire situations. Confused, and worse, confounded, thick mists of delusion rise before our mental eye. We seem to bump into blind alleys. We trip up on our own toes, we stumble and fall headlong into grinning traps of dejection and despair. We know not what to do. and our clouded intellect offers no line of right action. The treatment of such a neutral, mortal illness of the inner mind is the theme of the entire Geeta.

    ( courtesy — GEETA OFFICE)
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