The Gita starts with Dhrutarashtra

After reading my earlier post on the Bhagwat Gita, my brother smugly pointed out that the first word of the Bhagwat Gita is ‘Dhrutarashtra’. (How much ever one grows older and hopefully wiser, this is one thing which doesn’t change, pesky younger brothers!).

So the first verse starts with ‘Dharmakshetrae-Kurukshetrae’ and the Gita itself starts with ‘Dhrutarashtra’. So unless one understands what this Dhrutarashtra is, one cannot really understand the Gita.

The entire Gita is technically an answer to a question posed by Dhrutarashtra to Sanjay in the first verse. The Gita is narrated by Sanjay to Dhrutarashtra. As the Gita is itself highly esoteric, the question, the questioner and the answer-er all are equally cryptic too.

In brief, the story-allegory of the Mahabharat goes like this. This Dhrutarashtra is the blind king of a kingdom named Hastinapur. He has 100 sons called the Kaurav-s. He has a brother named Pandu, whose sons are called Pandav-s. Pandu was king but had abdicated and gone to the forest for spiritual practice. Now, a war is being fought between the grown-up Kaurav and Pandav princes. The Bhagwat Gita is recited by Krishna to Arjun-Pandav on the battleground before the war starts. After listening to this Gita, Arjun is enthused and with all his doubts resolved, gets ready for the war.

Why Divisional Charts?

Dhrutarashtra is blind, Sanjay is his guide. Dhrutarashtra asks a question, the first verse of the Gita. Sanjay replies with Krishna’s Gita as a narration within a narration layout. This layout is intentional and has a very deep meaning. There are two levels of understanding here.

The Bhagwat Gita starts with these words. Dhrutarshtra’s question.

Dhrutarashtra Uvacha,

‘Dharmakshetre Kurukshetre Samaveta Yuyutsavah, Mamakah Pandavashchaiva Kimakurvata Sanjay.’

So here is the real meaning of the first word of the Bhagwat Gita, ‘Dhrutarashtra’.

Dhruta rashtram yaena sah Dhrutarashtrah, this is the sandhi-vicched, the splitting of the compound word, Dhrutarashtra. The Sanskrit word Dhrutarashtra literally is the one afflicted by large scale calamity. The enjoyer of a kingdom. The one who is linked to subjects. Also the owner of a dominion.

  • Dhruta means – holder, enjoyer, linked to, owner of etc
  • Rashtra means – affliction on a mass scale, calamity on a large scale, kingdom, subjects, dominion, etc.

Basically Dhrutarashtra is another name for your mind/manas. He is the father of the 100 Kaurav princes. The mind generates 100 basic types of tendencies. (Refer to this post on tattva-s. I have drawn a table in this post, reproduced below.) The 10 products of the Ahamkar+Satva and the 10 products of Ahamkar+Tama multiplied together give the 100 tendencies of the mind. The mind has no power to get things or do things, it must work on the gross level through the 5 organs of senses and the 5 organs of action (10 tattva-s). On the subtle level it works through the 5-bhoot and the 5-tanmatra (10 tattva-s).

Screenshot 2019-07-07 at 11.26.22 AM

Thus the mind is considered to be handicapped, specifically it is blind, it acts without ‘seeing’ the real thing. The mind desires the kingdom ie the body, its actions and desires. Dhrutarashtra is the king of the Kuru-s. Kuru is the ‘action to be performed’. The mind rules over the actions and is always swayed by objects external to itself. It is dependant on the sense and action organs in every way. It desires subjects and is insatiable. It wants to hold on to its dominion in a tight grip. It is very strong. It desires to possess the body and to enjoy vishay-objects of desires. The mind is deep down aware that there is more but it cannot bring itself to accept it. It is swept away in desires, its 100 sons.

In the story, the Gita is set as a dialogue between Dhrutarashtra and Sanjay. The waking state of the Sadhak/ aspirant is called Dhrutarashtra while the spiritual insight achieved during Sadhana/ spiritual practice is called Sanjay. This ‘Sanjay’ is a Sanskrit word again. It literally means Samyak Jay, all-conquering, triumphant, complete victory. The all-pervading complete Sun, accurate truth, white brilliant lightning and the mind who knows its exact self-reality. The perfection of eternal union is Sanjay.

Sanjay is the one who knows himself, the realised soul, the Guru. The enlightened Guru tells the blind mind to practice the Yog-shastra Gita.

During your spiritual practice, there will be so many things, questions, blockages, setbacks, progress and ultimately victory. The mind has several doubts which are systematically addressed by the Guru. All this experience of the ‘Gita’ is the influence of the Guru on the Manas-mind. The internal Guru guides the mind during the spiritual process. This is the real reason why the Gita is placed as a story within a story. Sanjay is the guide to the blind king, Sanjay ’sees’, ie he is a seer, he is the one who knows the absolute reality.

