The following is a translation of Bhagavad Gita discourses by Shri Samavedam Shanmukha Sarma delivered in Telugu. One may readily agree that English highly lacks in vocabulary when compared to Indian languages especially when it comes to the subjects of philosophy and spirituality. One can highly benefit from reading this as it aims at bringing to light even the minutest of details in Bhagavad Gita and discuss them in an elaborate and detailed manner.
It is an appeal to all to read this and post your valuable comments on any corrections and amendments that will aid in better presentation and any other feedback is also welcome.
The Hindus have been identified and associated with Bhagavad Gita not only by Indians but also by the rest of the world. This reflects on the deep and intense association Bhagavad Gita has got with Hindu Culture. Such is the immense power of Bhagavad Gita that it makes the entire world identify Hindus with it. Fortunately, Hindus do not have any religious book. But Hindus do have a “Sanatana Dharma” and this Dharma has a base.
वेदो अखिल धर्म मुलम् Vedo Akhila dharma mulam “Vedas are the base and source for every dharma”. And as preached by all purnanas. ईतिहास् पुरानाभ्याम् वेदम् समुपभ्रमहयेत् Itihaasa puraanaabhayam vedam samupabhramahayet Even Shri Krishna has emphasized on the same in Bhagavad Gita. वेदैस्च सर्वैरह्मेव विद्याह Vedaischa sarvairahmeva vidyaha which means “I am the person who is to be known by all the Vedas” Therefore, we can conclude that Vedas are the base for all dharmas.
Hindu Dharma is a “Sanatana Dharma”. The pillars of this Sanatana Dharma are nothing but the Vedas. The dharma propounded in the Vedas has been elaborately explained in various forms in what we call as Itihaasas (History) and Puranas. Then come the dharma shastras. These are called Smritis. The intellectuals have categorized Itihasaas and Puranas also as Smritis. In fact we come across a number of Smritis written by great sages. To name a few Manusmriti, Parasharasmiriti, Yagnavalkasmriti, Gautamasmriti etc. These Smritis are nothing but Dharma sastra grandhams. Smriti means to recollect. The Smritis recollect the essence of the Vedas. All that is said in Shrutis are recollected and presented to us by Smritis. So, these Smritis, Itihasaas, Puranas and the Vedas become the foundation pillars to our Sanatana Dharma. Many rishis and sages have explained their wisdom and science in in these grandhams in an elaborate manner. The primary goal of all these is to propound and ascertain the transcendental truth of the Supreme being.
In spite of having a number of scriptures, we and the world around us prioritize Bhagavad Gita high and attach special importance to it. So to identify what is so special about Bhagavad Gita, let us first try to understand what is Gita and the Gita tradition.
In Mahabharath itself, a number of Gita have been talked about. For instance Hamsa Gita, Anu Gita etc. In Bhagavatam, Kapila Gita, Uddhava Gita, Rudra Gita have been talked about. Not only in these but we have got Gitas in our Puranas also. For instance Devi Gita, Ganesh Gita, Shiva Gita etc. What we are going to discuss here under “Bhagavad Gita” is Krishna Gita which we call Bhagavad Gita. While understanding them many people who analyze this aspect with a historical or Sahityak perspective have drawn many conclusions without understanding the Gita tradition. What they state is that other Gitas were composed following the Bhagavad Gita. Here arises a need to understand a tradition. The each of ther four pillers of Satana Dharma have been composed with different styles or tradation. Vedas have a different tradition, Puranas have a different tradition and Kavyas(poems) have yet another. Our Dharma has reached us in three (3) forms namely Vedas, Puranas and Kavyas. The way in which Vedas convey dharma can be compared to a King’s order. That is, there is no scope for questioning it. We just have to follow what is told. As the king would do anything only for the welfare of the kingdom and the people; they have to follow all his orders. Similarly, Vedas are the orders of the Prameshwara himself, which we have to follow.
येस्व विश्वसितम् वेदाः Yeswa Vishwasitam Vedaha The breath of Narayana itself is Vedas
The same dharma that is taught in Vedas is taught by Puranas in a friendly manner and by Kavyas in a decorative manner. Therefore the same dharma is explained in an authoritative manner by Vedas, in a friendly manner by Puranas and in a decorative manner by Kavyas.
Now let us consider Puranas. The Puranam tradition is granted by Maharishi Veda Vyasa. We are bestowed not only with Puranam tradition but also with Vedas by the grace of Maharishi Veda Vyasa. Although Veda Vyasa has not composed the Vedas, he is the one who categorized them. Likewise, he has also categorized Puranas into 18 maha-puranas and 18 upa-puranas. He has also blessed us with Mahabharata, Bhagavatam and also the Bhramasutras. For all these Puranas the speaker was Suka Maharishi and the audience being Saunaka sage and others. Same is the case with Mahabharath. What we are trying to convey here is that Mahabharath is composed as per the puranic tradition. That is, the tradition in which the puranas have been composed, Mahabharata has also been composed in the same tradition. So Mahabharata should be viewed both as history and Puranam. Therefore we ought to understand the tradition first before drawing conclusions. Especially, people who write commentary on Puranas must understand this tradition. Otherwise, they may result in drawing a lot of dangerous implications. In fact, such instances have been observed in the past and even now. This is very much essential to understand the importance and significance of Bhagavad Gita as we first need to understand the background of Bhagavad Gita right from its roots.
Bhagavad Gita took take its birth in the Mahabharata. Maharishi Veda Vyasa has composed Mahabharath, and he has composed it in Puranic tradition. Mahabharata is the essence of all Dharmashataras, Vedas and puranas. It is said with respect to Mahabharata
क्रुपया मुनिना क्रुतम् Krupaya munina krutam
With the intension of letting a person understand the vedic secrets, Maharishi Vyasa has composed Mahabharata in such a manner, which otherwise would have been impossible to comprehend by the common man. So, as per the puranic tradition Bhagavad Gita forms a part of Puranam. Generally, each Puranam is based on a particular deity. Some Puranas are based on Shiviasam emphasizing on Lord Shiva, some on Vaishnavism emphasizing on Lord Vishunu and some others on Shaktism emphasizing on Lord Sakthi etc. Every Puranam has got a Gita as an integral and important part. The Gita in each of these Puranas are the words of that particular deity on which it is based on. Hence the reason why we have so many Gitas like Krishna Gita, Shiva Gita etc. Here we are discussing about Krishna Gita, which are the words of the Paramaatma in the form of Lord Krishna. Here Gita is the word common in all. So the word “Gita” can be defined as “The words which convey Bhrama Vidya”. Be it the words of Ganesha, Shiva, Vishunu or Krishna, it is Gita. The words spoken by Almighty God is called Gita. That is why this is called Bhagavad Gita.
Let there be any number of Gitas but the importance of Bhagavad Gita is matchless. The composite essence of all the Gitas is present in Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita was bestowed upon Arjuna by Lord Krishna, in the incarnation of Sriman Narayana; during the Kurushetra war that was fought during the dawn of Kali yuga and the end of Dwapara yuga. The specialty of Bhagavad Gita is that Sri Krishna has summarized all the existing knowledge until then in it. This made Bhagavad Gita complete, encompassing the essence of all the then prevailing knowledge. Hence it is perceived as the holy book of Bharatha vansh. To emphasize that Bhagavad Gita is not the only Hindu book all this has been discussed.
