Truth is contradictory; if it is not contradictory, then it is not truth! The Bhagavad Gita is full of contradictions. You can understand it only if you see it in totality.
At one point, Krishna tells Arjuna that action is the most important thing. But after that, He tells him that action is all right but knowledge is better! Then Krishna says, ‘‘You must become a yogi and drop everything around you.’’
Krishna tells Arjuna in Chapter Six that since he is confused, there is no use talking. He asks him to meditate. Finally, He says, ‘‘He is the greatest amongst yogis who keeps Me in his heart whether he meditates or not. He is the real yogi, because I am with him in whatever he is doing.’’
At one juncture, Krishna says, ‘‘Arjuna, there is nobody dear to me, nobody whom I love.’’ And then gives a whole list of qualifications for those He really loves!
In another instance, Krishna tells Arjuna to act without looking for the fruit of action. Later, He asks Arjuna to act properly, according to natural law. Then He tells him that he ought to fight if he wants to win the war. So, at this point He is bringing Arjuna’s attention to the fruit of action, but then He also tells him not to worry about the fruit of action.
Krishna was like a dear friend to Arjuna. In the Bhagavatam, except for Vidura and Udhava, nobody even thought he was enlightened; they all thought that he was just very smart. The Pandavas and the gopis knew who Krishna was and how complete He was from all angles. But many of them, including Arjuna, did not see him that way. Krishna, however, shows him that He is infinite.
Krishna tells Arjuna, ‘‘I will give you a special eye of knowledge, which I haven’t given anybody in ages. I am giving it to you now because it is time.’’ With that, He gives him a vision. For that one moment the universe appears as a manifestation of Krishna to Arjuna.
Arjuna sees all of creation, everything – the mountains and the rivers, the past, the present and the future – dissolving in Krishna. For an instant, the whole of life, the universe, all memories play out like a movie and it frightens Arjuna. Then Arjuna pleads, ‘‘Oh! Please show me your simple, natural and friendly face. I like your simple smile and I want to see my friend. I don’t want to see anything beyond. It is too much for me.’’
This is called Vishva Roopa Darshana – the vision of the universal. Thereafter, Krishna tells Arjuna about the yagyas, principles and laws of the universe. Then He talks about sanyasa and how to be centred. Arjuna tells Krishna that what he says is not easy to follow. Krishna says, ‘‘I agree… It is difficult but not impossible. With practice, dispassion and by getting to the centre again, you will succeed.’’ Krishna tried everything. Finally, it was the display of the universal vision that worked on Arjuna. When Arjuna says, ‘‘I give up,’’ Krishna says, ‘‘Think and do whatever is best for you after pondering over what I have said.” And then Arjuna says his mind is clear now. Krishna had to speak through 18 chapters to get him to that point. He could have done it at the very first chapter. But the way this knowledge flows is really beautiful.