Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1: Verses 40 - 44

Imagining a trail of disaster

Kulakshaye Pranashyanthi Kuladharmah Sanathanaha
Dharme Nashte Kulam Krithsnam Adharmobhibhavathyutha

Adharmabhibhavath Krishna Pradushyanthi Kulasthriyaha
Streeshu Dushtasu Varshneya Jayate Varnasankaraha

Sankaro Narakayaiva Kulghnanam Kulasya cha
Patanti Pitaro Hyesham Lupthapindodaka Kriyaha

Doshairetaih Kulaghnananam Varnasankara Karakaihi
Utsadyante Jatidharmaha Kuladharmascha Shashwathaha

Utsanna Kuladharmanam Manushyanam Janardana
Narake Niyatam Vasaha Bhavatheethyanushushruma


Arjuna forebodes a trail of disasters by fighting the war. He said it will lead to a decadence of clans when the traditional balance of family customs perished. This would be followed by anarchy.
Oh Krishna, when there is lawlessness, this would lead to the corruption of the minds of women. When such a corruption happened, there would be a mixture of different classes, Oh leader of the Vrishni race!
When family relationships go haywire, both the members of the clan and those who destroy it go to hell. The spirit of the ancestors will suffer without legitimate progeny to perform rites and obsequies with rice balls (Pinda Danam) and water.
By the actions of those who ruin the clan, the traditions of communities carried out from time immemorial would get disrupted.
Oh Janardana, we have heard that a place awaits in hell surely for those whose religious traditions have been lost, says Arjuna.
These lines reveal several details on the importance attached then to following the customs and traditional practices and the prevalent traditions in society, the system of castes, the culture of performing ancestral rites.
It should also be noted here that Krishna, is aware that in the context of the war, these were the consequent results. Yet he goads Arjuna to participate in the war. This reveals that prevalence of customs and traditions and religious practices are not in the hands of individuals, but are shaped by a higher destiny and force in the scheme of the immemorial Sanatana Dharma or Eternal Religion. The change in the cultures and traditions of many countries and peoples over the centuries ever since the evolution of man, proves this point.
- Swahilya Shambhavi.
(Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Vignana Bhairava Tantra.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bhagavad Gita : Chapter 1: Verses: 37-39


Tasmannarha Vayam Hanthum Dhartharashtran Swabandhavan
Swajanam hi Katham Hathwa Sukhinah Syama Madhava

Yadyapyete Na Pashyanthi Lobhopahatha Chethasaha
Kulakshaya Kritham Dosham Mitradrohe Chapathakam

Katham na Gneyamasmabhihi Papadasman Nivarthithum
Kulakshaya Kritam Dosham Prapashyadbhir Janardhana
Oh Madhava, it is not therefore the right thing to do by killing my relatives, the sons of Dhritarashtra. Where is the happiness on slaughter of one's own kinsmen.
The intelligence of these people is overpowered by greed O Janardhana. They do not see any evil in their families perishing and any sin in the persecution of friends. But we who are aware of the evil of such decay of families, shouldn't we refrain from that sin?

Arjuna continues with the justification for his point of view. Especially when a strong ego as Arjuna's, the period of pontification, argumentation or justification of his point of view will go on and on, till at one point he got absolutely tired and exhausted and surrendered to the superior counsel and wisdom, when there is no other go.
The way is clear not through the justification, arguments and confusion, but when all the noises of the mind died down in complete surrender to the divine wisdom that is present at all times. The only requirement to be able to listen to the counsel is the silence of the mind. - Swahilya Shambhavi.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 1 - Verses: 35 - 36

