Sanjaya Uvacha drushtva tu pandavaneekam vyudam duryaodhanastada acharyamupasangamya raja vachanamabraveet------------- 2.
“Sanjaya said: At that time, seeing the army of the Pandavas drawn up for battle and approaching Dronacharya, King Duryodhan spoke these words:” ---2
11] After the first question we are taken to a point of time and place that should be no surprise to anyone reading this. We go to the front line of Duryodhana. Why did Sanjay take him there?
12] Sanjay is wise. Knowing the Kings desire he does not describe the scenes of Krishna or Arjuna or Yudisthira (as much as he may want to) but immediately takes him on the front line to Duryodhana. Afterall it is his son to whom he had been attached to since the day he was born. Dhrithrastra had all these years been trying to fulfil the ambitions of his own lifetime through his son. Is that ambition so wrong? Before we judge the blind King too harshly perhaps those fathers reading this will empathise with Dhrithrastra. Im sure one time or another we have all tried to fulfil our own desires through our own sons. Not all fathers can be like King Bharata who put the good of the nation before the good of his sons. Not all sons can be like Bhisma who put his fathers happiness before his own.
13] "What did my sons do…..?". Which father does not thirst of their sons News from any frontline battles that is going on around the world today? So we should not look upon too harshly at Dhrtirashtra.
Its not just a matter of the war. A father thirst for News from a son who is on a business trip aboard, a son on his first job, a son on his honeymoon, a son on his first school trip out of the town, a son on his first driving test, a son in his important exam, a son away at some university studying etc….. What father would NOT be eager to know how his son is doing?
Understanding our own desires as fathers we can understand the desire of Dhritrashtras thirst for knowledge and actions of his sons first.
Today the mobile phone has made our connection so much easier and comfortable. Its so easy to forget the days without this facility.
14] Just as we are blessed today by the invention of the radio (perhaps listening to the imminent world cup cricket match result which we are listening to in our cars as we journey home) Dhrithrastra too must have felt blessed to know the commentaries from Sanjay of what is happening on the battlefield. Perhaps knowing the final result he might even have called it a curse.
15] Sanjay was blessed by the Divine sight given by Ved Vyas. Ved Vyas had offered it to Dhrithrastra but he had refused since he had been blind all his life and how would he know who is who? Perhaps he thought, what would be the point of seeing his sons only to see them killed before his eyes.
16] In the sloka it is written that ‘King Duryodhan’ approaches Dronacharya.
Great respect is given to Duryodhan because here he is given the status of a King.
17] He does not go to his Commander in Chief of his huge army -the Great BHISMA but instead he goes to his Guru. There are a couple of thoughts that comes to mind.
Firstly we know that Bhisma was unable to kill the Pandavs and this angered Duryodhan very much. Perhaps he thought there was no point in talking to Bhisma about the war. Yet he also knew that he had to keep Bhisma on his side because he was the most powerful man on that battlefield and no warrior was capable of killing him. Infact even Arjuna with all his might could only wound him occasionally. For 10 days Bhisma kept the Pandav army at bay. Single handily he was winning the war. It was only when the Pandavs decided to return his blessing of Victory back to him did Bhisma show them the way of removing him from the battlefield. I use the word removing him --Not killing- because Bhisma had the power to choose the time of his death.
So Duryodhana felt a little cheated here but there was nothing he could do since Bhisma was also very popular throughout the land. And because of his name and fame many Kings came to support Bhisma. Duryodhana was able to gather such a huge army partly because of Bhisma. Without Bhisma he may have lost a lot of alliance.
The second thought that comes to mind is that perhaps it was his sense of Duty to always to take blessings of his Guru first and all else to take secondary precedence.
Perhaps thirdly he just wants to please his teacher of his achievement? He perhaps wanted his teacher to be proud of his achievements. He thought the war was already won because he had invincible warriors on his side. The saying "Don't count your chickens before they are hatched" comes to mind. Unfortunately this is exactly what Duryodhan was about to do.
