Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bhagavadgita 2-5, श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता २-५

गुरूनहत्वा हि महानुभावान् श्रेयो भोक्तुं भैक्ष्यमपीह लोके।
हत्वार्थकामांस्तु गुरूनिहैव भुञ्जीय भोगान् रुधिरप्रदिग्धान्।।२-५।।

सन्धि विग्रहः
गुरून् अहत्वा हि महानुभावान् श्रेयः भोक्तुम् भैक्ष्यम् अपि इह लोके।
हत्वा अर्थ-कामान्-तु गुरून् इह एव भुञ्जीय भोगान् रुधिर-प्रदिग्धान्।।२-५।।

हे महानुभावान् गुरून् अहत्वा, इह लोके भैक्ष्यम् भोक्तुम्
अपि श्रेयः। गुरून् हत्वा तु इह एव रुधिर-प्रदिग्धान्
अर्थ-कामान् भोगान् भुञ्जीय।

2.5 गुरून्=the superiors अहत्वा=not killing हि=certainly महानुभावान्=great souls श्रेयः=it is better भोक्तुम्=to enjoy life भैक्ष्यम्=by begging अपि=even इह=in this life लोके=in this world हत्वा=killing अर्थ=gain कामान्=desiring तु=but गुरून्=superiors इह=in this world एव=certainly भुञ्जीय=one has to enjoy भोगान्=enjoyable things रुधिर=blood प्रदिग्धान्=tainted with.

2.5: Begging would give me more joy than killing my gurus and the great souls; By killing the Gurus and great Souls, I will be enjoying wealth and desires tainted with blood.


Arjuna is saying to Krisna, "If You ask how I will maintain my life if I do not desire to accept the kingdom, my answer is that it is better for me to eat food acquired by begging, an act condemned for ksatriyas, than to kill my gurus. Even though I may be defamed in this world for such an act, inauspiciousness will not fall upon me. It is not proper to abandon my gurus simply because they are following the proud and adharmika Duryodhana, who is unable to discriminate between what is just and what is not. If You say that it is recommended in dharma-saastra (Mahaabhaarata Udyoga Parva) to reject the guru if he is proud, unable to discriminate between good and bad actions and engaged in abominable activities, then my reply is, mahaanubhaavaan, ’Where is the possibility of these defects in such personalities as Bheesma and Drona, who have conquered lust, time and so forth?' It may then be argued: although a man is a servant of wealth, wealth is not the servant of anyone. This is confirmed in Bheesma's statement to Yudhisthira Mahaaraaja: ëO Mahaaraaja, it is true that I am bound by the wealth of the Kauravas.' Thus, if You say that his reputation as a mahaanubhaavaan (great personality) has already been ruined by the word artha-kaamee (one desirous of wealth), then I must reply, ‘Yes, this is true.' Still, if I kill them, I will only feel distress. For that reason I am using the word artha-kaamaan (desirous of wealth). How can I enjoy the objects of the senses if I kill all of the Kauravas, who are very greedy for wealth, when such sense objects will be tainted with their blood? In other words, despite their greed for wealth, they will always be my gurus. I will become a traitor by killing them, and any pleasure derived will be adulterated with sinful deeds."


As though inattentive to Krisna's words, due to being overpowered by grief and delusion, Arjuna once more asserted, "I consider it extremely inauspicious and sinful to kill my gurus, Dronaacaarya, Kripaacaarya and my most worshipable Grandsire Bheesma, who are standing before me in this battle array, what to speak of my own family members and relatives, just for the sake of this petty material kingdom. The chance of a place in the higher planets is completely lost for one who kills such gurus. Therefore, I consider it better to maintain my life in this world by begging."

It is stated in the Kurma Puraana:

upaadhyaayah pitaa jyestha-bhraataa caiva mahee-patih maatulah svasuras traataa maataamaha-pitaamahau bandhur jyesthah pitrivyas ca pumsyete guravah smritaah

He who instructs the Vedas, the father, elder brother, king, maternal uncle, father-in-law, protector, maternal grandparents, paternal grandparents, relatives and those who are elderly all are considered one's gurus.

