dharmakṣetre kurukṣetre. – on the first two words of the Bhagavad Gītā

Failure is such Joy! :) I have spent 3 months contemplating this. I simply cannot write meaningfully of what these words mean to me.

My scrambled notes are below. Please feel free to assist in interpreting!

Bhagavad Gita 1.1

The very first words of Verse 1 of the Bhagavad Gītā are dharmakṣetre kurukṣetre.

These first two words are incredibly potent, they speak of so much more than the identity of a location. They foreshadow and encapsulate the whole of the Bhagavad Gītā.

These first two words point particularly to Discourse 13 in its entirety – the most significant and illuminating, sublimely mystical discourse of the Bhagavad Gītā, a wonderfully revealing insight into the human be-ing. It is the metaphysics of humanity. The immortal being, its physical embodiment, it’s purpose and law are main themes of the 13th discourse. Transcendental, eternal, is the knower of the field. The ‘knower’ liberates.

So, he the knowledge of the Field and the Knower of the Field are illuminated – and this life, this individuation, this body in which we dwell is the Field. Our self is the one, the all is one universal spirit everpresent, everywhere, allpervading.

Dharmaksetre is such a vast a concept. Though often translated in a fairly mundane, seemingly literal sense almost as though it were some ordinary descriptor: “On the hallowed field”; “On the holy plain”. Other translators name it more carefully – “the Sacred Place”.

Kuruksetre is often simply rendered as the field of the Kurus.

धर्म Dharma is mighty – to try to define encapsulate it’s meaning would take a very long treatise, beyond my scope. It can be defined simply as “righteous’, “holy”, “relating to spiritual duty”. In this context it pertains to the moral code of life,  spiritual law, acting in accordance with that code, but also in accord with the nature of one’s being.

The word Dharma is derived from the Sanskrit root dhri , to hold.  In a macrocosmic sense it refers to the principles and agent that sustains, upholds, supports or maintains the regulatory order of the universe, the mighty all-pervading order and power which underlies all of existence, the natural law that sustains the universe, and that keeps all of nature, existence in harmony and balance. What then is Dharma? The ultimate underlying motive principle, law and truth. Dharma is the ultimate principle of all, and all that encompasses and implies.

Ksetre can be translated as “in the field” There is also much more to this term – ksetra the ‘field’ is referred to in Discourse 1 of the Gita in these contexts:

धर्मक्षेत्र Dharmaksetra – “the field of Dharma”

कुरुक्षेत्र Kuruksetra – “the field of the Kurus”

The word ksetra, ‘field’ does not appear again until the 13th of the 18 discourses of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita. This chapter is deals with ‘the field’ and the ‘knower of the field’.

13.1 Arjuna spoke forth:

I wish to know about Prakruti (nature), Purusa (the Enjoyer), Kshetra (the field), Kshetrajna (the Knower of the field), Jnana(Knowledge), and Jneya (the object of knowledge). O Keshava,

Clearly, in Ch 13 we are dealing with far more than a paddock turned battefield!

The Satapatha Brahmana, Part 5, 14.1.1.2 speaks of Kuruksetra as a place of sacrifice and worship of the Gods:

teṣām kurukṣetram devayajanamāsa tasmādāhuḥ kurukṣetram devānāṃ
devayajanamiti tasmādyatra kva ca kurukṣetrasya nigacati tadeva manyata idam
devayajanamiti taddhi devānāṃ devayajanam

Their place of divine worship was Kuruksetra.
Therefore people say that Kuruksetra is the gods’ place of divine worship:
hence wherever in Kuruksetra one settles there one thinks
This is a place for divine worship;’ for it was the gods’ place of divine worship.

Back then to ‘dharmakṣetre kurukṣetre’ and where do ‘I’ stand? Not alone, not a singular being, but a minute organ of the great I Am, charged with a holy duty to know who I am, to do my duty, enact my Dharma in this eternal holy place.

Such Joy.

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Now Reading: the Vedic Experience

Just wanted to share something rather extraordinary with you – A document called The Vedic Experience – let me know what you make of this, please!  A random find while I was searching for some other Sanskrit texts. 

+ Information about the author, Professor Raimon Pannikar.

Thanks.

PS I was looking for the शतपथ ब्राह्मण śatapatha brāhmaṇa, ŚB in Devanāgarī script – I have found a couple of transliterations – would like the original Madhyandina recension if possible – Thanks again :)

Emerson on the Vedas

Whenever I have read any part of the Vedas, I have felt that some unearthly and unknown light illuminated me. In the great teaching of the Vedas, there is no touch of sectarianism. It is of all ages, climbs, and nationalities and is the royal road for the attainment of the Great Knowledge. When I read it, I feel that I am under the spangled heavens of a summer night.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are made of light

I was ill, very ill. As I lay in the afternoon dark, I had a vision, a kind of waking dream:

I was an observer on a dark plain, or plane, in perfect velvet darkness stretching away in solid blackness in every direction. I was the observer.
Then a tiny light appeared, dancing, mutiplying, entwining, creating. I saw. The light became through these movements a n infinitely vast web or net stretching across the universe. And that web was the web of life, of material existence as we know it through our senses. I understood.

What did I know from this?

You have been given this life, this embodiment in a mantle of light, to act as a purifying filter.

Your tools for discovering your mission are myriad: meditation or stillness or contemplation or prayer or trance: however you arrive there, whatever techniques you use, when you arrive at that place you will know it this way: You know you are connected with your true self and powered  and empowered by perfect love and joy.