Self Pity

Etanna Hantumicchami Ghnatopi Madhusudhana
Api Trailokya Rajyasya Hetoh Kim Nu Mahi Krite
Nihatya Dhartharashtrannaha Ka Preeti syajjanardana
Papamevashrayedasman Hatwaita Natatayinaha
Hey Madhusudhana, even if I am killed, I do not desire to kill. If I don't wish to become the king of even the three worlds - much less can be said about this kingdom on the earth!
Oh Janardhana, what joy can we experience after all, after killing the sons of Dhritarashtra.
The lamentation of Arjuna now gives way to self pity. And when analysing all the needs, not to fight, justifying himself, he begins to list his reasons. that he does not wish for the three worlds, leave alone the earth.
Even though it is not a sin to kill those who commit heinous crimes, he argues that he is not going to get joy out of killing them. Moreover, only sin will come out of it, he believes.
When we set a difficult goal or target, there is a sudden wish to backtrack and we rationalise our decision by saying that we don't after all want to achieve any ambitious goals.
While suggesting that he is not going to derive any joy out of fighting in the war, Arjuna forgets that he is the defender of the dignity of the Pandavas and not there to experience any personal joy. It is a classic case of one who lets personal emotions with relationships blind his sense of duty. - Swahilya Shambhavi.
(Picture: Sri Krishna is the role model for many today, after several thousands of years since he lived. This little child dressed up as Krishna for a dance performance at the Pongal Vizha of the Chicago Tamil Sangam, USA.)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 1: Verses 33-34

The Lamenting Mind

Yeshamarthe Kankshitham Naha Rajyam Bhoga Sukhanicha
Ta Imevasthitha Yuddhe Pranamsthyakthwa Dhananicha

Acharyah Pitarah Putraha Tathaivacha Pitamahaha
Matulah Shwashurah Pauthraha Syala Sambandhinasthatha


Arjuna continues with ascertaining the excusing, seeking the support of Sri Krishna for his point of vies. The very teachers, fathers and sons, grand fathers, uncles, fathers-in-law and other relatives - for whose sake we desire kingdoms, enjoyment and pleasures - are lined up here ready to give their lives.

The battle lines are clearly drawn and all of Arjuna's teachers, relatives and dear ones are clearly in the opposite camp, ready to fight the Pandavas. This is a context where there is no room for doubt. Yet, the lamenting mind is not ready to see the truth on the face.

In a confusing situation where one is faced with a moral dilemma, the first requirement is quietude of mind, watching the various emotions that well up, with the beacon light of awareness. As the Zen proverb says, the need in such a crisis is to first "Shut up and Sit Down." - Swahilya Shambhavi.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 1: Verses 31 32

What the mind wants to see, it sees

Nimithani cha pashyami Vipareetani Keshava
Nacha Shreyonupashyami Hathwa Swajanamahave

Nakankshe Vijayam Krishna Nacha Rajyam Sukhanicha
Kim No Rajyena Govinda Kimbhogair Jivitena Va


Oh Keshava, I see ill omens. I do not feel that any good will come out of killing one's own relatives.

I do not long for victory oh Krishna, neither kingdom nor enjoyment. Of what use is kingdom, enjoyment or even life itself after I kill my relatives in war?

There are a thousand fears that crop up in a disturbed mind. When an action has to be performed, yet some fear creeps in, it is the nature of the mind to come forward with many excuses, examples, ill omens or just anything to prevent performance. The mind has the power to show what it wants to believe. So in that way, Arjuna's mind, gripped by fear and uncertanty, is coming up with several invalid excuses one after another.

When an individual has taken up a major project or a resolution, his or her intellect has sat up and rolled up the sleeves to get ready. But the mind which is used to the ordinary ways of laziness and pursuing small goals or not seeing the ultimate picture, will resist in many ways - throwing tantrums like a child. The intellect governed by consciousness should be able to identify the tantrums and go ahead with its decision. - Swahilya Shambhavi.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 1: Verses 28-30

Signs of Distress

Krupaya Paraya Vishtaha Vishidannidamabravith
Arjuna Uvacha
Drishtwemam Swajanam Krishna Yuyutsum Samupasthitham

Sidanti Mama Gathrani Mukhamcha Parishushyathi
Vepathushcha Shareereme Romaharshashcha Jayathe

Gandivam Sramsate Hasthath Twakchaiva Paridahyate
Nacha Shaknomyavasthathum Bhramativacha Me Manaha.


Overcome with supreme pity, the sorrowing Arjuna said, "Seeing these relatives of mine, eager to fight, my limbs feel weak and give way, my mouth is parched, my body trembles and my hair stands on end (horripilating).

My bow, the Gandiva is slipping from my hands. My skin burns and it is not possible for me to stand alone and my mind is spinning at such a sight.

