māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś caiva kim akurvata sañjaya||
We heard this sloka, in this program, some Three years back as the First sloka of Gita. Kurkshetram is Dharma Kshetram; Dharma grows in Kurukshetra. Long back we saw this First sloka, and now to listen to the last few slokas of Gita, we have arrived at Kurukshetra! This Kshetram has many glories. As if introducing them all, is this Brahma Sarovar, at which, today's [2nd November 2009] lecture is held.
This Pushkarini, elevates the image of this Kshetram. Brahma sarovar means lake of Brahma or lake which identifies Brhamam. It is about 3,600 Ft. length and 1.800 Ft. width. We can imagine its surface area. It is about 12Ft. deep. There are many ghats like Bhisma ghat, Arjun ghat, Yudhishtra ghat, Hanuman ghat, etc.
Kurukshetram gamishyami Kurukshetre vasamyaham |
Evam satami bruyat sotitatai: pramuchyate ||
Even mere mentioning that one wanted to go to Kurukshera or to live in Kurukshetra, one gets all sins washed away. If so, what benefits one would have, if one were to actually live in Kurukshetra? We should, in our lifetime, at least once, go to Kurukshetra.
Pamsanopi kurukshetre vayuna samuditita: |
Atidushkruta karmanam vayam atanti paramangatim ||
Air carries dust from Kurukshetra, and those dust have the capacity to wipe out our sins. Is it then necessary to mention that those, who live there, would get Moksham?
Manasat stuti kamasya kurukshetram yudhishtiram |
Papa vipramsyanti brahmalokam sa vasyati ||
Even mere desire in mind to go to Kurukshetra, one reaches supreme place. In such a glorious place Kurukshetra, Veda Vyasa published Mahanharata. In Badarikashram, we saw that in a cave Vyasa wrote Mahabharata; in Naimisharanyam, he preached it to the disciples. But it was published First, in Kurukshetra. Lord Brahma taught Vedas to Sapta Rishis. After learning them well, they started chanting, in Kurukshetra. For Indra and other Devas, this was the place for performing yagna. Many have been coming to Kurukshetra, being a sacred place, for performing Yagna, Tapas, Charities, etc. This place got the name Kurukshetra, as it was established by King Kuru. He wanted to make this, a fertile land for growing Dharma, and so, started tilling the soil with his golden plough. Indra wanted to know, why the King was ploughing and so, he appeared before him and asked. The King replied that he was going to cultivate the crop of Ashtanga Dharma. Indra asked how he was going to do that. The King replied that he had the seeds for that Dharma. He, then mentioned the seeds:
- Tapas - meditation.
- Satyam - speaking truth always.
- Kshama - patience or forbearance, even when provoked.
- Daya - compassion, for all living beings.
- Saucham - purity in mind, speech and body.
- Dhanam - charities.
- Yogam - always meditating on God. And,
- Brahmacharyam - behaviour in accrdance with Shastras.
¯ı´svare kartr. t¯a buddhih.sattvop¯adeyat¯antime |
svakarma parin.¯ama´sca ´s¯astras¯ar¯artha ucyate || (22)
In this last Chapter , essence of Shastra, is told. That is Bhagavad Gita Shastra saram or essence. That is Bhakti, which is the essence. That Bhakti is got by, the transformation of one's own duty or Karma yoga. Arjuna's duty was to fight in the war. Doing his duty, would get matured and mind will be purified. That will result in atman sakshatkaram, and realization of atman that it is servant of the Lord. Thereby, ahankaram and mamakaram would be destroyed. This will further mature and result in Bhakti yoga. That would transform into Para Bhakti, which would result in Para Gyana and further, to Parama Bhakti. Ultimately, it would fetch the Lord Himself. So, sva karma parinamasya, means one has to do his specified duties. But, while doing this Karma, without the Three attachments, but with the conscience that the Lord was doing and so He was the Karta. We should have only sattva quality. The Lord had told that for each of these Three qualities - sattvam, rajas and tamas - Yagna, Tapas, dhanam and food habits, varied. Now, He says that we should follow only sattva quality and rajas and tamas qualities were to be abandoned. Only Sattva Yagna, Tapas, Dhanam and food habits were to be followed. This is explained in the last Chapter. In this Chapter, the Lord classifies Gyana into Three - satvika gyana, rajasa gyana and tamasa gyana. That Gyana, which makes one to view all equally, is Sattva Gyana. He does not see variance among atman. But seeing difference exhibited by bodies, is Rajasa Gyana. In Tamasa Gyana, one does not know the purpose and its feasibility of any action. We have seen persons indulging in useless activities. Gyana , which induces a person to do such activities, is Tamasa Gyana. Similarly, the Lord classified Karmas and Karta, into Three. If one