Thursday, December 26, 2013

BHAGAVAD GITA- The Complete Yoga Sastra - Ch.1.33 - 35- How would one feel, to be deprived of all of one's near and dear - in a war, at one's own hands?





Yeshaamarthe kaankshitam no raajyam bhogaah sukhaani cha |

Ta imevasthitaa yuddhe praanaansthyaktvaa dhanaani cha  ||

Arjuna continues further, his dialogue with Lord Krishna :

Meaning :

"For whose sake are this kingdom and these pleasures desired by us; these very same people are standing in this battle, risking their life and their properties."

In the previous slokas, we had seen how Arjuna was immersed in Sorrow, over the need to kill all those who were dear to him, merely for annexing and possessing the Kingdom. What was the use of all those pleasures and even of life itself, when he had to kill all those dear kinsmen, Arjuna was wondering.

This looks a justified question. So,now, we need to wonder, whether Arjuna and Pandavas had assembled at Kurukshetra merely for winning and annexing the kingdom from the Kauravas at any cost, killing all their kinsmen on Kauravas' side and getting the kinsmen on their own side killed by the Kauravas.

Did Arjuna not know - how much preparation had both sides made for this war? How much reconciliation effort had been done by Pandavas before feeling compelled to wage this war?

Did Arjuna not remember - How many vows were taken 15 years ago - by Bheema and Arjuna, and in what extenuating circumstances - to kill Duryodhana and Dussaasana?

Did it not strike Arjuna - How much humiliation was heaped on their consort, Draupadi - by Duryodhana, Karna and the Kauravas in the Hastinapur Court, in full view of all the eminent people of the Kingdom?

Now, there were 11 Akshouhinis of army and illustrious warriors assembled on the side of Duryodhana to wage war with the Pandavas. This did not happen on a single day. Duryodhana was preparing for this war all the 15 years that Pandavas were out of the Kingdom. Did Arjuna not know that?

Even if Pandavas could not make that much preparation for the war, many kings joined them with their armies - after the reconciliation efforts by Krishna  failed.And their army also was now 7 Akshouhinis Big.

Evidently, all this had been done with full knowledge of the consequences of the war. Surely, all this was in Arjuna's full knowledge.

Duryodhana was one who would say unabashedly : " Jaanaami Dharmam, Nachame Pravrittihi; Jaanaamyadharmam, nachame Nivrittihi." which means, I know Dharma, but I would not follow it; I know what is adharma, but, I would not get out of it. It is not that Arjuna did not know Duryodhana's unrighteous nature. Could Arjuna allow such a Duryodhana to be King by getting out of this war?

Arjuna had not gone deep into the Himalayas and its forests to perform great penances and please the Gods of Heaven, including Lord Siva himself, and secure all the Divine Astras, Sastras including the most infallible Paasupataastra from Lord Siva himself  - merely to keep it in his quiver as a monument or memorabilia - just to show it off all other warriors?  He knew, their very purpose was this war.

All this Grand Preparation was done by Arjuna with the full knowledge that war was inevitable finally , given Duryodhana's disposition towards Pandavas and his penchant for unrighteous acts. In the final analysis, it was Arjuna only, and only Arjuna, who had prepared so much for the war, so thoroughly, so convincingly, and for so long, compared to any other warrior on either side.

So, did Arjuna enter this war only for the sake of the kingdom and its Pleasures?

Non-violence and forgetting injustice done to one's own self was 'Dharma' for all other people. But, this saamaanya Dharma did not apply to a kshatriya or a King. They had the bounden duty to fight all Adharma and restore Dharma. They should not shy away from this Raja Dharma and Kshatriya Dharma. 

Especially, when serious adharma and deep humiliation had happened to their own consort - at the hands of the Kauravas, the Pandavas were expected to punish such adharma and its perpetrators.
So, all this Banter of Arjuna goes against his Kshatriya Dharma was totally unbecoming of him. 

