Sunday, December 22, 2013

BHAGAVAD GITA - The Complete Yoga Sastra - Ch.1-Arjuna Vishada Yoga - Sl.19,20,21-22 - Why is Hanuman on Arjuna's Flag?






Sa Ghosho Dhaartaraashtraanaam hridayaani vyadaarayat  |

Nabhascha prithiveem chaiva tumulo vyanunaadayan  ||


"The blowing of their respective Conches by the Warriors of the Pandava Army tore the hearts of the sons of Dhritaraashtra and filled the sky and earth with reverberations everywhere."

While the blowing of the Conch by Bheeshma gave the sons of Dhritaraashtra, the much needed courage for the war, the same by the great warriors in the Pandava Army sent discouragement and fear into their hearts.

Sanjaya, because of the boon given to him, can not only see and hear what is happening - but also accurately understand the inner thoughts and emotions of all warriors in the Battle field. He is faithfully recounting all this to His King, Dhritaraashtra.


Athavyavasthitaan Drishtvaa Dhaartaraashtraan Kapidhvajah   |

pravrutthe sastrasampaathe dhanurudyamya Paandavaah   || 
Hriseekesam thadaa vaakyamidamaaha  Meheepathe  |

Meaning :

"O King, At that time, looking at the sons of Dhritaraashtra thus arrayed in battle-field, Arjuna,whose chariot-flag contains Lord Hanuman, took his Bow into his hands and spoke to Krishna the following words ."

When all the tumultuous uproar ended, Arjuna took his bow and started a dialogue with Krishna, who was holding the reins of his chariot and guiding it.  In this sloka, there are three lines, unlike the earlier ones which had only two. Arjuna here is addressed as Kapidhvajah.

Kapidhvajah - means, one in whose chariot-flag, Lord Hanuman is stationed. The Flag atop the Chariot will always have a symbol by which the warrior in the chariot is recognized by all. The story behind Hanuman stationing himself on Arjuna's flag is recounted below :

In the Mahabharata War, Lord Hanuman appeared on Arjuna’s Chariot-flag and witnessed the whole epic-battle. There is a beautiful story behind this.

Once, Arjuna went to Himalayas to perform  Penance seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva. On the way he met Hanuman. Arjuna wanted to know from Hanuman, how great an archer was Rama. Hanuman affirmed that his lord, Sri Rama was the greatest archer ever in the three Lokas.

Arjuna a little arrogantly wondered why Rama took the help of Vanaras in building the Setu (bridge) across the sea. Rama should have built it with his own arrows. He also added, “I could easily build such a bridge with my arrows.”

Hanuman challenged Arjuna to build such a strong bridge over a nearby pond, which could stand at least Hunuman’s weight.  Arjuna accepted this challenge. Hanuman asked what if the bridge breaks? Arjuna said that he will immolate himself and die if the bridge breaks. Hanuman agreed for this.

Arjuna then built the bridge on the pond. Hanuman put a single foot on the bridge and it broke into pieces.  Arjuna felt ashamed and decided to end his life. Then,  a monk appeared there and wanted to know what they were doing. When the monk heard the story, he said that both of them must do it again in front of him who will be the witness. Both agreed and  Arjuna built the bridge again in  presence of the monk.

Again, Hanuman walked on the bridge and this time, the Bridge did not break. When Hanuman looked under the bridge, he found a tortoise holding the bridge up. Hanuman could see that  the tortoise was none other than Lord Krishna, who again, was none other than his own Lord Rama.

Lord Krishna embraced both of them and told Arjuna that it was not wise to be proud of knowledge and skills.  Arjuna shunned his arrogance and asked for forgiveness. Hanuman was also happy that Arjuna realized his mistake. Hanuman then promised him that he will station himself on Arjuna’s chariot flag in the ensuing epic battle and witness the war.

At the end of the war, Krishna asked Arjuna to alight from the Chariot first. Then, he and Hanuman also came out of the Chariot. Instantly, the Chariot burst into flames, due to the effect of many divine astras hurled at it by Great warriors throughout the war.It was holding up so far, only due to the constant presence of Hanuman and Lord Krishna on the Chariot. If the two were not there, the divine chariot of Arjuna would have been destroyed long before, in the war.

Arjuna was Most Fortunate in having Hanuman on his Flag and Krishna as his charioteer


Arjuna Uvaacha

Senayorubhayormadhye ratham sthaapaya mechyutha   ||

Yaavadethaan nireeksheham yoddhukaamaan avasthitaan  |

Kairmayaa  saha  yoddhavyam asmin rana samudyame  ||

Meaning :

Arjuna said : " O Achyuta, Place my chariot in the middle of these two armies, so that I can look at all the war-mongering warriors who are standing here; and with whom I must wage this war.  "

Achyuta means, the infallible one. It is another famous name for Lord Krishna. Arjuna was asking Krishna to take their chariot to the middle point, in between the two armies - so that he could take a careful look at the warriors who wanted to fight with the Pandavas - and with whom, he himself had to fight. 

 This was the start of a long verbal expose of Arjuna's thoughts, the real start of Arjuna Vishada Yoga.  There wasn't another warrior in the whole Battle field who wanted to take such a careful look at all the war-mongering warriors assembled there - who want to fight him and with whom he must fight.

Kings and armies from all countries had come there, taken sides either with Kauravas or with Pandavas and were ready to fight and die.But, why should they? If Kauravas won, the Hastinapur Kingdom would go to them. If Pandavas won, the Hastinapur Kingdom would go to the Pandavas. Why should all other Kings and their Armies be in this fight? 

All of them knew that, in this war, who would win, who would lose, who would live and who would die were all absolutely uncertain. Yet, all of them wanted war!  Arjuna too wanted war;But, he wanted it because, his eldest brother must be king. Most others had no such personal stake in the war. yet, war was what they wanted!

Arjuna wanted to take a look at all of them who he had to fight and who wanted to fight with him. So, Arjuna asked Krishna to station the Chariot in between the two armies.

Arjuna was himself a Master strategist in war. But his time war was not yet ripe.

.....Will Continue.

1 comment:

  1. Jai Hanuman.Thank you for sharing the informative blog. It is indeed wonderful to read and useful. Read hanuman chalisa.