Bhagavad Gita is considered as a distinguished book in Mahabharath. To illustrate that Mahabharath has been composed in the Puranic tradition let us have a look at its very first shloka
नारायणं नमस्कृत्य नरं चैव नरोत्तमम्।
देवीं सरस्वतीं चैव ततो जयमुदीरयेत्॥
nārāyanam namaskritya naram caiva narottamam
devīm sarasvatīm caiva tato jayamudīrayet
This is the prayer shloka for all the 18 Puranas. Ignorant of this Puranic tradition some people say that as the Mahabharath starts with जय jaya (in जयमुदीरयेत् jayamudīrayet) and hence it was called Jayaitihaasam and in due course of time it became Mahabharath. But Maharishi Vyasa himself named it Mahabharath. The jaya word is not specific to Mahabharath but is prevalent in all the 18 Puranas. If we reverse जय jaya it becomes यज yaja. Yaja means yagna or to perform yagna. Hence, any thing told related to yagna becomes yaja or jaya. If a Kavya specifies yagna related dharma and mantras that are prescribed in the Vedas, it can be called as jaya. Anything through which a person can achieve चतुर्विध पुरुशार्धम् chaturavidha purushardam can be termed as jayam or jaya. A person is born to achieve four goals (चतुर्विध पुरुशार्धम्) and that accomplishment is called जयम् jayam. These four goals are धर्म, अर्थ, काम, and मोक्ष (Dharma, Artha , Kaama and Moksha). So, those books which define these four goals and the dharmas to achieve them are called jayam. Alternately, jaya is defined in Anka sastram. Our tradition has a sastra called Katapayadi Sankhya Sastram. This associates numbers to alphabets. According to this sastram, jaya equates to 18. Thus जयमुदीरयेत् which has the word जय (jaya) signifies 18. Hence “jaya” is used both in the 18 puranas and Mahabharath. It is apt to use jaya for puranas as there are 18 of them and also with Mahabharath as it has 18 parvas and Bhagavad Gita which forms an integral part of Mahabharath is composed of 18 adhayaas (Chapters). So does Bhagavad Gita have jayam in it? Well it has, and we shall see that soon.
The uniqueness of Bhagavad Gita which starts with jayam, increases to manifold when we know that it forms an integral part of a larger epic Mahabharath which starts with jayam too. Now let us look at the scenario in which Bhagavad Gita is told. It starts with “Dhritarastra Uvacha“. This is called Arjuna Vishada Yogam (the sorrow of Arjuna). It is not just some Vishada yogam, but it is “Arjuna’s” Vishada yogam. Though we say it is Arjuna’s Vishada Yogam, it can be considered as vishada yogam representing our vishadam as it is nothing but the ‘nara’s’ (jiva) vishada yogam, which is depicted in the character named Arjuna. In general, we tend to be more interested in knowing what Shri Krishna spoke in the Bhagavad Gita than knowing the vishadam of Arjuna. But here we must understand that this very vishadam of Arjuna gave birth to such a great preaching of Lord Krishna. So to understand the preachings of Shri Krishna it is very much required to know the vedana (sorrow) of Arjuna.
Bhagavad Gita is being told in
मध्ये महाभरते Madhye Mahabharathe “In the heart of Mahabharath.”
पुरान मुनिन व्यसेन purAna muninA vyasenA “by the ancient MuniVyasa.”
Bhagavad Gita comes in Bhishma parvam. Where Sanjaya is it narrating to Dhritarastra. It is starting with धृतराष्ट्र उवाच “Dhritarastra uvacha”. In Bhishma Parvam 10 days after the starting of the war, Sanjaya is narrating the happenings. Sanjaya is blessed with a divine power to witness the entire war without actually getting involved in the war and thus not getting injured. Witness here implies not just seeing. Sanjaya is bestowed with the power to perceive each and every one’s activity in the battleground both at macro and micro levels. On the 10th day of the battle when Bhishma collapsed due to the onslaught of Arjuna, Sanjaya gives this news to Dhritarastra hearing which Dhritarastra loses consciousness. Eventually on gaining consciousness he grieves on Bhishmas collapse and requests Sanajaya to describe the complete happenings from the start of the battle.
Frankly the number of Bhashyas (Commentaries) on Bhagavad Gita is countless. One can easily put up a big library on this subject alone. We consider the bhashyam done by Shri Adi Shankara as the first comprehensive commentary on Bhagavad Gita. In his commentary Shri Shankar said, “Narayana came to this world to save it, and for its proper functioning he propounded two (2) forms of Dharma.
प्रविर्ति रुप धर्मम् Pravirti Rupa dharmam
निविर्ति रुप धर्मम् Nivirti rupa dharmam
Pravirti Rupa dharmam is characterized to suit householders. On the other hand, nivirti rupa dharmam is characterized to suit those beings who have renounced the world. When the जिवकोटी jivakoti follows the way depicted in these two forms of dharmas, they will attain the highest possible position. When this dharma was slowly deteriorating, the Paramatma took the form of Lord Krishna to revive it. As said in Bhagavad Gita,
परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम्।
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय संभवामि युगे युगे॥
He not only revived this dharmam by his lilas , but also left a record of his heart for the future progeny. His leelas are documented as Bhagavatam while his teachings as Bhagavad Gita. These are the two most precious boons bestowed upon mankind by Shri Krishna. He has left a legacy of his history in the forms of Bhagavatham and Bhagavad Gita; His biography being carried by Bhagavatam and his teachings by Bhagavad Gita. Thus he carried his deeds and words to us through these two books.
Shri Krishna adorns the position of a guru in two ways. He is a teacher through his practice, as well as a teacher who preaches what to practice. Describing Lord Krishna, sages and rishis said
वचकप्रणवोयसय vachakpranavoyesya His is the one described by in Om.
क्रिडावस्तखिलन्जगत् Krida vastakhilanjaga this whole creation is his toy.
स्रुतिर् आज्ञा Sruthir agyan the Vedas are his orders.
वपुहु ज्ञानम् Vapuhu jnanam jnanam is his body.
तम् वन्दे देवकि सुतम् tam vande devaki sutam we bow to that son of devaki
Bhagavad Gita is spoken by such a great soul. Describing Bhagavad Gita, some said it is Jnana pradhan grandham, some said it is Bakthi pradharn grandham and some said it is Karma pradhan grandham. But Shri Krishna says, “let it be any thing as long as there is yogam in it.” युज्यथे अनेनितिहि योगः Yujyathe anenithi yogaha means anything that unites with the supreme god is called yogam. We should not look at Shri Krishna as a person who propounded any one yogam. Instead, we should look upon him as the सर्व योग समन्वय कर्त sarva yoga samanvaya karta “a unifier of all Yogas” .Some people have also stated that Bhagavad Gita is a scientific book. Some have written a lot about electricity concepts basing on Bhagavad Gita, while some others have written it as book related to atomic science. So, it all goes with how one perceives Bhagavad Gita.
Bhagavad Gita starts with
धर्मक्शेत्रे कुरुक्शेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः।
मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत संजय॥
Bhagavad Gita starts with the name धृतराष्ट्र Dhritarastra. We have all termed Dhritarastra as the villan of Mahabharatha. Then who is the hero? All of us say it is none other than Sri Krishna. That is why it is said क्रिष्ण मुल भारतं “Kirshna mula bharatham” if we take consider Mahabharatham as a kalpa vriksha (a tree that is believed to grant boons and fulfill devotees’ wishes) then Shri Krishna will be its seed.
In the first shloka of Bhagavad Gita Dhritarastra is enquiring Sanjaya about kurukshetre. The war is taking place in kurukshetre. Who will fight the war? “युयुत्सवः”; that is those who are enthusiastic in fighting the war. All these enthusiastic warriors have “समवेता”; assembled in Kurukshetera. An adjective has been used to qualify कुरुक्शेत्रे, that is धर्मक्शेत्रे Dhamakshetere . That means कुरुक्शेत्रं is a धर्मक्शेत्रं. It is important to note that Bhagavad Gita starts with the word Dharma and this is the first and foremost of the four (4) purushardhams (Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha). Maharish Vyasa has formulated this fist verse itself in a splendid way.
This first verse itself signifies a lot to many intellectuals. For instance when Ahalya Bai was getting Bhagavad Gita narrated by a pundit, she asked him to stop the narration the moment he finished uttering the words धर्मक्शेत्रे कुरुक्शेत्रे and she remarked that she had understood the whole essence of Bhagavad Gita. Upon the pandit’s enquiry she said thus, “If I arrange the words “धर्मक्शेत्रे कुरुक्शेत्रे” as “क्षेत्रे क्षेत्रे धर्म कुरु” it would mean “Do dharma at all places and all times” This is what I understood and that is enough for me.”
What exactly does Dharma mean? That which cannot be perceived and ascertained by sense organs and mind but which is important for our lives and that which is defined in sastras is Dharma. This Dharma only holds us tight to righteousness. If there wouldn’t have been any dharma, then this society will just collapse, there will be chaos everywhere. The bonds of morality will snap off. The one that holds a person to righteousness is called Dharma.
