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The Weapon of Meditation -Bhagavad Gita 1:14-19

The Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1, Vs 14-19

ARJUNA’S DEPRESSION – THE WEAPON OF MEDITATION

In case you are beginning to feel a little overwhelmed with all these names, don’t worry, it won’t go on much longer. Meanwhile, take it seriously. All these folks and their weapons and horns, etc., are aspects of you and what you have to work with. Do consider this as you read. For guidance on how to understand what you read and how to apply it to yourself, see this issue and scroll down to just after verse 6.

14
Standing in a great chariot with yoked white horses, the Descendant of Madhu [Krishna] and the Son of Pandu [Arjuna] sounded their divine conch horns.

Great Chariot – The body, the vehicle we humans use.

White Horses – The senses, our means of perception.

Descendant of Madhu – An epitaph of Krishna, ‘sweet effect of springtime.’

Son of Pandu – Arjuna, one of the five Pandava brothers.

Conch horns – A horn made from a conch shell; an instrument of sound used to intimidate the enemy when going into battle.

15
The Bristling Haired One [Krishna] blew Pancajanya, the Conqueror of Wealth [Arjuna] blew Devadatta, and the Wolf-bellied [Bhima] blew the great conch Paundra;

Characters and Conch Horns:

Bristling Haired One – An epitaph of Krisha, meaning ‘master of the senses’. Conch horn Pancajanya, meaning ‘being of five’—being of all five elements (the body), and/or all five classes of beings. The five classes of beings are gods, men, ancestors, and gandharvas (divine musicians) and apsaras (divine dancers)—we would call these last two angels.

Conquerer of Wealth – An epitaph of Arjuna, meaning ‘winner of wealth’. Conch horn Devadatta, meaning ‘God-given’; the vital air exhaled by yawning; God’s Breath.

Wolf-bellied – An epitaph of Bhima (‘formidable strength’), meaning ‘voracious eater’. Conch horn Paundra—finding a definition of this word has given me a merry chase, but I cannot help but notice its correlation with the word ‘Pandu’, the family name of the ‘good guys’ in this story. One definition says paundra is a mark of distinction, and since Bhima is indeed being distinguished in this verse as someone who does ferocious deeds and eats like a wolf, maybe we will just go with that.

16
The [rightful] king, the son of Kunti, Yudhishthira, blew Anantavijaya, [and] Nakula and Sahadeva blew Sughosha and Manipushpaka.

Characters and Conch Horns:

Yudhishthira – ‘Standing firm in battle’. He is the son of Kunti (lance) and the god Dharma. His conch horn is called Anantavijaya, ‘always victorious’.

Nakula and Sahadeva are the twin Pandu princes, the sons of the twin gods, the Ashvins, and Madri (joy), the second wife of Pandu. The Ashvins (‘possessed of horses’) are ‘The Two Charioteers’, two divinities who appear in the sky before the dawn in a golden carriage drawn by horses. They bring treasures to men and avert misfortune and sickness, and are considered to be the physicians of Heaven. 

Nakula means ‘night’, and is also the mystical name of the sound ‘ha’. Sahadeva’s name means ‘with the gods’, and is the mystical name of the sound ‘sa’. These two, ‘ha’ and ‘sa’, represent the outgoing and ingoing breaths, the moon (night, cooling) and sun (day, warming) energies in the body associated with healing and purification. When joined together (‘saha’) they mean ‘together’, ‘joined together’, ‘natural’, ‘innate’.

Nakula’s and Sahadava’s conch horns are called respectively, Sughosha, ‘making a loud pleasant sound’ and Manipushpaka, ‘jewel-flower’, or ‘jewel-lotus’.

17
The King of Kashi (the splendid) a mighty archer, and Shikhandin the great chariot warrior, Dhrishtadyumna and Virata, and Satyaki the invicible,

Shikhandin – ‘Having a peacock as an emblem’, signifying emancipation from social restrictions—Shikhandin was once a woman who was later changed into a man.

Drishtadyumna – ‘Daring, confident and powerful’.

