shauryam tejah dhrtih dAkshyam yuddhe cha api apalAyanam dAnam eeshwarabhAwah cha kshatrakarma swabhAwajam ||18.43|| "Prowess, splendour, firmness, dexterity, and also not flying from battle, generosity, lordliness- these are the duties of the Kshatriyas, born on (their own ) nature."
A true leader is one who has the subtle ability to incorporate the spiritual ideals of our culture into the work-a-day life and maintain them in the community in all its innumerable fields of activity.
The eight qualities--bravery, vigour, consistency, resourcefulness, promptitude, courage in the face of the enemy, generosity and lordliness-- are here enumerated by the Lord as duties of a #Kshatriya#, meaning, that it is the duty of a true man of action to cultivate, maintain, and express these traits in him. A Kshatriya is not defined by Lord Krishna directly as the legal son of another Kshatriya; on the other hand, He enumerates a series of qualities and behaviour noticed in a truly kindly personality. In the Geeta the four castes are described in terms of their manifested individuality when coming in contact with the world-of-objects-- the field of expression.
Prowess and Boldness (sauryam and tejah): These mean the vigour and consistency with which he meets his challenges in life. He who has the above two qualities, heroism and vigour of pursuit, certainly becomes a commanding personality.
Fortitude (dhrti): This was already explained in the earlier stanza. Herein, as applied to a Kshatriya, it is the powerful will of the personality who, having decided to do something, pursues the path and discovers in himself the necessary drive and consistency of purpose to meet and, if necessary, break down all the obstacles until he reaches victory or success.
Promptitude (dakshyam): The Sanskrit equivalent for the army paradeground command, `Attention !, is dakshyam. This quality of alertness and smart vigilance is indeed dakshyam. In the context here it means that the Kshatriya is one who is prompt in coming to decisions and in executing them completely. Such an individual is industrious and has an enviable amount of perseverance, however hazardous the field of his activity may be.
Not fleeing form battle: One who has all the above qualities can never readily accept defeat in any field of conflict. He will not leave any work half done and retire. Since Krishna here is generally classifying the entire living creatures according to the gunas predominant in them, these terms should be understood in their greatest amplitude of suggestion. No doubt, a true warrior should not step backward in a field of battle; but such literal interpretation is only partial. The field of battle should include all fields of competition wherein things and situations arrange themselves in opposition to the planned schemes of a man of will and dash. In no such condition can a true Kshatriya feel nervous. He never leaves a field where he has entered, and if at all he leaves, he leaves with the crown of success!
Generosity (danam): Governments of kings cannot be popular unless they loosen their purse strings. Even in modern days, every Government budget in all democratic countries has amounts allocated under heads which are not discussed and voted. A man of action cannot afford to be miserly since his success would depend upon his influence on a large number of friends and supporters. The glory of a prince is in his compassion for others who are in need of his help.
Lordliness (Isvarabhava): In leadership it is always a rule that without self-confidence in one's own abilities one cannot lead others. A leader must have such an all-consuming faith in himself that he must be able to reinforce other frail hearts around with his own self-confidence. Thus lordliness is one of the unavoidable traits in a Kshatriya. He must be wafting all round a fragrance of brilliancy and dynamism, electrifying the atmosphere that he comes to rule. A king is not made by his golden robes or bejewelled crowns. The crown, the robes, and the throne have a knack of electing for themselves a true wearer. Lordliness is the watchword of the Kshatriya. ||6.1||
yajnArthAt karmanah anyatra lokah ayam karmabandhanah tadartham karma kaunteya muktasangah samAchara ||3.9|| "The world is bound by action other than those performed `for the sake of sacrifice'; do thou, therefore, O son of Kunti, perform action for that sake (for Yajna alone) free from attachment."
Yajna here means only "any self-sacrificing work undertaken in a spirit of Self-dedication for the blessing of all." We understand Yajna as "any social, communal, national or personal activity into which the individual is ready to pour forth himself entirely in a spirit of service and dedication." Only when people come forward to act in the spirit of co-operation and self-dedication, can the community get itself freed from its shackles of poverty and sorrow -- is a very well-endorsed fact proved very often by reported history. And such activities can be undertaken in a spirit of Divine loyalty only when the worker has no attachment.
No achievement is impossible for man if he knows how to act in the discipline of co-operation, and if he is ready to bring forth into his activities the required amount of non-attachment and spirit of sacrifice.
dewAn bhAwayata anena te dewAh bhAwayantu wah parasparam bhAwayantah shreyah param awapsyatha ||3.11|| "With this do you nourish the Gods and may those Devas nourish you; thus, nourishing one another, you shall attain the highest good."
