2016! The year that everyone (actually survivors only) will be walking around at year’s end wearing the classic t-shirt “I Survived 2016 on Planet Earth” It truly has shaped up to be the year of the GREAT challenge, hasn’t it? Maybe we ought to take a closer look at what is really going on here. Perhaps there is a great – really GREAT – opportunity that we don’t want to miss. Challenges and opportunities always do come in pairs, you know.
Many of us know of the distant battlefield (in both time and space) known as Kurukshetra on the plains of India back in the 3000 B.C. The context revolves around one fierce and mighty warrior known as Arjuna. He, the most skilled archer in all the land, was ushered into the very middle of the greatest battlefield of all time during the Bronze Age, also known as the Dwapara Yuga. His charioteer – Lord Krishna – had brought him there to view both warring parties arrayed against each other in the final battle that was to determine the fate of kingdom.
Dark Night of the Soul
Quite out character, Arjuna has loses his courage, and will, to fight. However, it was his dharma to fight; his responsibility to uphold the order. It was his destiny and he could not avoid it. He was born into the warrior or ruling class – the Kshatriya – and therefore to shirk this responsibility would mean that he would forfeit his very soul. Nevertheless, he faced a great dilemma. He was directly confronted by the very demons that chased him throughout his life. They had him cornered at his “weakest” moment. And Lord Krishna himself had come to his aid to see him through this very dark night of the soul.
Very interesting story, isn’t it?! Especially when the two sides of the battle are represented by your very own family — one side of the family being virtuous; the other a family of vices. Wait, the plot thickens.
So, Arjuna is in quite a quandary, which only he can resolved by facing his fears, and by praying for the divine grace. For it is only the grace if God that will dissolve his doubts and allay his very serious and legitimate concerns about the future of the whole kingdom.
Sound familiar? It sure does to most of the people in our talking circles. You know, like ALL of our friends, family, distant relatives, neighbors, business associates, long lost acquaintances, and so on and so on. Did we leave anyone out?
What in God’s Great Name is going on in 2016. May we call it the Year of the Fire Monkey, because it is?! Hence, it is destined to be nothing less that earth-shaking. The resulting earthquakes will inevitably occur on the physical, mental, emotional or spiritual levels. Quite unsettling, hasn’t it been? Like the very foundation is being rocked and rolled by a 12.0 on the Richter Scale.
Back to Arjuna
Let’s revisit our very instructive tale about Arjuna – the archetypal warrior who faces up to, and who ultimately overcomes … himself. But, wait, how did he get to a point of resolution so quickly in the frenzied environment of the start of a mega-war? Only by reviewing the sage counsel that was provided quite compassionately by the Lord, may we come to truly understand what amounted to the most consequential and greatest turnaround in world history.
“Who Am I?’
The most profound and fundamental existential question here is, “Who am I?” Arjuna had already spent a lifetime contemplating this classic challenge of self-inquiry, and was therefore ripe during his counseling session with the Lord, even if it was on the middle of the greatest battlefield of all time.
Surely many of us can relate to this predicament. Most of us reading this are currently situated on the most challenging battlefields of our lives. 2016 has exempted no one that we know.
Likewise, many us have been examining life’s deeper questions like “Who Am I?” for many years, if not decades.
Of course, the key and indispensable ingredient here is our relationship with the Lord. Quite fortuitously, many of us have had the great good fortune to have crossed paths directly with the Lord in this very lifetime. Our worthiness and yearning drew Him into our lives for this very moment in time. Did we hear that? Er … Um … for this very moment in time.
The Bhagavad Gita
Perhaps the greatest religious scripture of all time is the Bhagavad Gita. Each letter of this sublime divine revelation is pregnant with meaning so profound and relevant to this moment in time that we could easily end this essay right here and simply defer to its awesome text by suggesting a thorough reading. It’s not very long and really quite pithy. Every one of its many spiritual teachings have come to be known as the most powerful and transformative teachings of the era – the Kali Yuga – where we now find ourselves.
The entire Bhagavad Gita is actually spoken to Arjuna by Lord Krishna in the form of a Socratic dialogue. But how does a chariot-bound discourse on the ancient battlefield of Kurukshetra contain the most relevant wisdom for the here and now?
To be continued …