Virata – ‘One who has many arrows’.

Satyaki – ‘One whose nature is Truth’.

18
Drupada [quick step], and the Sons of Draupadi [the daughter of Drupada], and the strong-armed Son of Subhadra [Abhimanu, ‘fearless and wise’], all blew their conches simultaneously, O Lord of the Earth [Sanjaya, who has divine sight, is narrating all this to the blind king].

19
The noise burst asunder, and the tumult caused the sky and the earth to resonate and the hearts of the Sons of Dhritarashtra to tremble.

The sky and the earth are the lower and central areas of the body.

____________________________

The conch shell resembles the cochlea, the spiral cavity of the inner ear that produces nerve impulses in response to sound vibrations. It is associated with yawning. The response to sound vibrations here refers to the onset of meditation. Notice when your meditation time comes around and you start yawning!

If you have ever heard a conch being blown, you will know that the sound it makes is not noise, but tone. Tones are made of regular vibrations, and noise of irregular vibrations. If you have ever tried using earplugs to block sound, you may have noticed that they block noise fairly well, but they don’t entirely block tone. This is because of the regularity of the vibrations of tones cutting through the barrier like a corkscrew penetrates the cork. Tone is effective. Noise is clutter.

Tone is linked with the meditative state due to its association with nada (divine sound), which is associated with ether, the subtlest element, and the fifth chakra, where the life energy (prana) concentrates to produce pratyahara and generate a true meditative state. The ego and its supporters—Dhritarashtra and his ninety-nine brothers, doership and desires—are always threatened by meditation. So when you think you will just skip your meditation today, think of this and who is winning.

In the story of the Mahabharata war, with all this tumultuous racket, we are being notified that things are about to get dicey. You’ll see why in the next issue.

Namaste,
Durga Ma


TERMS OF USE AND SHARING:

This post and text is original research material and is copyrighted. You are allowed to share this material for personal, non-commercial and educational use with the proper citations, references and links / tags back to my website. Clicking ´Share´ on FB or ´Reblog´ on WordPress would be most appropriate.
Please obtain written permission from Anandi first if you want to use this material on your workshop, blog, organization, webpage, book, seminar or for any commercial purpose. All information provided, be it through sessions conducted or this post is non-liable and is not intended to replace professional legal, medical, psychological, psychiatric and/or financial counsel. How you choose to act on this information is up to your own free will and is entirely your responsibility.

 

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The Dark Hero – Bhagavad Gita 1:7-13

The Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1, Vs 7-13

ARJUNA’S DEPRESSION & MORE CHARACTERS

Characters:

Duryodhana – King and chief of the Kuru army, the eldest of one hundred brothers. The name means, ‘dirty fighter, wicked, sneaky, a cheat’. He represents the ego.

Drona – The archery guru who taught the art of war to the major players on both sides of the conflict. The name means ‘wooden bucket’ (it is said that he was born outside of the womb in a bucket). He represents the neutral aspects of the mind and its contents (manas), and its ability to judge (buddhi). Drona represents the intellect.

7
Also know, O best of the twice-born, the leaders of our own army. I will name those who are most distinguished that you may recognize them all.

Duryodhana is speaking to his archery guru, Drona, whom he refers to as ‘twice-born’ (brahmin, ‘God-person’), signifying his high standing. Duryodhana now moves from pointing out all those he is up against among his enemies in the previous verses, to noting the warriors fighting on his own side.

8
You [Drona] and Bhishma (the terrible vow), and Karna (having ears), and Kripa (pity) who is victorious in battle, and Ashvatthama (strength of a horse; he is Drona’s son), and Vikama (without passion), and the son of Somadatta (soma-giver),

The terrible vow — celibacy for life.

Somadatta — giver of the nectar (soma) of immortality. Soma is identified with the moon (the pineal gland) which produces (gives) the soma. Somadatta’s son, whose name is Bhurishrava (bhuri – earth, shrava – glory = glorification of the earth, the body), is his progeny, immortality.

