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Living Bhagavad Gita: 002

Short articles on the Bhagavad Gita keeping in mind the busy, stressed working people of today

[Continued from Living Bhagavad Gita 001]

Responding to Dhritarashtra’s question, Sanjaya says: Having seen the army of Pandavas drawn up in battle array, King Duryodhana then approached his teacher, Drona, and spoke these words: “Behold, Oh Acharya, this mighty army of the sons of Pandu, arrayed by the son of Drupada, your disciple of great intelligence. “Here are the fearless mighty archers equal in battle to Bhima and Arjuna: Yuyudhana [Satyaki], Virata, the great chariot warrior Drupada, Dhrishtaketu, Chekitana, the valiant king of Kasi, Purujit, Kuntibhoja,the great Shaibya, the heroic Yudhamanyu, the brave Uttamauja, Abhimanyu and the sons of Draupadi – all great warriors indeed. “Now know, Oh Great Brahmana, the names of the leaders of my army, the most distinguished men on our side. Let me tell you their names for your information. Yourself, Bhishma, Karna, the war winner Kripa, Aswattha…
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Living Bhagavad Gita 001

dhritaraashtra uvaacha:
dharmakshetre kurukshetre samavetaa yuyutsavah
maamakaah paandavaashchaiva kimakurvata sanjaya BG 1.1
Dhritarashtra’s question to Sanjaya is what his children and the children of Pandu did as they stood ready to fight and kill one another in the dharmakshatra called Kurukshetra. Well, the Mahabharata war could have been avoided if Duryodhana had been willing to give the Pandavas just five villages, but he refused even that and said he would not give so much land as could be pierced by the tip of a needle. Gandhiji put it beautifully when he said there is enough in the world for everyone’s need but not enough for one single man’s greed. For Duryodhana his own kingdom that he had usurped from the Pandavas was not enough, he was greedy for the kingdom built up from scratches by them later too, over which he had no right. The Mahabharata elsewhere contains a rare gem of a lecture by Dhritarashtra to Duryodhana in which the physically blind father advises his spiritu…

Pandora and Sandhya: Woman as a Curse, Woman as a Blessing

The study analyses the story of the birth of the first woman in Greek mythology and contrasts it with the story of the birth of the first woman in Indian Puranas, revealing the Indian perception of woman in contrast to the Ancient Greek and Western perception of woman. In the ancient Greek perception, woman appears as a curse on mankind, born out of the anger of the gods and their need to punish man, all-negative except that she can be the mother of his children; whereas in Indian stories, she is born of the calm, serene mind of the creator in meditation and is an expression of the sacred creativity inherent in the divine: all-beautiful, with not one thing negative about her.      0o0
Pandora is the first woman created according to ancient Greek myths and Sandhya, the first woman born according to ancient Indian myths. While there are a few similarities between the two, the contrasts between them are great. By comparing the stories of the first woman in these two cultures, we can arriv…

Araja: When a Girl Is Raped

Women’s safety is a major issue across the world today. India has become notorious as one of the most unsafe places for women. Our print and electronic media are filled with news of rape and other forms of violence against woman, at least some of which shake the very conscience of the nation. We wake up every morning to hear reports of very young children being subjected to sexual atrocities. In such times, this story of a young girl raped brutally and destroyed by a power-intoxicated man and the consequences of that dastardly act that ancient India tells us can perhaps function as a warning to all of us. The story is of Araja. Araja could be her name. It could also be a description of what, or how old, she was. The word arajaa means one without impurity – from the word rajas, meaning impurity. Rajas could also mean many other things, including a woman’s monthly period, which would make the word Araja mean a girl who has not yet reached puberty. A prepubescent girl. She was the old…

Karnayana: Sooryaputra’s Journey from Darkness to Light - 2

Karna Pledges Eternal Friendship to Duryodhana
The Adi Parva of the Mahabharata does not tell us anything about what happened to Karna in the years between the Pramanakoti and other childhood incidents and his appearance in the arena years later. But from the Shanti Parva of the epic we get a clear picture of the events of these crucial years in the life of this main pillar of Duryodhana’s evil strength, fear of whose competence would later make someone like Krishna lose sleep for three months immediately prior to the war. Krishna would find relief only when Karna is forced to use against Ghatotkacha the shakti Vaijayanti he had received from Indra that he had kept reserved for use against Arjuna. And such is Krishna’s relief at Vaijayanti being spent on Ghatotkacha instead of Arjuna that at the death of Bhima’s son Krishna jumps up on the floor of the chariot he was driving and dance, shouting and hooting for joy and gathering in his arms his friend Arjuna and slapping his back again…

Karnayana: Sooryaputra’s Journey from Darkness to Light

The Mahabharata describes several close friendships: the friendship between Krishna and Arjuna, those between Krishna and Draupadi, the sages Nara and Narayana, Ashwatthama and Duryodhana, Drona and Drupada and so on, each uniquely fascinating in its own way. One of the friendships that get a lot attention in the epic is that between Karna and Duryodhana – between a man considered an ideal for high ethical principles, who is willing to give up his life itself for his principles and a man for whom power is the ultimate thing, for which he would sacrifice all ethics. This friendship is of central importance to the story of the epic – because Karna is Duryodhana’s greatest strength, the one man he can count on unconditionally, based on whose strength he does all kinds of atrocities throughout his life and finally goes to war with the Pandavas refusing to give them back as much land as the tip of a needle. In this study we are going to take a look at the journey of that friendship, the up…