This article on Srimad Bhagavadgita is to shed light on the purpose and the circumstances under which the knowledge of eternal truth was uttered by Krishna.
The series of narrations on adhyatma by Krishna is one of the most dramatic events that takes place in the Mahabharata. The reader has the task of not only understanding the knowledge conveyed by Krishna, but also to understand why he chose such an occasion to deliver his talk to Arjuna.
Apart from the shlokas, there is a lot to understand from the scenarios in which the Gita is told. It is important to look into these scenarios logically and sensibly. Thus, in this writing, emphasis is given on these scenarios.
The entire Gita narration involves four characters, namely, Krishna, Arjuna, Sanjaya and Dritharashtra. This number ‘four’ has a spiritual significance. The deep analysis of the numerology opens up an entirely new world before us. Great amount of information is often encoded as numbers. Thus, by involving four characters in his narration, Krishna gives us an inkling as to what one should prioritize in one’s life.
Contemplating on the symbolisms of the number four (4):
- It denotes four “purushaarthas” – dharma, artha, kaama and mokshaaha. dharma, simply as righteousness; artha, simply as wealth; kaama, simply as desires; and moksha, simply as liberation. These are the guiding principles of life. Thus, through four characters, Bhagavadgita expounds on the four goals of human life.
- It represents completeness. The square, a four-sided figure is the first geometrically inherent regular shape. It is regular by its definition. It is the symbol of perfectness. Spiritually, 0 or circle represents paramaathma, since 0 or circle denotes inclusiveness. Human life can be thought of as a square, with four purushaarthas representing four sides of a square. This square can be suited to inscribe in a circle, by suitable geometrical calculations. In the same way, the athma can conjoin paramaathma, by acquiring knowledge of the self. In Bhagavadgita, the detailed understanding and exercise of the essence of four characters (four sides of square) can lead to moksha (conjoining paramaathma), the ultimate aim of life.
- It represents the four Vedas(knowledge).Therefore, the four characters in Bhagavadgita, representing four vedas, carries the essence of all the four sources of knowledge.
- It represents four cardinal directions. Bhagavadgita thus emphasizes its unimpeded scope, regardless of the stream of knowledge.The problem of human suffering and happiness can be boiled down to a few questions, the answers to which can be found in Bhagavadgita.
All the above points are emphasized just by the number of characters. This can be understood even more clearly when one dives deep into the Gita.
The most eerie thing in Bhagavadgita is the place where it was uttered. Generally, learning takes place in a peaceful and blissful environment. But here, a series of lectures on spirituality was delivered on the battlefield! The place which was supposed to witness petrifying bloodshed, became the platform for a spiritual discourse. It was at the center of eighteen akshohini armies that this conversation on truth took place.
- one elephant, one chariot, three horses and five foot soldiers form one patti.
- 3 pattis = 1 Senamukha.
- 3 Senamukhas = 1 Gulma.
- 3 Gulmas = 1 Gana.
- 3 Ganas = 1 Vaahini.
- 3 Vaahinis = 1 Prithana.
- 3 Prithanas = 1 Chamoo.
- 3 Chamoos = 1 Aneekini.
- 10 Aneekinis = 1 Akshohini.
So, a total of 21,870 elephants; 21,870 chariots; 65,610 horses; 1,09,350 foot-soldiers form one akshohini .A total of 39,36,600 people,apart from warriors, were there on the battlefield.
Now,what was the necessity for Krishna to give such a long discourse amidst such a horde? Why didn’t he tell Arjuna before the war itself, somewhere at a peaceful place? Was Krishna not intelligent enough to assess the situation? Prima facie, all such questions naturally arise. But we need to look in through a reasoning lens. Through this strange conduct, Krishna imparts something important to people of all times.
Bhagavadgita is a conversation between a Nara (Human, Arjuna) and Narayana (Paramaathma, Krishna), where Nara is requesting Narayana to free him from all the doubts and problems. Arjuna surrendered himself completely to Krishna and was seen kneeling before Krishna.
In our daily lives, we come across umpteen number of problems and responsibilities. Here too, Arjuna is having in front of him, his Kaurava cousins, his gurus – Bhishma and Drona whom he has to fight in battle. On his side, he has his brothers and children fighting alongside him. Their well-being and safety is his responsibility. On the other hand, proving his strength, skill, and knowledge in the battlefield is his karma (simply as work). Arjuna’s mental condition was surely no better than the condition of almost all the people around the world, even to this day, to this moment. But he was surely more intelligent than all of us, because he knew where the solution to his confusion could be found, that is Krishna. Thus, he bowed down before Krishna (Paramaathma) and Krishna cleared his confusion. By this, Krishna points out that, no matter what your situation, if you offer your problems to the Paramaathma, beyond diffidence, he will surely help you.
In other words, if our mind is Kurukshetra, there is a huge army on either side. These are our problems and responsibilities. We should become Arjuna. Arjuna, kneeling down before Paramaathma, who is always there to help us out. We should not flow away with our problems, instead we should flow against our problems, towards the solution to our problems (Paramaathma).
This was the message intended to be given to the world, through this scene. Therefore, none of Krishna’s actions were accidental but intentional. He was highly brilliant in utilizing each and every situation. This is one amongst the many things Krishna tried to educate us through this scene.
(Note: Words ‘athma’, ‘paramaathma’ had to be used deliberately owing to the non-translatability of these Sanskrit words to English. Certainly, ’soul’, ‘God’ aren’t fit replacements).
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