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Thread: Symbols of the mahābhārata

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    Re: Symbols of the mahābhārata

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté phani_genin, Welcome to HDF.


    Quote Originally Posted by phani_genin View Post
    Hi Yajvan ji,
    great thread to begin with, makes one think hard

    Duryodhana, when compared to the attribute 'desire' , this is the desire to achieve or snatch away what is not his. If i go one step further, i would say, this desire is fuelled ( supported ) by 100 of his siblings, 10 indriyas ( 5 gyana + 5 karma ) that are scattered in 10 directions ( up, down included ).

    Regarding the post about Bhishma, i dont completely agree with the description, may be my bias towards that character is so. Bhishma is not his original name as such, he was called Gaangeya, Devavrata. Bhishma, the terrible, is the word used to describe the Oath he had taken for his father's sake.

    When kuru- is a word that signals toward a do-er of action, kurukshetra is a playground for all these do-ers carrying out their individual actions. Kuru - is also a king, ancestor of this dynasty but i dont have any ideas in that direction. So Kurukshetra might well be the individual Mind itself - a playground where opposing thoughts are in a state of constant conflict. 'Dharmakshetre Kurukshetre .. - BGita opens up this way. This should also explain the state of Arjuna - who is like fire tattwa, pure + raw knowledge. He is caught up in a state of confusion, helplessness when he sees himself fighting his dear ones ( in the mind, it is equivalent to fighting qualities of self ). So Krishna the Brahman, guided this confused situation and solved the identity crisis the knowledge was facing in its course.

    Also regardign Bhishma, for all he did in the play, given the way i look at Mahabharata as being simulation of human brain, i would assign him with Wisdom, Discipline. He was completely remindful of his duties all thruout his life, dedicated towards one cause of protecting his kingdom. Only time, wisdom took backseat was durign what happened with Draupadi. He found himself helpless, but realises it was mistake and in the end he accepts it infront of the Brahman - gets the moksha.

    I am a newbie here, comments are always welcome
    Iswara Sankalpam
    I am in hopes you find this string interesting . Yes, what you say about bhīṣma (other names are devavrata, gangadatta and dyu) is interesting, I can see this point.. Yet I must always consider all the arrows that was dispensed to bring him down - thus the ego. Yet I struggle with bhīṣma's brilliance and at the same time his position ( symbolically) ego. Yet it brings a teaching the there is small ego based on 'me' and there is Divine Ego, based on 'Thee' (tad).

    The next person is droṇāchārya ( some just call him droṇa ) . He makes the perfect ~teacher~ as for him he is the symbol of habit. When this reading came to me, many lights went on inside of my thinking that connected the dots of appreciaiton. I say habit but ,more specifically I mean saṃskāra mental impression or recollection , impression on the mind of acts done in a former state of existence. Some too may call vāsanā - the impression of anything remaining unconsciously in the mind , the present consciousness of past perceptions , knowledge derived from memory.

    Now we know droṇa was born from the vital fluid of the brahman bharad-vāja into a vessel , a wooden bowl, hence the word droṇa. This droṇa is defined as a wooden vessel , bucket , trough and even a a soma vessel.

    Yet I am informed via svāmī paramahaṃsa yogānaṃda-ji's writings to look a bit deeper. That this droṇa has a saṃskṛt root of dru. This root has multiple meanings and applicaitons, yet one that is applicable is 'to become fluid , dissolve , melt '.

    Now, to make a connection: vipāka the ripening , maturing of the fruit of actions in the present or former birth. We take special note that vipāka is rooted in pak ( which is pac) which is to ripen or mature, but also to melt. This is a very ingenious way to connect droṇa to dru to vipāka to saṃskāra.

    Hence it is droṇa, those past vipāka , in a melted ( dormant) State that comes up when the time is ripe. The teacher from the past, saṃskāra.

    praṇām
    Last edited by yajvan; 28 February 2016 at 10:55 AM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  2. #12
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    Re: Symbols of the mahābhārata

    hari o
    ~~~~~~
    namaste


    We find within mahābhārata, draupadī,( also known as kṛṣṇā draupadī ) is ordered to be dis-robed by the mandate of duryodhana putting her to great embarrassment. She asks for help from kṛṣṇa. What occurs ? Her sāri begins to be pulled off, but the cloth never ends ( note that the word sari means cascade). It is though kṛṣṇa-ji that this is made possible.