And Yet, this momentary despondency does come to the best of people, when faced with such a dilemma, to choose between  - my dearest people and my Kshatriya Dharma."Aham" and "Mama" - I and mine - is the Maya that engulfs all people and blinds them to ignore true righteous conduct. Arjuna is now engulfed in that Maya. Therefore he says - I am Arjuna; I am sad; I am Bheebhatsa; But, I am morose; and so on.. So, what was Arjuna now? Bheebhatsa or Morose?


Aachaaryaah Pitharah Puthraah tathaiva cha Pithaamahaah  |

Maathulaah svasuraah pauthraah syaalaah sambandhinsthathaa   ||  

Meaning :

"Our Teachers, Fathers, Sons, Grand Fathers, Maternal Uncles, Fathers-in-Law, Grand sons, Brothers-in-law,and many other relatives."

Arjuna was looking at each of the great warriors on either side and recalling his relationship of them with himself. 

Drona and Kripa were his Acharyas and he was their most beloved Sishya. Drona especially loved him more than his own son. How could he fight such an Acharya now? But, his Acharyas were now on the side of Duryodhana! 

The grandsire, Bheeshma loved Arjuna especially among his grand children. How could he fight him, in whose lap, he had learnt so many valuable lessons of life?But, this most beloved Grandsire of the Kuru dynasty was on Duryodhana's side, bound by his own vow taken generations ago. 

King Shalya was the brother of Madri, the mother of Nakula and Sahadeva and the ruler of Madra desa. He loved Pandavas a lot. But, he was tricked by Duryodana to fight the war on the side of the Kauravas. How can Arjuna fight his beloved maternal uncle in the battle now?

The children of Kauravas and Pandavas were all very dear to Arjuna. They also now had children, who were grand children to Arjuna. How can Arjuna kill them in war? Many warriors on either side were closely related to Arjuna in some way. And some were great friends too. 

But, as fate would have it, all of them were in the battle on either side - ready to kill and get killed.

Looking at all of them, Arjuna did not find an iota of reason why all of them should kill or get killed merely so that the Pandavas would get their kingdom and its associated Pleasures.


yethaanna hanthumicchaami ghnathopi Madhusoodhana     |

Api trailokya raajyasya hetoh kim nu Maheekrute     ||

Meaning :


"O Madhusoodana, even if I am to be slain by these, even if it is for all the three worlds ( of earth, heaven and Pataala), I will not like to kill them; then, surely, I will not like to kill them merely for this earth(This small kingdom)?"

Now, Arjuna was addressing Lord Krishna as Madhusoodana. Actually, Lord Krishna, in his life time as Krishna, never encountered any one by name, Madhu, nor killed him. But, Krishna was the incarnation of Lord Vishnu himself.

Lord Vishnu, at the time of the Great deluge, found 2 Demons by name Madhu and Kaitabha, alive, and killed them.Therefore, he was called Madhusoodana, the Killer of the demon,Madhu. By this time, Arjuna had already seen and heard of many great deeds of Lord Krishna which could only be done by one who was Vishnu incarnate himself. One such was the bridge that Arjuna built that did not creek when Hanuman stepped on it.

Arjuna was implying, You could kill Madhu who was a demon and who was trying to take away the Vedic Knowledge from Brahma by force and stealth. Thereby, you saved all the three worlds. That was Dharma and was needed to save the three worlds. But, how could I possibly kill so many of my dearest kinsmen - even if all those three worlds saved by you were given to me and I was made the king? 

There is a phrase, "Smasaana Vairaagya". It signifies the detachment from earthly pleasures which we feel when we burn away the dead bodies or bury them deep inside the earth - in the Smasaana or Burial Ground - when our near and dear people die. One day or two is the duration of this Smasaana Vairaagya; or a maximum of 10-13 days forced by rituals for the dead. And, thereafter, again we are back to our routine duties with not a trace of this Vairaagya. 

Arjuna was thinking of the impending deaths of all his kinsmen at a time in this war. They were alive and in great excitement right now, but would all be dead in a few days time;  and therefore was this extreme moroseness in Arjuna.

.....Will Continue.

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