These are just some of my interpretations of the event that is unfolding before us.
18] Just pausing to reflect on this thought. We sometimes achieve something great in our life and we feel proud to have achieved it. Do we not feel the urge to share it with others? Is there anything wrong in that? Is then what Duryodhan was doing wrong?
I think sharing your good news or fortune is not always a bad thing. It just depends on how you go about celebrating it. Being boastful, taunting or saying it with pride are the wrong ways to speak of your achievements.
This then is another lesson we can learn from the Bhagvad Gita and adopt it.
19] Duryodhana had four people whom he could boast to about his army. They were 1) His father, 2) Bhisma 3) Dronacahray and 4) Karna (his best friend).
Since Karna and his Father were not on the battle field he could not tell them about his mighty army. Bhisma he did not get along with, so he approaches his Guru.
If we were to come across such a situation in our lives who would we go to first and why? For example if we went to receive our graduation certificate at the University. Who would you go and approach first with the graduation certificate? Your parents, teachers or friends?
Perhaps Duryodhan is in this very same situation and he has chosen to go to his Guru first. The Guru Disciple relationship is adhered to even at times of war. Let us not forget Duryodhan was an intelligent and generous man but unfortunately for him he fell into bad company from birth, namely his mama Sakhuni.
20] I want to expand on this situation which Duryodhan has put before us from a different angle. Hi ignores his commander and speaks to his Guru.
If someone did that to us, ie ignored us or told us some News lastly, `How do we receive such NEWS?'
In Sloka 12 we infact see Bhisma is encouraging Duryodhana and is not at all angry that Duryodhana did not approach him first.
Do we get upset if we are told some important news last? Perhaps a wedding date of your neighbours children, invitation to a party told last, promotion not told about, a new house someone bought but you dod not find out till many months later, some News you find out through gossip, etc etc
How do we receive certain News? Was your ego playing up? "You didn't tell us first. Are we not important to you?" "You told us last when we should have been told first!" "How is it that you told them first?"
The way receive the News is very important. If we allow ourselves to get upset then I it will often results in many unnecessary family arguments and ultimately break ups.
Dhrutarashtra said, "Sanjaya ! What did my people and the sons of Pandu, assembled with the desire of fighting in theDharmabhumi of Kurukshetra do ?" ------------------- 1
My personal thoughts on of the first sloka are....
1] When people want to learn something they start with a question. Likewise the Bhagavad-Gita starts with a very simple question. "What did my sons do?" It doesn't start with some great phrase or some grand explanation or some complex sentence or mantra.
2] Who is asking this question? It is a blind King. We were all blind when we were in search for the Truth. We have all asked questions to help us see the Truth.
3] Who does he ask? The popular phrase `a blind cannot lead the blind' comes to mind. He is asking Sanjay who is about dispel his darkness by explaining the events as they progress. But who is Sanjay? A mere charioteer? NO. At this moment in time he is more then just a charioteer. He is the most enlightened soul on this planet. He has been given the Divine sight of Past Present and Future. The Knowledge supreme! To hear from the mouth of one such as this we are all blessed today.
4] This may lead to some questions many will want to ask. Whom should we approach today when want to learn about God? How can we approach the right person to answer the questions ourheart desires to know? Who is the right Guru? Who is the right teacher for us? Swami Vivekanada and Swami Narayana both had the same problem and after searching long and hard they found a Guru who could answer their questions.
It is not my job to answer this question for anyone. Every soul reading this has to make this search by himself. Today many Hindus are seeking Knowledge. Learning through the internet like this or going to some satsang or reading a book by some good philosopher or some other means. Whatever, way you choose, I guess the important thing is that you try and attempt to understand this vast ocean of Great Knowledge that is our inheritance. We are so blessed that this Knowledge has come to us. It would be so sad if we did not attempt to read it and understand it.