Sree Dronaacaarya and Kripaacaarya were born in high-class braahmana families. Besides knowledge of dhanur-veda (the science of archery), they were also scholars of the Vedas and dharma-saastras and were dharmika by nature. Even on the battlefield, Arjuna saw them as his gurus. Dronaacaarya, who had foreseen the possibility of war, made Arjuna take a vow that, if for any reason they came face to face in battle, Arjuna must fight with him.

Grandsire Bheesma, the son of King Saantanu and GaÏgaa devee, remained a lifelong celibate. According to SreemadBhaagavatam (9.22.19), he was a bhakta of Sree Krisna, extremely chivalrous, in control of his senses, generous, a knower of the Absolute Truth and, by vow, bound to speak the truth. Even death was under his control. He is prominent among the twelve mahaajanas:

svayambhur naaradah sambhuh / kumaarah kapilo manuh prahlaado janako bheesmo / balir vaiyaasakir vayam
Sreemad-Bhaagavatam 6.3.20

Thus Bheesma, the knower of the Absolute Truth and the spiritual master of the whole world, was Arjuna's teacher in the same category as Dronaacaarya. Even though he supported the Kauravas in their fight against the Paandavas, who were devotees of Sree Krisna, he is Krisna's very dear bhakta and he acts only for His pleasure. Bheesma is counted among the jnaaneebhaktas. He said to Yudhisthira Mahaaraaja, "What can I do? I am completely bound by the wealth (salary) of the Kauravas. Although it is not my desire, I have to fight on their side. But I give you this boon: you will be victorious in the battle."

Here, Grandsire Bheesma externally appears to be greedy for wealth and dependent on others, but in fact he is the master of his senses and supremely independent. Therefore, to glorify him in the present sloka, Suddha-Sarasvatee has combined the two words hi and mahaanubhaavaan into himahaanubhaavaan. Hima indicates ice or snow. That which destroys hima is called himahaa, sun or fire, and anubhaavaan means one who has the capability. Therefore, a person who is extremely powerful like the sun or fire is himahaanubhaavaan. The powerful sun and fire can burn all impure objects without becoming contaminated themselves. They always remain pure. Similarly, Bheesma is himahaanubhaavaan, a greatly powerful person. It is said in Sreemad-Bhaagavatam (10.33.29) that fire can burn all pure and impure objects and is thus known as sarva-bhuk, that which can consume everything without becoming impure itself. Similarly, even if a pure and powerful person appears to transgress the principles or etiquette of dharma, he remains completely free from all defects.

Someone may say that the powerful Bheesma committed no injustice by taking the side of the Kauravas and fighting the Paandavas. One may question, however, how Krisna's paramabhakta could pierce the body of his worshipable Lord with sharp arrows? Is this a symptom of his bhakti? In answer it is said:

1) To allure the asuras, Sree Krisna made His great devotee Mahaadeva, SaÏkaraÇ preach maayaavaada which is nothing but covered Buddhism and is against the principles of the Vedas. From an external perspective this does not seem to be bhakti, but from the transcendental perspective it is bhakti, because Mahaadeva simply carried out the order of Bhagavaan to bewilder the asuras.

2) Mahaadeva, being a great devotee of Krisna, assisted Him in relieving the earth of aasurika forces by instigating and supporting Baanaasura's fight against the Lord. Alone, Baanaasura would never have dared to fight with Krisna, and thereby would not have been eliminated. Just as Mahaadeva, taking the side of his own devotee, Baanaasura, personally fought with Sree Krisna, similarly Grandsire Bheesma is siding with the Kauravas and fighting against his Lord. Where, then, is the question of his bhakti being lost?