What Arjuna is facing now can be equated with the examination fear, stage fright or the interview jitters. Though a talented archer, his powerful Gandiva is slipping out of his hands, showing that he is so confused and siezed with fear that he is beginning to forget his duty. The relationships that he sees around confuses his mind. These are the signs of a person who is beginning to lose contact with the awareness, consciousness or the innerself. A person who has let the developments and situations outside, disturb his thoughts and upset his firmness of resolve. Forgetfulness, parched mouth, trembling fear, feverishness, shivering with fright and horripilation are a sign that some weakness has siezed the mind and has to be immediately attended to. If left unattended, it may lead to faulty thoughts followed by actions that lead to further chaos, leading the person further away from the truth. Luckily for Arjuna, there was a Sri Krishna to watch his behaviour and guide him through. In daily life, when we face such situations, such guidance can come through a Guru, a person, a book, an advertisement hoarding, a bird, a butterfly, a child or just from a casual word uttered by someone. All one has to do is just be aware and watch. The answer will spring. - Swahilya Shambhavi.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 1: Verses 24-27

Relating to the present moment
Sanjaya Uvacha

Evamukto Hrishikeshaha Gudakeshena Bharatha
Senayorubhayor Madhye Sthapayithva Rathothamam

Bhishma Drona Pramukhataha Sarvesham Cha Mahikshitham
Uvacha Partha Pashyaitan Samavetan Kuruniti

Tatra Pashyathsthithan Parthaha Pitrunatha Pithamahan
Acharyan Matulan Bhrathrun Puthran Pauthran Sakhimsthatha

Shwashuran Suhrudaschaiva Senaiyorubhayorapi
Tansamiksha Sa Kaunteya Sarvan Bandhun Avasthithan.


Sanjaya said: Oh Kind Dhritarashtra! Sri Krishna stopped the most splendid of the chariots between both the armies and told Gudakesha - the conquerer of sleep - Arjuna: Oh Arjuna! See these men of the Kuru horde assembled for battle."

There he saw in both the armies, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, friends, fathers-in-law and soulmates.

Relationships and friendships happen in life in different situations. But life is a permanently changing phenomenon and the friend of today can find him or herself in the enemy camp of tomorrow. The closest of relatives or cousins can be in the opposition team, decided by situations and circumstances.

Being in the present moment demands exceptional courage to act with presence of mind, instead of being torn and disturbed by the relationships of the past or anxieties of the future. This is a crisis that has confronted the valiant Arjuna. - Swahilya Shambhavi.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bhagavad Gita - Chapter 1:Verses 20- 23

Moving from sound to silence

Atha Vyavasthithan Drishtwa Dhartharashtran Kapidhwajaha
Pravrutte Shastrasampate Dhanurudhyamya Pandavaha

Hrishikesham Tada Vakyam Idamaha Mahipate
Arjuna Uvacha:
Senayorubhayormadhya Ratham Sthapayamechyuta

Yavadetan Niriksheham Yodhu kaman Avasthithan
Kairmaya Sahayodhdhavyam Asmin Rana Samudhyame

Yotsyamanan Aveksheham Yayetetra Samagataha
Dhartharashtrasya Durbudhdheh Yuddhe Priya Chikirshavaha.


Oh King, Arjuna, the Pandava leader with the banner of a monkey (Hanuman), on seeing the followers of Dhritarashtra arrayed for the battle and the war about to begin, holding up his bow, told Sri Krishna:

"Oh Achyuta! Please stop my chariot between the two armies so that I can see all those ready to fight and who are the persons, I have to contend with on the eve of the battle.

Let me also see those who are on the side of the evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra and are ready to join the battle."