धरणा धर्मम् इत्याहुहु Dharna Dharmam itahuhu
Suppose a person is walking on a path and if he goes off the path he would fall. The path only has held him firm without falling. This path is called Dharma. We all are born to follow dharma, hence we have to follow it at all times and at all places धर्म कुरु क्षेत्रे क्षेत्रे. Also a lot of people have derived a lot of meanings out of Bhagavad Gita based on their intellects. As any meaning we derive should be in accordance with the sastras, we will here consider a few.
Bhagavad Gita is starts with the word Dharma in
धर्मक्शेत्रे कुरुक्शेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः।
मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत संजय॥
Now take the last word of the Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita ends with the reply of Sanjaya to Dhritaraashtra as
यत्र योगेश्वरः कृष्णो यत्र पार्थो धनुर्धरः।
तत्र श्रीर्विजयो भूतिर्ध्रुवा नीतिर्मतिर्मम॥
Now considering the first word धर्म (“Dharma”) and the last word मम (“Mama”) it becomes धर्म मम Dharma Mama or मम धर्म Mama Dharmam or स्व धर्म “Sva Dharmam” or my dharma. How to perform this “Sva Dharman” is what is described in Bhagavad Gita. It is very easy to advice on performing Sva Dharmam but definitely not that easy to implement. There come so many obstructions while trying to perform Sva Dharmam. The first obstruction comes from no where else but from within us only. This obstruction is nothing but मोहम् Moham (maya). Moham is filled with अज्ञानम् agjayanam(Ignorance). Moham develops a mental state where in the person becomes confused as to what is dharmam and what is adharmam. That is precisely the situation of Arjuna in the battle field. The intellect that is required while performing Sva Dharmam to tackle the obstructions is called Bhagavad Gita. So Bhagavad Gita provides the intellect to do Sva Dharmam that being the only motive of Bhagavad Gita. We all witness that the same Arjuna who threw his Gandiva, lifted it and was ready to perform his duty after listening to Bhagavad Gita. So the words that motivate a person to perform his dharma or “Sva Dharma” are described between the words “mama” and “dharma”; of the Bhagavad Gita.
Another interpretation is that in the first verse of Bhagavad Gita.
धर्मक्शेत्रे कुरुक्शेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः।
मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत संजय॥
Here the word क्षेत्रे kshetre can be used to refer to the human body. It is used in Bhagavad Gita in the same sense; इदं शरीरं कौन्तेय क्शेत्रमित्यभिधीयते। idaM shariiraM kaunteya kshetramityabhidhiiyate. So if we apply this sutram to human body, the human body has two types of characteristics; धर्मक्शेत्रे and कुरुक्शेत्रे”. If we take dharma as punya, then those bodies that have been attained by punya can be called as धर्मक्शेत्रे like the bodies of devas which are in every respect धर्मक्शेत्रे. In कुरुक्शेत्रे, kuru means “to do”. So those bodies that are used to perform dharma can be called as कुरुक्शेत्रे. Human body is the only body which is धर्मक्शेत्रे कुरुक्शेत्रे.
Again from the first verse Consider मामकाः mamakaha or ममत्वम् mamatvam or the feeling of “mine”. This feeling is the implication of “Rajasa” and “Tamasa” entities in us. Rajasam means Ahamkaram or Ahambhavam which leads to mamtayam. Because of these two no jyanam works. On the other hand we have Satvika bhava which is divine in nature. So all the time there is always a struggle ongoing in this (human body) धर्मक्शेत्रे कुरुक्शेत्रे, which is nothing but our body, between evil (Rajasam, Tamasam) and divine (Satvika) forces. This is what is indicated in the first verse
धर्मक्शेत्रे कुरुक्शेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः।
मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत संजय॥
In this verse the evil forces are represented by “Mamkaha” and satvika gunas and these are represented by pandavas. The battle between evil and divine forces can be properly understood and narrated by a person who has control over his indriyas or the evil forces in him, hence only Sanjaya which means “one who is victorious,” can narrate the battle, and the person requesting him to narrate is Dhritarastra. Dhritarastra means “one who is holding the rastra”. Rastra means our body. In other words the one who thinks that he is the body is Dhritarastra, which is nothing but Aham bhavam. We find it very strange when we notice how aptly these people are named. In fact, these names turn into yoga sastras. That is why it is said, names are decided by God. Rama himself asked Vashistha Maharishi to name Him Rama, as that would signify all the characteristics of Rama. Likewise Krishna himself asked Garga Maharishi to name him so. Similarly some divine force must have instigated Dhritarastra’s mother to name him so!
Let’s revisit the first verse
धर्मक्शेत्रे कुरुक्शेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः।
मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत संजय॥
The verse ends with the word Sanjaya. We have already discussed that the word जय jaya appears in Bhagavad Gita too as in Mahabharath. In Bhagavad Gita jaya is used through the word Sanjaya. Hence Bhagavad Gita proves to be a special sastra which starts with jaya. Our tradition propounds that all the divya sastras that have been told have to start with either Jaya, Atha, Sri or Om.
धर्मक्शेत्रे कुरुक्शेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः।
Here धृतराष्ट्र is talking about the opponents in battle; मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव means “MY people and Pandavas”. We can easily perceive the bhavam he has on Pandavas. किमकुर्वत “What did they do there?”
In Sanjaya’s reply we can witness the whole battle field scenario right in front of us.
दृष्ट्वा तु पाण्डवानीकं व्यूढं दुर्योधनस्तदा।
आचार्यमुपसंगम्य राजा वचनमब्रवीत्॥
“After seeing the battle formation of the Pandavas army, Duryodhana approached his guru (Drona) and spoke.”
The first verse is starting with धृतराष्ट्र and the second with दुर्योधन. All the santans (children) of Dhritarastra are dus-santanam like Durdhona, Dusasana, Durmukhudu, Durdhardu, Dusala all starting with Du which means inauspicious or unfavorable. Duryodhana means “hard to conquer”, dur means difficult and yodhana means to be conquered.
King Duryodhana went to his acharya Drona and spoke thus
पश्यैतां पाण्डुपुत्राणामाचार्य महतीं चमूम्।
व्यूढां द्रुपदपुत्रेण तव शिष्येण धीमता॥
Here we need to note the way Duryodhana is speaking to his guru. Duryodhana is saying, “Look at the army of the pandavas arranged by your disciple.”
Are not the pandavas Drona’s disciples too? Indeed they are! Also, he has used another adjective द्रुपदपुत्रेण Drupada Putrena “Drupada’s son” (Dristadumnudu) as Drona was insulted and defeated by Drupada. The intention of Duryodhana in referring to Dristadumnudu as द्रुपदपुत्रेण and not by his name is to provoke Drona by taking the name of Drupada who had insulted him. Duryodhana continues.
अत्र शूरा महेष्वासा भीमार्जुनसमा युधि।
युयुधानो विराटश्च द्रुपदश्च महारथः॥
धृष्टकेतुश्चेकितानः काशिराजश्च वीर्यवान्।
पुरुजित्कुन्तिभोजश्च शैब्यश्च नरपुंगवः॥
युधामन्युश्च विक्रान्त उत्तमौजाश्च वीर्यवान्।
सौभद्रो द्रौपदेयाश्च सर्व एव महारथाः॥
Here Duryodhana has listed out all the warriors on the pandavas side.
अस्माकं तु विशिष्टा ये तान्निबोध द्विजोत्तम।
नायका मम सैन्यस्य संज्ञार्थं तान्ब्रवीमि ते॥
Duryodhana says “Having described their army now let me tell you about our side.”
भवान्भीष्मश्च कर्णश्च कृपश्च समितिंजयः।
अश्वत्थामा विकर्णश्च सौमदत्तिस्तथैव च॥
भवान् “Bhavan” You. Which means from our side you are the first. Then he continues “Bheeshma, Karna, and the victorious Kripa; Ashvatthaamaa, Vikarna, and the son of Somadatta”.
We must take notice that he has listed out less warriors on his side than on pandavas side. If we again try to interpret it in another way, Sri Krishna has ensured more warriors with devi gunas and less with asuric gunas. Pandavas being less in number the warriors are more, which means the power of Devi gunas is always superior.
Duryodhana continues by saying that,
अपर्याप्तं तदस्माकं बलं भीष्माभिरक्शितम्।
पर्याप्तं त्विदमेतेषां बलं भीमाभिरक्शितम्॥
“Our army is protected by Bhishma while that of pandavas is protected by Bhima.”