3) To relieve Mother Earth from the burden of aasurika forces, Sree Krisna wanted to annihilate them in the Mahaabhaarata conflict and thus re-establish dharma. If Grandsire Bheesma and gurus like Dronaacaarya and others had not assisted the opposing aasurika side, then the battle at Kuruksetra would never have been possible. Therefore, by omniscient Sree Krisna's own will, yogamaayaa inspired Bheesma to fight on the side of the opposing party. Thus, Bheesma performed this act for the pleasure of Krisna.

4) In his commentary on a sloka from Sreemad-Bhaagavatam, Sreela Jeeva Gosvaamee explains that in the Mahaabhaarata war, by the will of Sree Krisna, an aasurika mood entered Grandsire Bheesma's heart. Imbued with that mood, he aimed sharp arrows at Krisna, otherwise, it would have been impossible for a suddha-bhakta like Bheesma to act in such a way.

5) The parama-bhakta Grandsire Bheesma teaches ordinary saadhakas that even if a person of his exalted status accepts the food or association of materialistic persons, his mind will become contaminated and his discrimination lost.

6) Sree Bhagavaan understood that Jaya and Vijaya wanted to satisfy Him by fulfilling His desire to fight. He therefore inspired the four Kumaaras to visit Him and, in order to infuse inimical thoughts into the hearts of Jaya and Vijaya, He intentionally had the four Kumaras curse them. This curse was just a pretence, because there is no possibility of any anger existing in Vaikuntha, what to speak of a curse. In fact, for the satisfaction and pleasure of Sree Bhagavaan, Jaya and Vijaya personally begged to have an inimical mood and by doing so there was no diminution in their bhakti.

Had Grandsire Bheesma shown any symptom of desiring to kill Krisna instead of pleasing Him, he would have fallen from his position as a bhakta forever. Grandsire Bheesma offered the following prayer glorifying Sree Krisna on the battlefield at Kuruksetra:

yudhi turaga-rajo-vidhumra-visvakkaca-lulita-sramavaary-alaÏkritaasye mama nisita-sarair vibhidyamaanatvaci vilasat-kavace 'stu krisna aatmaa
Sreemad-Bhaagavatam 1.9.34

While commenting on this sloka, Sreela Visvanaatha Cakravartee Thaakura gives a very rasika description of Grandsire Bheesma's bhakti-bhaava by saying that Bheesma perceives that, just as the dust raised from the hooves of the cows in Vraja decorates the charming face of Sree Krisna and increases His beauty and sweetness, in the same way the dust raised from the hooves of the horses on the battlefield also increases Sree Krisna's beauty and sweetness. There is nothing ugly in a beautiful object. Although dust in itself is not beautiful, when it falls on the soft, lotus-like face of Sree Krisna it enhances His beauty and charm. When Krisna ran towards Bheesma carrying the wheel of a chariot, His hair was dishevelled. Bheesma was then reminded of how Krisna's hair looks when, upon returning from cow-grazing, He runs behind the lowing cows as they quickly move toward their sheds. Sramavaari means that, due to the forceful exertion of Krisna running towards Bheesma on the battlefield, drops of perspiration fell from His lotus-like face and beautiful limbs. To Bheesma they appeared to be like the perspiration drops caused by Krisna's exertion in kandarpa-yuddha, amorous war of cupid. Krisna's running at Bheesma is also a manifestation of His mood of bhakta-vaatsalya. Krisna broke His own vow not to fight in order to keep Bheesma's vow that he would make Sree Krisna take up weapons against him. Grandsire Bheesma observes, "The reddish marks appearing on the limbs of Sree Krisna, which are bruised and cut by my sharp arrows, look like the love-bites made by the teeth of a passionate lover absorbed in kandarpa-rasa with her beloved." Although a young beloved may behave haughtily with her lover, whom she loves millions of times more than her own life, by marking him with her nails and teeth, she cannot be said to be devoid of love. Similarly, Bheesma's madness in veera-rasa (the chivalrous mellow) is not an indication that he is devoid of krisna-prema.