5] How should we receive this Knowledge? Do we just sit and accept it blindly or try and analyse, discussand question it? As you will read later in the Bhagvada Gita it is better to analyse and question the answers to get a proper understanding then to just sit here blindly accepting whatever you are told. A proper understanding in my opinion is one where you are satisfied with the answer and when the cloud of doubt has been cleared from your own mind. Each of us will have different understanding of what we are taught but what is important is that we are happy with the end result.
6] What should be the end result? A result that makes us do Good Karma. I guess it's a simple as that.
7] King Dhrithrastra is asking the question. "What did my sons do…..". Only then he continues "…..and what did the sons of Pandu do?" Does Dhrithrastra speak of the Pandava brothers as someone foreign tohim? He calls them the sons of Pandu and not `my Nephews do'? He does not even bother to say `….my brother Pandus sons do'. Perhaps the war is imminent and he must choose the side he is on. Perhaps he says this because he is asking as a King and not as a relative to both parties. Perhaps he is just a concerned father. Perhaps he thinks an enemy is an enemy even if that enemy is relatedto him. Perhaps it is because there is great anger within him that does not allow him to recognise his cousins.
Consider our own lives. When we get into conflict or arguments we exchange bitter words with our relatives or friends or even wives; brothers and sisters or neighbours even. How much are we concerned that they were once very close to us? How much hatred and anger boils up? Anger and hate blinds us to the fact that those we hate right now, were once very dear to us. We forget all this and only remember the bad part of their lives and how much bad they have done to us and how much hurt they have caused you at this moment in time.
What happens after the heat of the moment? In our hate and anger we, may swear back or lash out or by way of other means. Once this awful deed is done we no longer feel those hate and anger. We sometimes feel sad, sorrow some may even feel relief if the hate is strong. It is a temporary emotional outburst. Some take longer to get over the anger-- days, months or even years. But once the anger and hate is gone and we think back as to what it was all about and what the purpose was, of all that fighting and say `What did I achieve with all that hate and anger?.' We may feel remorse, guilt and disappointment to the point of crying about it. We find that Dhritrastra too is building up with hate and anger. So much so that when Bhima comes before him after the great war, Krishnaplaces a stone image in front of the blind king knowing how much anger is built up in the King. Dhrithrastra does not even realise that he is embracing a stone and squeezes it till it is crushed into many pieces!
How should we deal with anger? We are all enlightened souls now and with the Knowledge of the Gita --perhaps when someone makes us angry or upsets us, hopefully we will be in a betterposition to control that hate and anger.
Don’t crush your lives, family, hopes and dreams by a moment of insanity. If we can remember that this anger, this hate is only temporary, if we can remember the love and affection, then perhaps we might not be so angry or spiteful to our loved ones or close friends when such a disagreement does occur. This is a good lesson of the Bhagvad Gita to take, to practice and to adopt in our lives.
8] God spoke to Arjuna but it is Sanjay who is telling us the dialogue. In the history of Bharata we have been lucky enough to receive countless Gurus Saints Teachers, Wise men, Mahatmas etc who have hallowed our land and who have in their own respective ways spread the wisdom of God through their Divine insight. A few saints are listed below.
9] Today those who are reading this let us pray to each and everyone of these Godmen. Let us remember all the Gurus big and small for their selfless action, wisdom and service to Sanatana Dharma.
