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The message of the first chapter of the Gita is this: The root cause of all sorrow and suffering in this world is our inability to deal with conflict.
We experience conflict at three levels – material, mental and spiritual. At the material level, conflict is everywhere. Atoms collide against atoms. Weeds take over carefully manicured flowers. Packs of wolves fight for control of territory. And we humans have disagreements with children, siblings, spouses, bosses, co-workers, states and countries. To deal with conflict at the material level, we need to learn how to act, and what to say, in any situation.
Eventually his ego – the primitive side of his mind – took control away from his rational mind. It went into “flight” mode. It made him say, it is better to run away and become a monk, than to perform my duty. The inability to reconcile this conflict in his mind led to his mental breakdown in the middle of the battlefield. He could not commit to fighting, and being unable to decide, he wanted to quit.
This confusion of identity is the third type of conflict, the spiritual conflict. Unless we know who we are, what God is, and what our connection to that God is, we will never be able to completely resolve all of our material and mental conflicts. This is the central theme of the first chapter.
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