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Inner war, inner peace

Inner war, inner peace

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Arjuna:

“O Krishna, seeing my own kinsmen standing before me, eager to fight, my limbs give way, my mouth becomes dry, my body trembles, and in the dreadful thrill of horror the hairs on my body stand aloft.”

Arjuna is not obsessed with war, but he is not against war either. And he has no aversion to violence either. In fact, his whole life’s education and training, his lifelong conditioning, is all for violence and war.

But it is worth understanding that the more violent a mind is, the more full of attachment it is. Violence and attachment live together, side-by-side. A nonviolent mind transcends attachment. In fact, one who wants to be nonviolent has to let go of the very idea of attachment. The very sense of “mine” is violence, because as soon as I say “mine”, I have begun to separate myself from that which is not mine. As soon as I address someone as a friend, I have begun to make someone else my enemy. That is why Arjuna suddenly became weak. Arjuna became weak because his mind was suddenly gripped by the other side, by the opposite side of violence; by its much deeper component, by its fundamental basis. It will be difficult to understand the whole of the Gita without first understanding this. To those who cannot understand this point, it seems as if Arjuna was actually leaning towards nonviolence and that Krishna pushed him towards violence. If someone were leaning towards nonviolence, Krishna would never want to push him towards violence. In fact, even if Krishna wanted to, he would not be able to.

Arjuna saw his own people—loved ones, relatives. Had they not been his beloved ones and relatives, Arjuna would have slaughtered them like cattle—but he found it difficult to do so because these were his own people. Had they been strangers he would have felt no difficulty in cutting them to pieces.

The truth is that, the Gita is less about what Krishna said and more about what Arjuna caused him to say. Its real author is Arjuna and not Krishna. The state of Arjuna’s mind has become the basis of the Gita. And it is clearly visible to Krishna that a violent man has reached the philosophical peak of his violence, and at the root of all this talk of running away from the violence is that same violent mind.

Dilemma is the essential way in which man is tested, and from facing this dilemma his worthiness to attain godliness is born.


To be in a dilemma is the nature of man—not of the soul, not of the body, but of man. One who is full of inner conflict cannot find a resolution—and he should not either. Live the dilemma, go through the heat and suffering of it, die and be consumed by it, experience it. Don’t run away from its fire, because what is manifesting as fire will burn away all the dirt, all the rubbish, and only pure gold will remain.

Dilemma is the essential way in which man is tested, and from facing this dilemma his worthiness to attain godliness is born. So live. Don’t escape; don’t look for consolations. Just realize that this is the destiny: dilemma is your destiny. Fight it; enter into the dilemma with intensity.

What will be the outcome of this? The outcome will be twofold. As soon as a person agrees to go completely into his inner conflict, a third point emerges within that person—a third power besides the other two is born in him. This third force—which takes the decision to live through the dilemma—is outside of it, is uninvolved in it.

Arjuna is trying to run away from this situation of dilemma, but Krishna is not helping him avoid it; rather, he is trying to prolong it. Otherwise Krishna would have said: “Don’t worry. I know all about it. Don’t indulge in meaningless talk. Just have faith in me and jump.” He could have talked like this; then there would have been no need for him to deliver such a long Gita.

The Gita, long as it is, is a great tribute to Arjuna’s inner conflict. The interesting thing is that Arjuna keeps on asking the same thing again and again, and Krishna never says to him, “You have asked this already. Why are you asking it again?” None of his questions are different from one another; only the wording is different. His inner conflict keeps appearing again and again. Krishna is not interested in creating any belief in Arjuna. Krishna is certainly interested in taking him to the point of trust. And there is a great difference between belief and trust. Belief is that which we impose upon ourselves without resolving the doubt, while trust is the outcome of the doubt falling away. Trust is the destination that is reached by journeying through doubt. Beliefs are blind supports that we clutch at out of our fear of doubt.

When the two are fighting inside you and you become aware of this, you are inevitably separate from the two—otherwise how could you be watching them? Had you been associated with either one of the two, you would have become identified with that one and separate from the other. The whole Gita is nothing but an effort to bring Arjuna to this third point. This third one is within everyone as well as without, but unless it is first seen inside, it cannot be seen on the outside. Once it is seen inside, then nothing but this third one begins to be seen on the outside as well.

Excerpted from The Inner War and Peace, by Osho

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