Now Krishna means the deepest consciousness which is present at your Ajnya chakra and a prelude to whatever is beyond it. Krishna is the final apex point of the Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra section of your energy body. He is the charioteer, the sarathi. He leads the way up the Sushumna and Pandav-Arjun follows him.

Now I will need to describe ‘Arjun’ too. Arjun is the son of Pandu. Pandu means the Nirmal-Buddhi. There are several sub-divisions of intelligence-Buddhi, Pandu means the Nirmal-clear conscience, from whom all attachments have departed. Kunti is Arjun’s mother, the word ‘Kunti’ means Nivrutti, emancipation, involution, rejection of illusion/Maya. He was born by the blessings of the deity Indra, ‘Indra’ means the individual soul. Arjun in Sanskrit means the brilliance of lightning. He is the Tej mahabhoot. The one not free from bondage, still bound by the karmas and under the influence of Raja-Gun. The stage of the aspirant from the Muladhar to the Manipur chakra is ‘Arjun’.

“The Gita is narrated by Krishna to Arjun on the battleground of the energy body named the Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra.” I hope you have opened your mind to the new meaning and the import of this statement has deepened for you. (There are layers and layers of meanings. It is the magic of Sanskrit, Devbhasha Samskrutam.)

All the gods of Sanatan Dharma and you yourself are rays of light from the Source. The only difference is in the level of awareness. You follow the ray of light back to the source. Every deity, Ganapati, Shiv, Vishnu, Devi etc are conscious intelligence, you can request their help on your way. These are defined, with attributes (Sa-gun). And each one of these deities are shown to be meditating. Ever wonder what they are meditating on? What could be their true nature? This is the deepest experience.

The Gita starts with Dhrutarashtra

When I was a small child I understood Krishna to be something that my baby brothers were dressed up as once a year. I thought that Krishna was a cute kid always getting into mischief. Then I read the Mahabharat and I realised that Krishna systematically organised the biggest war in history, 18 akshohini अक्षौहिणी army units destroyed, entire nations wiped out. (A अक्षौहिणी is an army unit of 21,870 elephants, 21,870 chariots, 65,610 horse and 1.09,350 foot soldiers.)

When I started doing my Sadhana in earnest, I realised that Krishna is the ‘undefinable darkness’ seen at the Ajnya chakra, he is the route I walk on, the guide I follow. As I progress, the subtler aspects of Krishna will again change and change till I reach Myself. At this point, me, the route, the guide will all merge back into the source, Myself. At this point there will be no more options as I will have finally realised the Nirvikalp Advaita. The non-dual goal of the aspirant.

So always think, experience, change, there is so much more, expand your mind, your ideas. Do not hold to one idea or concept rigidly. Allow yourself to evolve, allow your mind to expand. The defining quality of the spiritual aspirant is said to be ‘vivek’. This means that you have to be able to discriminate between the real and the material, but to be able to distinguish these, you will need to know their actual natures first. There is a concept from the Rudra Chamaka य॒ज्ञो य॒ज्ञेन॑ कल्पताम् yadno yadnena kalpantam. It means, ‘let evolution itself evolve’. This is a very deep concept which means that there is no stagnation, things are always evolving always. Even the very act of evolution is ever-evolving. (These concepts are all discarded when you reach the Ajnya chakra in your personal evolution. Till then you should assiduously use them as crutches and support on your way.)

Your body is composed of the tattva-s derived from Prakruti. You are the individual soul, who believes itself to be separate from the singular Parabrahma. This belief is incorrect and the entire goal of spiritual practice is to remove this erroneous belief and recognise oneself as the Para-brahma, the beyond Para. This state is called Moksh. Freedom from false notions, freedom from karma, freedom from ignorance.

The Bhagwat Gita is a detailed manual. Most of us have a copy of this manual in our houses. If you are given a step-by-step manual for building a nuclear war-head what would you do? You are required to build this war-head, there is no option on this, do it now or a few lives later, that is the only choice available. You cannot keep your manual shut in your puja-ghar. Open it, read it, re-read it, discuss, try to absorb its intent, understand it. And most importantly practice it, let your mind evolve. Your Dhrutarashtra has asked the question, now listen to your Sanjay. Take your kundalini to the very top, your Arjun has to follow your Krishna. Use your manual and experience your Sadyo-Mukti.