Bhishma is much greater a warrior than Bhima. Even the word Bhima is a submerged in the word Bhishma.
He then continues अपर्याप्तं तदस्माकं “our army is limitless, and their army” पर्याप्तं त्विदमेतेषां “is limited”.
We know that in Kavruav’s army was 11 akshobini and that of the pandavas was 7 akshobini. In the above verse we can find that Duryodhana is satisfied even when he listed out lesser warriors in his army than in Pandava’s army because of the limitless army he has got. It can be inferred that estimating the strength by majority is one of the characteristics of Duryodhana. The present world is just like that. Thinking that majority is strength is Duryodhana characteristics or rakshasa characteristics. But the outlook of Bharathiya’s is not majority strength. It is “atma balam”, “daiva balam”, “dharma balam”. The balam or strength should not be decided by looking at the physical body. Can a swell ever become strength because of it’s mass? To propound the superiority of this inner-strength, our rishis have bestowed on us two (2) maha grandhas; Ramayana and Mahabharath.
In Ramayana, there were very few numbers on Rams’s side; Himself, Lakshmana, Hanuman and other monkeys while on the other hand Ravana was much more powerful. He has been the resident of Lanka since long. He had a huge country also. His army was more in number. In addition to that he was in power and was highly experienced. But finally who won the battle? Likewise the pandavas were just 5 where as the kaurvaas were 100, but who won the battle ultimately. The message given by these two (2) maha grandhas is that one should bank or take support of devi balam. If you increase your devi balam the victory will be yours. Where does devi balam reside? Where there is Dharma balam there will be devi belam. So finally what is that we have to enhance? It is dharma balam we have to enhance, then devi balam will automatically follow. Dharmaraju did not sing songs in praise of Lord Krishna asking him to join them. Instead he performed his dharma properly and lord Krishna followed them where ever they went. So where there is Dharma there is strength and jaya.
येतो धर्मस् ततो जयः Yeto Dharmas tato jaya
In the verse
धर्मक्शेत्रे कुरुक्शेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः।
मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत संजय॥
Here the verse is starting with धर्म dharma and ending with जय jaya, this only is telling where there is dharma there is jaya or victory.
अयनेषु च सर्वेषु यथाभागमवस्थिताः।
भीष्ममेवाभिरक्शन्तु भवन्तः सर्व एव हि॥
“The main responsibility of all of us is to protect Bhishma, because he is protecting us. We have to be stationed at our proper places and should support and protect Bhishma.”
Bhishma is the most important person in the kaurava army, so it has to be seen that he is properly protected. Because by protecting the person who is protecting us, we will be secure and safe. Another thing we have to note here is the behaviour of Druyodhana. राजा वचनमब्रवीत् which means ‘The King spoke’. He has no respect for who-so-ever he is addressing. He is arrogant even to his guru acharya Drona.
After listening to Duryodhana, Bhishma blew his conch shell; which is to indicate their readiness for the battle.
दध्मौ blew his conch shell, प्रतापवान् means “Majestic” Bhishma. Bhishma blew his cronch shell which sounded like the roar of a lion सिंहनादं.
तस्य संजनयन्हर्षं कुरुवृद्धः पितामहः।
सिंहनादं विनद्योच्चैः शङ्खं दध्मौ प्रतापवान्॥
Listening to the सिंहनादं , Duryodhana became very happy तस्य संजनयन्हर्षं
ततः शङ्खाश्च भेर्यश्च पणवानकगोमुखाः।
सहसैवाभ्यहन्यन्त स शब्दस्तुमुलोऽभवत्॥
As soon as Bhisma blew his conch, all others from Kauravas started blowing their respective conch shells and various instruments like conches, Kettle-drums, trumpets and cow-horns blared forth suddenly from Kauravas side.
The same has to come from the pandanvas also in reciprocation. If the first conch shell was blown by Bhishma from the kauravas side then from the pandavas side the first conch shell was blown by none other than Lord Krishna.
ततः श्वेतैर्हयैर्युक्ते महति स्यन्दने स्थितौ।
माधवः पाण्डवश्चैव दिव्यौ शङ्खौ प्रदघ्मतुः॥
Maharishi Vyasa has penned down this verse in a very beautiful way just like a beautiful painting. We can feel the zooming effect onto Lord Krishna in the battle field like in a cinema.
ततः श्वेतैर्हयैर्युक्त drawn by white horses महति स्यन्दने a great chariot. What is the greatness about this chariot? The greatness is because of Sri Krishna. It is because of the divinity of the chariot. And this Krishna is not the baby Krishna of Yashoda. Nor is he that Krishna who played the flute around gopikas. This Krishna is the Krishna who is a Charioteer, who is an acharya. This Krishna is the Krishna who is getting the chariot ready for the battle.
This divine verse is starting with the word ततः. ततः is a very great and divine sound which is similar to the word तत् in Gayatri mantaram. श्वेतैर्हयैर्युक्ते “White horses, pure horses!” Perceive the beauty here. महति स्यन्दने “a very great chariot”. स्थितौ “two are present” (dual).These two are माधवः पाण्डवः “Sri Krishna and Arjuna”. Both of them then blew their conch shells.
Here consider the chariot. Is it Arjuna’s or Lord Kirshna’s? We all know from Mahabharath as well as from Bhagavatam that Lord Krishna prayed before going to battle with Jarasandha and two rathas descended from heavens and Lord Kirshna accepted one and the other was accepted by Lord Balaram. So lord Krishna’s ratha doesn’t belong to the earth. Moreover these rathas were fully equipped with arms and weapons. The horses also came along with the rathas from vaikuntha. These four horses were सैभ्य saibhya, सुग्रीव sugriiva, मेघ पुश्प megha pushpa वराह varAha. Lord Krishna used this divine ratha to fight with Jarasandha and many others. But what is the ratha used for now? As described in Mahabharath it is Arjuna’s ratha only which was presented to him by Agni deva. But then, why are we discussing Krishna’s ratha when it is Arjuna’s ratha. There is a small secret here. Whenever Arjuna needs victory, Krishna brings the power of his ratha into Arjuna’s ratha which is why it is said as महति स्यन्दने Mahati Sandane.
If we go through Virat parvam in Mahabharath we can find the evidence for this. In Virat Pravam we find that after the completion of one year of Agnata Vaasam, when Arjuna takes his weapons from the Semi tree, and goes to the battlefield to fight against Kauravas, Uttara was his charioteer. While riding the chariot Uttara says “These horses are galloping at the speed of the wind. Though I’m holding the reins, I’m really not able to figure out if I’m riding these horses or I’m being ridden by them. It appears to me that these horses are सैभ्य saibhya, सुग्रीव sugriiva, मेघ पुश्प megha pushpa वराह varAha; the horses of Lord Krishna.”
Uttara was considered a great charioteer of his times who could assess the qualities of horses with ease. So no matter whosoever is riding Arjuna’s chariot and whichever horses are being ridden, Lord Krishna bestows on Arjuna’s Chariot the power of his divine ratha. So as we see it, this secret was revealed by Veda Vyasa in Virata Parvam. We have to consider this as pointer and apply it in the context of, महति स्यन्दने स्थितौ Mahatisendanao Sithaio. Therefore, it is actually the greatness of Krishna’s chariot that is being talked about.