Adi Shankracharya (788-820) Aghoreshwar Bhagwan Ramji b.1937 Akka Mahadevi Amar Jyoti Anand mayee Amma b.1896 Anandmurti Gurumaa Annada Thakur Appayya Dikshidar SWAMI ATMANANDA. Aurobindo.Baba Lokenath (1730-1890) Bengali Mystic. Bhadrachala Ramadas. Bhaskara Raya 1690-1785.Bodhendra Saraswati 17th century. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu 18th of February 1484-1527. Chandidasa 14th century. Chinmayananda.Chanakya. Dada Bhagwan aka Shri Ambalal Muljibhai Patel. Dr Niruben Amin.Dadu Dayal. Dariya Saheb.Dayanand Saraswati. Eknath 1533-1599. Franklin Merrell-Wolff. Gautam Buddha. Gopi Krishna. Gorakhnath. Guru Nanak 1469-1538. Gurudev Jangalidas Maharaj [Vishwatmak Gurudev]. Haridas. Indira Devi. J.Krishnamurthy. Jadunath Sinha was born in 1892. Jaggi Vasudev. Jayadeva 12th century. Jnaneshwar 1275-1298. Kabir 1398-1518. Krishnamacharya b 1888. Madhwacharya 1199-1278. MahaMahopadhyaya Pt Gopinath Kaviraj ji. Maharish Mahesh yogi b.1917. Maharishi Vedvyasa. Mahavir.Manav Dharma Shri Satpal Ji Maharaj. Meherbaba.Mira Bai 1498-1547. Morari Bapu. Muktananda (1908 - 1982). Muthuswami Dikshidar 1775-1835. Nadamuni (825-918). Namadeva 1270-1350. Narayana Bhattadri. Nardanand b.1958. Narsi Mehta 1414-1481. Neem Karoli Baba Maharajji. Nityananda b. about 1896. Nityananda (d. 1961). Osho Rajneesh. Pandurang Shastri Athavale b. Oct. 19, 1920 –2003. Paramsant Dr. Chaturbhuj Sahai Ji. Parmahansa Yogananda. Patanjali. Panini. Paul Twitchell. Pillai Lokacharya 1264-1327. Prahlad Chandra Brahmachari [b. between 1900 and 1910?]. Pt. Shriram Sharma Acharya. Pujya Asaram Ji Bapu. Purandara Dasa 1480-1564. Raidas or Ravidas 15th century. Rama of the Himalayas. Rama Tirtha. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa 1836-1886. Ramakrishna Parmahamsa 1836-. Ramana Maharshi 1879-1950. Ramananda 1299-1410. Ramanujacharya. Ramaprasad 1718-1775. Ramdev Ji Maharaj. Ramesh Balsekar. Rameshbhai Oza. Rawatpura Sarkar. Sadasiva Brahmendra. Sadhu Vaswani. Sai Baba. Samarth Ramdas 1608-1682. Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. Sathya Sai Maharaj. Shivom Tirth was born in 1924. Shri Shri Ravi Shankar. Shriram Sharma Acharya B 1911. Shyama Sastri 1762-1827. Sri Sri Srimannarayana Ramanuja Chinna Jeeyar. Sridhar Swami Maharaj. Srila Prabhupada September 1st, 1896 --- 14 November 1977. Surdas 1478-1581. Swami Radha B. 1911. Swami Narayan 1781-1830. Swami Satchidananda. Swami Tapovan Maharaj of Uttarkasi. Talapaka Annamacharya 15th century. Ten Gurus of Sikhism. Thayumanavar 1705-1742. The Twelve Alwars. Thiru Muruga Kirupanandha Variyar, Variyar Swamigal. Thyagaraja Swami 1759-1547. Tukaram 1598-1650. Tulsidas 1497-1623. Dada Vasvani. Vallabhacharya 1473-1531. Vamaksepa b.1837 - Bengali saint. Vedanta Desikacharya 1269-1369. Swami Venkatesananda. Vidyapati 1350-1450. Vidyaranya 14th century. Vinoba Bhave September 11, 1895. VISHUDDHANANDA PARAMHAMSA. Vivekananda. Walt Baptiste. Yamunacharya. Yogeshwar. Zarathustra. The Sixty-three Saiva Saints (Nayanmars).
10] I have not commented on the words used by Dhrthrastra with regards to the battlefield being sacred. Please leave your thoughts on this meaning.