ARJUNA, ASOKA AND THE ATOM BOMB

What form would Krishna take if he were to appear today? For which collective ambition should he appear as the man of the age, and fulfill the work of an incarnation? Humanity today is harassed, and lives under tension. Therefore, it craves peace. Humanity, in its entirety, is passing through a condition of despair. On the one hand, science gives us the hope of a joyful and comfortable future; and on the other, that same science frightens us with the fear of complete annihilation. Krishna’s chariot stops between these two. We should understand the implication of the words “between the two armies”. Today’s world has been divided into groups of strong power –blocks. This creates unnecessary tension amongst the weaker nations.

Arjun was struck by despair at the beginning of war. Emperor Ashoka was overcome by grief at the end of the battle of kalinga, where he had achieved victory. Such despair would not be possible at the end of any modern war. Now, the reason for will have to be sought out and destroyed, at the very root. Draupadi and Gandhari were safe during the Mahabharata battle.No one would be safe in a modern war. Krishna saved the young of the female lapwing, by protecting them under a bell during the burning of Khandavavana. Today this will not be possible. It is definite that the destruction by the atom bomb will be total and without exception.

There was a time when stories of battles, were considered delightful. Can a war be pleasant to a mother who has lost a darling son? As Jimmy Carter said, as many people will die every second in a modern day war, as died in the entire Second World War. Today’s war will affect every human being. Arjuna’s philosophy of despair is ours in reality. War is our history and peace, our dream. A modern war will not be contained within the boundaries of a battle-field or be limited by the number of soldiers involved. A philosopher like Hegel believed that society was prevented from remaining static because of war. Bacon compared war to jogging and considered it beneficial for social well-being. But there would be no question of well-being today, because no society can survive a modern day war.

Michael Korda has written a novel, “Wordly Goods” . It depicts Hitler describing the benefits of vegetarianism. The author makes a character, Paul Foster, utter two sentences:

1        The dish of revenge is best eaten cold.

2        Living well is the best way to take revenge.

The seeds of revenge and acrimony are sown during war. This novel presents in a fascinating manner, the idea, “revenge is conquered by love (non-revenge) not by revenge.” Every man has his moments of despair and conflict, when his sense of duty is tested .Even Arjun at such a moment, sits down overwhelmed  with anguish. At such times , Gita brings to us the message  of our duty. For the removal of the anguish of today’s common man, our expectations from Krishna will be different. In our age, relinquishing the Gandiva, becomes imperative. The poetic call, ‘Tell Partha to string the bow his bow, as war is the only way out’, seems to be out of context. The whole of humanity would be destroyed by one small mistake. The universe which desires peace, is constantly under the threat of annihilation. Who else but a new Krishna can explain this to the countries craving for war?

An Excerpt from the book ‘ The Symphony of Krishna’ .Selecte By Manisha manish

 

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