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Chapter 2: The Roots of Violence

This is worth considering more deeply. Whatsoever we accumulate is less for ourselves than it is for those whom we call “our very own.” The house that we build is less for ourselves than it is for those whom we call “our very own” - for those “very own” who will live in it, for those “very own” who will admire and praise it - and also for those “very own” and “others” who will become full of envy and will burn with jealousy. Even if the most beautiful mansion on this earth is mine but none of “my very own people” are around to see it - either as friends or as enemies - I will suddenly find that this mansion is worth less than a hut. This is because the mansion is only a fa├žade: in reality it is simply a means to impress “our very own” and those who are not our very own. If no one is around, whom will I impress?

The clothes you wear are more intended to dazzle others’ eyes than to cover your own body. Everything becomes meaningless when you are all alone. You ascend thrones less for any pleasure that you may get from ascending - no one has ever attained any bliss from merely sitting on a throne - rather than for the sake of all the charisma that you are able to generate amongst “your very own” and “others” by being on it. You may remain sitting on the throne, but if all the people around it disappear, you will suddenly find that sitting on it has become ludicrous. You will get down from it and perhaps never sit on it again.

In that moment Arjuna felt, “These are my very own people who have gathered on both sides. These are my very own people who are going to die - so what is the point of a victory?”

Victory is never desired for the sake of victory. The real interest in victory is because of the ego-fulfillment that it brings to one amongst “one’s very own” as well as amongst strangers or those who are not one’s very own. “I may gain the whole empire, but what is the point?” It will have no meaning at all.

The anguish that has overtaken Arjuna’s mind should be properly understood. This anguish is born out of “mine-ness.” This anguish is a product of a violent mind. And it is because of this state of anguish that Krishna had to give Arjuna so many jolts. Had a person like Mahavira been in Arjuna’s place, the whole matter would have ended right there and then: it could not have been prolonged any further. Had it been a person like Mahavira, then maybe the whole matter would not have even come up. Perhaps Krishna would not have said a single word to a person like Mahavira - it would make no sense. The whole matter would have been finished without a word.

The truth is that the Gita is less about what Krishna said and more about what Arjuna caused him to say. Its real author is Arjuna and not Krishna. The state of Arjuna’s mind has become the basis of the Gita. And it is clearly visible to Krishna that a violent man has reached the philosophical peak of his violence, and at the root of all this talk of running away from the violence is that same violent mind.

Arjuna’s dilemma is not that of a nonviolent man trying to run away from violence; Arjuna’s dilemma is that of a violent man trying to run away from violence. This truth needs to be rightly understood.

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