 

Vastu your home, the simplest and prettiest remedies

(I now realise that I will need to write about Nara and Narayan too now, will do so in my next post. Edit: wrote it! here)

Bhagwat Gita as Yog-shastra

Yog means union and shastra means a manual, rules, a step-by-step direction. Union of what? Of the body with the soul, of the soul with the Eternal, of karma with the soul, ‘union’ can be quite a wide topic. From the Sadhak’s point of view union means self realisation this is achieved after the union of the Kundalini with the Para-‘unknowable beyond’ Moksh.

There are several Gita-s. The Bhagwat Gita is recited by Krishna in the Mahabharat, it is in Sanskrit – Devbhasha Samskrutam. It is fundamentally an Advaita experience. The first commentary i.e. Bhashya on the Bhagwat Gita is written by Adi Shankaracharya. In fact before he wrote his Bhashya, the Bhagwat Gita was not very popular, as its real nature is extremely esoteric. This Bhashya clearly establishes the Gita to be a manual for attaining Sadyo-mukti i.e. experience Advaita/ Non-duality. This Bhashya is obviously written in Sanskrit. Most of us have lost touch with our real mother-tongue Sanskrit. Then the more recent commentary ‘Pranab-Gita’ originally in Bengali and available in Hindi was written some 150 yrs ago. Some of us can read these languages so this is very valuable. It also about Advaita. Read these commentaries if you want to understand what the Gita really means. Else read the actual Gita in Sanskrit. Even now in traditional Indian schools, the children are required to learn by heart the actual Gita shlok/verses. Even if you do not understand it, the original Sanskrit will go deep within and trigger changes.

Dhrutarashtra Uvacha, ‘Dharamkshetre Kurukshetre Samaveta Yuyutsavah, Mamakah Pandavashchaiva Kimakurvata Sanjay’.

The first verse of the Bhagwat Gita starts with ‘Dharma-kshetrae Kuru-kshetrae’. Now what is this really, the physical battle-ground? Perhaps yes, when you were a child and your Grandmom told you stories from the Mahabharat. But not anymore. You are a sadhak now, the meaning is different for you.

A quick re-cap. You are familiar with the energy structure of your body. There are 6 chakra, linked to your back, from the base of the spine to the center of the eyebrows, Muladhar, Swadhisthan, Manipur, Anahat, Vishuddhi, Ajnya. Then there are the six chakras in the head, Mula, Vama, Jeyshtha, Raudri, Sahasrara and the Bindu. The Kundalini is the energy of self-identification locked at the Muladhar chakra and it is supposed to reach the top-most chakra complex of Sahasrara+Bindu. Thus you achieve self-realisation or Moksh.

You also know about the 24 Tattva-s of creation. These are Prakruti, Mahat-buddhi, Ahamkar, Manas, the 5 sense organs, the 5 organs of action, the 5 panch-bhoot/ elements and the 5 tan-matra/ perceptions. I have written about these in my earlier posts. This is how your individual soul is created and the differentiated from other souls.

All this energy now forms your energy body and this is the Kshetra.

You know that there are the three Gun, Sattva, Raja and Tama. You, your body and mind are animated by the movements of these Gun. These three Gun are represented by the top-most triangle of the Shri-yantra. Now these three pervade throughout the energy body animating it. Their action divides the Kshetra into 3 parts.

The first part is the Karma-kshetra or simply Kuru-kshetra. ‘Kuru’ in Sanskrit means to act eg ‘kim kuru?’, means ‘what to do?’. So Kuru-kshetra means the ‘field of action’. This is composed of the 11 tattvas ie the 5 sense organs, the 5 organs of action and the Manas. This area is dominated by the Raja and Tama Gun. This part is connected to the actions related to the external world. You sense things, you see, smell, taste, etc. You also move things with your hands, legs and reproduce, create children etc. All this stuff is connected with the external world. These are infinite actions created by infinite permutations and combinations of these tattvas and animated by the Raja-Tama Gun-s in combination. The mind/ Manas is more dominant in this region and it decides what actions are to be taken.

Kundalini and the Shatchakra

Then next part of the energy body is the Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra. This is composed of the Sushumna which extends from the Muladhar chakra to the Ajnya chakra and includes the 6 lower chakras. This part of the energy body is controlled by the Ajnya chakra. Your individual soul resides in the Ajnya chakra. The Bhagwat Gita starts with this word and the first verse/shlok describes this region. This is the real battle-ground of the spiritual aspirant.

This region is dominated by Satva-Raja Gun-s. The lowermost area near the Muladhar chakra is pervaded more by the Raja-gun and the upper areas near the Ajnya chakra is more Satvik. This is the reason why starting spiritual practice is so difficult. The Raja dominated lower chakras, i.e. Muladhar and Swadhisthan, do not allow the mind to focus, there is always movement. These lower chakras are linked more to the field of action ie the Kurukshetra, so are susceptible to greater interference from the tattvas. The gross body moves, the pran moves and the mind also moves under the influence of external forces and it takes significant mental force to still them. Raja means movement. But if you persevere and battle it out here, your body and mind both start getting still and more sookshma/ subtle or fine. Later, things ease out as you approach the Satva dominated upper regions.

