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Duty—with Krishna Consciousness

(Dandavats.com) – By Giriraj Swami

All of us—husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, children, students, and teachers—have duties, and sometimes we begrudge the performance of our duties because we think their execution will impede our personal happiness. But duty is duty, and duty must be done. Even in the cold of winter, one must bathe. And even in the heat of summer, one must cook.

Speaking on Bhagavad-gita 1.27, Srila Prabhupada gave a wonderful example of two heroic souls who adhered to their duties even in the most awkward circumstances, and their examples served both to enlighten and to inspire me. Starting from the viewpoint of Arjuna on the battlefield at Kurukshetra, Prabhupada said, “Dronacharya, on the other side, was teacher. He had to be respected. And actually Arjuna did so. Before fighting with Dronacharya, he first of all threw one arrow at his lotus feet, in obeisance. This is the etiquette. ‘My dear sir, you have taught me this fighting science; now it is being used against you—duty—so I offer my obeisances.’ And Dronacharya also threw an arrow, touching Arjuna’s head: ‘My dear boy, be blessed.’ This is duty. How blessed? ‘By killing me. I know you will kill me, so I give you blessings that you kill me.’ This is duty. The disciple is fighting, touching the feet of his teacher: ‘My dear sir, it is duty. Now we are face-to-face to fight. So give me your blessing.’ This is one side. And on the other side, the teacher is blessing, ‘Yes, you have my full blessings.’ ”

What are our duties—how difficult are they in comparison with theirs? What sacrifices are we asked to make, in comparison with theirs? They did their duties sacrificing their personal happiness and even their very life. But they did so for a higher principle.

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