I, Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath sa-shaktikaayai bow down at the lotus feet of my first Guru, my revered father Pandit Shri Murli Dhar ji Mishr, Vidya Guru Kaul Shiromani Shri Shivanand Nath ji, Yoga Guru Paramhamsa Shri Balendu Giri ji Maharaj, Tantra Guru Shri Shri Anta Devji Maharaj, Vama Guru Shri Kaleshwaranand Ji Maharaj and all the compassionate Masters, divine souls of Gurumandala.. I pray for their love, support and guidance always..
य एनं वेत्ति हन्तारं यश्चैनं मन्यते हतम् |
उभौ तौ न विजानीतो नायं हन्ति न हन्यते ॥19॥
ya enam vetti hantaaram yah cha enam manyate hatam |
ubhau tau na vijaaneeto naayam hanti na hanyate || 19 ||
yaḥ— the one who; enam— this; vetti— knows; hantaaram— the killer or slayer; yah— one who; cha— and; enam—this; manyate—thinks/believes; hatam— killed or slain; ubhau—both of them; tau— they; na— not; vijaaneetaḥ— are in knowledge; na— neither; ayam—this; hanti— slays; na— nor; hanyate— is killed
Meaning – One who thinks of this as the “killer”, and the other who thinks of this as the “killed” both of them do not know (the truth). This (self) does not kill, nor is It killed.
You are I grew up thinking we were born on some day and also we saw people dying every other day, so deduced that we will die one day. Most of people remain fixated in this understanding and the concepts of after life so much so that all their life they prepare for the other worldly life. Arjuna is no different. His expressions in the first chapter are indicating to this understanding when he talks about the Shraadh karma, pitras etc.
In absence of a teacher the experience of life can never be so rich and intriguing. In absence of a guide who knows much more than us we, just like an innocent child, for whole life would look up on a starry night only to sing “Chanda Mama door ke” or “Twinkle-Twinkle little star”. It is the guidance of the teacher who when points out to this seemingly random and interwoven arrays of bright spots holding our hands we realize there lies a mysterious world to be looked at differently. You are taught about various constellations, and their shapes in the sky. We are told about different names of these heavenly constellations and to our amazement we are told not every bright spot is a star but some of them are actually planets. Even further if this is told that how the movements of these planets against the background of these constellations precisely affects our life events – we feel as if a treasure of knowledge has come to us. This is external knowledge and anyone interested in this can further put efforts to learn more about it and verify. This knowledge can be verified through making efforts in the outer world.
But what about when a Guru says – You are immortal! Neither you are going to kill anyone nor you can get killed. This in the first place is not external knowledge but this too is verifiable albeit with different means and methods. Since this knowledge happens inside and is independent of external props, methods and means thus the teacher can only indicate about the possibility of realizing this knowledge. Here, the experiential knowledge is liberation and the acquired knowledge is the bondage. Yet, when a master narrates the experience of Truth (Self), we tend to believe rather than trying to experience. Should we?For example I can describe you about the vastness of ocean, its high waves but unless you personally experience it – you can not experience the thrill of it. Upon my telling you, you do have a choice to believe me and if you exercise that option – although your belief would be correct but then you will live with a dry belief, devoid of the juice and taste of experience in it.
Here Krishna has been describing the nature of reality, the Truth, the Self.. which is essentially something that isn’t obvious and is too subtle a knowledge that not only defies out logic, superficial experience but also skip our attention due to our own slumber and attachment to the enjoyments of this world. As soon as it comes from Krishna – owing to our laziness, lack of will, we shall say “Krishna is an authority and so he must be believed”.
But Krishna is indicating to something that is not the gross.. matter.. or this body.. but an entity beyond it.. as he is telling that it can not be slayed. Arjuna is focusing on the gross matter whereas Krishna is talking about the very source of this matter. Is your experience of the world different than Arjuna? Is your belief different from Arjuna? Don’t you think you will be dying someday? Don’t you live in fear of death all the time? Death, in your mind is of course one of the cruelest realities of life. You and I may be running away and hiding from death but Krishna says “we don’t know” the truth. He says there’s no existence of death altogether. Then what is that makes us fear? It is our wrong “belief” about this phenomenon. Have we ever investigated what is death? Forget about it – Have we ever investigated what is “dream“? We just superficially believed that the dream just “happens” and is untrue. And then the same parameters on which we gauge the “Truth” of the dream never apply to the world we experience when we get into this “Waking“. We just mindlessly believe this waking experience of world to be true. This understanding of ours about the world – that world is real (without testing it) and that people die (or can be killed) is exactly what he is referring to when he uses the word “मन्यते” that simply means “believes”.
The practical takeaway is that: The responsibility of Guru is in clearly pointing out to the truth but his words are not just to be believed – they need to be tested, experimented with.
As Kabir’s Anurag Sagar says “कोई बूझिहैं जन जौहरी जो सब्द को पारख करै”. Only those realize the essence of Masters’ words who willingly and enthusiastically test them. Therefore unless you test Krishna’s words you shall continue to experience birth and death.
-Acharya Agyaatadarshan Anand Nath