In the Mahabharata war, Bhishma was on the side of the Kauravas and this had given Dhritarashtra an illusion that his son Duryodhana would definitely win the war. The sage Vyasa had offered to give Dhritarashtra divine sight so he could see what was happening in the war, which he refused but instead asked for this divine vision to be given to Sanjay. Even though Sanjay had this divine vision, Dhritarashtra had not asked him of the happenings on the battlefield. On the tenth day, a messenger brought news that Bhishma had fallen. Dhritarashtra was shocked and could not believe that Bhishma, who had the boon of voluntary death, had fallen. It is then that he asked Sanjay to tell him what had happened on the battlefield. Sanjay then tells him everything from the beginning, and because it was ten days old, whatever he said has been mentioned in the past tense. This is the reason why the Srimad Bhagwad Gita is in the past tense.
Sanjay is the king’s charioteer, friend, and minister. Even though he is the king’s servant, he never minces words in telling him the truth. He is a real friend who never unnecessarily praises Dhritarashtra. Many a times, Dhritarashtra feels Sanjay is biased and scorns him for not seeing good things but only the loss and suffering of his army. On the day his ten sons died, Sanjay told him that it was his greed that had brought about their death. Sanjay was aware that because Sri Krishna was on the side of Pandavas, victory would always be theirs and keeps reminding Dhritarashtra of this.
The first step in our inner journey is to give birth to the Sanjay within us. Gurdjieff once said that for man to awaken from sleep, he must first realise and accept that he lives in a kind of psychological sleep. The initial awareness that we spend our whole life in a kind of hypnosis from one event to the other and identified with desire that tomorrow will be better, the initial noticing of ourselves and how we are carried away by every thought and emotion, and the inner thirst to be free of this hypnosis is what gives birth to the Sanjay within us.
The Srimad Bhagwad Gita has only four characters. The first is the blind king Dhritarashtra, symbolic of the sleep we live in. The second is Sanjay, the one who keeps trying to awaken us and see the truth – the basic awareness that we are asleep and the intention to make efforts to awaken from it. When we make real efforts to awaken, this brings out the Arjuna in us, and finally when we wake up to our own sleep, we can see the Sri Krishna within us.
Sanjay is a kind of retrospect awareness we slowly develop. Just as Dhritarashtra, on the tenth day, asks Sanjay to tell him everything from the beginning, so do we become aware of our sleep but only after the event has occurred. For example we blow up in a fit of anger but later on we realise how the anger had hypnotised and enslaved us, and then we solemnly resolve to be free of this slavery; this is Sanjay, a new way of seeing life. Usually most people justify their anger, saying how necessary it was to get angry; they are just too lazy to awaken from the slavery of their emotions and sleep.
The process of awakening starts with the practice of observing the workings of our lower psychic nature and authentically accepting what we see. Suddenly, we start seeing ourselves in a completely different light. Till now we had a rosy picture of ourselves as a kind person, a good human being, considerate for others, and generous. As we observe ourselves, all this changes. We start making mental notes and pictures of ourselves such as:
The feeling of superiority we have when we criticise others.
How we keep complaining about the same things, even though people or situations change.
We see that how when we are in a gloomy mood, depressed, or irritated, we take life in a completely negative way. We may be on a holiday at a beautiful beachside resort, but if our mood is bad, we see even the most beautiful things in a negative light.
Observation of our behaviour makes us aware how we behave so well and politely in the outer world, just out of fear of losing our reputation; now, we see what we really are inside. Maybe, if we were to meet ourselves on the road, we would never become friends with ourselves. We have a dark internal and a white external side to us.
How our presence is never present in the present moment, but we are always daydreaming and brooding and how this leads to a continuous leakage of energy.
All our reactions to situations in life are so fixed and mechanical, but now we want to be free of this mechanical existence.
This is a new way of seeing which gives us a different perception to life. We start seeing things in scale. For example, if someone had hurt or criticised me, I would have flared up but now I start putting things in scale. I can now contemplate that “he is a good father to his children, he looks after his old parents well, he is clever at his work – then in all these good qualities, what does this one small insult of me mean” and I suddenly see how insignificant it is.
Slowly, we stop loosing energy and don’t react in the same set ways; this creates a kind of magnetic point within us. Because we stop reacting out of habit, we attract completely different situations (or events) in life, which leads us to greater wisdom and maturity. Initially, we became aware of situations after they were over. Now, instead becoming aware of our anger or irritation after it has happened, we wake up when it starts manifesting. This is the beginning of Arjuna in us; our consciousness has risen from the level of Sanjay to that of Arjuna, and one day we will get a glimpse the Sri Krishna sitting in all of us.