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Your Questions Answered
by Swami Krishnananda

Chapter 34: Four Kinds of Conflict

Swamiji: There are four kinds of conflict; every conflict is included in one of these four. First of all is the conflict within one's own self, which is sometimes known as non-alignment of the inner components of personality: the reason, the feeling, and the will do not agree with each other. It is called inner non-alignment, causing inner distress. It is a psychological malady, due to which everybody remains in a state of anxiety, restlessness, and fear from unknown sources.

This internal conflict which keeps one inwardly sick creates social conflict, which is the second one. You cannot get on with your own self (that is internal conflict) and so you cannot get along with others also. You don't like anybody, as if there is some trouble with everybody. This is social conflict.

Now the third thing is that you are not reconcilable with the law of Nature operating, with the universe of five elements (earth, water, fire, air, and space-time gravitation). They operate on some laws, and you are not in harmony with them. So, you get a kick from your own self, from society, and now the universe also has started giving a kick. Lastly, you are not reconcilable with the Creator, God Himself. Whatever law operates in the realm of God is not reconcilable with your present condition. So, there is psychological conflict, social conflict, cosmological conflict, and finally conflict with the Absolute – everything in the world is included within these four problems. Even if there are millions of conflicts, they can all be boiled down to these four.

The Bhagavad Gita, for instance, tries to solve all these four conflicts. If you read the Gita from beginning to end, chapter-wise and verse-wise – all the eighteen chapters – you will not know which one is touching which subject. In many places, several things are touched upon. Anyway, if you classify and analyse the verses and arrange them in a logical way, you will find that the Gita has a solution for all these four conflicts. And, if it is studied properly, with earnestness, deep concentration and dispassion, it will point out to you the way ahead.

The nature of the end that we wish to achieve will determine the means that we employ. To whatever extent our end is clear to our mind, to that extent the means we employ also is successful. People have different ideas of the purpose, which will decide the nature of the practice and the amount of success. When you know which place you want to reach, you also know the road to reach that place.

According to the Bhagavad Gita, there are four kinds of people who seek help. There is one kind which seeks material help; there is another kind which seeks knowledge. There is a third kind which comes because of suffering in society, and a fourth kind which seeks only God. These are the four kinds of seeking, according to the Bhagavad Gita. So, seek only God. That includes all other seeking.