Diving into the Bhagavad Gita: Nature, the Enjoyer and Consciousness (Chapter 13)
by Eric Weber
We can imagine poor Arjuna! Who founds himself back admit a battlefield struggling with his destiny. Maybe he can not do what is been asked from him to do, namely to kill his family, friends, and mentors in battle. The family fight escalated and the fight for power has come to its climax. Poor Arjuna must fight and still, he resists. Can he duck the responsibility of karma? Choose another outcome? Is he, Arjuna, not a hero? Why not resist as an ultimate test? Maybe he can change the course of history by refusing to fight. On his knees, he is begging for mercy on his fate.
We enter now the 13 Chapter of the Gita "Nature, the Enjoyer and Consciousness" with the situation of Arjuna listening to his friend Krishna - the inner Self of all beings.
Lord Krishna says:
"The body is called a field, Arjuna; the one who knows it is called the Knower of the field. This is the knowledge of those who know. I am the Knower of the field in everyone, Arjuna. Knowledge of the field and its Knower is true knowledge."
A beautiful riddle. Let's pay attention to what Krishna has to say. If we look for a moment through the eyes of an enlightened, western-oriented person we can see the "field" and "the knower of the field" as a simplified version of body and mind. The duality between body and mind can be seen as an eternal division of all things. But I can't help it to find that a too simple representation. Body and mind are one entity. All that we are is the result of what we have thought. What we think, we become and our body reaps the results. But at the same time, there is something outside of our personality that speaks from a place of wisdom. Just as the storytellers of the Gita already knew and modern psychology confirmed, there is tremendous psychic energy in every one of us. Since Sigmund Freud and C.G. Jung, the idea of a personal and collective subconscious are so well known to most western people that we forgot about its timeless representation in the ancient days. Instead, the technical terms Prakriti (the union of mind and matter) and Purusha (the consciousness) are used. Purusha is the knower and Prakriti the field. From the union of these two, all things are born. Krishna seems to be the voice in our heads and hearts when the ego is confronted with its limitations. When the dragon of chaos is ready to attack and wants to eat us alive, the voice of truth is speaking to us - can you hear it? Can you see Krishna having your back? He represents the divine nature of truth.
I believe that growth in yoga happens when we to pay attention to that voice of wisdom. To sit in meditation or during asana practice I can focus on the experience of union with the divine. I try to aline to the inner truth; or with others words: I get informed about the underlying structure of nature (meaning: I get "in-formation", "in-constellation" with the bigger picture of being). Moksha is the technical term used to describe the process of Self-realization. It's the moment when we realize not only the seriousness of the situation but also the way of what has to come. The Self, the real knower, is ever uninvolved in the shifting forces that play over the field but yet, he loves us like an old friend we haven't seen for a long time.
I especially love the notion that Arjuna was except for his friend Krishna alone when his transformation happened. He stood alone on the battlefield, his friends, mentors, and family weren't around. It was in that moment of solitude when he got confronted with his conscious and shares his thoughts with Krishna himself. I remember all those moments on the mat, or in meditation when I learned something about my self and the situation I'm dealing with. It happened to be an internal struggle, a difficult process of surrender to the things I can't change despite all my will power. Inconceivable to others. Wisdom seemed to have the best intentions with me, I just needed to act out what I already knew but resited. Once acknowledged the truth, acting out the truth was just as easy as picking a stone from the ground.
I can hear you Arjuna! I can understand you and your struggle. Just as Krishna, my words would be the same for you: You have to live this life. There is no other way. All other ways leed nowhere. See the light on the end of the struggle, brother! Remember the law of impermanence: everything is in motion, nothing stays forever. Pick your fight, grab your tools and go after it. Failed miserably, you say? Good! You learned your lesson. Try again. And again and again, till the suffering feels like a gate to something else. Stay your ground. Stay strong.
In 1996 sparked by personal interest and curiosity Eric Weber set off to discover the world of Iyengar yoga. He immersed himself in the yoga philosophy and concentrated specifically on the alignment of asanas. His discovery of yoga started as a passion, to this day it has not let him go and allows him to travel far abroad.