The two endings of the Gita point to the same end
The Bhagavad-gita has two endings based on the two nested conversations that comprise its narrative. The outer, framing conversation is at Hastinapura between Sanjaya and Dhritarashtra. Sanjaya narrates to the blind king the events happening on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. The inner, central conversation is at battlefield between Krishna and Arjuna. The Lord playing the role of a charioteer answers the questions of his friend who has been overwhelmed by the prospect of fighting a fratricidal war.
The inner conversation ends with Arjuna’s declaration (18.73) that his illusion has been dispelled and his memory, restored – and being free from doubts he is now ready to carry out Krishna’s will. The outer conversation ends with Sanjaya’s declaration (18.78) that where the bow-wielding Arjuna is united with the supremely mystical Lord, there will manifest morality, victory and prosperity.
These two endings focus respectively on inner enlightenment and outer attainment. Arjuna is freed from the confusion that had overwhelmed him, and Sanjaya declares that such an enlightened and determined Arjuna is sure to attain victory in the upcoming war. The focus of attention for both these speakers is different: internal and external respectively. Still, their statements are linked by a common theme: the harmonization of the human will with the divine will. Arjuna’s statement conveys that the removal of illusions and doubts, as brought about by the Gita’s message, inspires us to become resolute instruments of the divine, irrespective of external obstacles. And Sanjaya’s statement conveys that such harmonization, as conveyed by Arjuna’s uplifted bow, which represents the soul’s readiness to do God’s will, results in outer success too.
Thus, the Gita’s two endings demonstrate the universally desirable end for all human beings – attaining harmony with God within and thereafter, in a mood of service of him, contributing successfully without.
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