Gita Study: Class 9


Topics for today:

  1. Opening prayers and Gita Dhyanam
  2. Chapter 1 Verse 1

 Highlights of today’s class:

Arjuna’s choice of Krishna as his charioteer:

  • Mahabharata narrates the story of how Arjuna chose unarmed Krishna whereas Duryodhana chose Krishna’s mighty army. Arjuna’s choice of Krishna is symbolic of his choosing the support of daiva or the unknown factor in his pursuit.
  • A mature person is one who does not leave adristha or daiva to the hands of chance but does something to change it.
  • Further, Arjuna’s appointment of Krishna as his charioteer suggests that when we keep Krishna or the divine factor, in front of us and do what we have to do, fighting or whatever, the arrows that come to us will have already been blunted.
  • Everyone’s life is a battle. With the awareness that Krishna, the Lord, is always with you, everything becomes easier. Arjuna did this and it saved him all the way.

Another symbolism of Krishna, the Guru, as charioteer:

  • A human being is compared to a chariot in Kathopanishad. The five horses of a chariot represent the five senses, the reins represent the mind, the charioteer represents the buddhi or intellect and the owner or the chariot represents the atma or self.
  • The charioteer or buddhi is the discriminating faculty which should be aware of the truth and should lead the jivatma to its goal.
  • Krishna the charioteer teaches the truth to Arjuna by becoming his Guru. This is symbolic of one’s informed buddhi becoming one’s Guru in leading one to moksha. Buddhi gets this knowledge through the pramana of the Vedanta shastra.

On dharma and adharma:

  • Dhritarashtra’s question in the opening verse of Gita shows his confusion related to the value for dharma. He knew what was dharma but did not know what he stood to lose by violating dharma.
  • No human being can avoid this conflict unless he or she understands everything properly.
  • Dhritarashtra’s blindness is symbolic of aviveka or lack of discriminative knowledge.
  • Gita deals with two types of aviveka – one with reference to dharma and adharma and the second is with reference to atma and anatma. These two are the domains of yoga-shastra and bramha-vidya respecively, which form the two-fold subject matter of Gita.

om tat sat


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