Moreover, of all the chariots, only Shri Krishna’s chariot is being described. The motive of Maharisha Veda Vyasa is to focus on Sri Krishna and make us concentrate on him thus. That is why no matter how he was describing the battle field, he wanted us to taste the beauty of Lord Krishna in he middle of battle field. Hence, he says…
ततः श्वेतैर्हयैर्युक्ते महति स्यन्दने स्थितौ।
माधवः पाण्डवश्चैव दिव्यौ शङ्खौ प्रदघ्मतुः॥
पांचजन्यं हृषीकेशो देवदत्तं धनंजयः
श्वेतैर्हयैर्युक्ते means pure white horses. If this is considered as a part of battle in Mahabharath it is different otherwise if it is considered as words used before Bhrama Vidya then we have to see it in a different point of view. If we apply the above verse with भगवद्गीतासु उपनिशदसु भ्रम्हविद्यायाम् योगषास्त्रे Bhagavadgiitaasu upanishadasu bhramhavidyAyAm yogaShAstre we can conclude that the whole of the chariot is अत्मान्द धिरम् विधि शरिरम रधम् Atmaaanda dhiram vidhi shariram radham “Body is a chariot” as said by Upanishads. If we apply this sutram, to the above verse of Bhagavad Gita, it can be used as a mantram to welcome the Almighty to ride our bodies (chariot) by holding the rines of our minds, in the kurukshetram of our lives. What kind of Chariot is being talked about here? It says a great chariot drawn by four (4) white horses. These horses can be considered as Indriyas. ईद्रियणि हयान्याहुहु IdriyaNi hayAnayahuhu ever if we think the indryas are the horses, the indriyas are drawn by our inner voice (anthakaranam). Thus four (4) horses should be considered as the four anthakaranams मनो, बुधि, अहन्कर्, चितम् mano, budhi, ahankar, chitam.But in reality this is only one anthakaranam. When the Almighty is riding our anthakaranam, it has to white, mean it has to be pure, that is what is ment by श्वेतैर्हयैर्युक्ते “pure white horses”, which means filled with satvika gunas. So if we transform our anthakaranam as pure and then if we surrender them to the Sri Krishna, then he will ride them in right direction.
In the verse we must take notice that only the names of the conch shells blown by Pandavas and Lord Krishna are mentioned, while the conch shells of others on the Panadavas side are not mentioned. This implies that those were all ordinary shells. Even the conch shells of Drona or those of the leading Kauravas are not mentioned. These conch shells are not blindly named but; based on specific qualities which are strongly associated with the person who owns it. The following must be borne in mind while reading the Mahabharath. The Pandavas are none other the Devas themselves. The sole power of Indra has taken 5 forms and Indra’s wife Sachi Devi has come down as Draupati and Lord Narayana, who is the protector of the devas at all times has himself come down as Sri Krishna.
The intention of the composer in describing these conch shells is that we should first pay our respects to these as only when they are pleased with us then only will we understand the knowledge and wisdom given by Shri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita rightly.
पांचजन्यं हृषीकेशो देवदत्तं धनंजयः।
हृषीकेशा(Rushikesha) blew the पांचजन्य (Panchajanya) conch shell and धनंजयः (Dhanajaya) means Arjuna (as one of the many names of Arjuna is Dhanajaya). The conch shell blown by Lord Krishna is Panchajanya, which is also the name of conch shell of Lord Narayana. This means that Lord Krishna is none other than Lord Narayana. We also know that Lord Krishna brought back the son of his guru Sandipa to life, who was killed in a sea by a rakshasa named “Panchajanulu”. This rakshasa was in the form of a snail that had a shell on it’s back. Lord Krishna defeated this rakshasa and blew the conch shell hence the name Panchajanya. He then ordered Yamaraja by blowing this conch shell and brought back the boy to life. This we all know from Bhagavatam.
Lord Krishna took the Panchajanya and blew its divine nadam. Arjuna blew his conch shell Devadattam.
पौण्ड्रं दध्मौ महाशङ्खं भीमकर्मा वृकोदरः
“And Bhima the voracious eater blew his conch shell पौण्ड्रं Paundra”
Vrukodara is one of the qualities of Agni. Vrukodara means one who has Vrukamu (Kind of Agni) in his Udaramu (Stomach). Bhima had a very strong digestive power and hence Vrukodara term is used to describe him.
अनंतविजयं राजा कुन्तीपुत्रो युधिष्ठिरः।
नकुलः सहदेवश्च सुघोषमणिपुष्पकौ॥
“Yudhisthira blew अनंतविजयं Anata-vijaya; Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughosa and Manipuspaka”
And after this the names of other conch shells are not mentioned These names are not given for general knowledge. Just as there is a Dhyana shloka for Vishnu Saharasanamam, this shloka is the dhyana shloka for Bhagavad Gita.
Vinoba Bhave, while writing commentary to Bhagavad Gita, wrote wonderfully about Panchajanya and Devadatam. He writes that all living beings are Panchajanulu, janulu means all those who have jani dharmam. Not only humans but all living beings have jani dharmam. Jani dharmam means those who have janma (birth) dharmam. And Panchajanulu means all those who are having their bodies made of pancha bhootas. So to activate or to awake the panchajanulu Lord Krishna blew panchajanya cronch shell. “Devadattam Dhanajaya.” Dhanajaya blew Devadattam. Here, Dhanajaya or Arjuna is the disciple of Lord Krishna and Devadattam means that which is given or blessed by God.
स घोषो धार्तराष्ट्राणां हृदयानि व्यदारयत्।
नभश्च पृथिवीं चैव तुमुलोऽभ्यनुनादयन्॥
“The uproar from the pandavas vibrated through the sky and earth and filled the hearts of the kauravas with fear”
अथ व्यवस्थितान्दृष्ट्वा धार्तराष्ट्रान् कपिध्वजः।
प्रवृत्ते शस्त्रसंपाते धनुरुद्यम्य पाण्डवः॥
Raising his weapons Arjuna said the following to Lord Krishna. These are the first words of Arjuna (disciple).
हृषीकेशं तदा वाक्यमिदमाह महीपते।
सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये रथं स्थापय मेऽच्युत॥
कैर्मया सह योद्धव्यमस्मिन्रणसमुद्यमे॥
योत्स्यमानानवेक्शेऽहं य एतेऽत्र समागताः।
धार्तराष्ट्रस्य दुर्बुद्धेर्युद्धे प्रियचिकीर्षवः॥
Arjuna says “O Krishna! Please place my chariot between the two armies, so that I may see those who have assembled here to fight. I desire to observe those wishing to please the evil-minded Duryodhana by taking his side on this battle field.”
Now Sanjaya is narrating to Dhritarastra what Sri Krishna did.
एवमुक्तो हृषीकेशो गुडाकेशेन भारत।
सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये स्थापयित्वा रथोत्तमम्॥
भीष्मद्रोणप्रमुखतः सर्वेषां च महीक्शिताम्।
उवाच पार्थ पश्यैतान्समवेतान्कुरूनिति॥
एवमुक्तो हृषीकेशो गुडाकेशेन भारत “When हृषीकेश Rushikesha was asked by गुडाकेश Gudakesha”.
Here Krishna is referred to as Rushkesha and Arjuna as Gudakesha. By using the words like Keshava, Achuta, Rushikesha etc, Maharshi Vyasa is directly stating that Lord Krishna is none other than Lord Narayana.
हृषीकेशमुलु Rushikeshamulu means the Indiriyas. The one who is the Lord or master of the Indiriyas is Rushkesha. Rephrasing, Rushikesha is one who has a complete control over his Indriyas. On the other hand, Arjuna is referred to as Gudakesha. Gudakesha has two (2) meanings. Gudakesha (Guda+kesha) means one who has thick beautiful hair which is describing beauty. Also गुडाकमु Gudakamu means sleep. Gudakesha means one who has control over his sleep. Sleep is tamo gunam. So, the one who has won over his sleep has the eligibility to fight. Therefore, Gudakesha means one who is alert. Thus one of the qualities of a great warrior is Gudakesha. It also means one who has very high levels of concentration. This is the quality that is required for listening to Bhrama vidya like Bhagavad Gita. Here Lord Krishna is describing the qualities of Arjuna before taking the ratha amidst the two armies. So if one asks how a Shishya should be? He should be a Gudakesha!
सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये स्थापयित्वा रथोत्तमम
Sri Krishna pulled the chariot in the midst of the two armies.
तत्रापश्यत्स्थितान्पार्थः पितृनथ पितामहान्।
आचार्यान् मातुलान् भ्रातृन् पुत्रान् पौत्रान् सखीन् तथा॥
श्वशुरान् सुहृदश्चैव सेनयोरुभयोरपि।
“Arjuna saw his own relatives , grandfathers, fathers-in-law, uncles, brothers, cousins, sons, grandsons, teachers”. सेनयोरुभयोरपि “On both sides”
तान् समीक्ष्य स कौन्तेयः सर्वान् बन्धून् अवस्थितान्॥
तान् समीक्ष्य “He observed” स कौन्तेयः सर्वान् बन्धून् अवस्थितान् “Arjuna saw all his relatives present there”. क्रपया परयाविष्टो वषिदन् इदमब्रवीत् “He felt a lot of compassion for them.”