9
And many other heroes are here who will risk their lives for me. All of them are armed with many weapons and all are well skilled in war.

These fellows are risking their lives to save the ego (Duryodhana) in order to win the war so ego can maintain control.

10
Inadequate is this army of ours protected by Bhishma (terrible vow), while the army led by Bhima (formidable strength) is indeed adequate for victory.

So the fellows in verse eight who are risking their lives to save the ego may be experts, but in this verse, even though Duryodhana’s forces are greater in number than his enemy, he finds them wanting. However, he has noticed something important: He has identified what is protecting his own army, Bhishma, the ‘terrible vow’, and he has also identified the biggest threat from the enemy army: Bhima, ‘formidable strength’.

11
Therefore, stationed in your respective strategic positions and formations, you must now support and protect Bishma on all fronts!

12
To Duryodhana’s great joy, the old Kuru, the Grandsire [Bishma], powerfully blew his conch horn like the roaring of a lion.

13
Immediately, conches, kettledrums, cymbals, trumpets and horns all sounded simultaneously, with a tremendous uproar.

___________________________

Duryodhana and Drona are Kurus of the lunar race. The Pandavas, their enemy, are of the race of the sun. While it is only natural to see this as the Bad Guys versus the Good Guys, or the Dark Side versus the Light, let us not forget that Krishna (God/Guru), the main speaker and star of the show throughout the Bhagavad Gita, is of the lunar race. Krishna drives Arjuna’s chariot, placing himself in the position of serving Arjuna. In other words, Arjuna has put God in the driver’s seat.

So these two, sun and moon, have come together on the field of dharma, creating a huge tumult with the sounding of their various instruments. This tells us that this epic concerns hatha yoga (sun-moon union) for the purpose of taking back the throne of authority, raja yoga (royal union), and it all begins in earnest with a loud confusion of sound.

We see here that yoga is of two kinds, one leading to the next, and that, even though the players are all well versed in spiritual and religious teachings and practices, this ‘battle’ is really just the beginning.

Contemplate the Sun and the Moon 

SUN

MOON

day

night

light

darkness

visibility

invisibility

obvious

hidden

conscious

sub/un-conscious

manifest

non/un-manifest

seen by means of direct light

seen by means of indirect light

warm

cool

earth

water

star

satellite

central

peripheral

independent

relative

___________________________

For ideas on how to understand these verses and relate them to yourself and your own sadhana, consult the last portion of the previous installment on the Bhagavad Gita, the Song Of God

Namaste,
Durga Ma


TERMS OF USE AND SHARING:

This post and text is original research material and is copyrighted. You are allowed to share this material for personal, non-commercial and educational use with the proper citations, references and links / tags back to my website. Clicking ´Share´ on FB or ´Reblog´ on WordPress would be most appropriate.
Please obtain written permission from Anandi first if you want to use this material on your workshop, blog, organization, webpage, book, seminar or for any commercial purpose. All information provided, be it through sessions conducted or this post is non-liable and is not intended to replace professional legal, medical, psychological, psychiatric and/or financial counsel. How you choose to act on this information is up to your own free will and is entirely your responsibility.

 

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The Characters – Bhagavad Gita 1:2-6 

The Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1, Vs 2-6

ARJUNA’S DEPRESSION CONTINUES – THE CHARACTERS

Characters:

Dhritarashtra – The blind king. The name means ‘one whose empire is firmly held’. He represents ignorance.

Samjaya – Minister to Dhritarashtra. The name means, ‘victorious’. He has divine sight.

Duryodhana – The present king, eldest of the one hundred sons of Dhritarashtra. The name means, ‘dirty fighter’, dirty in the sense of wicked, sneaky, and not playing fair. He represents the will and ‘ego’.

Drona – The archery guru who taught the art of war to the major players on both sides of the conflict. The name means ‘bucket’; it is said that he was born in a bucket, outside of a human womb. He represents the neutral aspects of the mind and its contents (manas), and its ability to judge (buddhi), the intellect.