The Satva and Raja are in equilibrium at the Manipur chakra. This chakra is the location of the samaan vayu. It is when you reach this chakra that the Kundalini actually starts getting aware. Reaching the 10 petalled lotus of the Manipur is the crucial point in your sadhana. In the Gita this stage is described as the fall of Bhishma, which takes place on the 10th day of the war.

In this Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra region the mind/ Manas and the individual soul/ Jivatma both operate. Your individual soul along with the mind together have control over the actions of this region. Here the 5 subtle perceptions, tanmatra reside. Also the 5 -bhoot, the conscious parts of the earth, water, fire, air and ether. These are the subtle tattva-s. These move outwards and power the sense organs and the organs of action. But when these subtle tattva-s turn inwards they illuminate the real self. If you consciously act here you can influence your mind as well as soul. This happens when you do your Dhyan with pure Om or either of the ajapa mantra-s Soham or Hamsa. Thus is the paramount importance of this Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra region.

If the aspirant wishes to realise himself, he has to fight the battle here in Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra. The tendencies of the Mind fight the tendencies of the Intelligence. The mind and the creations of the mind attack, there is no other word, they really attack, these are the armies of the Kuru.

The aspirant stills the flow of breath by pranayam, thus the flow of pran also starts getting regulated. Then pran is made even finer, ie extreme control over the movement of the pran is achieved. Thus you make this thinnest pran move in a controlled way into the Sushumna. While you are doing this the mind located in the Ajnya chakra also is required to be made still. These things happen simultaneously and spontaneously.

How do you thread a needle? It is the same concept, but here the thread/pran is a million times thinner. You cannot see it with your physical eyes. The eye of the needle is in fact a super-thin tube twisted and re-twisted in complicated knots. You are required to push your pran-thread through all these twists. It requires super-intense focus. Another problem is that you really don’t have the thread-pran available. Pran is being distributed by the Ajnya chakra to the entire body! Your thread is frayed! So first you have to collect the pran at one point. All this happens gradually as you do regular Dhyan. (My Guru, his Guru, his Guru-brothers all are very clear on this, if you do your Dhyan regularly as it should be done, you will achieve your goal within 2 yrs.)

And, the last part of your energy body is the Dharma-kshetra. This extends from above the Ajnya chakra and includes the 6 chakras of the head. This is the region of the Para. This is also called the Bindu Mandala of Shri-Vidya. Here the Satva-Tama Gun dominate. There Raja-Gun does not push things out of equilibrium. Here things are still, stable. The topmost Bindu is the abode of the Para in your own body. The residence of the Bhairav of Vidnyan Bhairav Tantra. Dharma also means the right foundation. This region is neutral in nature. If you reach this level in your Sadhana you move onwards by the inexorable pull of your own Self. Things don’t get easier but the pull is stronger. It is Sahaj/ spontaneous.

The Gita is highly esoteric. It took an entire post to write about just ‘Dharmakshetra-Kurukshetra’ and I haven’t even touched 5% of its reality. So read the original Sanskrit Gita, or the Bhashya by Adi Shankaracharya or the Pranab-Gita. For the real Sadhak there is no other option. Any other ‘translations’ of the Gita are ok for the beginner levels but are extremely misleading for the real aspirant. A commentary is only as good as the person who wrote it. A person who has actually practiced and experienced the Gita a Yog-shastra, is an authority, none other.

Every story in Sanatan Dharm aka Hinduism is about the Kundalini its movement and your eventual Moksh. Every single story. There are 3 very valuable books which detail the step by step process on Dhyan and spiritual progress. I keep these with me always for reference because these also describe what happens when you do practice.

  1. Vidnyan Bhairav Tantra
  2. Bhagwat Gita
  3. Devi Mahatmya or Durga Saptashati

The first is a clear precise manual. The other two are written as allegory-stories, but are quite understandable if you know Sanskrit. And they all describe the same thing. The words may be different but they ultimately mean the same.

Vishvam-aatma vinirgatam’. Creation has emerged out from the Singular Atma. A real sadhak does not worship a specific ‘deity’. Hinduism has several gods, goddesses, deities and energies which are worshipped. This is necessary for the initial steps into Sadhana. But a genuine aspirant does not worship a ‘form’, he is an Atma-sadhak, an aspirant of the Self. His goal is Sadyo-mukti. He desires to know himself completely, aatma-pratishtha, and is determined to attain Brahma-sthiti the stability of the Self.

 

Kundalini and the Shatchakra