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Words of Wisdom – Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1: 32-37

Arjuna speaks to Krishna:

Krishna and Arjuna
Krishna and Arjuna

32
“O Chief of Cowherds [Krishna was a cowboy in his youth], I have no desire to win this war for the sake of kingship and happiness. What to us is kingly power and the pleasures it brings?

In these verses we see how Arjuna has begun to view this war. He assumes that it is all about having rulership of a kingdom, and having the power and the perks that go with it—pleasure and enjoyment.

33
“Those for whose sake we desire these things—kingship, pleasure and enjoyment—they are all here ready to do battle, willingly abandoning their lives and riches:

34
“Teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers in law, grandsons, brothers in law, thus kinsmen.

We read this list before in the previous issue, but now Arjuna is now getting a reality check on who is on this roster. He is coming to realize that the major players on both sides are descended from the same ancestors—everyone is related to everyone else, and every reason they have for getting into this war in the first place is going to leave no one to enjoy the spoils. They are going to kill each other.

35
“I have no desire to kill them for a kingdom, even though they are bent on killing us, Slayer of Madhu*, not even for the sovereignty of the three worlds.

* Slayer of Madhu – An epitaph of Krishna who is an incarnation of Vishnu, the Sustainer, who killed the demon Madhu (‘destroyer of delight’).

“For the Sovereignty of the Three Worlds”

Arjuna uses this statement to emphasize his opposition to the war, for most would willingly fight for this alone, but Arjuna says no, “not even for the sovereignty of the three worlds”. What is the significance of the ‘three worlds’, and why would anyone covet rulership over them?

The sovereignty of the three worlds refers to rulership, or control, of the body, the emotions and the mind. I think we would agree that most people would see this as a desirable goal worth fighting for, but Arjuna is saying that not even for this will he go forward with this terrible war. This is how affected he is by the realization of who and what he is up against.

Three Worlds

The three worlds are earth, sky and heaven, the worlds of humans, ancestors and gods.

The earth is the body. The sky, or atmosphere, is emotions. Heaven is mind-no-mind.

In the body, the earth is below the diaphragm, the sky is above the diaphragm, and heaven is above the third eye.

The body is the physical plane, the earth. The feelings are the atmosphere, the astral, or emotional body, which permeates and extends beyond the physical body. Mind-no-mind is heaven, the etheric, or causal body that permeates the head and brain.

These are some of the different ways the concept of the ‘three worlds’ is thought of.

36
“What joy would there be for us in striking down the sons of Dhritarashthra, Krishna? Misfortune would surely cling to us by having killed them.

37
“Therefore we are not justified in killing the sons of Dhritarashthra, our own kinsmen, O Janardana*. How, having killed our own people, can we be happy?

* Janardana – ‘Agitator of Men’, an epitaph of Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, the divine sustainer, maintainer and protector of life. Arjuna is throwing it in Krishna’s face in this verse—Krishna is the Sustainer of Life, yet he is urging a war.

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In a very short time, Arjuna has talked himself out of going forward with the war against his enemies. He cannot justify it. He sees it in terms of his own history, what he knows, and what he has been taught, and it just doesn’t add up. He sees it as logically wrong—remember Drona (‘reasoning’)? He was Arjuna’s teacher, but he is fighting on the side of Arjuna’s enemies.

You will recall that the “sons of Dhritarashthra”, the “enemies”, represent the desires of the mind. Arjuna has begun to doubt the wisdom of doing away with them. After all, if there are no desires to fulfill, whence comes happiness?

Faith

The enemy armies outnumber Arjuna’s, and Krishna’s army is among them. But Arjuna has chosen to have Krishna drive his chariot over having the use of His armies—Arjuna has put God in the driver’s seat.

Love,
Durga Ma

Beautiful Krishna Images courtesy of rajbgm.wordpress.com


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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Family Feud -Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1: 26-31

Arjuna’s Depression

26
Standing there, the Son of Pritha* [Arjuna] saw fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, brothers in law,

27
Fathers in law and dear companions among both of the two armies. Contemplating all of them, all his kinsmen, standing before him, he, the Son of Kunti* [Arjuna],

28
Was filled with profound despair and said to Krishna, “Having seen these my own kinsmen, all standing right here ready to fight,

29
“My limbs are weak, my mouth is dry, my body trembles, and my hair stands on end.