The productivity that is dormant in any situation can be invoked only by man's sincere efforts. This potential which generally lies dormant everywhere is the Deva to be cherished by the worker through the Yajna activities and, certainly, it is sure that the Deva will manifest in turn to cherish or to bless the worker. "Thus cherishing one another, man shall gain the highest good," is the Divine intention, in the mind of the creator, says Krishna in this stanza.
The "productive potential" (Deva) when cherished through "self-dedicated work performed in a spirit of sacrifice"(Yajna) will provide the worker with the desired-for objects. This is the law of life. And when we thus earn a profit due to our sacrifices, we have every right to enjoy that profit sharing it among ourselves. But no living creatures should enjoy benefits of others' actions without themselves contributing their share to the total effort. In the capitalistic system of life we notice the wrong tendency of self-aggrandisement of profits produced out of the corporate efforts of millions of workers. This creates sad mal-adjustments in all spheres of activity ultimately, and national and international peace are threatened when we thus upset the law of harmony in life. When this familiar idea in modern finance "that a member of a society who consumes without producing is a liability on the nation", is re-read in the language of the Vedas, it is spelt as the second line of this stanza. ||6.2||
abhayam sattawasamshuddhih jnAnayogawyawasthitih dAnam damah cha yajnah cha swAdhyAyah tapah Arjawam ||16.1|| "Fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness in the YOGA-of-Knowledge, alms-giving, control of the senses, sacrifice, study of the SASTRAS, and straightforwardness..."
And in the enumeration of these qualities, FEARLESSNESS (Abhayam) comes
first. Fear is generated in one, only when one is in a field which is clouded by 'ignorance'. Fear is the expression of Avidya. Where there is 'Knowledge' there is fearlessness. By placing this quality of fearlessness at the head of the list, with the unsung music of sheer suggestiveness, the divine #Acharya# is indicating that true ethical perfection in one is directly proportional to the spiritual evolution attained by the individual.
PURITY OF HEART- The Geeta preaches a dynamic religion, militant both in theory and practice. The Divine Charioteer is not satisfied by a tame generation of passive goodness. He wants the members of the perfect Hindu society not only to live among members of the perfect Hindu society not only to live among themselves the highest values of life, but also to burst forth with the positive glow of righteousness and bathe the entire generation of men in the light of truth and virtue that implies honesty of intentions and purity of motives.
STEADFASTNESS IN DEVOTION TO KNOWLEDGE- Devotion to knowledge (JnanaYoga) is thus the positive way to persuade the mind to leave all its low temptations. When a child is playing with a delicate glass curio, to save the precious object, the parents generally offer it a piece of chocolate, and the little child, anxious to get at the chocolate, drops the precious thing down. Similarly, a mind that is awakened to the serene joys of the Self will, naturally, never hang on to sensuous objects and their fleeting joys.
CHARITY, RESTRAINT OF THE SENSES, AND SACRIFICE- These three are now the techniques by which an individual successfully tunes up his inner instruments of knowledge in order to discover the required amount of "steady devotion to Knowledge". Charity must come from one's sense of abundance. Charity springs only from a sense of oneness in us-- oneness between the giver and the recipient. Unless one is able to identify oneself with others, one will not feel this noble urge to share all that one has with others who do not have it. Thus daana is born out of a capacity to restrain one's instincts of acquisition and aggrandisement, and to replace them with the spirit of sacrifice, and it consists in sharing with others the objects of the world that one possesses.
If charity (daana) develops in one the capacity to detach oneself from the wealth that one possesses and share it with others who are poorer, then we can say that control of the sense-organs (dama) is the application of the same spirit of sacrifice in one's personal life. To give a complete licence for indulgence to the sense-organs is to waste, unproductively, the total human vitality. To economise in the expenditure of energy through the sense organs in the fields of sense-objects is to discover an extra amount of untapped energy. This energy can be made use of as the motive power behind the mind and intellect that is set on a flight to the higher realms of meditation. To keep the mind tuned up to the Self, subtle energy is called forth, and it will be discovered within ourselves when we control our sense excesses. Without dama and daana the pilgrimage to Truth is merely a dream.
SACRIFICE (Yajna)-- In the Vedic period Yajna was the day-to-day devotional ritualism that the average man of spiritual seeking diligently practised. Without this regular prayer-cum-puja -- which is the substitute for Yajna available for us -- control of the sense-organs will be impossible, and without this control, the spirit of charity cannot come.
