How is the story of Arjuna and Krishna a perfect metaphor for understanding the meaning of God in Hinduism?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Regrettably, I had to edit down the original question.  I invite you to resubmit the second half as its own question because it is really quite powerful.  A very strong case can be made for the story of Arjuna and Lord Krishna to be the perfect metaphor about understanding the meaning of God in Hinduism because it is so applicable to human beings.  In the most basic of senses, Arjuna's plight is that he is faced with doing something that he does not want to do.  He feels existentially torn between recognizing what he is charged to do with the implications of what is to be done.  He is poised between equally desirable, but ultimately incompatible courses of action.  Arjuna is forlorn.  Arjuna is in pain.  It is here where so much identification with Arjuna can be formed because so many can relate to such a condition. We are Arjuna in our lives and just like the great archer, we seek to find a refuge or sanctuary from the pain we experience when poised between incommensurate polarities.

The story of Arjuna and Lord Krishna providing relief to him in the form of the "divine song" is a perfect metaphor for understanding the meaning of the divine in Hinduism because Lord Krishna tells Arjuna to submit all worries to the Lord.  In the essence of "do your duty" and leave all of your fears at the feet of Lord Krishna, one sees how the release from pain in this life, the revealing of one's karma, can be understood in its proper context.  When Lord Krishna entertains all of Arjuna's questions and essentially tells him to submit his will to that of the powerful Lord, it becomes the perfect statement to understand the meaning of God because it enables the individual to see what is real in the midst of the unreal.  When Arjuna views the world through Lord Krishna's Vishwaroopam construction of reality, he realizes how insignificant his problems are through recognition of the supreme power of the Lord.  In this submission, he finds release.  In submitting his own ego and all of the trappings of self to something larger than himself, Arjuna understands that which is real.  He understands what is unreal and temporal and what is real and lasting.  In forgoing the former through submitting to the latter, Arjuna has provided the perfect way to understand the power of the divine in Hinduism.  The meaning of God or the divine is to submit to the will of Lord Krishna.  Arjuna, and thus we, learn that the power of Lord Krishna is so intense and so strong that if we are able to submit our own construction of self in this life to him, seeing ourselves as a part of something so much more infinite, we, like Arjuna, are able to see the real in place of that which is unreal.  Keeping our eyes to the maintenance of this social order is where our duty lies in the name of Lord Krishna.  It is here where the meaning of the divine reveals itself to us, who are no longer assuming the pain of leadership without guidance, but rather understanding that the role of the individual is to submit to something larger than ourselves: "Giving up all vexations and paths, do thou take refuge unto Me. I will save you from all dangers."  It is in this act of submission that the relationship between human and God, Arjuna and Lord Krishna, does not merely become a metaphor, but becomes the path for Hindus to understand their purpose in this life and those that follow.