Chapter 4: Religiousness Is beyond the Realms of Time
In the Gita Krishna tells Arjuna, “Don’t be uncertain, indecisive. Be certain and decisive. Use your decisive intelligence and know for certain who you are, what you are. Don’t be indecisive as to whether you are a kshatriya or a brahmin, whether you are going to fight or you are going to renounce the world and take sannyas. You have to be clear and decisive about your basic role in life. Indecision splits one into fragments, and fragmentation leads to confusion and conflict, to grief and disintegration. Then you will disintegrate, you will perish.”
The word sanshaya in the Gita has been taken to mean doubt, and therein lies the whole confusion and mistake. I am in support of doubt, but I don’t support indecision. I say it is good to doubt, that skepticism is necessary. And Krishna, too, would not deny skepticism. He stands by skepticism, and that is why he asks Arjuna to put his questions again and again. To raise a question means to raise one’s doubts. But at the same time Krishna warns him against indecision. He tells Arjuna not to be indecisive, not to remain in conflict and confusion. He should not be incapable of deciding what he should do and what he should not do. He should not get bogged down in the quagmire of either-or, either to be or not to be.
Søren Kierkegaard was an important thinker of the last century. He wrote a book with the title, Either-Or. Not only did he write a book with this title, his whole life was the embodiment of this phrase, either-or. People in Copenhagen, his birthplace, forgot his real name and called him only “Either-Or”. When he passed through the streets of his town they said to one another, “Here goes Either-Or.” He would stand a long while at a crossroad, thinking whether he should turn to the right or to the left. After inserting a key in the lock he took long to decide which way to turn it.
Søren Kierkegaard was in deep love with a woman named Regina. When Regina proposed to him, for his whole life he could not decide whether to marry her or not to marry her.
This is indecisiveness, not doubt.
Krishna admonishes Arjuna not to fall prey to indecisiveness, because it will destroy him. Whosoever becomes a prisoner of indecision inevitably falls to pieces, because indecision divides one into contradictory fragments, a sure way to disintegration and ruin. Integration is health, and it comes with decisiveness. If you have ever taken a clear decision in your life you must have immediately become integrated in that moment. The bigger the decision, the greater the integration. And if one comes to a total decision in life, he has a will of his own, he becomes one, he attains to a togetherness, to yoga, to unio mystica.
All of Krishna’s effort is directed toward eradicating indecisiveness, it has nothing to do with doubt. He says, “Doubt fully, but never remain indecisive.” I am fully in favor of doubt. Doubt you must. Go on using the chisel of doubt until the statue of trust becomes manifest. Keep chiseling from the rock, with the hammer of doubt, the foreign elements that have entered your nature, until you eliminate the last of them and nothing remains to be eliminated. Then the statue of trust will appear in its full splendor.
But remember, if you continue to use the hammer of doubt even after the statue has manifested, you will injure the statue, you will hurt your own being.