When all the noise outside raises and subsides, only then does the mind settle down to see the truth. Arjuna asks Krishna to stop the chariot in the space between the armies as he wishes to take stock of the people he has to fight. Settling down after encountering the chaos of the world outside is the first to meditation. The sounds outside create a similar heightening of the energies experienced within. When the sounds drop, there is also a sympathetic sudden drop in the vibrations of the sound within, helping the individual to experience the silence that always existed. This helps the mind to emerge with some clarity in the midst of chaos. And it is clarity that will aid further action rooted in the truth. - Swahilya Shambhavi.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 1: Verses 12 - 19

The call of the conch

Tasya Sanjanayan Harsham Kuruvriddhah Pitamahaha
Simhanadam Vinadyochaih Shankham Dadhmau Pratapavan

Tatah Shankhascha Bheryascha Panavanaka Gomukhaha
Sahasaivabhya Hanyantha Sashabdhas Tumulobhavath

Tatah Shwetair Hayairyukte Mahatisyandane Sthithau
Madhavah Pandavaschaiva Divyau Shankhau Pradhadhmathuhu

Panchajanyam Hrishikeshaha Devadattam Dhananjayah
Paundram Dadhmau Mahashankham Bhimakarma Vrikodaraha

Anantha Vijayam Raja Kuntiputro Yudhishtiraha
Nakulah Sahadevascha Sughosha Manipushpakau

Kashyascha Parameshvasaha Shikhandicha Maharathaha
Dhrishtadhyumno Viratascha Satyakischaparajithaha

Drupado Draupadeyascha Sarvashah Prithivipathehe
Saubhadrascha Mahabahuhu Shankhan Dadhmuh Prithak Prithak

Saghosho Dhartharastrannam Hridayanivyadarayath
Nabhascha Prithivim Chaiva Tumulovyanunadayan.

Even as Duryodhana was beginning to express doubts, the powerful grandfather Bhishma, seniormost of the Kuru dynasty, blew his conch shell in a high pitch, sounding like the roar of a lion, in an attempt to cheer him up.

As if taing the cue, conchs, kettle-drums, tabors, military drums and cowhorns began blaring out, causing a tremendous sound.

Then Krishna and Arjuna, seated in a great chariot yoked with white horses, blew their celestial conch-shell horns.

Sri Krishna sounded the Panchajanya. Arjuna blew his Devadatta. Bhima - the man or terrible deeds, sounded his conch, Paundram.

Yudhistira, the king and the eldest of the sons of Kunti, sounded the Anantavijaya, Nakula and Sahadeva blew at their Sughosha and Manipushpaka.

The great archer and King of Kashi, Shikhandi the mighty car-warrior, Dhristadhyumna, Virata and the invincible Satyaki, the King of Drupada, the sons of Draupadi, the strong-armed son of Subhadra - all of them sounded their conch shell horns again and again, every where, oh King, Sanjaya narrates to Dhritarashtra.

The earth and the sky reverberated with the resounding uproar of the tumultous conch shells, piercing the hearts of the followers of Dhritarashtra.

The conch has an important role to play in many religious and spiritual traditions. The blowing of the conch usually symbolises the beginning of prayer. It is rather like a calling attention motion! The sound of the conch, drums and horns have the capacity to overpower the wavering mind and bring it immediately to the present moment. If meditation is about drawing oneself to the present moment - the sound of the conch and other musical instruments serve as a mighty distractive force to finally attract the mind and bring it to the silence of the present moment. Just as all the players in the war sounded the conch to get their minds alert for the war, disturbing situations outside can often be shoved aside with a strong mental resolve just like the call of the conch, to gather oneself to be with the silence of consciousness. Settling down to some quietude is the precursor to the birth of clarity. - Swahilya Shambhavi.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Bhagavad Gita - Chapter 1:Verses 10 & 11

Aparyaptham Tadasmakam Balam Bhishmabhirakshitham

Paryaptham Twidametesham Balam Bhimabhirakshitham

Ayaneshu cha Sarveshu Yatha Bhagamavasthithah

Bhishmamevabhirakshanthu Bhavanthas Sarva Eva Hi.


There are contradictory interpretations to the verse by many. One is that, defended by the skillful and powerful Bhishma, our army is more than adequate in strength and defended by the strength of Bhima, the Pandava army is inadequate. But the word Aparyaptham is interpreted as less than adequate, in conjunction with the next verse in which Duryodhana orders his army to take their positions to protect Bhishma. The whole army of Duryodhana is protected by the power of Bhishma, but he has to be protected from getting injured as there are people of the Pandava army such as Shikhandi whom Bhishma would not fight back, even if he was attacked by them.

