Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gitabhasya of Jagannatha Prakasa: 1:1

The Gitabhasya
Of Jagannatha Prakasa

Translation and Commentary by Jagannatha Prakasa (John of AllFaith © 1993/2008)

Arjuna Vishada Yoga:
The Yoga of Arjuna's Sorrow

1:1: Dhritarashtra asked: My people and the people of Pandu assembled on the field of righteousness known as Kuruksetra desiring to fight. What did they do, O Sanjaya?

    As described in some detail in my Setting the Stage, the Great Bharata Empire that had ruled all the earth for millennia in due course of time came under the dominion of two kings: Dhritarashtra and Pandu. The entire account of these events is described in great detail in the classic Bharati (Indian) scripture the Mahabharata. The Bhagavad Gita is a section of that much larger work.

    The descendants of these two kings, known as the Kuravas (i.e. the descendants of the legendary celebrated King Kuru) and the Pandavas (the sons of King Pandu, whom Sri Krsna reminds the Pandava Prince Arjuna were also descendants of King Kuru -- 6:43) eventually went to war for the throne of Hastinapura (the global capital located in the modern Doab region of Uttar Pradesh). Although the battlefield of Kuruksetra (today a city in the Kurukshetra District of the Indian state of Haryana) was local, this great conflict had global consequences. The conclusion of the war resulted in the end of the third age (Dvapara Yuga) and the beginning of our age, fourth of four and known as the Age of Quarrel and Confusion (Kali Yuga). The date for this shift in ages remains the subject of scholarly debate however for our purposes we will fix the time at circa 5561 B.C.E. as defined by common tradition. This traditional date also fits well with biblical chronology which has our present age beginning in circa 5769 B.C.E.

    The Srimad Bhagavad Gita ("Glorious Song of God") relates one of the key events that happened during this global shift. Again this is described in more detail in my Setting the Stage. In brief, the following is an eyewitness account of the battlefield conversation that took place between Bhagavan Sri Krsna and His student and friend Arjuna. In this holy conversation the way of salvation and liberation may be found by those whose hearts are ready to receive.

    Here in verse one of the Bhagavad Gita we find King Dhritarashtra asking his blind Seer, the sage Sanjaya, to describe the events taking place on the battlefield. The details of the battle are important however more important still is the spiritual instruction being revealed by Sri Krsna. As we will read later on:

    4:1, 2: The Blessed One said: I instructed this immutable yoga system to the sun god Vivasvan. He taught it to Manu [the father of the human race who saved the world from the global flood] and Manu taught it to Iksvaku.

    Thus through disciplic succession the royal sages understood this knowledge, but with the passing of time the great yoga system [ie method of linking with or realizing God] was lost to this world, O chastiser of enemies.

    4:3: Today that ancient yoga system is declared by Me unto you. Because you are My devotee and friend I will fully reveal this foremost of all mysteries.

    The Srimad Bhagavad Gita is therefore more than an historical treatise, it is the revelation of eternal truth and knowledge. Like the human body, the battlefield of Kuruksetra was the stage upon which the eternal truth is forever being acted out.

Jai Jagannatha!
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