Sunday, 16 August 2015

74) Notes on the Gita: Shloka 1: The Cause of The Mahabharata and its relevance

The Gita begins with this verse:-

धृतराष्ट्र उवाच
धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः ।
मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत सञ्जय ॥ १-१॥

dhṛtarāṣṭra uvāca dharmakṣetre kurukṣetre samavetā yuyutsavaḥ
māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś caiva kim akurvata sañjaya 1.1

The blind emperor Dhritarashtra asked the oracle:
“Gathered together in Kurukshetra to battle
Assembled eagerly to prove their mettle
The Pandavas and my Karuavas poised for a fight
O Sanjaya! What happened there? Share your Divine sight” |1|

The epic poem -Bhagavad Gita opens with the above verse wherein the blind emperor, Dhritarashtra asks the oracle- Sanjaya to narrate the events occuring at Kurukshetra. A massive family feud that would ultimately lead only in the destruction of innumerable lives and widespread carnage was about to take place. Massive armies had come together and formed alliances between the two sparring rivals- The Pandavas and the Kauravas. But what was the reason for the origin of this terrible war that split the great royal family and brought about only destruction.

The very first verse of the Gita answers that question. The emperor Dhritarashtra asks Sanjaya what happened at the battle where "

The Pandavas and My Karuavas were poised for a fight" . For this very word 'My Kauravas' explains that he never really considered The Panadavas his own. Though the Pandavas and Kauravas were born to different mothers, they did share the same blood line. They were blood brothers. The Pandavas too belonged to the same Kuru clan but by their high deeds they had created a clan name of their own

So when the children of Dhritarshtra were very much raised with this feeling that the Pandavas were outsiders intruding into their own family space to usurp their throne - it is but natural for the Kauravas to feel hatred for the Pandavas. But does this absolve the sons of Dhritarashtra of any of the blame? No it certainly cannot. For it was their hatred for the Pandavas that lead them on the path of destruction. Everytime the Pandavas progressed- the green eyed monster within the Kauravas only grew stronger. It is said that when one allows a hatred to grow within one's heart - the ability to discriminate between right and wrong gets clouded and the being ultimately walks down the downward spiral of life in the course of time. Though they had been raised in a hostile environment- they had the freedom to choose their path of life- the path of empathy or the path of hatred. They chose the latter and hence had to bear the consequences of their choice.

It was the selfishness in acquiring their kingdom by vanquishing the Pandavas that lead the Kauravas to perform all their misdeeds. This verse finds great relvance to the modern day life where the society indoctrines the principle of selfisness into every individual. What people fail to realize that when they begin to make compromises for their own kin and begin to resort to unfair means to propel their own individuals- they ultimately lead to their own and their beloved one's downfall. Look what happened to the Kauravas- Their Selfishness brought both their own destruction and also their loved ones!

There is this beautiful sanskrit Subhashitam or saying:

अयं निज: परो वेति गणना लघुचेतसाम् ।उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् ॥
ayam nijaH paro veti gaNanaa laghuchetasaamudaaracharitaam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam

This man- He is mine. This other man-He is an outsider and does not belong to me.
Such is the thinking of narrow minded individuals. But the broad minded individuals believe- The whole world is their family and so it belongs to them- Vasudha eva Kutumbakam

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