By Uma Rajaram (B.Com ,MBA ,M.Phil)
“Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah” [Bhagavad Gita 15.15]
“It is me the Vedas seek to know”, declares the smiling Lord Supreme, the exalted Lord Sri Krishna the embodiment of Supreme Truth, Knowledge and Bliss in the Gitopanishad to Arjuna, His quivering disciple in the midst of the battlefield in the Mahabharata war.
Arjuna, in spite of all his competencies, was a reluctant warrior owing to his mental state of confusion and fear. His extreme nearness to the Lord made him the fortunate recipient of this ancient knowledge.
Arjuna, who later emerged as the hero of the Mahabharata war, was a prince of a mighty lineage and a competent warrior. He was the Lord’s dear friend who was related to him by birth and by betrothal to His dear sister Subhadra .
Who is this Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna, Who has survived in the collective minds of people, the world over for over 5000 years like no one else?
His endearing and electrifying spiritual presence has survived and multiplied in collective consciousness of millions. Spiritual institutions have thrived in His name, legends and folklores have caught the attention of his devotees.
On the eternal quest to reach this Godhead, philosophers and experts, scholars and saints from all conceivable affiliations – from Shaivism to Vaishnavism – have declared their unflinching devotion and undying love for him by surrendering and renouncing all activities to his supreme will. From Shankaracharya of the shaivite tradition, who wrote the Bhaja Govindam song, to Vallabhacharya of the vaishnava sect, who composed various hymns in His praise, Lord Krishna had a divergent devotee base.
More recently the intelligentsia, apart from the renunciates and rebels, have portrayed Him as the hero of our cultural heritage. Even today, we place our hands on the Bhagavad Gita, the eternal song of the Lord and pledge to speak the truth in our courts for justice to prevail.
Ekam śastram devaki-putra gītam: “The Bhagavad Gita of Devaki’s son is a complete shastram by itself even when we have the four Vedas and the numerous Upanishads”, so says the Gita Mahatmya, hinting also at the status of the woman even in that era.
Here the almighty Lord Vishnu in his avatar as Lord Krishna advises a disillusioned Arjuna on the various facets of life and work. The Lord comes to the rescue of the pious and fatherless Pandavas weakened over years of turmoil, harassment and disgrace as a humble charioteer and leads them to victory.
He gives Arjuna, His dear friend and devotee the transcendental knowledge and the secrets of the Universe, armed with which he wins the Mahabharata war against the mightily armed Duryodhana, whose impressive army also included the Narayani sena, lent to him by Lord Krishna Himself, and the indescribable strength of the Kuru elders.
I wonder if it was the victory of wisdom of Bhagavad Gita (Learnings of Karma as Supreme. Transcendence of the ego, witnessing of the Lord’s Supersoul and other esoteric secrets, Victory of the righteous) or the skill of wartime strategies which makes the epic a great example for generations the world over.
What does the Lord truly seek to convey?
An avatar from His very birth, from His childhood and His adolescence to His princely status saw Him destroying adharma (unjustly acts) of kings, demons and the wicked even among his own kinfolk. He tells Draupadi, His childhood friend and the wife of Arjuna, not to grieve as having born out of an yagna (fire) (also called Yagyaseni) to King Drupada, she too have been born on earth to cause destruction of adharma.
A cowherd, a commoner, a warrior, a hero, a king, a lover, a confidant, an ally, a teacher, a slayer of foes, a loving presence, bliss personified and a brilliant adviser – in all his roles He was a friend never turning away even a prostitute from His blessings.
Bliss incarnate, Lord Krishna finally in the midst of the Mahabharata war teaches Arjuna the esoteric secrets of this vast universe due to his supreme love, respect and feelings of brotherhood for the righteous. Arjuna, His friend and cousin and His dear brother-in-law, who, legend says, was five years younger than him. He also shows him His Vishwaroop (the Universal form) telling him that He indeed is energy personified, that all matter is pervaded by His superior and inferior energies and His devotees are never vanquished. In fact they emerge victorious in all situations.
Owing to his supreme compassion, He gives the Law of Karma as the abiding reason, the cause and effect principle manifesting in everyone’s life as pain and pleasure eventually. He advises focus on pure commitment to work without getting dejected or excited about rewards as a way to salvation from earthly life.
Bliss, Knowledge and Truth incarnate, the Lord teaches us how the various gunas, rajasic, tamasic and sattvic are indeed His inferior energies and which has a big role to play in karmic cycle. He further guides the devotee to have one pointed concentration on his Divinity and use detachment with righteous behaviour to reach the goal of self realization. He promises His devotee that He would deliver him in due course from all his sins, if he surrenders himself to Him.
Today when the biggest brains are searching and debating about the role of the brain versus the human mind, Lord Krishna has the answer: The Atman – the soul entity driving the human body. When the scientists are wondering what next after the atom, the electrons, protons and neutrons, the Lord gives the answer: the panchbhūtas, air, water, fire, wind and ether. In fact, authentic books of yore have relevant details of the exact composition of these elements in our bodies at various chakras in the energy body of the individual.
Our Vedas – the shruti and the smriti – have all the answers to all the points that science is at variance with. Because spirituality is what the universe is. It is way beyond science. While the scientists are just in the process of understanding, Lord Krishna has the answer.