did a karma, knowing its purpose and with the Three Tyaga, then one is Satvika Karta. But if an action is done for publicity and fame, then he was Rajasa Karta. Doing without any use and torturing others, is Tamasa Karta. In the beginning of this Chapter, Arjuna raised a query. Are Sanyasa and Tyaga, same or different? Is abandoning Karma, sanyasa or renouncing life? The Lord started replying. Tyaga and Sanyasa are one and the same. Abandoning Dharma or Karma, is not Tyaga. One should be performing one's nitya and naimittika karmas always. Some people assume that since they had acquired Gyana and become Gyanis, they need not have to perform Karmas like Pitru tarpanam or Shraddham, etc. According to what the Lord had stated in Chapter 18, He did not support this assumption. Nitya and naimittika karmas have to be performed and Dharma had to be followed. Because, many hurdles in reaching Moksham, are removed by these only. Karmas should not be sacrificed but only the results are to be sacrificed. We will have to abandon the feeling that we did that karma. And, we have to abandon the feeling that the karma was for us. These are only called Tyaga or Sanyasa. After expalining sattvam, rajas and tamas, the Lord told sloka 18.62. He said that Arjuna [and also we] should surrender to the Lord Sriman Narayana. The Lord waited to observe whether Arjuna was responding and say 'I surrender'. But, no, Arjuna kept quiet. The Lord thought that perhaps Arjuna was not interested. Then He told sloka 18.63, and mentioned that He had told most secret of the Shastras. He had told Karma yoga, Gyana yoga, Bhakti yoga, the Secret of His Avatar, how to do yoga, glory of Bhakta, about His wealth, showed His Viswaroopam, about Achit-Chit- Iswara entities, about the Lord as Purushottama, about who Devas and Asuras were, advised to follow noble persons' way of life, superiority of sattva quality, etc. Without any exception the Lord told all, which were to be told to Arjuna. He then gave the choice for Arjuna to choose and do. Still, Arjuna did not utter 'sharanam' to the Lord! Then, the Lord started the sloka 64:
sarvaguhyatamaṃ bhūyaḥ śṛṇu me paramaṃ vacaḥ
iṣṭosi me dṛḍham iti tato vakṣyāmi te hitam 18.64
Tato vakshyami = I [Sri Krishna] am going to tell you more, te hitam = beneficial to you [Arjuna], sarvaguhyatamam = of all [Karma yoga, Gyana yoga and Bhakti yoga], most important secret, bhuya = again, srnu = listen, me paramam vaca = My [Sri Krishna's] superior words. Is it because Sri Krishna is interested in what He was to tell? Or, was there none to listen to, and so was He trying to tell Arjuna? No. Because, istosi me drdham iti = [Arjuna was] most dear to Me [Sri Krishna]. Therefore, He wanted to tell that, which was beneficial to Arjuna. This is the gap, the Lord gave for Arjuna to react! In sloka 62, He wanted Arjuna to surrender unto Him. In sloka 63, He gave time and asked Arjuna to choose and do. In sloka 64, the Lord found that Arjuna was not willing to surrender. If he was to do saranagati, he should realize that he should destroy ahankaram, mamakaram, that he was always dependent on the Lord. But Arjuna is habituated to doing himself. Therefore, the Lord decided to tell him again, in 18.64. In sloka 65, the Lord again tells about Bhakti yoga:
manmanā bhava madbhakto madyājī māṃ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaṃ te pratijāne priyosi me 18.65
Sri Krishna says, with a promise, as Arjuna was, priyosi me = My [Sri Krishna's] dear [cousin]. Manmana bhava = have mind [thoughts] in Me [Sri Krishna], mad bhakta = with [love] devotion unto Me [Sri Krishna], mad yaji = worship Me [Sri Krishna, with dedication], mam namaskuru = do prostrate [by all three means - body, speech and mind] unto Me [Sri Krishna], mam evaisyasi = [if done like this] [Arjuna] would reach Me [Sri Krishna] only, satyam te pratijane = it is true and [ Sri Krishna] promises [and have no doubt]. Because, Arjuna is dear to Him, He would tell all these. Thus, Bhakti yoga is reiterated. By telling Arjuna to always meditate on Him, the Lord says about Dhyanam. By continuously thinking of Him, one will realize His glory and fame. It will give raise to love. Dhyanam with love makes it more useful. That is Bhakti. We will be induced to perform pooja and worship Him. Mad yaji also indicates all such sacred duties in the house and in temples and Kshetrams. Doing like this, one reaches Him. The Lord makes a promise that what He told was truth. It is not that, only Sri Rama was always speaking truth; Sri Krishna was also a Satyavadi! His words would never be false or empty. Now, Arjuna was to do Bhakti yoga. Did he start Bhakti yoga? Or, was he in confusion and worried? How did the Lord remove his worries? The answer is in the next sloka , for which we shall wait.