The crisis of Duryodhana is the crisis which many of us face, when we rely on the outside world, rather than the inner soul force for our support. Like Duryodhana's wrong identification with the physical body of Bhishma, which he directs his army to protect, while in truth, the power or soul force that Bhishma wields is the one that offers protection to the Kauravas, the wrong identification with the outside appearances and the pbhysical body can lead to a depletion of energy.

- Swahilya Shambhavi

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 1 - Verses 7-9

Asmakam tu Vishishtaye Tannibodha Dwijothama
Nayaka Mamasainyasya Samgnartham Tan Bravimite

Bhavan Bhishmascha Karnascha Kripascha Samitinjayaha
Ashwathama Vikarnascha Saumadattir Jayadrathaha

Anye Cha Bahavashuraha Madarthe Tyakta Jivithaha
Nana Shastra Praharanaha Sarve Yuddha Visharadaha.

Duryodhana gathers his own confidence by addressing his Guru in exhalting terms as Dwijothama, or twice born. It means a person who has realised the spiritual truth. "On our side, I shall now mention to you the distinguished leaders of the army.

Yourself, Bhishma, Karna, the victorious Kripa, Ashwathama, Vikarna, son of Somadatta and Jayadratha.

There are many more brave men, who are ready to lay down their lives for my sake. They are capable of fighting with different weapons and all of them are seasoned warriors.

Duryodhana here reveals the qualities of a person making an attempt to get into the present moment, looking at the positive side of things, even at the last moment. Though there is a lurking fear of defeat, he does not allow himself to get overwhelmed and begins to count his strengths, starting from the spiritual power of his Guru. It may also be noted here that he is focussing more only on the physical prowess of his army, unlike Arjuna an accomplished warrior for whom the battle field becomes a place for contemplation and reflection.

Duryodhana gives some techniques for efficient crisis management by positive thinking. By highlighting the strengths, he not only allays his own fears, but also gives confidence to the other members of the army.

The Bhagavad Gita is increasingly becoming a text for study by management students and Duryodhana's stock-taking of valiant members of his team, points towards a confidence building exercise to boost the morale of a team in corporate management, particularly in the face of a crisis. It does not help a team leader to pick holes at such moments, but to encourage and provide support, as Duryodhana does.
- Swahilya Shambhavi.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Bhagavad Gita- Chapter 1: Verses 4-6

Atra Shura Maheshwasaha Bhimarjuna Samayudhi
Yuyudhano Viratascha Drupadascha Maharathaha.

Dhristhaketuschekitanaha Kashirajascha Veeryavan
Purujit Kuntibhojascha Shaibyascha Narapungavaha.

Yudhamanyuscha Vikranthaha Uttamaujascha Veeryavan
Saubhadrau Draupadeyascha Sarva Eva Maharathaha.

In the three verses, the rattled Duryodhana narrates the name of all the warriors in the enemy camp. They are all the valiant bowmen of repute, equalling Bhima and Arjuna in battle, Yuyudhana, Virata and Drupada are the great chariot warriors.
Dhristaketu, Chekitana, the brave king of Kashi, Purujit, Kuntibhoja and Saibya - the best among men.
The powerful Yudhamanyu, the brave Uttamauja, the son of Subhadra, the sons of Draupadi - all of them are great warriors on the chariot. Maharathas are warriors who have the quality of protecting themselves, the charioteer and the horses from the enemies and fighting simultaneously against 16,000 warriors.
Duryodhana has been vanquished many a time by Bhima and Arjuna and now he sees all the warriors in the enemy camp equal to them in valour.
When the mind is diffident, it goes into a state of despondency. In such a state, it can see all the strong points of the enemy. As is the case of Duryodhana here, he is being dragged further and further down as he counts the strengths of his opponents, weakening himself further.
- Swahilya Shambhavi.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Bhagavad Gita - Chapter 1 Verse 3

Pashyaitam Panduputhranam Acharya Mahathim Chamum
Vyudam Drupadaputhrena Tava Sishyena Dhimatha.
Sanjaya continues his reporting of the events of war to Dhritarashtra. He narrates in this verse, what Duryodhana tells his Guru, Dronacharya.

Oh Master, see this mighty army of the sons of Pandu, the Pandavas, arrayed in battle order by your very talented disciple - the son of Drupada - Dhrishtadhyumna.

