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The Noble and the Ignoble

Krishna said in the Gita that there are two types of people, the noble ones and the ignoble ones. The noble ones are those who follow the right path, the sacred path. They seek the company of great people and practice their teachings. As a result, they experience the great spiritual truths and enjoy the inner life of the spirit. Opposed to them are those who are full of unsacred thoughts and have impure hearts, who are under the spell of ignorance and live an unrighteous life. Their evil behavior can be said to be the direct opposite of the exemplary behavior of the noble ones, just as darkness is the opposite of light. Therefore, we can describe these two categories as that of gods and demons, or beings of light and beings of darkness. Krishna said, "Arjuna, I thought up to now that you were noble, that you were a true knight, but I see that you are entering the wrong path. You are getting steeped in darkness. You are following unsacredness. It would be wrong to call you noble. You are proving yourself to be otherwise."

Krishna gave Arjuna various such admonishments in order to encourage him to make a heroic effort to manifest the qualities of true nobility. He told him, "The primary cause of your present grief is your attachment, and the basis for your attachment is ignorance. It is out of ignorance that you allow your senses to govern your actions. If you want to free yourself from attachment and sorrow then you must control your senses. You have to clearly understand the nature of the senses. In the journey of life these sense organs are important; they are like the horses of your chariot which can take you to your goal. But only when you have full control over these horses will the chariot and the person riding in it be safe. If you leave them uncontrolled it is inevitable that the chariot and its occupant will come to grief. Therefore, if you want to reach the goal safely you must take charge of these horses. In other words, you must assert absolute control over your sense organs."