A smile is said to be the shortest distance between two people, and it is cheering to discover in the wisdom literature references to this silent, though profound, means of communication. A noteworthy example comes at the start of the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna, having learnt of the troubled state of mind of his disciple, Arjuna, proceeds ‘as if smiling’ to unfold the great teachings that enable one to go beyond sorrow. Arjuna’s grief was ostensibly due to the prospect of a battle in which he would be obliged to fight against people he knows and loves. He goes so far as to say: ‘I cannot indeed see what can dispel the grief which burns up my senses.’ Krishna discerns a more fundamental cause for which there is a definite cure. Hence his response ‘as if smiling’.
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