|Vedanta Spiritual Library|
Unit - 03
Lesson - 0302: Prerequisites to Receive the Ultimate Solution
By Raja Subramaniyan
Lord Krishna is aware of the ultimate solution that is prescribed in Vedas and he could have helped Arjuna by teaching him the solution. However, Arjuna was in no mood to listen to any teaching. He wanted an immediate solution to the problem.
Lord Krishna realized that Arjuna has not yet met the prerequisites to receive the teaching.
Example: Immunization is a process in which the body is taught to protect itself from harmful virus, by artificially injecting the dead viruses.
Similarly, it is possible to receive the ultimate solution and solve the disease of ignorance in advance so that we do not suffer when unfortunate events are encountered. However, there are four prerequisites, which are to be fulfilled before one could make the immunization effective.
The problem is universal. Gita contains the ultimate solution to this universal problem and it is available for everyone. Still not many have benefited because one has to meet following four prerequisites to use the solution offered in Gita.
Prerequisite 1: Acknowledgement of the problem
Most people do not acknowledge the presence of the problem in the first place. If they do not even recognize the problem, the solution will not be useful to them.
Example: As a person grows old, his eyesight becomes progressively poor. However, he does not take note of it and assumes that he is perfectly all right. Obviously, he will not go to a doctor seeking relief.
Similarly, as children our problems are limited to completing the homework or writing an exam. Then slowly one by one the number of issues one has to deal with increases. For every such problem, we are able to find a temporary solution. In addition, we are compensated with 'satisfaction and a sense of achievement' on crossing each hurdle that we face. We are not aware of how vulnerable we are until a great tragedy strikes us.
If we do not acknowledge our inability to solve all the problems completely the ultimate solution is of no use to us.
Most people do not even want to diagnose to check whether the problem is present.
Example: Routine medical check-up is prescribed after certain age. However, many are reluctant to undergo the same for the fear of finding out a latent disease.
Similarly, many shy away from self-introspection. They always keep their mind occupied in some work or entertainment so that it does not get the time to reflect and find out its own vulnerability to problems. It is very easy to check whether we are prone to suffering in life by just imagining personal, financial, family or professional misfortunes that can happen in our life and our probable response to the same.
Prerequisite 2: Desire to solve the problem
After acknowledging the presence of the problem, one may still not be ready or willing to seek a solution.
Example: The old man has finally acknowledged that his eyesight is failing and he is not able to see properly. It appears he is suffering from cataract. However, he says that he can manage without treatment (secretly hoping that the problem will disappear by itself or may not warrant an operation)
Similarly, even if we acknowledge that we suffer or are prone to suffering, we may not be willing to seek a solution.
In order to get the benefit from the universal solution one has to decide that the current problem is so severe that it needs immediate and permanent treatment.
Example: If signs of cancer are seen, it has to be treated early. Even if there is no apparent health problem suffered by the patient, the doctors will advice immediate commencement of treatment. However, it is upto the patient to decide when the treatment can start.
Similarly, if we do not wish to liberate ourselves from the problem, no external person can help us solve the problem.
Prerequisite 3: Realization that self-help will not work.
Assuming that one acknowledges the presence of the problem and has a deep desire to resolve it, still one has to understand that external help is required.
Example: The old man with poor eyesight assumes that if he gets up at 3 am in the morning and washes his eyes thoroughly in cold water, he may regain eyesight. Since he has a deep desire to restore his eyesight, he sincerely attempts such natural cure.
Similarly, most of us believe that we are capable of solving all our problems. "If only I can get the next promotion or build my own house all the problems will be solved forever" is the common attitude.
It takes a while to realize that more issues we deal with, more issues are cropping up. If we are active and energetic, we do a lot more things compared to some one who is not so active. However, the active person has more issues to deal with.
If one carefully observes the history and scrutinizes the personal lives of great achievers, it is possible to realize that it is impossible to solve the basic issue of feeling the discontentment or sense of incompleteness without external help.
The more intelligent and more capable we are, we tend to think that we can solve our universal problem by ourselves. The fact that the solution is given only in Vedas is a difficult proposition for us to accept. People assume that they are so intelligent and it is unlikely that they need the contents of Vedas to help them out.
This is the main reason why most people do not read the user manual that comes with any electronic product. They assume that they know how to use the product without reading the manual until a problem crops up. Only when they realize that they are not able to solve the problem they progress to the next step of reading the manual.
Prerequisite 4: Surrendering to the teacher
After realizing the necessity of the external help, we reach the final step of identifying the correct teacher to whom we can surrender and seek the solution.
Example: The old man finally gives up his dependency on self-help and seeks medical help. Many doctors are willing to conduct the operation on him. However, he is not sure which one to choose. He is skeptical about every one and not willing to go ahead with the operation.
Even after accepting, that the universal solution is available only in Vedas and that it is not possible to solve the problem through self-help, educated people find it very difficult to get the benefit from Vedas. This happens because they are skeptical about the various interpretations that are prevailing in the world. There are different competent teachers who all appear to be talking convincingly but most of them contradict each other.
Example: The old man is not an eye doctor himself. Therefore, there is no way he can assess the credibility of the doctors based on the explanation with medical terminologies provided by the doctors.
Similarly, the universal solution that is supposed to be revealed in Vedas is in Sanskrit language. People who are proficient in that language are not able to give a uniform interpretation with universal acceptance. As a result, even a well-educated person is not able to assess the credibility of the teachers based on the explanations given by them for the Sanskrit verses.
In every other profession, the professional knowledge is not passed on to the customer. A patient does not become a doctor after treatment. However, in case of the ultimate solution, if a student is successfully taught, the student will become equal to the teacher with respect to the knowledge. After gaining the knowledge, it is easy to recognize a good teacher. However, this does not help when one is yet to learn. It is difficult to locate a good teacher.
Even if we are in the company of a well-qualified person who can teach us the ultimate solution from Vedas, we do not recognize him.
Arjuna is in such a situation. He has met the first three prerequisites but has not surrendered to Lord Krishna seeking his help. Therefore, he is not yet ready for the universal solution. He has recognized the problem and has a deep desire to solve it. He has also realized that he cannot solve the problem. However, he does not see Lord Krishna as his teacher. Since he did not see Lord Krishna as his teacher, the final requirement of surrendering to a teacher was not completed.
Therefore, instead of giving the ultimate solution, Lord Krishna rebukes Arjuna and points out his stupidity in the verses 2 and 3.
Chapter 2: Wisdom is the solution [Verses: 02 - 03]
2.2 Lord Krishna said, "My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man of your stature. They do not lead to higher planes, but to infamy."
2.3 Oh Arjuna, do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not befit thee. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, Oh chastiser of the enemy.