Namaskaar. Moving on to Verse 6 of the GITA DHYANA SHLOKAS with commentary by Smt. Jaya Row. This verse is a poetic description of the major players in the battlefield and their respective standing and importance in the battlefield.
The battle river whose banks were Bhisma and Drona, Jayadratha its waters, King of Gandhara the blue water lily, Salya the shark, Krpa the current, Karna the breakers, Asvatthama and Vikarna terrible crocodiles, Duryodhana the whirlpool, was crossed over by the Pandavas with Kesava as the boatman.
In this verse, he gives a poetic description of the entire Mahabharata war and its principal characters. He compares the battle with a river, rananadi (battle river) whose banks were Bhishma and Drona. Bhishma and Drona were the stalwarts among the Kaurava forces. This is indicative of the fact that even negative persons need a strong person to rally round. Someone of strong intellect, who is focussed on the task at hand. Bhishma and Drona were strong personalities and Duryodhana knew that they were the two main pillars of his army. Their very presence inspired the Kaurava cadres. It is because they happened to be in the Kaurava forces that the others joined forces with them. Right from the beginning, Duryodhana had told his soldiers to protect Bhishma and Drona. Hence they are portrayed as the banks of the river. Jayadratha represents the waters. Jayadratha was the commander of the Kaurava forces. Water pervades everywhere. Similarly the commander’s word is followed by the whole army.
The king of Gandhara, what is now Kandahar in Afghanistan, was the blue water lily. The blue water lily grows below the surface of the water. If the boat gets caught in it then it is sure death. Shalya was the shark. A shark is dangerous as it can overturn the boat. Shalya was the son of Drona, a courageous, skilful and deadly opponent. Krpa was the strong current. Krpa was guru to both the Kauravas and Pandavas before Dronacharya came on the scene. He thus knew the strengths and weaknesses of the Pandavas, and was a dangerous adversary. He is referred to here as the hazardous water current. Karna was Kunti’s son, half-brother of the Pandavas. He was invincible because he was very large-hearted and his generosity was proverbial. His strength came from his giving nature. Ashwathhama, son of Dronacharya, and Vikarna, son of Dhritarashtra, were the menacing crocodiles. Duryodhana was the treacherous whirlpool. He thought of every crooked method in the book to get the better of the Pandavas.
This description of the Kauravas is reminiscent of the external and internal impediments that we are bound to face as part of our spiritual journey. All these impediments, the Kauravas, were crossed over by the Pandavas because they had Krsna, the expert boatman by their side. They had the support of Atman as it were. This indicates that we are able to overcome impediments to the spiritual goal when our actions are guided by truth & conscience. When we stand by our conscience and uphold truth we evolve spiritually. In such persons, as mentioned in the Gita, Atman acts as the supporter of actions, rendering every action successful.
So, when we surrender to Krsna, the boatman, our mental agitations get appeased, our intellects become sharp, and we are able to go across the ocean of samsara (the world) to the shores of immortality. For this we must surrender to Atman or a higher, selfless goal and work hard towards realising it. Some of us might feel the Pandavas had Krsna but where are we to look for inspiration? Whom do we turn to for help? The truth is Krsna is within. The inspiration that we need is within us. We have the power to take on our negativities and overwhelm them. We must have the belief that we can and work tirelessly towards overcoming our weaknesses, desires and ego.
To be continued …..
Pranaam from Kamal Kothari