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Priorities

This article explains the basic premise of the Gita and how it applies to our understanding of our present relationships in this material world.

5000 years ago, a great battle of Kuruksetra took place, where Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and his intimate friend and a devotee participated. Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers is facing a great dilemma -should he fight against the Kurus, who unjustly usurped the kingdom that was supposed to be inherited by the Pandavas, or should he forego the material claim for the sake of family tradition and social consideration. After all, Kurus were his cousin brothers and they were joined by his beloved spiritual master Dronacharya and his grandfather Bhisma, who took care of the fatherless Pandavas since their early childhood. The duty of the ksatriya fighter obliged him to kill them since they caused injustice. At the same time, he was questioning whether social and political reasons are justified reasons to kill one's own family members. What is the ultimately purpose of our duty and are material assets such as kingdom, money and success a justified causes for our survival of the fittest, rat race fight against other living entities that surround us in our material journey?

The dilemma Arjuna was trying to resolve is the cause of mental disturbance for all of us at some point in our lives. We are often thrown into a situation where we consider whether it is more important to follow our own intuition and change the status quo, rebel and so something different or whether we should rather gain the praise and approval of the general public and become the example of following the already established tradition. Arjuna is advised by Krishna to follow the former and thus face the criticism and public condemnation. Krishna argues that the justice and the truth is superior to social and family traditions and that Arjuna should transcend the bodily relationship for the sake of dharma. In fact, since Krishna is the Supreme Godhead, Arjuna should simply follow His order and not be diverted by the relative morality of the material world. In the bodily conception of life, one who is controlled by material lust does not hesitate to exploit other living entities for his selfish purposes and sometimes does not hesitate to abuse his own family members. In fact, this is what the Kurus did. Blinded by lust for riches and power they have taken over the kingdom that belonged to the Pandavas, their own brothers. Therefore we should not fall into illusion that bodily relationships are in any way loving. They are based on lust and as soon as one's relationships do not satisfy one's senses, such so-called love is discarded like a dirty diaper. The good example of this is the phenomenon observed in the Nazi concentration camps. When the Nazi soldiers gased the Jewish people in the gas chambers, only a pile of bodies remained. The top of the pile consisted of the most healthy and strong men, while women, elderly and children remained at the bottom. The reason for this was that since the gas was let in to the chamber from the bottom up, those who were bodily more strong climbed on the pile of the bodily weak in order to gasp for the last remnants of air. This proves that in the time of emergency morality and love for mankind becomes an insignificant slogan only. They are mere conventions that we have build for ourselves with the desire to mutually cheat one another for the sake of extending our selfishness. Even if one does not exploit his family members for nefarious purposes, the simple act of serving his own family necessitates an injustice to other families, since everyone wants the best for his family. Jivasya Jiva Jivanam. In this material world, one prospers at the expense of suffering of others. It is therefore important not to sacrifice the cause of Krishna and his service for such meaningless considerations and always keep in mind that such relationships are impermanent and false. However, if they can be dovetailed in the service of Krishna, they become meaningful ornaments in our devotion to the Supreme Lord.

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