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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.

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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.

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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.