Duryodhana's words reflect the restlessness of one who perceives defeat. He calls the Pandava army as very big, though it is very small in numbers, compared to his own. He runs up to his master to ask him to see his brilliant disciple Dhrishtadhyumna and refers in superlative terms about how well he has arranged the army.

Fear is the worst enemy in times of a crisis. Despite the presence of his teacher on his side, Duryodhana is afraid of a fellow disciple in the opposite camp. He also calls the Pandavas as Pandu Putra - the sons of Pandu and Dhrishtadhyumna as the son of Drupada. Again, an unsettled mind draws in the anxieties and enemities from the past and fails to be in the present moment.

Duryodhana again reveals here the frailties of a mind that is not rooted to the source, established in the inner self. A mind that is lost in the developments of the world outside is tormented by what it sees, knows no peace and cannot be successful in what it does. The very fears of Duryodhana leads him to the situation he fears - defeat and death.

The law of attraction is that, what you ask for, that you get. Here Duryodhana does not have any control over his fears, and eventually, what he feared materialises. - Swahilya Shambhavi.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sanjaya speaks...: Chapter 1 - Verse 2

Sanjaya Uvacha:

Drishtvatu Pandavanikam Vyudam Duryodhanasthada
Acharyam Upasangamya Raja Vachanamabravith.
Sanjaya begins his narration of all that he saw in the war, including the imparting of the Gita by Sri Krishna to Arjuna. On being questioned by Dhritarashtra, he tells him that the King Duryodhana, upset on seeing the army of the Pandavas which seemed confident in his eyes, ran up to his Acharya - preceptor and spoke these words.

The mind is often taken aback when it perceives the world as it comes closing in. Especially if the mind such as Duryodhana's, which has gone many a time on a rampage, scheming, planning and committing atrocities that disturb the smooth functioning of society.

Duryodhana's restlessness is evident in the manner in which he is plagued by fear of the mere presence of the Pandavas and running up to his Guru for help. Duryodhana is an example for what befalls a humanbeing who does not live a life in tune with the conscious divine principle and follows the path of Adharma - performing actions against the cosmic order.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Poised for battle -Chapter 1 -Verse 1

Dhritarashtra Uvacha:

Dharmakshethre Kurukshethre Samaveta Yuyutsavaha
Mamakah Pandavashchaiva Kimakurvatha Sanjaya?

Dhritarashtra is blind. He is the personification of the ignorant mind, torn by desires and confusion. He cannot hence see the reality. Since he cannot perceive the truth, he sits in the camp of Adharma - as the father of the Kauravas.

For one who cannot see, he needs the guidance of Sanjaya, his charioteer, to narrate the events of the Mahabharatha war. Sanjaya is also the one who sees the truth. Hence he tried to mediate between the Pandavas and the Kauravas to peacefully settle the dispute, but failed.

Dharma has many meanings. The predominant one though is sustenance. Kshethra means place. The Bhagavad Gita is the essence of the Mahabharatha epic. The essence of the epic story is the same essence of our life too. Dharmakshethra is this being of the five koshas or sheaths - Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vignanamaya and Anandamaya Kosha - the layers of the body made of food, energy, mind, intellect and bliss.

A text like the Bhagavad Gita, is like the Himalayas. Each time you go deeper and deeper into it, the pearls of wisdom can reveal newer insights and meanings. So, dispelling doubts that it is just a part of an epic story, we can delve deep into this treasure trove and emerge with subtle truths from the mine of consciousness.

The five koshas of each individual are the five koshas of all humans, of existence put together. Dharmakshethra hence is the whole Universe and all that happens in it. The base for this Dharmakshethra is the planet Earth, since we live on this spaceship.

Kurukshethra is the battlefield of the descendants of the Kuru clan, the Kauravas. But in our context her, it refers to the battlefield in the Dharmakshethra. In this being of ours - individual and collective, where dharma or the natural order prevails, there can be a battle of forces once in a while, when it turns into a Kurukshethra - battlefield.

Samaveta means the equally poised forces. Where is the equality here between an army of five members - the Pandavas and of the hundred brothers of the Kauravas? Well, this is a beautiful instance to show that might is not in mere numbers, but the quality of contemplation within.