30
“Gandiva falls from my hand, my skin burns, I am unable to remain standing, and my mind is going around in circles.

31
“I perceive inauspicious omens, O handsome-haired One [Krishna], and I see inauspicious omens in destroying my own kinsmen in this battle.”

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*  In verses 26 and 27 Arjuna is referred to as the “son of Kunti” (spear or lance, sometimes associated with the god of love) and the “son of Pritha”. Pritha is another name of Kunti. The word pritha refers to the palm of the hand extended and used as a means of measuring, which makes this name similar in meaning to ‘Ma’ (‘to measure’), which is often used to refer to the Divine Mother. The idea of measuring, which implies time and space, puts us in the relative realm of this world. Interestingly, both Kunti, Arjuna’s mother, and Lord Krishna are descendants of the same Yadava Prince (Prince Yadu – heroism; valiant warrior, champion; strong, heroic, brave).

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These verses clarify the title of this chapter, “Arjuna’s Depression”. Arjuna’s state is one of despair. He has come to realize that he knows everyone in both armies, that he is related to all of them, and that all of these relatives are about to kill each other. He cannot see why this should be. It was Krishna himself who urged this war in order that Arjuna and his brothers could take their rightful place as rulers, but Arjuna can see only “inauspicious omens” in this situation.

We are given an account of the participants in this war as “fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, brothers in law, fathers in law, dear companions”. For the most part, this seems to just about cover everyone in Arjuna’s life, but there is one group of people mentioned here that I find interesting: maternal uncles. Why not just uncles? Or for that matter, paternal uncles? Why maternal uncles? This has long been a question of mine. Clearly there is something being implied here. Is there something about DNA the sages knew that we don’t (don’t laugh, it’s possible)? If you think you know the answer, please share it with us.

“Gandiva falls from my hand, my skin burns, I am unable to remain standing, and my mind is going around in circles.”:

Gandiva is the name of Arjuna’s bow. This bow was owned by a succession of gods. It was first passed on by Soma (holder of immortality) to Varuna (god of heaven), by him to Agni (god of fire), and by Agni to Arjuna, the son of Kunti (earth) and Indra (god of the gods). It is also said to have belonged to Prajapati, lord of embodied beings, Brahma, the Creator, and Shiva, the destroyer-transformer (evolution). Whew! See what you can do with all these symptoms to come to an understanding of the importance of this bow, Gandhiva, especially to Arjuna, who has just lost his grip.

Now let’s look at the symptoms of Arjuna’s state: weakness, dry mouth, trembling, hackles (fear), burning skin (the word for this also means ‘fully consumed by pain or grief’), instability, and a mind wildly vacillating with confusion. It appears that a combination of sorrow, fear and self-doubt all mixed together are the cause of Arjuna’s depression.

The physical state of depression is lowered energy—directionally or qualitatively or both. A low energy state of the body often causes a low moods, even without a person’s awareness of what is triggering it mentally or emotionally. Just look at what Arjuna is going to lose, even if he wins the war. It’s no wonder he’s in trouble and seemingly throwing in the towel, telling Krishna that this war business is not a good thing and that he can’t bring himself do it.

The Bhagavad Gita is a scripture. At one level it is a manual of yoga. So what are we being taught or told in this section? It is safe to say that in the process of yoga sadhana, all is not roses…or so we think…and we will experience this depression-confusion ourselves at some point. We will say to ourselves, “Hummmm. I don’t know about all this. Doesn’t seem right to me. Must be something wrong with what my guru (Krishna in Arjuna’s case) is telling me.” Well, this is just chapter one, so I think we are going to find out what will happen if we can just get through chapter one of our sadhana. More on this next time.

Jaya Bhagavan! (Victory to God!),
Durga Ma

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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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A View of the Battle -Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1: 22-25

22 – 23
“I [Arjuna] would look upon these battle-hungry warriors with whom I must fight, to see those who have come together here to do battle in service to the evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra.”

The “evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra” is Duryodhana. Duryodhana, who is the son of the blind king, ignorance, represents the ego.

Arjuna has asked Krishna to draw his chariot between the two facing armies so that he can look things over to see what his own armies will be facing in the upcoming battle.

24 – 25
Samjaya spoke:
O Descendant of Bharata
, thus the Master of the Senses [Krishna], having caused the chief chariot to stand in the middle between the two armies, was addressed by the Thick Haired One [Arjuna], while standing in front of Bhishma and Drona and all the rulers of the earth. To the Son of Pritha [Arjuna] He [Krishna] said, “Behold all these Kurus assembled here.”