    So, my question. Is there significance to this ~symbol~ of unending cloth (śāṭī) that continues to cascade (sari) from draupadī 's body (śarīra) ?

    Could not kṛṣṇa-ji have done 10 other things that would have assisted draupadī ? Yet the unending cloth was His choice. Is there some sign/symbol/insight that is being offered ?


    iti śivaṁ

    words

    • duryodhana as he causes much mischief for the pāṇḍava-s. We know he is king dhṛtarāṣṭra's 1st born son. We will look at the other sons ( not all 100) in a future post,; let's see what this word duryodhana implies.
      • dur - is bad or difficult; great crime or wickedness . We see this in this word duriṣṭha - very bad or difficult or wicked.
      • yudh - is to fight with.

    • So dur + yudh is very difficult or bad to fight with. And who is so difficult for us to fight with ? Desire. He is considered
      active desire , material desire.
    • sārī comes from śāṭī defined as a strip of cloth , a skirt or garment or gown
    • śarīra - " that which is easily destroyed i.e. the body , bodily frame
    Last edited by yajvan; 28 February 2016 at 10:55 AM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  3. #13

    Re: Symbols of the mahābhārata

    Quote Originally Posted by yajvan View Post
    So, my question. Is there significance to this ~symbol~ of unending cloth (śāṭī) that continues to cascade (sari) from draupadi's body (śarīra) ?

    Could not kṛṣṇa-ji have done 10 other things that would have assisted draupadi ? Yet the unending cloth was His choice. Is there some sign/symbol/insight that is being offered ?

    praNAm

    Unending cloth means ever-lasting protection once a devotee takes His shelter - come what may. Be there a zillion Duhshasans.

    I think KRshNa - who always kills many birds in one stone - wanted to

    1. protect Draupadi no doubt,
    2. demostrate true surrender Vs. half-surrender (one foot in the world)
    3. demonstrate result of trust and faith in Him
    4. wanted to hide His oppulence (Divine Glories) from those averse to Him - like the kaurav. So He did not appear in person.
    5. If He had made it so that Dushasan got paralyzed in the process, it would not be a peaceful act. He wanted the kaurav also to learn a lesson from this leela - that BhagavAn's shakti is unending.

    Point 2. Draupadi was calling KRshNa, but at first struggled to save herself. So KRshNa let her do so. When she fully surrendered to Him 100%, He let the eternal cloth flow.

    -----
    Acc. to a RAmAnandi Shri VaishNav AchArya who does kathA on TV, KRshNa became the sAri. The sAri was an incarnation, a temporary avatAr of KRshNa for that purpose.

    om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya
    || Shri KRshNArpaNamastu ||

  4. #14

    Re: Symbols of the mahābhārata

    Namaste
    Quote Originally Posted by smaranam View Post
    Unending cloth means ever-lasting protection once a devotee takes His shelter - come what may. Be there a zillion Duhshasans.
    From the context of this thread - which is about symbolism,
    unending cloth symbolizes the eternality, infiniteness, anAdi-ananta (beginingless, endless) nature of Bramhan or AtmA.
    The infinite tattva. Achala - unmoving, yet flowing, abundant. Its chetanA constantly flowing.

    Unending cloth portrays that AtmA cannot be cut, burned, wet, dried, killed (Bhagavad GitA).

    Once you give up the struggle (thoughts, mAnas, ego-struggle), and surrender [the ego] to the Self (KRshNa), the Self literally opens the flood-door to the infinite.
    Duryodhana = desires (and wanting to kill AtmA to acheive them)
    DuhshAsana = Atma-drohi, foolish killer of AtmA - but realizes it cannot be done (thanks to the unending cloth).
    Also, foolish follower of desires (Duryodhan) without viveka-buddhi (discrimination).

    Draupadi = many-branched buddhi (intellect), married to the 5 tattva which later on becomes one-pointed, and this is what makes the ego surrender to the Self - KRshNa.

    Also, Draupadi = KRshNAA =
    a) ekarUpa, blended, leaning towards, devoted to, the SacchidAnanda AtmA, the center of Universe = KRshNa
    b) many-branched intellect which attracts many diverse thoughts.