Drupada – From dru, ‘to make flow’, and pad, ‘to stand fast’. He represents ‘quick, unconstrained action’. He is also called Quick Step, but this is yet another story.

Drishtadyumna – Son of Drupada and disciple of Drona. The name means, ‘daring, confident and powerful’.

2
Samjaya said
(he is relating this to Dhritarashtra by means of divine sight; they are not on the battlefield):
Seeing the army of the Pandavas drawn up and ready for battle, Duryodhana approached his teacher, Drona, and said:

3
Just look at the mighty army of the sons of Pandu, so expertly arrayed by your intelligent disciple, Drishtadyumna, the son of Drupada.

You may wonder at the acerbic tone Duryodhana uses when addressing his archery guru, Drona. Upon looking over the opposing army, he becomes angry with Drona for having taught the art of war to his enemies along with himself, with no attention given to having expertly armed the very people he was bound to fight.

4  —  The Bowmen
Here in this army are many heroic bowmen, such as Yuyudhana (vanquisher), Virata (of manifold arrows) and Drupada (quick step), equal to Bhima (formidable strength)  and Arjuna (the greatest archer) in their ability to fight,

When you mull all this over in your mind, notice things like the inclusion of Bhima, one of the five Pandava brothers and therefore a major player throughout the Mahabharata, with other apparent lesser players. This is not by accident. Bhima is named here among them, thus hiding his significance, which is of great importance in later stages of sadhana. It is also significant that he is noted among the bowmen even though his own weapon is a club…or his bare hands!  So Bhima bears watching.

5 — Heros
Fighters like Dhishtaketu (the standard for bravery), Cekitana (intelligent), Kashiraja (celebrated royalty), Purujit (conquering many), Kuntibhoja (granting protection) and Shaibya (generousity),

6  —  Chariot Fighters
The mighty Yudhamanyu (cagey fighter), powerful Uttamauja (dauntless), the son of Subhadra (auspicious), and the sons of Draupadi (shakti), all great chariot fighters.

___________________________

A good way to approach a scriptural text, especially when it is story based, is to try to unravel the meanings it contains the same way you would try to understand a dream you have had. One of the best ways to do this is to consider all the players as different aspects of yourself. Never mind whether you like the players or not, just go with it.

Also attend to the relationships you find among the players. For instance, Duryodhana is the son of Dhritarashtra. This tells us that ego is a product of ignorance, so we naturally want to contemplate what ‘ignorance’ is, and what this means for us. Drishtadyumna (power, confidence and daring) was taught the art of war by the same person as Duryodhana (the ego). This tells us that both ego (Duryodhana) and power (Drishtadyumna) are equal in their abilities to fight this battle, having been schooled equally by the intellect (Drona). So we conclude that we can’t count on intellect to win this war, as it is a neutral force; and we can’t rely entirely on our own power, self-confidence and daring (Drishtadyumna) to defeat the ego. Something more is needed to tip the scale.

Now you must also ask yourself such questions as, what is archery? who is this teacher of archery, Drona? what is his story? and how does all this relate to you? and to your own sadhana?

The first draft of these verses was a more comprehensive article, and it was ready to go, but it mysteriously disappeared. When I think of having lost it, I have to wonder if I was being stopped from spoiling all the fun you’re going to have figuring these things out for yourselves. The consolation prize is that I leave you with a mystery. That is, after all, the meaning of the word ‘mystical’, and you are only getting a ‘tidbit’.

Happy sleuthing!
Durga Ma


TERMS OF USE AND SHARING:

This post and text is original research material and is copyrighted. You are allowed to share this material for personal, non-commercial and educational use with the proper citations, references and links / tags back to my website. Clicking ´Share´ on FB or ´Reblog´ on WordPress would be most appropriate.
Please obtain written permission from Anandi first if you want to use this material on your workshop, blog, organization, webpage, book, seminar or for any commercial purpose. All information provided, be it through sessions conducted or this post is non-liable and is not intended to replace professional legal, medical, psychological, psychiatric and/or financial counsel. How you choose to act on this information is up to your own free will and is entirely your responsibility.