Transience and Free Will

Krishna and Arjuna

by Jayaram V

Notes: I have translated the Bhagavadgita twice. The first one was a loose translation. The second one was a word to word translation with a detailed commentary. The commentary is however different from what you will find here. In this section I will share with you my thoughts about the knowledge, philosophy and wisdom of the Bhagavadgita as I understand it from my perspective. Jayaram V


In our world nothing is permanent. Whatever problems we face today become insignificant or irrelevant after a while. The impermanence of our world is both a problem and blessing. It is a blessing because it gives us hope that we can change our lives and solve our problems. Imagine if we do not have that freedom and ability. Some people do believe in fatalism and think that everything is predetermined and nothing can be done to change it. Fortunately, those who believe in karma and divine intervention do not have to believe in that. When Arjuna entered the battlefield, he had many fears and concerns about his family. He felt that if he participated in the war his family would decline and fall into disrepute. It made him seriously worry about the future of his family.

However, in retrospect when you think about it, you will wonder whether his worries and anxieties were justified at all. Where is his family now? What happened to his descendants? None of them have survived distinctly as the descendants of Pandavas. If at all they exist, they are part of a vast pool of humanity and perhaps form part of the Bharatas who are now scattered all over the world.

Most of the problems we consider overwhelming today are also like the problems he felt on that fateful day. We worry about them because we view them from a limited perspective. When we view them on a wider time scale, stretching across several lifetimes, they become insignificant. It is why perhaps God rarely responds to our difficulties and why Nature goes about its ways rather mechanically and indifferently even when there are natural calamities and a great loss of life. Perhaps both know that in the end nothing matters and all this was just a play of shadows and images.

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