In the absence of both daana and dama, spiritual experience of the Self, recognition of the Divine with us, is impossible. It is interesting to note that each subsequent term in this list is logically connected with the one indicated immediately before.
STUDY OF THE SCRIPTURES (Swadhyaya)-- Traditionally, this term indicates regular study of the scriptures. Study of scriptural literature daily, in measured quantities, will provide the necessary inspiration to live the divine life in our day-to-day existence. But, scriptural study is indicated here by a very significant term, (Swadhyaya = Swa + Adhyayana -- Self-study), which in Sanskrit suggests that the study of the scriptures should not be merely an intellectual appreciation, but as the student reads the text-books, he must be able, simultaneously, to observe, analyse and realise the truth of what he is studying within his own life. Regular studies, coupled with regular practice (Yajna), will give us the courage to live in self-control of the sense-organs which in its turn will supply us with steadiness in meditation for realising the Highest.
ASCETICISM (Tapa) -- All conscious self-denials at the body level, whereby an individual reduces his indulgences in the world outside, gains more and more energy within himself, and applies the new-found energy for the purpose of self-development, are called Tapas.
UPRIGHTNESS (Arjavam)-- Crookedness in thought, emotion and general conduct has a self-destructive influence upon the personality. Actions belying one's own true intentions and motives, convictions and aspirations, realisation and discrimination will result in the crookedness of one's personality. He who is indulging in this way-of-life will thereby develop in himself a split personality and will soon lose the glow of efficiency and be impoverished in the powers of personal grit.
In short, in this very opening stanza of the chapter, while enumerating the qualities of a "Divinely Good" man, we find a definite scientific connection among them. Ethical values and moral beauties described in Hinduism are not arbitrary declarations of an imaginative Saint or a melancholy prophet. They are built on the rocky foundations of reason and experience. Sincerely pursued and consciously lived, they contribute to a better expression of the divine possibilities in man which generally lie dormant. Ethics in India are not, by themselves, a passport to heaven, but are a preparation for a fuller unfoldment of the divine contents in the bosom of man.
indriyasya indriyasya arthe rAgadweshau wyawasthitau tayoh na washam Agachchet tau hi asya paripanthinau ||3.34|| "Attachment and aversion for the objects of sense abide in the senses; let none come under their sway, for, they are his foes."
Merely to prescribe a medicine, which is not available, is not the art of curing. It is a philosopher's duty, not only to indicate the weaknesses in our present life and the State of Perfection, but he must also show us ways and means by which we can transport ourselves from our weaknesses into the Life of Perfection indicated. Then and then alone can the philosopher bless his generation.
Krishna is indicating here the great saboteur in the `within' of man who loots away the true joys and thrills of `right living'. Attachments and aversions of the sense-organs for their respective sense-objects are instinctive and natural in every one. The sense-objects in themselves are incapable of bringing any wave of sorrow or agitation to the `within'. We get agitated and disturbed not at our sense-organs, but in
our mind. The mind gets disturbed because, when the stimuli reach the mind, it accepts in its inherent mischief certain types of stimuli as good and their opposites as bad. Thereafter, that mind gets itself attached to the stimuli it had experienced in the past as good and teaches us to entertain an aversion for the opposite type of stimuli. Now the mind is prepared to suffer the agonies of existence in the sorrowful plurality. Whenever it comes in contact with the infinite number of objects outside, it pants, to court things of its own attachment and labours to run away from things of its own aversion. This excitement of the mind is called `its tragedy'.
Having stated this Truth, Krishna advises all seekers. "Let none come under their sway." The philosophy of Geeta does not suggest even in its implications any kind of running away from the world of sense-objects. Krishna's creed is to be lived here and now among one's situations in life and in this very world, and is to be experienced through our sacred vehicles of the body, mind, intellect. The only insistence is that on all occasions a wise man should be a master of the vehicles and not a helpless victim of these matter envelopments. And the secret of this mastery in life is to live free from the tyrannies of attachments and aversions.
In order to detach ourselves from both our likes and dislikes, we have to get rid of our false ego-centric vanities. Likes and dislikes belong to the ego. Therefore, all egoless acts as we have explained earlier accomplish a purgation of Vasanas. Vasanas create the mind; where the mind is, there revels the ego. To the extent the Vasanas have been reduced, to that extent the mind has become non-existent. Where the mind has ended there the reflection of the Consciousness in it, called the ego also has ended. ||6.3||