Krishna is not a seeker. It would be wrong to call him a seeker. He is a siddha, an adept, an accomplished performer of all life’s arts. And what he says in this siddha state, in this ultimate state of mind, may seem to you to be egoistic, but it is not. The difficulty is that Krishna has to use the same linguistic “I” as you do, but there is a tremendous difference in connotation between his “I” and yours. When you say “I” it means the one imprisoned inside your body, but when Krishna says it he means that which permeates the whole cosmos. Hence he has the courage to tell Arjuna, “Give up everything else and come to my feet.” If it were the same “I” as yours – a prisoner of the body – it would be impossible for him to say a thing like this. And Arjuna would have been hurt if Krishna’s “I” were as petty as yours. Arjuna would have immediately retorted, “What are you saying? Why on earth should I surrender to you?” Arjuna would have really been hurt, but he was not.
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Whenever someone speaks to another in the language of the ego, it creates an instant reaction in the ego of the other. When you say something in the words of the “I” of the ego, the other immediately begins to speak the same language. We are skilled in knowing the undertones of each other’s words, and we react sharply.
But Krishna’s “I” is absolutely free of all traces of egoism, and for this reason he could call upon Arjuna to make a clean surrender to him. Here, “Surrender to me” really means “Surrender to the whole. Surrender to the primordial and mysterious energy that permeates the cosmos.”
Egolessness comes to Buddha and Mahavira too, but it comes to them after long, hard struggle and toil. But it may not come to most of their followers, because on their paths it is the very last thing to come. So the followers may come to it or they may not. But egolessness comes first with Krishna; he begins where Buddha and Mahavira end. So one who chooses to go with Krishna has to have it at the very beginning. If he fails, there is no question of his going with Krishna.
You can walk a long way in the company of Mahavira with your “I” intact, but with Krishna you have to drop your “I” with the first step; otherwise you are not going to go with him. Your “I” can find some accommodation with Mahavira, but none with Krishna. For Krishna the first step is the last; for Mahavira and Buddha the last step is the first. And it is important for you to bear this difference in mind, because it is a big difference, and a basic difference at that.