Bhagavad Gita Introduction
Bhagavad Gita Introduction : Here is introductory part of the Bhagavad Gita just prior to the main battle and its aftermath. The main body of text is a dialogue between Krishna & Arjuna which will be covered in future blogs. Some Biblical references are included to illustrate the similarities in the message of the two books.
Everything about the Bhagavad Gita is taking place between you (Arjuna) and your spiritual guide (Krishna)
This is a Hindu book known as ‘The Song of the Lord’ Shri Krishna written about 500BC.
Although widely published and read by as a book in its own right, the Gita originally appears as an episode in the Mahabharata. The Mahabharata is the story of a great war that ended one age and began another. The story has been passed down to us in a classical canon of Sanskrit verses some 100,000 stanzas long; that’s about 12 times the length of the Western Bible. The best scholarly evidence indicates that the earliest layers of the epic were composed between 2500 and 3000 years ago. The Mahabharata tells of events leading up to the present Age of Kali, and the Gita is but a chapter in this book.
Dhritarastra and Pandu were brothers descending from King Bharata, a former ruler of the earth, from whom the name Mahabharata derives. Because Dhritarastra, the elder brother, was born blind, the throne that otherwise would have been his was passed down to the younger brother, Pandu.
When Pandu died at an early age, his five children—Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva—came under the care of Dhritarastra, who in effect became the king. Thus the sons of Dhritarastra and those of Pandu grew up in the same royal household.
Yet the sons of Dhritarastra, especially the eldest, Duryodhana, hated and envied the Pandavas. And the blind and weak-minded Dhritarastra wanted his own sons, not those of Pandu, to inherit the kingdom.
The Pandavas = 5 brothers that represent the 5 aspects that teaches us about our 4 fold nature they are the five acknowledged sons of Pandu, by his two wives Kunti and Madri.
Leader of the Pandavas = Arjuna = The 5 brothers are what we bring in meditation:
- Arjuna = our personality
- Yudhisthira = spirit mind
- Bhima = wisdom, understanding
- Nakula = love of goodness
- Sahadeva = love of truth.
These have been separated from their father and so are not active. So at this stage they represent the dormant aspects within us.
If our father (Pandu) is dead within us they we are raised by the blind king or Dhritarastra. Here the blind king represents the carnal nature which is blind to the spirit. It can be well intentioned but always seems to lead us astray so we have the blind leading the blind. This is what Jesus referred to when he healed the blind & was not referring to physical sight but rather spiritual sight.
The blind king has 100 sons, so a myriad of trouble and a mixture of thoughts, emotions, fears etc.
So we have the sons of Pandu representing the spiritual light within albeit dormant, and the 100 sons of darkness and confusion.
We can now see some Biblical similarities:
2nd Corinthians 6 : 14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
This describes the battle between light and darkness.
The blind king gives some land to the Pandavas = he pre occupies them with the material side of life to distract them. We are deceived by many things to give our spiritual heritage as we get consumed by our lower mind into doing things into the world.
So Duryodhana, the leader of 100 sons represents our myriad of desires in the world which deceive us in many ways whether it’s through society, culture, parenting etc & they all add up to conditioning us. Duryodhana later challenged the Pandavas to a gambling match with loaded dice and the Pandavas lost.
This represents the loaded dice that is the world we live in. If we seek answers to our fulfilment in the world we will come up short and get lost in endless desires that lead us away from the divine path within. So we cannot ‘gamble’ our spiritual heritage out in the world. This part of the story is similar to Cain slaying Abel in the Bible.
Proverbs 12: 5 The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.
Councils of the wicked = thoughts NOT people.
Matthew 27: 35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
Casting lots we lose to our lower nature as we are inevitably dragged into the world and the following happens:
Duryodhana then forces the Pandavas to go into exile for a period of 13 years.
This was not an abstract number& analysing the numerology; 1+3 = 4 = our fourfold nature = going into bondage being a slave of the senses & we are enslaved by our own culture and upbringing.
When the 13 years ended = something is stirring our spirit inside to find expression and it starts to challenge the blind king. Our spirituality has been stolen from us by the world.
King Duryodhana does not want us to return and so society will try to convince us that we should just be performing our worldly duties.
Sangaya = chariot driver for the blind king = your human instinct = he knows what is right and what is wrong for you. He tries to get us on the right track but he does not know how to do it. He does not know quite how to turn our life around so that we turn towards spirit once again.
For that which I do I allow not = the things I’m doing I know are wrong
For that I would… = the things I should do I don’t know how to do so I hate my life the way it is but I don’t know how to change it = this is the voice of Sangaya our instincts.
V22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
I delight in that which is within me.
V23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
This is Duryodhana = I see something else that’s got control of me who will not let me have my spiritual bounty and it will lead me astray as that is its nature to do so.
Duryodhana decides they are not getting the land back so they decide to go to war
Bhishma is the main character of the Mahabharata as it is his struggle to protect and bring unity between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. – he represents the intellect & wisdom & tries to intervene when our instincts alone could not get us to make the shift. So these feelings that something is missing in our life become more conscious to us. We may decide to read some spiritual books or try to meditate or find our life purpose in some other way but we don’t sustain it as we are still overwhelmed by the world.
Again Duryodhana(representing the world & its desire nature) says no.
Finally Lord Krishna or the divine impulse within speaks and again Duryodhana says no
so now there is going to have to be a battle & rival families are faced with inevitable conflict.
This illustrates how our mind will not give in to us easily if we want to meditate and be still.
The Pandavas are on the right & the sons of the blind king to the left. This in the bible is known as Armageddon, although that word is not used specifically. It is an INNER conflict and has nothing to do with warring nations. They face each other on the battlefield of life & it is the battlefield of light verses darkness is where the main text of the Bagavad Gita begins.
Prince Arjuna = our personality surveys the battlefield & is caught up with overwhelming sorrow. He asks why his body and mind should be an enemy to him. How can I turn against the very thing that I have grown to love and is my life, my name my traditions?
Why do I have to go through all this conflict with myself in order to reach Nirvana?
So in summary we have:
- Following our cultural norms
- Feeling we are being deceived
- Becoming more conscious that there is more to life
- Realising that our desires are very strong and will not release us easily.
- Arjuna asks Krishna why we have to go through such a battle within ourselves to reach enlightenment
Krishna (God, Christ Consciousness) speaks to Arjuna and their conversation is overheard by Sangaya the instinct, who then recites what was said to the blind king. The divine within us is starting to come down and affect our personality and we are starting to wake up to our divine cause.
So Sangaya reports this to the blind king and the battle begins. The battle lasts 18 days. In terms of numerology we have 1+8=9. The number nine, similar to what we have seen in the bible is about CONSCIOUSNESS.
At the end of the battle, Arjuna, Krishna and the Pandus are the only ones standing. Light conquers darkness.
The main dialogue of the Gita is between Arjuna and Krishna about why we have to struggle to reach enlightenment and why we have to do battle with what we hold dear in order to achieve it. Krishna explains all the essential spiritual truths: the difference between the soul and the body, the difference between the soul and the Supreme Soul (God), the science of reincarnation, the nature of time, the ultimate goal of yoga, why different kinds of religion appeal to different kinds of people, and the ultimate purpose of human life.