Living with Baba

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The Real Father

Baba used different methods to explain the various aspects of spirituality - sometimes by His own actions, sometimes through the gift of direct spiritual experience, and sometimes through instructive stories.

Once, Baba told me a story from the Mahabharata.  In the course of the Mahabharata war, Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna (the third of the five Pandava brothers) fought a hard battle one particular day and won. The news of the victory was relayed to Arjuna, who obviously became overjoyed. At the end of the day, when all the fighting had ceased, the soldiers returned to their respective camps. Arjuna wanted to congratulate his son on his magnificent victory. Lord Krsna foresaw this and asked Arjuna where he was going. Arjuna was so proud and happy with his son's victory that he did not bother to reply Krsna. Arjuna ran to his son and warmly embraced him for his valiant and courageous battle that day. But strangely, Abhimanyu was not able to recognize his father. He just looked at his father blankly and asked him, "Who are you?"

Arjuna replied somewhat indignantly, "I am your father, can't you see!" Arjuna was perplexed and saddened by his son's lack of recognition and response. Meanwhile, Arjuna noticed that Krsna was standing near his son, with a broad smile on His face. Krsna asked Arjuna, "What happened to your son? Why could he not recognize his own father?" Arjuna did not respond but just looked at Krsna with tearful eyes. And Krsna said to Arjuna, "You are within maya."

After some time Abhimanyu became normal and talked with both his father and Krsna, as if nothing had happened. He was not aware of the strange drama that had occurred just a short while ago. Abhimanyu was the son of Krsna's sister, Subhadra. Arjuna was married to Subhadra.
Drona, on the other hand, was the general in the Kaorava's camp. He knew a special battle technique to defeat his enemies that was known only to his son, Ashvathama, and Arjuna.

In the meantime, Drona decided that he would fight the following day using this special technique. Drona was aware that Arjuna would be fighting against him on the opposite side together with the Pandavas. During the battle that day, Drona defeated the Pandavas by using this special technique. The following day, when the battle again started, Krsna instructed that Abhimanyu be given the responsibility of fighting Drona. He requested Arjuna to fight with a different person, in a different part of the battle. When everything was set, the battle began in all its fury.

Meanwhile, Drona was absolutely sure that he could defeat anybody with his special technique. This technique, called cakra byuha, involved fighting within a special circle in which the warrior was fully protected from harm. During the battle, the moment Abhimanyu understood Drona's strategy, he decided to penetrate the special circle. Once in the circle, he fought valiantly and defeated all his enemies. When Drona saw that Abhimanyu had entered the special circle, he realized that nobody could now defeat him single-handedly. He then planned to use a different strategy to defeat Abhimanyu, which was against the ethics of war during that era. According to the law, each warrior had to fight his opponent in a one-to-one battle. To defeat Abhimanyu, Drona ordered seven warriors to attack him simultaneously. In this way, they overwhelmingly outnumbered him and managed to kill him.

Arjuna was grief-stricken on hearing of the death of his son. Again, Krsna consoled him by saying, "All are maya. Who is the real father?"

Baba explained that Parama Purusa is the real Father of every human being. During the Mahabharata war, Arjuna was only the loakik father of Abhimanyu. Krsna demonstrated this fact to Arjuna by causing Abhimanyu not to recognize his own father, just to crush Arjuna's ego. In this way, Krsna wanted to teach Arjuna that nobody was his real son, nobody can be killed, and that nobody can kill anybody else. All these phenomena are part of His grand cosmic illusion. Krsna advised, "O, Arjuna, you shouldn't be happy or sad for anybody. Just follow what I say."

This was the ultimate lesson in detachment that Lord Krsna gave Arjuna, something that is applicable even today for spiritual aspirants.