Thursday, January 31, 2013

soft heart

Verse 1.46: Sañjaya said: Arjuna, having thus spoken on the battlefield, cast aside his bow and arrows and sat down on the chariot, his mind overwhelmed with grief.

Today we reach the last verse of Chapter 1! As we end this Chapter, we are subjected to a moving scene. Arjuna, our valiant warrior has been speaking up to this point, and now due to mental turmoil he is setting aside his weapons and sitting down. This mental turmoil is a result of his soft-hearted nature. Soft-hardheartedness is a beautiful quality. Unfortunately though, this quality, like humility, is considered weak or useless nowadays. When expressing compassion for others, people will actually ask me sometimes, "Why do you feel sorry for them? They deserve whatever they get." Pretty callus, huh?

The heart of a bhakti yogi is naturally soft because such a person doesn't want to see anyone in distress. However, that doesn't mean that the bhakti yogi is naive or has blinders on to the world. Oh no. The bhakti yogi fully realizes that this material world is not a place of happiness. They understand that identification with the body, mind and ego is the cause of so many problems and challenges.

One could question, "How can one be soft-hearted if they know the reason for others' suffering? Wouldn't that actually make one's heart hard?" A soft-hearted person is not characterized by just feeling a certain way; they are considered compassionate if they actually do something about it. A truly soft-hearted person seeks to help others who are suffering.

My spiritual mentor is such a person. He travels all over the world, and not only presents bhakti yoga to hundreds of thousands of people yearly but cares for them. He listens to them. See bhakti yoga is not just about helping others through philosophy, its about being an instrument of God. That means that we are willing to be tested and molded into the very best that we can be.

Krsna has all this time been listening patiently to Arjuna. He has just been hearing. How amazing is that? What a good friend God is! He never interrupted, questioned, prodded or spoke up. He just quietly listened to everything Arjuna had to say. This is one of my favorite quality's of Krsna. It's something I too strive to become - a patient and empathic listener.

But soon, Krsna will be putting Arjuna in the hot seat. Arjuna is the perfect student and so Krsna will go about testing and molding Arjuna into the perfect bhakti yogi. If we hear Krsna's words as Arjuna does with an open mind and faith in our hearts, we too will uncover the mysteries of bhakti.