This compassion is not pity. This compassion is because of the मम (“mama” or mine) feeling in him. And Arjuna experiencing that kind of comapssion, felt very sad and spoke.
विषादम् Vishadam (sorrow) is the first step for Bhramha Vidya. This definitely doesn’t mean Vishadam is something very great. Arjuna has the quality of transforming this vishadam into yogam. Arjuna was capable enough to transform his vishadam into yogam. But many of us; though we experience the vishadam we remain in that state itself. This transformation was possible for Arjuna as he had expressed his vishadam to Lord Krishna. So the tears shed in front of Lord Krishna will be transformed into Yogam.
Therefore only because Arjuna wept in vishadam to Lord Krishna it became Yogam which lead to Karma Yogam , Bhakti Yogam and Janaya Yogam which otherwise would have remained as Vishadam and nothing more. The same is conveyed in Upanishads as
परीक्ष् लोकन् कर्मचितान् ब्रोम्हणो निर्वेदम् Pariksha lokan Karmchitan bromhano nirvedam which means, after seeing the कर्मचित लोकं Karmachita lokam the jnani gets निर्वेदम् Nirvedam. निर्वेदम् Nirvedam means dispassion. Why is this dispassion felt? Parikshit Lokan explains it i.e. after seeing the world (lokam) troubled by Karma a jnani feels dispassionate. But we also see this same world that is troubled by Karma then why is it that we didn’t feel this dispassion? We never felt this dispassion because ours is not परीक्ष् (परी + इक्ष्), which means if we see the world in totality and properly, which we don’t know, we will feel dispassionate. This dispassion is called Nirvedam. This nirvedam is always the first step for Vedantam. We had witnessed many nirvedam across our scriptures, Rama was in nirvedam which led to Yoga Vashistam, also Emperor Bali felt this nirvedam and many more. But Nirvedam alone is not Jnanam. One has to move from nirvedam to Jnanam. Similarly Rama felt this Nirvedam. This is not talked about in Ramayana but in Yoga Visistam. Some people say that Yoga Vasistam was wriiten by someone and later attributed it to Lord Rama. These conclusions are drawn due to the improper understanding of our traditions. We have already discussed that Kavya and Purana have two different traditions. Because Valmiki composed Ramayana as a Kavya, he didn’t put Gita in it. He later wrote Yoga Vashista describing entire Ramayana with Gita in it. Mahabharatham has been written in Purana tradition and hence Vyasa has included Gita in it.
In Yoga Vasishta, Sage Vashista gave Bharama Vidya to Rama. Thus, he took Rama from nirvedam to vedantam, and said if nirvedam doesn’t get transformed into Vedantam then it will lead to कर्म भ्राष्टत्वम् Karma Bhraastavam (destruction/contamination of karma).
In our history we find a person who was a warrior and got dispassion due to the sadness and suffering everywhere in the world and felt this nirvedam. It was all well until then. But unfortunately he didn’t get a good guru. He just left his family and went to forest, sat under a tree. Though he gained some wisdom in this process, some problems crept in when he started preaching it to others and it slowly become a अवैदिक avedic (non-vedic) religion. But in the context of Bhagavad Gita (Arjuna), fortunately the nirvedam didn’t lead to Karma Bhrastrayam.
Therefore, grief and dispassion alone are not Jayana. We may sometimes feel sadness and grief which may be due to मोहम् moham or any other reason, which may lead to Nirvedam. But we can’t say if we have really attained the state of nirvedam because that nirvedam was due to the grief felt on that particular day. But if the next day some happiness creeps into our lives, the state of nirvdam will not be felt anymore. So this dispassion is not the real dispassion. In that situation that grief and dispassion has to be turned into a positive direction to reach the goal. This state of dispassion is also not an easy thing to achieve. Unless one has at-least an iota of Satvik guna one can’t get to this state. If there is guru who can teach to use that light of nirvedam and transform it to remove the darkness of अज्ञानं Ajnanam, that person will be enlightened. Just as Rama found his guru in Vashista and Arjuna in Krishna. That is why to destroy the avaidica religions we don’t have to bring a new book from somewhere. Bhagavad Gita is enough to serve the purpose. So as soon as one gets into a state of Nirvedam or dispassion, one doesn’t have to preach him Vedantam which takes him away from Sva-Dharma. However, one can preach Sva Dharma with Vedanta which is what is told in Bhagavad Gita. That is the reason why Adi Shankara wrote a commentary on Bhagavad Gita; to simply destroy the then prevailing Avaidika religions!
Another very important thing we have to note here is, people believe the right time for reading Bhagavad Gita for Vedantam is when one has fulfilled all his obligations and free from all work. But fortunately Krishna didn’t tell Bhagavad Gita to an old, feeble Arjuna who was free from all his duties relaxing under some tree. He told Bhagavad Gita right in the middle of the battle field just before the war. So when is vedantam necessary? It is necessary in the कर्म क्षेत्रम् Karma Kshetram, it is necessary for the one who is working and not for the one who has retired from work. Bharathiya Vedantam encourages all of us to work. Vedantam is necessary to give clarity of how to perform ones karma. It is necessary to give a complete knowledge about the work, to decide a target and to know which way we are heading, why we are heading and to achieve what. That is why Bharatya vedantam is so practical! The purpose of Bhagavad Gita is so important because it tells the vedantam told by Upanishada and the Vedantam told in Bhrama Sutras has to be used in daily lives.
So Bhagavad Gita is the Vedantam that has to be followed by everyone of us in our daily lives. The most important feature of Bhagavad Gita is the situation under which it was told, which is the Battle Field. Bhagavad Gita is born for the Karmaveera. Bhagavad Gita is necessary to implement Vedantam in our lives and that is why Maharishi Veda Vyasa started Bhagavad Gita from the battle it self and not from Arjuna’s Vishadam (grief).
Here we are talking about Arjuna’s Vishada Yogam. There are lot of meaning of Yogam, no matter which meanng we consider it can be perfectly matched to the yogam word used in Bhagavad Gita. Yogam means merging (kalaika), it also means a Solution. Till now Arjuna is fused with Vishadam but now he is transforming it into a Solution. There is a possibility of Janayam only from vedana (grief or dispassion) which Arjuna is undergoing. In reality Bhagavad Gita is also starting the way Bhrama Sutras are starting because those are Bhrama Vidya and this is also Bhrama Vidya.
Here we can see the rights of a Disciple (Shishya). Vedana (grief) is his first right and from this तपन tapana or वेदन vedana come the other rights. As said, अथ अथः भ्रम्ह जिज्ञासा Atha athaha Bhrama jigyansa means “After that Bhrama jigyansa” Means after a student has gained his rights (Adhikaramulu). There are four (4) अधिकारम् adhikaram considered here which are साधन चतुष्टय सम्पति sadhana chatustaya sampati.
Here if we consider Arjuna’s words properly, in his vedana or grief, we will find those adhikaras. And because Lord Krishna found those adhikaras in Arjuna he became his guru (Acharaya).
वषिदन् इदमब्रवीत् Arjuna experiences grief and continues thus
दृष्ट्वेमं स्वजनं कृष्ण युयुत्सुं समुपस्थितम्॥
सीदन्ति मम गात्राणि मुखं च परिशुष्यति।
The first thing he says is स्वजनं sva janam. “I saw my people (Sva janam) on both sides of the battlefield” as he was standing admist the two armies. Here he started behaving in a different way which was nothing but vedana or grief. Until then he was well determined to kill Kauravas. His heart was full of anger and hatred or द्वेशम् Dvesham for them. After coming to the battle field, the Dvesham changed into behaviour of रागं Ragam. Both Dvesham and Ragam are dangerous. Because his behaviour changed from Dvesham to Ragam he used the words like “Svajanam”. And after seeing his “Svajanam”
सीदन्ति मम गात्राणि मुखं च परिशुष्यति।
वेपथुश्च शरीरे मे रोमहर्षश्च जायते॥
गाण्डीवं स्त्रंसते हस्तात्त्वक्चैव परिदह्यते।
न च शक्नोम्यवस्थातुं भ्रमतीव च मे मनः॥
Here goes his physical situation. He says “My limbs are failing, my mouth is drying up, my body is quivering, my hairs are raising on their ends, my gandiva is silpping from my hand, I am not able to stand, my mind is in a whril”.
