I deserve a place on this earth. Where is my Kurukshetra? (Bhagavad Gita from a different lens- Part 1)


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The whole 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

Translation: 

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?

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V 18.78 (last verse of Bhagavadgita)

यत्र योगेश्वर: कृष्णो यत्र पार्थो धनुर्धर: I तत्र श्रीविर्जयो भूतिर्ध्रुवा  नीतीर्मतिमर्म II

Translation:

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:

  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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These two verses guide us explicitly that to deserve a winning place on this earth, the individual Kurukshetra, we need to develop an eligibility, be a disciple of knowledge, karma and devotion. On such pursuit, even the master of all yoga, the divine power will come and guide us. Isn’t it the summary of the whole philosophy of Bhagavad Gita?
Copyright: Santosh Srivastava, Author of the book: The Gita Way.
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How to access TACIT Knowledge available around?


The knowledge that is never written, never taught, but still exist around us as if it was already there for ages. Is there any method to discover such knowledge? How can we make tacit knowledge work for us?

Let me elaborate a little bit on tacit knowledge first.

There are known examples seen in animals, birds and insects where they sense the change of season and alter their behaviour or act. For instance, migrating birds change locations to manage variation in temperatures and ants collect food just before the start of rainy season. They follow some rules already known to them without having any efforts to get such knowledge. From one generation to other the pattern remains intact. How such knowledge comes to them? Do we as a human carry such knowledge?

Philosophers and mathematicians discovered ephemerides ahead of time during ancient civilisations such as Mesopotamian or Mohenjo-Daro’s itself. Isn’t it surprising that they could reveal the complexities of solar system just by observing patterns and using mathematics? They were not as scientifically equipped as we are today, still their findings were quite accurate. How did they do that, is there something we do not know about their methodologies or research?

Another example is of Acharya Charaka who is known as the father of Ayurveda. He discovered remedies for almost all types of illness known in his time and also, those came in future. He never read any literature, he never wrote any. All we know is the compilation of his teachings and applications as observed by his pupils and followers. Does not it surprise us that without any reference and without any scientific laboratory to test, he could discover properties of millions of elements available in nature with their impact on humans? If I assume that it could be based on practice, trust me it’s not possible to discover such a range in one’s lifetime. How such knowledge came to him?

This knowledge is difficult to write or define, this is tacit knowledge which is already there and transferred from one generation to other without any writings or exclusive teachings. How is it possible?

Here is the theory of tacit knowledge, in fact the theory of all the knowledge. The knowledge discovered or yet to discover is already there and we have a capability to directly assimilate with that. Something similar to direct download from the cloud. But we need to learn that art of downloading.

There are two possibilities in the context of such knowledge-

  • Using existing knowledge, we connect the next unknown. It becomes easier and faster when we develop a capability to apply all the knowledge we have accumulated to know the next. In my book- The Gita Way, I have presented a process of yoga known as Centring. Centring is a process to apply all the knowledge and wisdom together to apply them on a situation.
  • The second possibility is a belief or a faith that all the knowledge is already there around us. We need to learn how to decode it. To know that we need to discover our inner selves first. Example of Acharya Charaka endorses this possibility.

The first possibility given above is easy to decipher from logic, the second one is not. Let us argue the examples given above, let’s say the example of ants and birds, we may attribute their behaviours on extra sensory organs or pheromones nature has given to them. However, we also know that these organs or pheromones evolved over a period of time. Isn’t it such evolutions are the knowledge downloaded in due course? The whole theory of evolution itself can be attributed to discovery and assimilation of new knowledge by various species. It’s difficult to explain this by logic. However, we can infer that such evolutions are the result of both the possibilities mentioned above working together.

How can we make tacit knowledge work for us? Will it surprise you if I say that it is already there with us helping in our various day to day decisions? We can experience this with ‘INTUITION’ along with knowing our real-self and using centring as a tool to apply all the knowledge together.

Steve jobs once said this – “I began to realise that an intuitive understanding and consciousness was more significant than abstract thinking and intellectual logical analysis”

Malcolm Gladwell advocates similar theory in his book – Blink: The power of thinking without thinking.

Is there a science working in the background and we are unaware? Possibly yes.

Let’s believe we know everything and trust me the solution to all the problems in the world are within our reach. We need to apply the knowledge already around…

-Santosh Srivastava (co-author, The Gita Way)

(This post is based on the concepts on power of real-self and centring from the book- The Gita Way. Know more about the book athttp://www.amazon.in/dp/9380914873)

The post was first published at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-access-tacit-knowledge-available-around-santosh-srivastava?trk=mp-author-card

 

GOLDEN LEAVES


I saw a young man in hurry to catch the local train with a purpose. Then I saw a young boy moving his buffaloes in open field to feed them and enjoying alone by playing with a cricket ball. I also sew a sweet young couple moving along a village road, calm and cool without any talk. I see lot of similar and different people moving around with and without a purpose with some or other emotion without demonstrating any. Then I ask few questions to myself. Who among those are happy? Who among those going to create history? Who among those is both successful and satisfied with his or her success? Who among those inherited a lot to make his given identity and who’s going to create the same?
Then I saw a huge vegetation of forest land with dry but golden leaves waiting to disappear just before fall. I got some clue and some of my answer. The trees and disappearing golden leaves signify completion of a life cycle and transformation into a new one. End is not the right word so I am using completion which is destined. Good or bad, fruitful or fruitless the trees will lose their leaves. However; just before disappearing, leaves become golden representing prosperity which seems to be notional but actually not. Philosophically completion is good as it is followed by transformation and reincarnation and sets a fresh start. So in the end (actually at the completion) everything is good. All of my questions remain insignificant at this conclusion. Is that what Bhagvad Gita says as ultimate detachment?
I tried to derive the answer from Bhagvad Gita itself. The building block of human life cycle, philosophically, can be categorized into inherited wealth (money, language, religion, society etc. at the time of birth), learning (knowledge, attitude, skills, insights etc), Application of learning (KARMA), Wealth creation (Knowledge, money, language, religion, society etc) and finally dissipating wealth. In the whole process there is no physical gain. That’s why Gita questions attachment with physical gains. There should not be any confusion with inactivity. As there is a gain, the golden leaves, and the base of reincarnation, called spiritual gain. Spiritual gain comes from KARMA, the right activity for right purpose, the DHARMA, the ultimate goal. (DHARMA is not religion specific; it means the ultimate goal of human being). To know KARMA, adequate knowledge and adequate health is required to apply knowledge. This is where inheritance becomes important which is basically BHAGYA, the luck and it’s not in any one’s hand. So the only thing left is KARMA to gain real wealth. So the sights I mention in first paragraph have no difference. The real difference if can be measured with spiritual gains it would have been very easy to answer all my doubts. Even though, if I assume happiness close to spiritual gain, it’s almost impossible to decide by just watching. The rural boy playing with cricket ball and buffaloes could be happier than the chairman of a multi billion dollar company. Its difficult, so no measurement, no confusion. At the completion every things going to look like same, like golden leaves. Let’s gain a better root to make sure the new leaves waiting to sprout is more beautiful and healthy.