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Emotional problem

For an Emotional Problem, Is a Spiritual Solution or an Emotional Solution the Answer?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

सञ्जय उवाच |
तं तथा कृपयाविष्टमश्रुपूर्णाकुलेक्षणम् |
विषीदन्तमिदं वाक्यमुवाच मधुसूदन: || 1||

Sanjay said: Seeing Arjun overwhelmed with pity, his mind grief-stricken, and his eyes full of tears, Shree Krishna spoke the following words.

Bhagvad Gita 2.1

श्रीभगवानुवाच |
कुतस्त्वा कश्मलमिदं विषमे समुपस्थितम् |
अनार्यजुष्टमस्वर्ग्यमकीर्तिकरमर्जुन || 2||

The Supreme Lord said: My dear Arjun, how has this delusion overcome you in this hour of peril? It is not befitting an honorable person. It leads not to the higher abodes, but to disgrace.

Bhagvad Gita 2.2

क्लैब्यं मा स्म गम: पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते |
क्षुद्रं हृदयदौर्बल्यं त्यक्त्वोत्तिष्ठ परन्तप || 3||

O Parth, it does not befit you to yield to this unmanliness. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O vanquisher of enemies.

Bhagvad Gita 2.3

अर्जुन उवाच |
कथं भीष्ममहं सङ्ख्ये द्रोणं च मधुसूदन |
इषुभि: प्रतियोत्स्यामि पूजार्हावरिसूदन || 4||

Arjun said: O Madhusudan, how can I shoot arrows in battle on men like Bheeshma and Dronacharya, who are worthy of my worship, O destroyer of enemies?

Bhagvad Gita 2.4

गुरूनहत्वा हि महानुभावान्
श्रेयो भोक्तुं भैक्ष्यमपीह लोके |
हत्वार्थकामांस्तु गुरूनिहैव
भुञ्जीय भोगान् रुधिरप्रदिग्धान् || 5||

It would be better to live in this world by begging, than to enjoy life by killing these noble elders, who are my teachers. If we kill them, the wealth and pleasures we enjoy will be tainted with blood.

Bhagvad Gita 2.5

Arjuna is overcome by his emotions. To feel sad over the impending death of his family members is not a weakness in itself—rather, the weakness lies in the power he gives over to his emotions that leads to incapacitation.

Shree Krishna calls Arjuna’s behavior disgraceful.

Is Arjuna’s problem a spiritual problem or an emotional problem?

It’s an emotional problem given that he is experiencing panic. For an emotional problem—what is required? Do you need an emotional solution or a spiritual solution? 

You need an emotional solution. The spiritual solution has to do with detachment, equanimity, and so on. Those are ways of looking at the problem that doesn’t actually get to the heart of it. To get to the heart of it, we need to deal with the emotions.

That being said, emotional support always has to be appropriate for the person you are supporting. 

Imagine a friend of yours is sad and crying, you would demonstrate compassion rather than harsh words. In the case of Shree Krishna and Arjuna, the support provided is appropriate since Arjuna is a mighty warrior. The harsh language is not to critique Arjuna, but rather it is the emotional push necessary for the situation. 

The Importance of Recognizing the Emotional Problem First

Many times, people try to solve an emotional problem with logic. This is the wrong way to go about it. The emotional problem has to be solved first, and then the logical problem can be tackled.

Suppose you have a disagreement with your spouse. If you try to solve the logical problem without dealing with the emotions, it will not work. The argument will just continue. However, if you deal with the emotions first, the logical problem can be solved.

Arjuna’s emotional breakdown has rendered him helpless, unable to even pick up his bow and arrow. What’s worse is that all his fighting skills have left him. He cannot defend himself anymore. 

Krishna tries to explain to Arjuna that his emotional problem is the root of all his problems. Until Arjuna deals with his emotions, he cannot hope to solve the other problems.

What the Gita Teaches Us

Recognizing the emotional problem first is extremely important because it is the root  of all other problems. The Gita teaches us to deal with our emotions and find inner peace. Only then can we solve the other problems in our lives.