    Well, I just made all that up... but I tried

    _/\_
    || Shri KRshNArpaNamastu ||

  5. #15
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    Re: Symbols of the mahābhārata

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté


    Quote Originally Posted by smaranam View Post
    Point 2. Draupadi was calling KRshNa, but at first struggled to save herself. So KRshNa let her do so. When she fully surrendered to Him 100%, He let the eternal cloth flow.
    Regarding draupadī & the unending cloth which occurs in the sabhā¹ pravan section of the mahābhārata.
    I was fortunate to read something as of late on this matter which rang true to me… it was offered by svāmī lakṣman-jū .
    What rang true is getting closer to the notion of surrender. All of us have some feel for this, but the notion of total surrender, I think many have yet to grasp this.

    Svāmī lakṣman-jū mentions draupadī; as she is being disrobed (vastrahārin) she asked for help yet still is holding on to the sārī as it is pulled off.
    Svāmī-ji suggests that draupadī was holding the cloth between her teeth – his way of saying ‘clinging’ or holding on. She still had faith that
    she could hold on, hide herself. It was not until she let go that kṛṣṇa comes to her support.

    But regarding this surrender, svāmī-ji suggests it is it feels like when you have lost all hope. Like being in a lake and holding on to the bushes
    or reeds that are on the side of the lake; they are in the mud not firmly held in the ground; the reeds are easily uprooted, the current takes
    you and there is absolutely no hope, no confidence; one just gives in to what has occurred. It is total and unconditional acceptance that all is lost …
    not even a 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000001% chance of being saved – there is no way out, you are done for.

    For me this really helps me comprehend what total surrender feels like; a total emptiness, yet without fear. Why no fear? ( For me) it is the final
    comprehension of all is lost, why should I struggle one bit ? it is done, I am finished and I am fine and accepting of this condition – let it be so.

    I now have a better appreciation of surrender.

    iti śivaṁ

    words

    • sabhā = large assembly-room or hall , palace , court of a king
    • vastrahārin = vastra+hārin = cloth + carrying away
    • draupadī - descendant from drupada; dra + upa + dī dra = that which is free + upa = near to + dī = to shine bright;It is said she was fire born i.e.
      came from the yajñāya (havan) of her father og which two came into being: draupadī and dhṛṣṭadyumna.


    Last edited by yajvan; 08 December 2015 at 12:32 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  6. #16
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    Re: Symbols of the mahābhārata

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté


    The 100 insults of śiśupāla - sabhā pravan section¹ of the mahābhārata
    Śiśupāla was the person that hurled insults a kṛṣṇa. After śiśupāla insults kṛṣṇa for the 100th time, kṛṣṇa takes his life. The agreement kṛṣṇa-ji
    made with śiśupāla’s mother śrutádevā (kṛṣṇa-ji’s aunt) per her request was to pardon śiśupāla (kṛṣṇa-ji’s cousin no less) for any offences.
    It is kṛṣṇa that says I will pardon him 100 times of any verbal abuse he may give, even if he deserves to be slain. Some say 100 times per day ,
    yet I did not find that number within my readings. Nor did I not find śrutádevā asking that her son be pardoned 100 times; these were kṛṣṇa-ji’s words…
    I mention this as others may say the 100 pardon request was that of his mother.

    The question
    what is the significance of 100 times? Why was 100 chosen ? Why not 108, or say 1,000 or for that matter 16? What is significant about 100 ?

    A side note on śiśupāla
    When śiśupāla was born he has 3 eyes and 4 arms. And when born he screamed and brayed like a donkey. The parents no doubt thought this was a bad omen
    to say the least and looked to find a way to abandon the infant. Well, a voice came to them (ākāśavaṇa = a voice from space) and advised not to pursue this action.
    The voice said the infant will become fortunate, superior in strength, and not to fear him.
    The mother śrutádevā asked I’d like to know who then will slay this child ( since it was on our minds) ? The voice said, He upon whose lap this child being placed
    the superfluous arms of his will fall down upon the ground like a pair of five-headed snakes, and at the sight of whom his third eye on the forehead will disappear,
    will be his slayer
    .
    Due to the child’s uniqueness ( 4 arms and 3 eyes) kings from around the earth came to see this infant; All were placed upon the visitor's laps. Nothing fell off or changed
    until the child was placed on kṛṣṇa-ji‘s lap; then the extraneous arms and extra eye fell off. The mother, śrutádevā , Queen of Chedi¹ ,(and kṛṣṇa-ji’s aunt) know knew who
    would slay her son. This is why she prompted the request to kṛṣṇa-ji , to pardon śiśupāla of any offences.

