But if the Gita were a movie, it would be light on action, heavy on the verbosity, less 'Braveheart' or 'Apocalypse Now' and more some Swedish art-house movie or at the very least a Woody Allen one. The story is a dialogue between warrior-prince Arjuna and his charioteer Lord Krishna. Arjuna is like the first psychotherapy patient or the first-ever proto-typical New Age seeker, asking-asking, while god-guru Krishna, in true service, is master to this novice, guiding him off the ledge with a mix of compassion, power and wisdom.
I find it telling that Arjuna is on the ledge, in deep distress, with barely a man slain. There is no post-anything here, no remorse, no trauma or guilt over past actions. Hardly a spear or sword has struck, not much has been lanced, and yet Arjuna is in a tizz, despondent, anguished and unable to contain it. He completely pours out his distress to Krishna and at times sounds whiny the way we can when we first realize life is outside our control and doesn't always go according to plan. He can't get a grip on his emotions, he is in deep despair as circumstances have foisted him into a situation in which friend is battling friend, family against family. He can't make sense of any of it and doesn't want any part of it.
Krishna doesn't offer him excuses to get out of his duty as warrior. No, this is not the path to liberation -- some 'get out jail' pass from challenges, difficulties, turmoil. Because the true fighting in the Gita is not between different armies, soldiers, and factions, it is the fighting in Arjuna's head, the tug and pull of the mind in its battle to make sense of emotions and the senseless, and the ways to free ourselves from the pain of those battles. It is something we can all identify with whether we've fought in a literal war or not.
Proceeds from our 4th Nov class in Somerset,NJ will be donated to the Veterans Yoga Project, a California-based organization dedicated to helping veterans and families heal through yoga and meditation. You can read more about their therapeutic efforts here: http://www.veteransyogaproject.org/for-veterans.html