The wise man grieves neither for the living nor for the dead
Mighty armies were arrayed, facing each other, on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Valiant heroes whom even the Gods feared stood at attention awaiting the beginning of the epic war of Mahabharata. Commanders on both sides surveyed the formations and.. my thoughts were disturbed by a knock on the door.
It was one of the darkest times of my life. My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and we were fighting anxiety, emotions and hospital visits. The air and my thoughts were saturated with desperation and hopelessness. I was faced with important decisions in my personal and professional life which I did not know how to make. The grim situation demanded from me sincere answers to profound questions and I felt utterly incapable of producing those answers.
I returned to my desk and picked up the Bhagavad Gita. Arjuna, the mightiest of the Pandavas, was dismayed seeing the assembled armies. The enemy ranks consisted of brave warriors but those warriors were his own brothers, uncles, and dear friends. Suddenly overwhelmed at the prospect of fighting to death the very people he loved, Arjuna lost his strength. His body trembled, mouth dried up and he laid down his bow. With tears in his eyes, he told Krishna that he could not do it!
गतासून् अगतासूंश्च नानुशोचन्ति पण्डिताः ॥
And then Krishna told him something that has helped me immeasurably through the most testing of times. One of the the very first things Krishna said to him was, “The wise man grieves neither for the living nor for the dead!”. I did not understand the import of the statement then, but it gave me hope and I steadfastly held on to it. As I delved into the Gita and the Upanishads, into the world of Vedanta and Buddhism, I began to understand and absorb this timeless wisdom and the world was never the same again!