The “Descendant of Bharata” is Dhritarashtra, the blind king to whom Samjaya, his minister, is narrating events using his clairvoyant powers from afar.

The “Master of the Senses” is Lord Krishna, who is driving Arjuna’s chariot, implying that the devotee’s (Arjuna’s) state at this point is pratyahara.

The “Thick Haired One” is Arjuna, devotee of Krishna. This epitaph (Gudakesha) also means, “preserver of one whose lord is Prajapati (‘lord of creatures’, ‘protector of life’)”.

Krishna is calling Arjuna’s attention to the “rulers of the earth”, and He does it while they are parked right in front of both Bhishma and Drona. What does He what Arjuna to see, to notice, to pay attention to? And why has He brought them to this particular place in front of Bhishma and Drona? The answer is in what these two Kurus represent.

Bhishma – Absolute loyalty to Ignorance and ego. The word Bhishma means ‘terrible’. When Bhishma decides something, it is final; he holds on to it for all he is worth. Bhishma is known for his vow of lifetime celibacy, his wisdom, bravery, keeping his word, and his absolute loyalty. But his loyalty is to the Kurus.

Drona – Intellect and reason. Drona taught archery to the major players on both sides. The name means ‘bucket’. He is called Drona because he was born in a bucket, in other words, outside of the womb. He represents intellect, the neutral power of the mind to discern and differentiate.

Galen, this is for you; you asked the question:

Intellect is not dependent on the birth of a body for its existence; it is not born of the womb. We tend to think of intellect as a function of the brain, because we think of the mind and the brain as the same. They are associated with each other, but they are not the same thing. The brain is the gross, physical instrument, and the mind is the subtle, non-physical, instrument.

The basis of the mind is chitta, ‘piled up, collected’, as in a bucket, from the root chit, ‘knowing, understanding, perception, comprehension, consciousness’. Consciousness comes into play when a non-physical individual first becomes aware of another non-physical individual. This creates a dual situation—self and other-than-self—by which the ‘sense of self’ (asmita) becomes the core of a developing ‘mind’, and differentiation becomes a feature of this ‘mind’, called buddhi. Buddhi is the power of discernment, the ability to make distinctions, judgement, intellect, and reason. Buddhi uses the contents of the mind, which arrive there via the senses, to make these determinations. Hence, Drona is ‘intellect’, which is by nature neutral, though in this case has taken its place in support of the Kurus.

The Kurus – The verb root of the word kuru is kri, meaning ‘to do’, so you can think of the Kurus as ‘doers’. While the scope of action of the Pandavas is dharma, Truth, for the Kurus it is doership. These two, Truth and doership, are contending their right to rule. The winner will be in charge. What they will be in charge of is you. Remember that this is all about you, your life, your sadhana. (This might be a good place to review the post on the subject of Surrender and Non Doership.)

The Pandavas – The root of the word Pandu is pan, which is a stake in a game, the prize, the bet, so you can think of the Pandavas as the willingness to take chances in order to win the prize, and equate this with surrendering to God in meditation to win union with God—you don’t know what will happen and you accept that. The Kurus on the other hand, are all about control.

By placing their chariot in front of Bhishma and Drona, Krishna is showing Arjuna that what he is primarily up against is determined loyalty to the ego (this would be Bhishma), and the full support of this by the Intellect (Drona). These are his most powerful enemies. They are the mightiest “rulers of the earth”.

The ‘earth’ is the body, our chariot, and our life in this world. So we realize now that it is not just ego, but our absolute loyalty to it, that rules our personal ‘world’, and that it is intellect that supports and maintains this alliance by means of judgement and reasoning. These are the greatest enemies of graduation from the world of the will, to the world of surrender.

This gives us some idea of the kinds of things Krishna wants us to be aware of. As we consider these verses, and the previous verses and the ones to come, we will find this same teaching reiterated in many different ways in this song in verse and meter, the Bhagavad Gita, ‘the song of God’.

Love,
Durga Ma

BHAGAVAD GITA STUDY GROUP: Our monthly study gathering is tomorrow, July 26th @ 11am EDT on Zoom with Anandi and Shambu. If you need the link to join, or are interested in joining our study group, please email Anandi directly anandibhagavan@gmail.com
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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.