The person who is telling all these are no ordinary person he is an unparalleled warrior, he pleased Lord Shiva with his devotion and went to Svarga with his humanly body. If this kind of person is talking so feebly like this means one can imagine the power of Moham which shattered a great person like Arjuna.
निमित्तानि च पश्यामि विपरीतानि केशव।
न च श्रेयोऽनुपश्यामि हत्वा स्वजनमाहवे॥
He says “I am seeing misfortune”.
If one is sad everything seems to be misfortunate and negative.
He continues “I don’t see how any good can happen by killing my people in battle”
If asked, “Don’t you like Victory or Kingdom?” He says
न काङ्क्शे विजयं कृष्ण न च राज्यं सुखानि च।
किं नो राज्येन गोविन्द किं भोगैर्जीवितेन वा॥
“I have no desire in Victory or Kingdom or seek any pleasure in these things. Of what use is a Kingdom and happiness when with whom we may enjoy these have to be killed for gaining these”
येषामर्थे काङ्क्शितं नो राज्यं भोगाः सुखानि च।
त इमेऽवस्थिता युद्धे प्राणांस्त्यक्त्वा धनानि च॥
येषामर्थे काङ्क्शितं नो राज्यं भोगाः सुखानि च “for whose sake I stand her in the battle field ready to fight” त इमेऽवस्थिता युद्धे प्राणांस्त्यक्त्वा धनानि च॥
Here we have to notice the differing behaviours of Duryodhana and Arjuna when the former speaks to Drona and the latter to Sri Krishna. Duryodhana said “ here all those who are ready to sacrifice their lives for me” and Arjuna says “for those of whose happiness I want to fight, are all here”. This difference of behaviour has to be understood to know as to who has the eliblity of become Sri Krishan’s disciple.
आचार्याः पितरः पुत्रास्तथैव च पितामहाः।
मातुलाः श्वशुराः पौत्राः श्यालाः सम्बन्धिनस्तथा॥
He continues “See who all are here Teachers, uncles, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law, brothers, sons-in-law, elders and friends.
एतान्न हन्तुमिच्छामि घ्नतोऽपि मधुसूदन।
अपि त्रैलोक्यराज्यस्य हेतोः किं नु महीकृते॥
“I don’t wish to kill any of them” What if they kill you? घ्नतोऽपि “Let them kill me. Even they want to kill me, I don’t want to kill them.”
अपि त्रैलोक्यराज्यस्य हेतोः किं नु महीकृते॥
निहत्य धार्तराष्ट्रान्नः का प्रीतिः स्याजनार्दन।
“Tell me what use it will make even if I get the kingship of all three (3) lokas”.
निहत्य धार्तराष्ट्रान्नः का प्रीतिः स्याजनार्दन।
“No doubt they are “आतानाततायिनः” but they are my people (Sva janam). I consider it a sin to kill them.”
Here आतानाततायिनः are the ones who can be killed without consideration. This is a dharma sastram told by Manu.Who exactly are आतानाततायिनः ? अग्निदोगरदस्चैव agnidogaradascaiva “Those who burn others, those who poision”
क्शेत्रदारापहारकः kshetera darapharakaha “those who abduct our land and women” प्रणापहारी, धनपहारी pranapahari dhanapahari are आतानाततायिनः.
To those, अविचारयन् avichArayan, means can be killed without giving a thought, it was not considered a sin to kill a आतानाततायिनः. Kauravas did all the above 6 things, and hence should be killed. Even then Arjuna says, “I will not kill them.” Moham which is overcoming the Dharma Sastras is taking over Arjuna at this point which he thinks is very compassionate and kind hearted feeling in him.
The need for a guru was because Arjuna is suffering from Ajnanam emerged out of Moham, apart from some good qualities. If that vedana would have been filled with jnanam then what would be the need for a guru? For Jnanam, vedana only played the role of a catalyst and Vedana should not be considered as Janayam.
In this Vedana, how many parts of Ajanayam are present and what is the eligibility is to be considered and those parts of Ajnanam are to be removed and the capabilities are to be brought out and that has to be transformed to Yogam. Arjuna is very fortunate to have Lord Krishan there who could do it for him.
तस्मान्नार्हा वयं हन्तुं धार्तराष्ट्रान्स्वबान्धवान्।
Here in the Vedana or grief Arjuna is talking about we can see pride that whatever he is talking is very correct.
यद्यप्येते न पश्यन्ति लोभोपहतचेतसः।
कुलक्शयकृतं दोषं मित्रद्रोहे च पातकम्॥
“let them kill us out of greed. But why should we do as we are aware of the crime.”
कथं न ज्ञेयमस्माभिः पापादस्मान्निवर्तितुम्।
“Because we are very intelligent and wise it is better to keep away from the sin”. He is talking this standing right in the middle of the battlefield, as though he is very wise and intelligent. But is this talk really wise? Also he is telling a great dharma. In this battle the Kulam(dynasty) will be destroyed which will lead to the destruction of Kula Dharmam and if that happens Adharmam will rise and will lead to the destruction of KulaStri (Kula women), if that happnes “Sankaryam” will happen. “Sankaryam” was considered to be a great sin in those days.
सन्करो नर्कायेव कुलुघनन्नम् कुलस्य च।
पतन्ति पितरो केशम् लुप्तपिन्दोदकक्रियः॥
Arjuna here is quoting from a dharma sastra. Generally even we talk; out of ignorance we refer to the sastras, vedas or Bhagavad Gita to support our statement. This means even when one is quoting from any sastra doesn’t mean he is a Jnani. Arjuna is referring to a dharma Sutra which is no doubt correct. If Varna Sankaryam happens then the traditional dharmam breaks. A person is not alone as there are long generations before him having a very minute realtion with him, which is called jati or race. No matter whether we want those relations or not they are hidden in our blood. That is why we should not lose this tradition at any cost. That is why Varna Sankaryam is considered as a sin by the great rishis and even by Lord Krishna. That is also a reason for conducting the marriage cermony. The marriage is to allow the couple to beget healthy and good children and thereby the couple’s forefathers attain salvation (Tarimpa). That is why we recite the Pravara of both the parties during the marriage to give the responsibility to the newly wed to protect this tradition which they follow in Grhasta Asharam. By sankaryam this tradition gets destroyed due to which the forefathers are also hurt.
दोषैरेतैः कुलघ्नानां वर्णसङ्करकारकैः।
उत्साद्यन्ते जातिधर्माः कुलधर्माश्च शाश्वताः॥
उत्सन्नकुलधर्माणां मनुष्याणां जनार्दन।
नरके नियतं वासो भवतीत्यनुशुश्रुम॥
Arjuna continues “Even if I consider that let my forefathers go to hell and I am hapy here. The sinful deed of letting my forefathers fall in hell will also lead me to hell.”
अहो बत महत्पापं कर्तुं व्यवसिता वयम्।
यद्राज्यसुखलोभेन हन्तुं स्वजनमुद्यताः॥
अहो बत “Oh what a surprise” “What has happned to us that we have come to a stage where we are prepared to commit such sinful acts.” महत्पापं कर्तुं व्यवसिता वयम् He is including Lord Krishna along with him by saying “वयम्” (We). These are the result of the over confidence that he is very wise and intelligent. He says that they both have come to commit sins. Why does he call the fight a sin? यद्राज्यसुखलोभेन हन्तुं स्वजनमुद्यताः because “we are willing to kill my people, out of greed for insignificant material pleasures”. Again and again, स्वजनं स्वजनं स्वजनं my people, my people, my people “that is why how can I kill them”. Notice how many times he is using the word Svajanam (my people).
यदि मामप्रतीकारमशस्त्रं शस्त्रपाणयः।
धार्तराष्ट्रा रणे हन्युस्तन्मे क्शेमतरं भवेत्॥
“I am casting aside my weapons. If they come and kill me while I am unarmed, let them kill me as that is better for me”. Arjuna never asked Lord Krishna until now if whatever he is talking is right or wrong. In this Vishadam(grief) he is talking with a very determined mindset and moreover he is patting himself for that.