The Kauravas represent the mind which is torn by distress, anger, jealousy, hatred, frustration and many chaotic emotions. Hundred is just an approximate representation for the different qualities of the mind expressed by the sons of Dhritarashtra.

The Pandavas are just five. When the five organs of perception are lost in the happenings of the world, they become the Kauravas and wreak havoc on others and on themselves too. But the same five organs, when they turn inward and depend solely on the unseen force called consciousness - Sri Krishna, victory is on their side.

Yuyutsavaha means to be desirous of fighting. Though they may be cousins, friends or members of the family - when arrayed in the opposite camps in the battlefield, fighting is the order and there is no running away. Life goes on smoothly each day. But there may be occasions when the unexpected happens and it is time to take hard decisions.

Then one has to act and be in the present moment - the most important quality in the battlefield. A moment missed in the now means death. When the moment comes, one has to be ready to face challenges head on, with courage and wisdom.

Mamakaha: Dhritarashtra is referring to his sons and the Pandavaha to the Pandavas and asks Sanjaya to narrate to him what they did after positioning themselves against each other. Dhritarashtra comes through as a wavering mind, torn by his guilt for neglecting the Pandavas, his brother's sons and his blind love for his sons failing to act against their grave misdemeanourin many instances.

Thogh he is incapable, he harbours great anger towards Bhima, for killing his son in the battlefield and attempts to kill him in a feigned loving embrace. A blind mind cannot see the truth, how much ever it may try. It needs to surrender to the wisdom of one who can see and in this case, it is Sanjaya who also has ben endowed with the divine vision like Arjuna.

An important point to note in the Bhagavad Gita is that - all the different characters here do not refer to different people. So all the fights among people about tracing the descendants of the Pandava and the Kaurava races to date are farcical. The Kaurava is you, the Pandava is you, the Dhritarashtra is you, the Sanjaya is you and eventually the clear intellect of Sri Krishna - acting with poise in the battlefield, submerged in the consciousness of divine wisdom is also You!

The Bhagavad Gita is a journey from a mind torn by confusion to a consciousness which shows the light for life in a dark world.

- Swahilya Shambhavi.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The song of the bamboo

Bamboo Wisdom

The Bhagavad Gita, words of consciousness - flowed from the lips of the cowherd king who revelled in the strains of the flute that he played. Just as the formless wind that flows through the different holes of the flute that creates the music of the soul, the words Sri Krishna spoke to Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshethra rings as music to the ears torn asunder by chaos and turmoil in the everchanging word.

So Bamboo Wisdom is about each verse of the Bhaqgavad Gita, not as a text for glorifying some bygone era, but for its relevance today, now, in the present moment. Tune in to the music of the bamboo, wafting the essence of eternal wisdom.


Arjuna Vishada Yoga: Chaos is the precursor to cosmos. Just so, confusion is a prelude to clarity. Arjuna, the great warrior, skilled in archery, adept in concentration, bestowed with divine power, is a blessed fighter who knew no fear. Yet, confronted by his teachers, relatives and friends in the enemy camp, he is confused, shaken and cannot be his agile self. Doubts cross his mind like a storm.

This is not an Arjuna that lived in some mythological past, but the ordinary human being of today. Technology and organisation have provided all the comforts that even kings of the past did not enjoy. From simple questions like why should I work? What is the meaning for my life? What should I do? Why should I be part of this rat race? Is there no liberation from a life so full of sorrow, sadness, disaster, war, terrorism, bomb blasts and deaths? Every moment is beset with doubts and fear. Even the few happy moments are eventually lost in the fear of that happiness slipping away.

What is that changeless one absolute in this chaotic world of change? The confusion of Arjuna is our confusion too. The words flowing from the depths of consciousness from the friend-turned Guru and mentor - Sri Krishna, are the words of clarity flowing from the depths of our own being. The confused mind that asks questions throughout the Bhagavad Gita is Arjuna and the clarity of reply is from the intellect submerged in Consciousness - that is Krishna. Both are one and the same person - the mind is you, the consciousness is you. The doubt is you and the solution is you. The Arjuna is You and the Sri Krishna is also you.
So here go the words of wisdom, flowing through this bamboo flute....
- Swahilya Shambhavi.