The Family Tree

Santanu had two wives: Ganga and Satyavati. Bhishma was born from the union
of Santanu and Ganga; Chitrangada and Vichitravirya from that of Santanu
and Satyavati. Vichitraviya?s two wives were Ambika and Ambalika. Dhritarashtra
was the son of Ambika and Vichitravirya; Pandu, the son of Ambalika and Vichitravirya.
Dhritarashtra?s hundred sons were the Kauravas; Pandu?s five sons, the Pandavas.<br>
<br>
Yudhisthira was the legitimate heir to the kingdom. His father, Pandu, had
reigned a number of years, offering the utmost satisfaction to his subjects.
Finally Pandu retired.<br>
<br>
He retired to the forest. To succeed him was his eldest son, Yudhisthira.
And he did it devotedly and successfully. Dhritarashtra was Pandu?s elder
half brother. God had denied him sight. Strangely enough, his affection for
his hundred sons blinded his heart as well. Being blind, naturally he was
not qualified to inherit the throne. The eldest son of Dhritarashtra was
Duryodhana. Ninety-nine brothers were to follow him. Yudhisthira, Pandu?s
eldest son, had only four others to follow him.<br>
<br>
Truth?s Pride was Yudhisthira. Falsehood?s Pride was Duryodhana. Through
the illumined hearts of Pandu?s five sons, God smiled. Through the unlit
minds of Dhritarashtra?s hundred sons, the devil smiled. The devil often
succeeded in embracing the blind father, too.<br>
<br>
The eyeless father made repeated requests, strong and weak, to Duryodhana,
his morally, psychically and spiritually eyeless son not to go to war. Vidura,
the pure heart, Duryodhana?s uncle, failed to throw light on Duryodhana?s
thick head. Sanjaya, his father?s prudent charioteer, equally failed. Neither
was Bhishma, the oldest and the wisest, successful. Duryodhana felt his own
understanding to be superior. Finally Sri Krishna, the Lord of the universe,
most fervently tried to avert the hurtful and heartless battle. But the ignorance-night
in Duryodhana would by no means surrender to the knowledge-sun in Sri Krishna.<br>
<br>
Seven hundred verses are there in the Gita. About six hundred are the soul-stirring
utterances from the divine lips of the Lord Krishna, and the rest are from
the crying, aspiring Arjuna, the clairvoyant and clairaudient Sanjaya, and
the inquisitive Dhritarashtra.<br>
<br>
The sage Vyasa enquired of Dhritarashtra if he desired to see the events
and have a first-hand knowledge of the battle, from the battle?s birth to
the battle?s death. The sage was more than willing to grant the blind man
vision. But Dhritarashtra did not want his eyes?the eyes that had failed
him all his life?to obey his command at this terribly fateful hour for his
conscience and his kingdom?s life, especially when his own sons were heading
for destruction. He declined the sage?s kind and bounteous offer. His heart
was ruthlessly tortured by the imminent peril of his kinsmen. However, he
requested the sage to grant the boon to someone else from whom he could get
faultless reports of the battle. Vyasa consented. He conferred upon Sanjaya
the miraculous psychic power of vision to see the incidents taking place
at a strikingly great distance.<br>
<br>
Is the Gita a mere word? No. A speech? No. A concept? No. A kind of concentration?
No. A form of meditation? No. What is it, then? It is The Realisation. The
Gita is God?s Heart and man?s breath, God?s assurance and man?s promise.<br>
<br>
The inspiration of Hinduism is the SoulConcern of the Gita. The aspiration
of Hinduism is the Blessing-Dawn of the Gita. The emancipation of Hinduism
is the Compassion-Light of the Gita. But to pronounce that the Gita is the
sole monopoly of Hinduism is absurdity. The Gita is the common property of
humanity.<br>
<br>
The West says that she has something special to offer to the East: The New
Testament. The East accepts the offer with deepest gratitude and offers her
greatest pride, the Bhagavad Gita, in return.<br>
<br>
The Gita is unique. It is the Scripture of scriptures. Why? Because it has
taught the world that the emotion pure, the devotion genuine can easily run
abreast with the philosophy solid, the detachment dynamic.<br>
<br>
There are eighteen chapters in the Gita. Each chapter reveals a specific
teaching of a particular form of Yoga. Yoga is the secret language of man
and God. Yoga means Union, the union of the finite with the infinite, the
union of the form with the Formless. It is Yoga that reveals the supreme
secret: man is tomorrow?s God and God is today?s man. Yoga is to be practised
for the sake of Truth. If not, the seeker will be sadly disappointed. Likewise,
man?s God-Realisation is for the sake of God. Otherwise untold frustration
will be man?s inevitable reward.<br>
<br>
The Gita was born in 600 B.C. its authorship goes to the sage Veda Vyasa.
With a significant question from Dhritarashtra, the Gita commences its journey.
The whole narrative of the Bhagavad Gita is Sanjaya?s answer to Dhritarashtra?s
single question. Sri Krishna spoke. Much. All divinly soulful. Arjuna spoke.
Little. All humanly heartful. Dhritarashtra was the listener. The Divinely
and humanly clairvoyant and clairaudient reporter was Sanjaya. On very rare
occasions Sanjaya contributed his own thoughtful remarks, too.<br>
<br>
Sri Krishna was Arjuna?s body?s relation, heart?s union, soul?s liberation.
As God, he illumined Arjuna with the Truth Absolute; as a humane human, he
illumined his earthly friend with truths relative.<br>
<br>
Philosophers enter into a deplorable controversy. Some enquire how such a
philosophical discourse could take place at the commencement of a war. How
was it possible? There are others who firmly hold that this momentous discourse
was not only possible but inevitable at that hour, since it was the divinely
appropriate occasion for the aspiring Hindu to discover the inner meaning
of war and live in accordance with his soul?s dictates, instead of following
the poor, unlit knowledge of morality.<br>
<br>
The Gita is the epitome of the Vedas. It is spontaneous. It is in a form
at once divinised and humanised. It is also the purest milk drawn from the
udders of the most illumining Upanishads to feed and nourish the human soul.
The Gita demands man?s acceptance of life, and reveals the way to achieve
the victory of the higher self over the lower by the spiritual art of transformation:
physical, vital, mental, psychic and spiritual.<br>
<br>
The Gita embodies the soul-wisdom, the heart-love, the mind-knowledge, the
vital-dynamism and the body-action.<br>
<br>
Sri Chinmoy&nbsp;