The entire Bhagavad Gita can be explained in just two shlokas, the first one of the first chapter and the last one of the last chapter. The beauty of Vedic communication is that both of these shlokas are not narrated by Krishna. The first one is a question asked by Dhritarashtra and the last one is a closing statement by Sanjaya, the advisor and charioteer of Dhritarashtra. To infer the hidden premise and conclusions that are inbuilt purposefully in these verses, we need a different lens. Let’s look at these, one by one.
V1.1 9 (first verse of the Bhagavadgita)
धर्मक्षेत्रे करुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः I मामका: पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत सञ्जय II
Dhritarashtra said: On the field of dharma at Kurukshetra, what did my sons and the sons of Pandu do when they assembled there seeking battle, O Sanjaya? (Sutton, Nicholas. Bhagavad Gita: The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies Guide)
In this verse, Dhritarashtra defines the battle field Kurukshetra as Field of Dharma (Dharmakshetra). In what context one can define a battlefield as a field of ultimate duty?
For all the warriors the battlefield of Kurukshetra was the ultimate field of their destined karma and duty. For Pandavas it was for their rights, for Kauravas it was for their kingdom and for Krishna it was for the ultimate purpose of righteousness. None of the positions was wrong, none was right either, yet everyone fought for their duty, the righteousness in a context.
We deserve a place on this earth. Do we know the Kurukshetra of our karma and ultimate duty?
In the same verse, Dhritarashtra differentiates Pandava and Kaurava by saying Kauravas as ‘mine (my sons)’ (मामका:). The war was between two successors of the kingdom, one defending his position, the other claiming the eligibility. Dhritarashtra’s biased favour to his own sons made the Kauravas to perceive the kingdom their private property. Dhritarashtra’s blindness symbolically asks this question to all of us; are we blind too when dealing our own prejudices and biases?
V 18.78 (last verse of Bhagavadgita)
यत्र योगेश्वर: कृष्णो यत्र पार्थो धनुर्धर: I तत्र श्रीविर्जयो भूतिर्ध्रुवा नीतीर्मतिमर्म II
Wherever there is Krishna, the master of yoga, and wherever there is Partha who bears the bow, there will also be good fortune, victory, success, and good judgement. That is my opinion. (Sutton, Nicholas. Bhagavad Gita: The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies Guide)
We manage complexities of life through decisions at various points without knowing what will work. For a right judgement, a success, a victory or even a fortune we need to embed three elements within the self:
- Partha, the bearer of the bow (धनुर्धर:) represents eligibility and competence. Whatever place we choose on the earth, we would only deserve it with an eligibility and required competency to hold it. Sanjaya concludes that Arjun qualifies the requirements to win the righteous war (dhramayudh)
- Krishna is also known as Parthasarathi, the friend and guide of Partha, the Arjuna. If we have the required competencies, even the master of all yoga will help us being a guide.
- People who seek guidance from the master of yoga, actually seek the intricacies of yoga. From knowing the self and the purpose of life through yoga of knowledge to persistently work on it through yoga of karma and yoga of unconditional devotion summarise the purpose of any divine guidance. That’s why Krishna is adjectively referred here as yogeshwar (योगेश्वर:, the god of all yoga). To seek a guidance from the teacher or guide, we need to become a disciple first, the disciple of yoga in the real sense.