The Innermost Intention of the Shower of Essential Meanings
by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur
svabhikhyaya gos tamaso nihanta
mano.dhitishthan sva-ratim karotu
pracina-vacah suvicarya so.ham
yateh prabhor eva mate tad atra
santah kshamadhvam saranagatasya
May Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who dispelled the darkness of the earth by distributing His own name; who is increasing the bliss of the lotus-like bhaktas; who is the storehouse of the nectar of prema; and who is the bestower of unnata-ujjvala-rasa, which is the most elevated relationship of divine conjugal love, perform His playful pastimes in my heart. Although I am ignorant, by following the conclusions of Sri Gauranga-Sundara, the crest-jewel of all sannyasis, and by deliberating on the thoughts expressed by the previous Vaishnava acaryas, I have become greedy to taste a drop of nectar in the form of the Gita. Therefore, saintly persons should forgive this surrendered soul.
The Supreme Absolute Truth, parabrahma Sri Krishna, whose lotus feet are the ultimate objective of all devotion and sastra, appeared in His original human-like form as Sri Vasudeva-nandana, the son of Sri Vasudeva, in Sri Gopala-puri. Although He is adhokshaja, supremely inconceivable, beyond the cognition of material senses, He nevertheless became visible to the eyes of common men through the medium of His yogamaya potency. He imparted the instructions of Bhagavad-gita, thus delivering the jivas of this world who were drowning in the ocean of birth and death. He submerged them in the great ocean of prema by bestowing upon them a taste of the sweetness of His beauty (saundarya-madhurya) and other qualities. He appeared in this world, being bound by His promise to protect the saintly persons and annihilate the asuras. But on the pretext of removing the burden of the earth, He in fact awarded supreme protection in the form of mukti (liberation) to miscreants, to those who were antagonistic towards Him and to all those jivas drowning in this vast ocean of material existence which is compared to Kumbhipaka-naraka, a hellish planet where sinful persons are cooked in boiling oil.
Bhagavan Sri Krishna instructed Bhagavad-gita so that even after His disappearance, baddha-jivas, conditioned souls, who have been influenced by ignorance since time immemorial and completely bound by lamentation, illusion and so forth, could be delivered. Another purpose was to uphold His glories which are found in the sastra and sung by the munis. He directed these instructions of Bhagavad-gita to His very dear associate, priya-parikara Arjuna, who had voluntarily accepted a veil of lamentation and illusion.
This Gita has three divisions: karma-yoga, jnana-yoga and bhakti-yoga. The eighteen chapters of Bhagavad-gita are blessed with the purport of the entire Vedas which manifest as eighteen types of knowledge. Thus Sri Krishna reveals the parama-purushartha or supreme objective. Nishkama-karma-yoga, working without attachment to the fruits of one's prescribed duties, is described in the first six chapters, and jnana-yoga (acquiring union through knowledge) in the last six chapters. The six chapters placed between them are more confidential, describing bhakti-yoga, which is more rarely attained than either karma-yoga or jnana-yoga. Bhakti is the very life of karma and jnana. Without bhakti, karma and jnana are fruitless. Therefore, they are partially successful only when they are mixed with bhakti.
Bhakti is of two types: kevala (exclusive) and pradhani-bhuta (with bhakti predominating). Kevala-bhakti, being independent and supremely powerful, does not need any assistance from karma and jnana. Therefore, it is known as parama-prabala (supremely powerful), akincana (whereby Krishna is one's only possession), ananya (unalloyed), and so on. On the other hand, pradhani-bhuta-bhakti remains mixed with karma and jnana. This will be examined later in more detail.
To explain the nature of Arjuna's lamentation and illusion, the speaker of the Mahabharata, Sri Vaisampayana, a disciple of Vyasadeva, recited the Bhishma-parva section to his listener, Janamejaya, by beginning with dhritarashtra uvaca. Dhritarashtra asked Sanjaya, .O Sanjaya, what did my sons and the sons of Pandu do, having assembled at Kurukshetra, desiring to fight? Here a question arises: Dhritarashtra has mentioned that his sons and the Pandavas have assembled with the sole purpose of fighting, so it is certain that they will fight. What, then, is his intention in asking, 'What did they do'? In response to this, Dhritarashtra has used the words dharma-kshetre, the land of dharma. In the sruti it is said: kurukshetram deva-yajanam. Kurukshetra is the sacrificial arena of the devas.. Therefore, this land is famous as that which nourishes dharma. Thus, by the influence of association with this land, the anger of adharmika (irreligious) persons like Duryodhana and others can be subdued and they may become inclined to follow and accept dharma. The Pandavas are already dharmika by nature. The influence of Kurukshetra may arouse the faculty of discrimination when they take into consideration that the massacre of one's own relatives is improper. Thus both parties may agree to a peaceful settlement. Outwardly Dhritarashtra is pretending that he will be happy with a peace treaty, but internally he is feeling great dissatisfaction. He considers that, if they negotiate a truce, the presence of the Pandavas will continue to remain an impediment for his sons. Dhritarashtra thinks, .The warriors on my side, like Bhishma, Drona and others cannot be conquered, even by Arjuna. Therefore, since our victory is certain, it will be beneficial to fight. These internal sentiments of Dhritarashtra, however, are indiscernible to others.
Here, by the component kshetra in the word dharma-kshetre, Sarasvati-devi is indicating a special meaning for dharma; Yudhishthira, the incarnation of dharma, and his associates are like plants of rice, and their maintainer, Bhagavan Sri Krishna, is like a farmer. The various kinds of assistance given by Krishna to the Pandavas are likened to watering the crop and making a causeway around the field. The Kauravas, headed by Duryodhana, are like the syama (blackish) weeds which grow in the rice field. This indicates that as the syama weeds are uprooted from the rice field, similarly Duryodhana, along with the other Kauravas, will be uprooted from this dharma-kshetra, land of dharma.