Bhagavaan Sree Krisna is raso vai sah (Taittireeya Upanisad 2.7.2), meaning that He embodies the nectar of all mellows (akhilarasaamrita-murti). In order to fulfil the desire of Sree Krisna to taste veera-rasa, Bheesma, one of His prominent bhaktas, took the side of the Kauravas and wounded the limbs of Sree Bhagavaan. Bheesma thus pleased Him by fulfilling his desire.

In Sree Mahaabhaarata, it is seen that Bhagavaan Sree Krisna took a vow not to use any weapon in the battle. On the other hand, Bheesma, His bhakta, took a vow that if he could not make Krisna use weapons, he would not be considered the son of Mahaaraaja Saantanu. Bhagavaan, who is affectionate to His bhaktas (bhakta-vatsala), broke His own vow and protected the vow of Bheesma.

sva-nigamam apahaaya mat-pratijnaam ritam adhikartum avapluto rathasthah dhrita-ratha-carano 'bhyayaac caladgur harir iva hantum ibham gatottariyah
Sreemad-Bhaagavatam 1.9.37

Grandsire Bheesma says, "I offer my pranaamas again and again unto bhakta-vatsala Sree Bhagavaan who, in order to protect my vow, broke His own promise. He jumped from the chariot, took a wheel in His hand and ran towards me with great speed."

In spite of taking the side of the opposing party, Grandsire Bheesma is a parama-bhakta. Of this there is no doubt. From the character of Bheesmadeva, we learn that whatever he does is favourable; it is for the pleasure of Krisna and it assists Krisna's leelaa-vilaasa. His profound character is beyond any mundane reasoning. However, if a conditioned soul (maayaabaddha-jeeva) imitates Bheesma and engages in illicit activities or commits aparaadha while making a show of being a guru, he can never be considered a sad-guru. Bhagavaan sabhadeva has said in Sreemad-Bhaagavatam (5.5.18):

gurur na sa syaat sva-jano na sa syaat pitaa na sa syaaj jananee na saa syaat daivam na tat syaan na patis ca sa syaan na mocayed yah samupeta-mrityum

A guru who cannot deliver a disciple from the imminent cycle of birth and death (mrityu-samsaara) by giving him instructions on bhakti is not qualified to be a guru.

Only a mahaa-purusa who is saastra-jna (thoroughly expert in the imports of the saastra), who is endowed with realisation of parabrahma and who is detached from this material world is qualified to be a guru. For this reason, Bali Mahaaraaja rejected Sukraacaarya, who was opposed to the principles of bhakti. Thus, it is the injunction of the saastra to reject such a guru. There is no sin or fault in not surrendering to or not following an unqualified guru, nor indeed in rejecting him.

Life-long celibate Bheesma, after winning the svayamvara of the three daughters of the king of Kaasee ñ Ambaa, Ambikaa and Ambaalikaa ñ had Ambikaa and Ambaalikaa married to his brother Vicitraveerya. The first girl, Ambaa, insisted on marrying Bheesma, but he had taken a vow of life-long celibacy, and thus rejected her request. Not finding any other solution, Ambaa approached Parasuraama, Bheesma's astra-sastra-guru. Parasuraama called Bheesma and ordered him to marry Ambaa, but Bheesma remained resolute. At this, Parasuraama told him either to marry her or fight with him. Bheesma accepted the fight while speaking the following words:

guror apy avaliptasya kaaryaakaaryam ajaanatah utpatha-pratipannasya parityaago vidheeyate
Mahaabhaarata Udyoga Parva 179.25

A guru who is engrossed in sense gratification, who is a fool with no ability to discriminate between proper and improper behaviour, and who is following a different path, devoid of suddha-bhakti, is a false guru. One should immediately reject him.

Such a parama-bhakta as Bheesma cannot perform any activity which is against the principles of bhakti. Parasuraama is an avataara of Bhagavaan. Considering that the vow of Bheesma to be righteous, Parasuraama accepted defeat in this fight, which would have continued indefinitely because they were evenly matched.