Chapter 11: Man: The Call of the Eternal
Even a man like Krishna says to Arjuna, “Don’t worry. You can kill in the war because God has already decided whom to kill and whom to save. In fact, he has already killed them - you are just a means. If you are not going to kill them then somebody else will have to do the job. So why escape? Just do your duty! And your duty is fixed, it is already decided by God.”
That’s the whole argument of Krishna in Shrimad Bhagavadgita. He tries to persuade his disciple Arjuna to fight. In fact, Arjuna was saying, “I don’t see any point in it. Killing so many people, millions of people, just for the kingdom is pointless. And the people I am going to kill are my friends, my relatives, my colleagues; we have grown up together. My brothers.even my teacher is on the other side! On this side are my friends, on that side are my friends.”
It was a family war - brothers were fighting - so family, friends, were all divided into warring camps. And Arjuna said, “It is better that I should drop this whole idea. And what is the point in killing all these beautiful people whom I have loved and respected? Even if I win it will not be worth anything. I will feel guilty, I will never be happy. So it would be better to go to the forest, renounce the world, meditate, work on myself. This whole thing is an absurd, futile exercise!”
He was ready to renounce the war, but Krishna persuaded him. And all the reasoning goes around and around one single point: “You are not to decide, it has been already decided by God.”
All the religions of the world have done the same thing in different words: they have taken away the freedom of man. Fate means the death of your freedom. Fate means you are mechanical, you are just a machine. You are no longer a man; your life is not your own life.
I don’t agree with Krishna at all. The whole point is basically of throwing responsibility onto someone called God. One does not know whether anybody like that exists or not. And even if God exists he cannot do so much harm, because then man is reduced to an animal; then there is no possibility of any man becoming a buddha, becoming enlightened - impossible. And if it is already written that you will become a buddha then there is no dignity in becoming a buddha. Somebody becomes a murderer because God has written so, and somebody becomes a buddha because God has written so - so what is beautiful about being a buddha? Both are slaves, slaves of fate.
There have been religions like Buddhism and Jainism which have dropped the idea of God completely. But they could not drop the idea of a determined life pattern so they invented something new. They started talking about past lives and the whole philosophy of karma: that you are decided by your past life - and not only one past life, all your past lives. You have lived thousands of lives and they determine what you are going to be; it is not in your hands. The past determines your present and your future - again the same game, only the names have changed. And you will be surprised to know that this has been going on again and again with different names - the same game.