Humility paves the way from perplexity to clarity

Suppose we are driving along an unfamiliar road and can’t figure out our route. We need to ask someone and we need the humility to ask someone. If we think that seeking help signifies weakness, we will remain lost.

The Bhagavad-gita begins at a perplexing juncture in Arjuna’s life. Just when he was about to fight the climactic Kurukshetra war, he became perplexed. Should he choose his warrior duty to punish wrongdoers, even if they were his relatives? Or should he choose his dynastic duty to protect his relatives, by overlooking their many grievous wrongs?

For a celebrity to publicly admit confusion is not easy. But Arjuna was humble enough to recognize that he knew what mattered most: not what the world thought of him, but whether what he thought was right. Though he felt disinclined to fight (01.46), he still confessed his confusion (02.06) and sought guidance from Krishna (02.07). And Krishna spoke the Gita, revealing that Arjuna’s identity had multiple levels. Underlying his various functional identities as a warrior or a prince was his foundational identity as a soul, part of Krishna and meant to serve Krishna.

For Arjuna, accepting the position of the servitor of God might have seemed a comedown from being a champion warrior or a royal prince. But his humility in unhesitatingly accepting his fundamental identity freed him from perplexity (18.73). It provided him clarity about his purpose – he needed to choose that functional duty which harmonized with his fundamental identity. Thus, he played his part in the war, which was a divine plan for establishing dharma.

Similarly, amidst perplexities, if we humbly seek guidance from Krishna by studying the Gita and situate ourselves in our eternal position of serving Krishna, then, by his mercy, we will gradually get the clarity to move ahead effectively.

Think it over:

  1. What was the cause of Arjuna’s confusion?
  2. How did humility pave the way for Arjuna from perplexity to clarity?
  3. Are you facing any perplexity? How can humility help you move ahead?

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