(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 24 December 2017, Sydney, Australia, Bhagavad-gita 1.1)

Dhrtarastra was blind; not just physically blind but also spiritually blind. This is because he did not understand the goal of life. Bhagavad-gita says that we are all also blind in that way:

om ajnana-timirandhasya
caksur unmilitam yena
tasmai sri-gurave namah
(Bhagavad-gita As It Is – Introduction)

It says that we have taken birth in the deepest and darkest ignorance. It acknowledges that we do not know what the goal of life is. We sometimes think that life is just for playing. Once Prabhupada saw a sign in New York next to a playground that said “Kid’s play land,” then Prabhupada pointed towards the entire city and said, “Adult’s play land!

We must remember that the goal of this life is to use what we have for the service of Krsna, instead of using our resources on pointless things. The Pandavas understood this very clearly – before the battle of Kurukshetra, both Duryodhana and Arjuna went to Krsna for assistance to ensure their respective victories. Duryodhana reached Krsna first, however found Krsna resting in his quarters. So he decided to sit next to Krsna’s head where he could immediately ask Krsna upon waking up. Arjuna arrived later, and sat next to Krsna’s feet. Krsna was lying on his back, so when he opened his eyes, he first looked towards his feet and saw Arjuna. When Krsna asked Arjuna what he could do for him, Arjuna explained their precarious position with the impending war and how he was making a request to get Krsna’s assistance in the war. Krsna agreed to this, but said that he himself would not fight, only his army would. So Krsna gave Arjuna a choice, between himself and his powerful army. Arjuna quickly chose Krsna, and hearing this Duryodhana was ecstatic, thinking, “Oh, Arjuna is such a fool! He must have been in the sun for too long because no one can stand against Krsna’s army! Today I scored big time!” So even though Duryodhana left happily, it was Arjuna who truly put his faith in Krsna.

So this really is, in spirit, the summary of the Bhagavad-gita that we must put our faith in Krsna! Even though we are not fighting in Kurukshetra, we are still fighting with the three modes of material nature, our senses, our mind, and so on. So somehow we have to take control and engage our mind and senses in the loving service of Krsna.

The purpose of the Bhagavad-gita is to remind people in this material world that just like Arjuna, who was affected by the world and was struggling with it, we are also the same. The knowledge that Arjuna was receiving from Krsna is the knowledge that has been given to all of us. Srila Prabhupada came and presented the Bhagavad-gita AS IT IS (emphasis added); no compromise. He presented us with the highest standard, just like Krsna presented it to Arjuna. So our temples are dedicated to bring everyone to the point of surrender to Krsna where Krsna must always come first. And in this way, we will attain success in life, by fulfilling the purpose of the Bhagavad-gita!

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