The Bhagavad Gita: Story of Arjuna
THE BHAGAVAD GITA – STORY OF ARJUNA
In the epic story of the Bhagavad Gita, the hero Arjuna returns to his ancestral homeland with an army to restore the rightful ruler of the area. Because of the rightful ruler’s prolonged absence, a non-rightful but powerful group of individuals led by a blind king has taken over the throne to this area.
Arjuna knows full well what needs to happen. There is a clear need seen as to what has to occur. There is great difficulty that he experiences, however, many limitations and doubts he encounters to implement his growing belief in his course of action. The limitations arise within his mind when he sees family, friends, people he knew in the past arrayed in battle on the opposing side. He trembles in horror at the thought that he would have to fight and possible kill his own kinsman to do what is righteous.
In this process, he has a counselor, Sri Krishna. This represents the I AM, or the pure self, the highest expression of your individuality coming through to the conscious perception, which is what Arjuna represents. The land that Arjuna believes that he must re-take control of represents the subconscious mind. The fact that the king that rules the area currently is blind means that you are not aware and do not have conscious perception and awareness of the subconscious mind. It is the state of the entrapped humanity, falsely believing that you are conscious mind and physical body only. The belief that is being formed is one of extending the control and conscious awareness into the subconscious mind, and restore your rightful full awareness to your whole subconscious mind again.
As Arjuna faces his limitations, it is symbolic of how we face doubts and fears when confronting parts of ourselves that we know we need to change however become a little scared and intimidated when we falsely think to ourselves ‘…but that’s ME! That’s who I AM!’ and question where our true loyalty is, and question if we even want to do it, and question if we really have the strength and willpower to change what we truly know we need to change. Particularly the old, established ways of being.
It is important to draw upon the high self, the I AM, for guidance and inspiration. It is you, the highest expression of yourself. Everything in the Bhagavad Gita like all other holy works, is a symbolic representation of processes that occur within yourself on the journey of enlightenment.
In the process of self-reflection that occurs before the battle, Arjuna goes through many processes. He moves past his limitations which are selfish to understanding selfless service, giving to something greater than the limited physical state, learns to release anxiety about the outcome of events through releasing attachment to results, embraces all aspects of self, and aligns his mind. Sri Krishna then teaches about devotion and faith, which strongly relates to how believing and knowing move through this holy work: In chapter seven, ‘Wisdom From Realization’ Sri Krishna, or the I AM, says to Arjuna “When a person is devoted to something with complete faith, I unify his faith in that. Then, when his faith is completely unified, he gains the object of his devotion.”
This strong belief and clear image can be to either physical things and physical results only, or to higher goals which provide a more lasting satisfaction and fulfillment. Oneness with Self and with God. In the Gita, there are many more expansive and spiritually uplifting visions given to Arjuna that strengthen his belief. They are infinite, omnipresent, and all-pervasive visions of how God is present in all aspects of creation.
It requires a strong belief, fueled by the energy that comes from an aligned mind, still and able to receive from the highest source. This belief will become knowing. This clear image of your enlightenment and the steps to get there are all contained in superconscious mind. The greatest and highest source of inspiration and belief toward knowing comes from within.
THE HINDU CULTURE
Within India there are Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians. Within Hindus there are four castes, however officially not recognized still present in the culture. The moral and social duties within the culture are tied to their believing and knowing in laws and principles of the universe. They primarily are karma, which literally translated means ‘action’, but also means you reap what you sow. Samskara, which is the evolution through cycles of growth, such as reincarnation, and Moksha, which is the release from the physical entrapment in the body. It is the state in which every devout Hindu strives.
The rituals performed by the Hindu correspond to growing through life, and help each child to cause a greater belief and expectation in themselves as they move on to the next phase of their life. There are prenatal, childhood, marriage, and death rituals present within the culture.
The main ritual of adolescence is the Vedic initiation rite called upanayana (the “thread ceremony”). It is regarded as a ‘birth’ into the adolescent stage of life, in a sense that they are considered ‘spiritually born’ on the other side of the ceremony. It is comparable to the Christian tradition of confirmation within the church at the age of adolescence. The Hindu children are accepted into the social system. It also assists with creating expectation for the young person (men in this case) to grow and mature.
This stimulates believing in their growth, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The young boy wears a girdle of deerskin, carries a wooden staff, and is given finally the Sacred Thread. It consists of three cords, each of which is made by twisting three strands. It is stated that this cord is the link to the one single source of the universe, Atman. Atman is the Hindu word for God. The thread is used much throughout the ceremony as a central element. After the ceremony, the young man and the priest put wood into a sacred fire. This is considered a sacrifice.10
In older times, what followed this ritual was a period of several years at the teacher’s house with no status, rank, or property. Living only in humility, obedience and chastity. In present times this ritual is done before going to college, or before they get married. In modern times they only live with the teacher if they wish to devote their life to a study of the scriptures.
Metaphysically, I see that this ritual starts with connecting together into one cohesive whole the three elements of creation. Akasha, Prana, and creative mind. This ritual and tradition brings the conscious mind of the participant to how connected they are with their high self, with everyone around them, and imprints into their minds the importance of staying connected and focused for the rest of their lives. At this age, with the kundalini energy so active, it is important to give the conscious mind a strong direction to create. Three is the number of creation, because it does involve the combination of energy, substance, and the intelligence to direct that energy.
When the student returns, another ceremony involving a ceremonial bath (similar to baptism in Christian tradition) after which the man becomes a full-fledged member of the community. He is considered ready to marry and become a householder.
The water represents in the universal language of mind the conscious life experiences. It is a sealing and final outward validation and verification of the process that was begin before going to school. It is the finalization of the adolescence and the beginning of adulthood. Immersing your body in water is symbolic of being fully committed and immersed in your life’s experiences for growth and learning on a spiritual level in growth toward enlightenment.
copyright 2002 School of Metaphysics