If really the story would have ended here and had Arjuna returned home without fighting, people with kali dosham would have written a book on Arjuna saying how compassionate and Ahimsawadi Arjuna was. Like this many people have already became Avatar Purushas, who being Ksharitias left their Kshrata Dharamam and let this sacred country to 1000 years of slavery under foreign rule, whom we call as Great and Compassionate hereos. But those who are following Kshratea Dharmam, and showing this kind of compassion, we will know it shortly what Lord Kirshna has called them. Talking all this, Arjuna is thinking how much compassionate he has become and that he will be praised by Lord Krishna.
He says हन्युस्तन्मे क्शेमतरं भवेत् “I am think that this is the best option for me”. Here he is nither asking Lord Krishna for an advice nor is he re-thinking on his decision and deciding for himself. Because of Kshatrias with this kind of alteration in their attitude, the glory of Indian Kshitiras has become dull and even now we have this pesimistic feeling that “What can we do” etc. The seed for this kind of disappontment in us was sown then but fortunately Lord Krishna was there to correct it. But the later generations weren’t fortunate enough to have such a guru. Even now we have to try hard to remove this pessimistic feeling in us time and again remembering Lord Krishna.
We have to consider the Svarupa of Dharma which Sri Krishna is going to tell. Let us keep the discussion of Atma, Jivatma, Parmatma, Vedanta etc aside and let us first see how Sri Krishna is telling about the duty of a person from this. Coming back, Sanjaya is narrating what happened next.
एवमुक्त्वार्जुनः सङ्ख्ये रथोपस्थ उपाविशत्।
विसृज्य सशरं चापं शोकसंविग्नमानसः॥
After speaking all this, Arjuna lay aside his Gandiva and collasped on the ratha. Notice that he didn’t ask Krishna while doing so and after laying his weapons he collasped in his ratha drowned in grief.
Then in that situation to tell what happened next we are entering into the next chapter which we call Sankhya Yogam. First was Vishad Yogam and this is Sankhya Yogam. Before entering Sankhya Yogam I want to clear some doubts. Some people put some useless questions about Bhagavad Gita. In fact, answering those may also be a useless activity, but it is better if we can clarify them before they prick us later. Some say “Did Krishna really preach Bhagavad Gita? The whole of 700 shloka to Arjuna in the middle of the battle field ”. Bhagavad Gita is written in a poetic (chandassu) way, that dosent mean during the Mahabharath times people spoke in a poetic way. What Krishna and Arjuna spoke was deliverd to us in a poetic way by Maharish Vyasa, because there is divine power in chandassu. Again we don’t have to wonder about did they talked in the whole of 700 shlokas there? If we read Bhagavad Gita at a constant speed we can read whole of 700 shlokas in 1 ½ hrs. And from Bhagavad Gita if we remove all the उवाच uvachas it takes approx 1 hr 15 mins. This speed is when one is reading in a chandassu. But in a normal conversation the speed will be much higher. There won’t be any music between shloka also the other person won’t ask you “tell me in what ragam or chandassu should I speak?” etc. What ever they are talking is been depicted here. Any how if we take the summary it is around 20 mins. Moreover the armies on both the sides were following a yudha niti (battle rules).
Some people say that the discussion between Lord Krishna and Arjuna who was also a Pundit was delivered in a more elaborate manner by Maharish Vyasa. So their conversation has been explained by Maharishi Vyasa in 700 verses, so that a comman man can also understand. This interpretation can also be cosidered correct because in Bhagavad Gita we can see the mantras of Upanishads as it is. If asked “Did Lord Krishna quote those while talking to Arjuna?” Who knows, it might be possible. He might have quoted only a line as Arjuna can understand but for us to understand few more lines could have got added. That is why Adi Sankara said that Veda Vyasa described the conversation between Arjuna and Lord Krishna in 700 shlokas. He also said that Lord Krishna used Arjuna as an instrument to give his preaching. That is why it is said पर्थो वत्स सुधिर्भोक्त सर्वो उपनिशदो गवो “Partho Vatsa Sudhirbhokta, Sarvo Upanishado gavo”
Sri Krishan is a milkman. All his job is to feed the cows and milk them. That is why, he is called Govinda and Gopal Krishna. If asked what are these cow herds. They are nothing but Vedas and Upanishad Mantras. After the Govardhanagiri event when Nanda and others realised that Krishna was none other than Lord Narayana they requested him to show his divine form. Then Krishna took them to Parandhama and revealed himself as the Paramatma. How? As छन्दोभिही सेव्यः Chandobhihii sevyaH. Which means all the Vedas and Upanishad mantras took the form of cows and admist them Krishna was living in that Golokam. This means he is the essence of facts postulated by Vedas and Upanishads. Thus Krishna is the only one who can milk them as they would listen only to Him. But to milk a cow a calf has to be present. For that, He used Arjuna as the calf and gave us the milk. Thus it is said
सर्वो उपनिशदो गवो दुग्धो गोपल नन्दनः।
पर्थो वत्स सुर्धीभोक्ता दुद्गम् गितम्रितम् महत्॥
Sarvo Upnishado gavo dodha Gopal Nandnaha
Partho vata Sudhirbhokta dudgam gitamitam mahat
Hence all that we are going to listen from His mouth is the essence of Vedas and Upanishads. That is why Arjuna is viewed as a instrument here.
In Bhagavad Gita there are 18 chapters, these 18 chapters are divided into 3 parts by Bhagavad Gita intelletuals. Each part has 6 chapters, called त्रिषद्गम् Trishadgam. The first 6 chapters are called Karma Sadgam, the next 6 chapters (7-12) are called Bhakti Sadgam and the last 6 chapters (13-18) are called Jnana Sadgam. We should not see each as independent. Here the Bhakti Sadgam has been put in the center, the strength of the center is that it can stretch its hands to both sides. We have a neeti called देवदेहलिदत्त देपम् Devadehalidatta depam which means that if we place a deepam (lamp) on the border of the house then it will light both outside and inside of the house. That is why Lord Krishna placed Bhakti deepam in between Karma and Jnanam. This means Karma and Jnanam without Bhakti are useless.
We are in the first Shadgam of the Trishadgas. Krishan’s dialog has still not started and will start in this chapter called Sankhya Yogam which means a solution that has to be known by Sankhyam. We have a saying in our sastras as द्वैतं अद्वैतं Dvavitam Advaitam which means “there is no second to the second” this saying arose because of this 2nd chapter. That is the impotance of this chapter. Some over intelligent people said that only 2nd chapter is said by Sri Krishna and the rest of the 16 chapters are filled by other people. But what they meant was Lord Krishna has given a complete picture of Jnanam in the 2nd chapter itself and that is how all the great people talk. They don’t divide the subject into Introduction, Subject explanation and conclusion. When they talk, they have a complete and dense knowledge in their initial words itself. That is why we can find clear, complete and dense Jnanam in Lord Sri Krishan’s initial words. So there is no problem in considering the 2nd chapter as a complete book by itslef. That is why when people read 2nd chapter they recollect the verses for rest of the 16 chaps. This means the rest of the 16 chaps were used to explain elaborately what is told in 2nd chapter.
In this regards our current President APJ Abdul Kalam was asked which was his fav book and he replied that it is Bhagavad Gita without any hesitation. In fact, any wise person would say that. After saying that he said he reads Sankhya Yogam every day. And continued saying, “please don’t stop at the religion and try to grow beyond to reality (tatvam).” This is very important thing because the religion which grows to the tatvam will be called an Adhyamika margam otherwise it will be another instrument for fighting. Any language is to be used to express one’s feelings and not to fight as whose language is greater. Religion has to be used as as instrument to enlighten ourselfs and to travel towards GOD and not to entangle in the web of useless discussions.
The word Sankhya is also used in Darshan sastras. We have a darshan called Shankhya Darshanam which is also called kapila darshan that is, the darshan told by Kapila Maharishi. See there are so many ways of finding Jnanam. That is why a western scholar says “What is this world” “Who is the creator of this world” and to find answers to all these questions great experiments have been carried in India than anywhere in the rest of the world. Others only thought what this body is and how to keep it happy by various artificial solutions. But only in India we have done extensive study to understand the secret outside the boundry of this body. Different thoughts came and we have also invited those thoughts from all corners of the world. आनोभद्रा क्र्तवोयन्तु विश्वतः
We have a lot of darshanas and of those Kapila Maharishi’s darshnam is called Sankhya Darshnam. It is natural that we remember that when we talk about Sankhyam Yogam.
To Be Continued…