Thursday, July 2, 2009

Krishna - The guru of all

Gita Dhyanam, Verse 6

भीष्मद्रोणतटा जयद्रथजला गान्धारनीलोत्पला
शाल्यग्राहवती कृपेणवहनी कर्णेन वेलाकुला |
अश्वत्थामविकर्णघोरमकरा दुर्योधनावर्तिनी
सोत्तीर्णा खलु पाण्दवै रणनदी कैवर्तकः केशवः ||

bhiishmadronaatataa jayadrathajalaa gaandhaaraniilotpalaa
shaalyagraahavatii kripenavahanii karNena velAkulA |
ashvatthaamavikarnaghoramakaraa duryodhanAvartinI
sottIrNA khalu pANDavai rananadii kaivartakaH keshavaH ||

Bheeshma Drona the banks; Jayadratha the water; Gandhara a blue water lily;
Salya an alligator; Kripa the current; Karna a great swell of water;
Asvatthama and Vikarna frightful crocodiles; Duryodhana the whirlpool;
was crossed by Pandavas, that battle-river, because of their boatman Keshavah

With Krishna (keshava) at the helms of their boat, the Pandavas were able to cross the river filled with crocodiles, swirling whirlpools, fast current, the frightful water, its waves and swell, not be fooled by innocent looking flowers and banks. The river the great battle of Kurukshetra.

A nice poetic verse, but packed with a lot of meaning. The Gita Dhyanam, is a collection of verses that extol the virtue of Krishna, Keshava or Madhava as he is called within. These verses set an introduction to the Gita, creating the right mindset before one ventures in to the Bhagavad Gita. I learned this first when i attended the CHYK (Chinmaya Yuva Kendra) classes on sundays. While these verses do not lend itself to a sing-song chanting or a melodious poem, they pack in them deep meanings about Krishna, setting the stage for a Guru Shishya format.

This verse in particular, showcases the role of Krishna in single-handedly winning the Kurukshetra war for the pandavas. The philosophical impact of this verse, captures essence of Bhagavad Gita. 'Do your duty' is the strongest message communicated here. To explain in the tone of the verse, if you are in the boat, you could either loose your mind and leave control of your senses, because of the various dangers ahead, but it is best to leave your trust to the boatman to take to your end destination. If one were to look at every action, by attempting to deduce its, you may never start.

The Pandava brothers at different points of their journey expressed despair for different reasons, because people were related, taking the high moral ground or avoiding killing. When all along as a Kshatriya it was their dharma to fight injustice. Krishna had to repeatedly show them the right path and coax them to act. To each of us also, we at times may need a guru to help us navigate the waters of life. They come in many roles, mother, father, teacher, brother, sister, friend, etc., and at different points in life. We also need to understand that sometimes, or rather many times, faith helps. Faith helps close the gap between the action, its plan and the reaction.