When you love, you feed all creation. When you feel the resonance of the supersoul’s creative, unconditional love you will know your life’s purpose in service to your soul and the All-soul, connectedness to your soul family, the unity and oneness of all.

If your own individuated soul seeks guidance, call on higher self, learn from those Mahaatmas (Great Souls) who have gone this path before you. You know their names – the world’s major religions are based on the teachings of some – schools of spiritual enquiry, philosophy, yoga, meditation, mysicism are based on the life’s work of others! But there is – not one path – there are as many paths to enlightenment as there are seekers on the quest. Your path is your path.

You are uniquely you and at the same time totally at one with all. You have the potential of the whole universe within you!  Anyone who says they have the only or best path for you is full of ego, and possibly greed. Listen to your truth by finding techniques to still your ego, your overactive mind – and listen – to your inner voice.

It is all in you. The knowledge you seek is a song resonating deep within, permeating your whole being. Listen.

You are a being of light and have layers of being, physical and subtle energies that relate to the very structure of the supersoul of the whole. To go beyond our egoic perceptions of our one little individuated life, beyond the material, the illusion and delusions of material concerns, the psychological pain, we must not only connect with our higher self, but connect with our world with love and compassion, act in our world to alleviate suffering.

You yourself are a radiant being, resonating the frequencies of love. The more you broadcast the stronger that frequency signal becomes, the more spiritual resources you will have at your command from your very beingness.

Go beyond doing, learn to be all you are. Magnify Love.

Practical Spirituality – Seeds.

“Your daily life is your temple and your religion.

When you enter into it take with you your all.”

Kahlil Gibran
Poet, Essayist, Novelist and Symbolist Painter. 1883-1931

In my teens, as many of us did, I read Gibran’s best known work, The Prophet. 

This book helped me a great deal as it showed me that the narrow dogmas I had already rejected as a child were not the only way to approach religion and spirituality.

Gibran was born into a Maronite Christian family but his mysticism is founded in a convergence of Christianity, Islam, Sufism, Hinduism and Theosophical teachings.

I’ve been down those paths since and many others besides. Gibran’s words still shine in simplicity. I commend his writings to you:

“Say not, ‘I have found the truth,’ but rather, ‘I have found a truth.’”

Knowselfspirit – the anchor – being a ‘realist’ in non-duality

When we talk about what we can do in transforming our perceptions and finding ourselves, about spiritual awakening, what are the traditional routes? Through working on ourselves to improve our health, centre ourself,  to calm the mind and let go of the thousands of disturbances it throws into the mix every day.  We approach this lofty goal through various practices: through meditation, reading improving material, yoga, contemplation, and seeking the company of people who appear to be on a path to ‘enlightenment’.

Many of us wish for a sudden shift in consciousness – a sudden dawning of enlightenment, but most of us experience setbacks in our quest for the inner peace which is only a precursor of the state of knowledge and being that we have long desired.

The realisation which we seek is really far more accessible than this. For many hours of meditation and other inward looking practices leave one sensitive and unable to handle the sensory overload that we experience on a day-to-day basis.  If we are to do this deep inner work, we must also develop strength and resiliance so that our new light does not waver in the wind, does not leave us raw and vulnerable, but strengthens and supports us as we make our way in the world as we must.

Non-duality

When we find the point where we start to see and experience actualisation or nonduality, our identification with the ego or body starts to loosen and alternate visions of our being start to make their way into our concious mind, but also into the other parts of our knowing mind that are not at the front of conscious understanding.

As individuated beings we are in the grip of life – it’s realities and it’s illusions. If we seek for self-improvement of any kind our lives and relationships, responsibilities and activities must continue – often there will be very little outward change. Actions and interactions change. If you start to actually realise the fullness of self-hood and the humility of oneness it cannot help but change your potentials for interaction. Gradually you begin to behave differently.  This throws up challenges of it’s own. Those closest to you will be puzzled or disconcerted by the outward changes in your behaviour and may feel that they don’t know you as well as theyt did.  You may be acting from a point of  view where you are less involved in and less concerned about these interpersonal connections. Does this picture make sense?

The sense of freedom that you experience when you start to experience non-duality can lead you away from the desired state. It can compromise your connectivity – with others, significant others in your embodied and individuated life. Is becoming more impersonal the goal of all the work that you have done?

The world may look like an illusion from this point of view, even though you still live in it and daily experience it’s rhythms, ebbs and flows, interdependencies and interactions.  This too, is real.  It is not an illusion. If you are truly aware of the oneness of being you will know that every being and every thing in the material world has it’s reality in the deeper connectivity that we glimpse through yogic practices.

You can be conscious of the truth of oneness without abandoning our worldly ‘reality’, instead transforming it through mindful, aware, actions and interactions.

We all have the inner power and resouces to see beyond the egocentric understanding of ourselves in the world and to reach a sublime state of understanding of our intrinsic connectedness to each other.  This can bring into our lives and sphere of influence a great deal of peace, happiness, comfort and directedness.  The purpose of this blog is to share some insights with you and to assist you to find that state of understanding where we can rise above these challenges without losing contact with the purposes of our life.

When we realise who we really are, it makes sense that we don’t experience that alone or keep it to ourselves – I feel very deeply that theres a necessity to do something with that. The whole point of knowing we are ONE is to use that knowledge. I’ll be exploring this more in future posts.

In all things, Love.