Sojourn of Arjuna
is track 4 on Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
' album Left of Cool
. It's a spoken word piece in which Future Man
paraphrases the Bhagavad Gita
text of Hindu
ism, backed by an instrumental setting that ranges from jazz
influences, while at the same time maintaining an eastern feel. If it sounds familiar but you've never heard of this Bela Fleck
guy (for shame!), Dave Matthews Band
often plays it in concert, and in fact the two bands often collaborate (for example, Communication
on Left of Cool features backup vocals by Matthews himself.) The text as spoken by Future Man:
So Arjuna and Krishna, they're hanging around on the battlefield. Arjuna's, like, tired of
war. He's trying to get out of this battle.
So Krishna drops a little science on him. He says, "You know, it's the way of spiritual growth:
A man must go forward from where he stands. He cannot jump to the absolute, he must
evolve to it."
And Krishna says, "At any given moment in time, we are what we are. And, Arjuna, we have to accept the consequences of being ourselves. And only through this
acceptance can we begin to evolve further.
We may select the battleground. We cannot
avoid the battle."
So Krishna tells Arjuna, "It follows, therefore, that every action, under certain circumstances
and for certain people, may actually be a stepping stone to spiritual growth."
Arjuna has to do the best he knows, in order to pass beyond that best, to better. How can we
prescribe what our neighbors do, when it's so hard just to know our own?
...The pacifist must respect Arjuna
Arjuna must respect the pacifist...
Both are going towards
the same goal, if they are really sincere. There is an underlying solidarity between them, which
can be expressed:
Each one follows, without compromise, the path upon which he finds himself.
For we can only help others to do their duty by doing what we ourselves believe to be right. It
is the one supreme social act.
So Krishna's reply to Arjuna occupies the rest of the story. It deals not only with Arjuna's
immediate personal problem,
but with the whole nature of action,
the meaning of life,
aims for which Man must struggle here on Earth.
At the end of the conversation, Arjuna has changed his mind. He is ready to fight. He is ready
to go ahead on. It is the way of spiritual growth:
A man must go forward from where he stands. He cannot jump to the absolute.
And the battle begins.