    More on śiśupāla – connecting some dots
    If we look to the śrīmad bhāgavatam (3.15 & 7.1) we learn more of śiśupāla and his history. You can read it here:
    http://www.bhagavata.org/canto3/chapter15.html & http://www.bhagavata.org/canto7/chapter1.html

    You will find śiśupāla and his brother dantavarka were gatekeepers within viṣṇu\ śṛi hari’s vaikuṇṭhá (heaven). Their names were named jaya and vijaya.
    You will find that they incurred a curse (śápana)\punishment from the kumāra’s , brahm
    ā's 4 mind-born sons.
    Jaya and vijaya the gatekeepers would not let them continue their entry into vaikuṇṭhá. Yet it is worth the read on how all this unfolds and how they end up back on earth -
    Since you smell of diversity even here (in this grand place of vaikuṇṭhá ) then jaya and vijaya you will go to the sphere (loka) where lust, anger and greed are one’s deadly enemies.

    iti śivaṁ

    words

    • We find this in the sabdā parvan ( section XLII or 42) as bhīṣma narrates in this section.
      • I am using Kisari Mohan Ganguli’s translation

    • chedi = cedi – located in central india.
    • this name śiśu+ pāla = child + protector, guard, keeper. I think this suggests he was ‘protected’ and not discarded as a child, vs. he that goes and protects other children.

      • the viṣṇu-purāṇa identifies this impious monarch with the demons hiraṇya-kaśipu and rāvaṇa; his death forms the subject of māgha's celebrated poem called śiśupāla-vadha
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  7. #17
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    Re: Symbols of the mahābhārata

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté


    from a post above,

    Dhṛtarāṣṭra is derived from dhṛta धृत - drawn tight (reins) , kept back , detained ; and rāṣṭra is kingdom, or realm. This rāṣṭra is also rooted in rāj ,
    to rule , as this makes sense of one that has a kingdom. So , when we add the words together it is one who rules tightly, has the reins tight.

    The key to this personality is the idea of being blind. King dhṛtarāṣṭra is the symbol of manas , the mind. That faculty or instrument through which thoughts
    enter or by which objects of sense are collected. Svāmī paramahaṃsa yogānaṃda-ji calls him the sense-mind.
    But why blind? The sense-mind lacks discriminating power on its own. The sense-mind is turned outward toward the world of objects. It lives in the world of māyā ¹ ,
    of the many, of the Infinite that is measured out.

    This mind has a function to coordinate the senses , as for itself, it cannot see, or hear or touch , etc. without those other faculties i.e. it is ~blind~ yet
    holds a 'tight rein' (dhṛta) on these horses i.e. the senses. The mind as ~ blind~ ( and separate from intelligence, as we will get to this later) relays the impressions
    received from the senses ( the horses) to the proper channels i.e. buddhi¹ ( intellect) or the emotions , etc.

    Within the bhāgavad gītā which is ~ 700 verses¹ out of the mahābhārata’s 100,000 verses contains 4 characters:
    • kṛṣṇa-jī ( which he is addressed by many names¹ in this śastra for multiple reasons)
    • arjuna - one of the 5 paṇḍavā-s, and kṛṣṇa's friend
    • sañjaya – was the sūta¹ gifted with divine vision; able to see and listen in to the conversation between kṛṣṇa & arjuna, then relay the information to dhṛtarāṣṭra the king, and that is how we are able to receive the story.
    • dhṛtarāṣṭra the king, mentioned above; father of the kaurava-s and uncle to the paṇḍavā-s


    As said many times, the śastra’s teach us at every level ( every chance and intersection) that presents the opportunity to do so.
    Why are we offered these 4 characters to ‘listen in’ to the knowledge offered kṛṣṇa-jī ? I think we call can agree on the 1st two
    in the list: kṛṣṇa-jī and arjuna. But why is sañjaya and dhṛtarāṣṭra part of the bhāgavad gītā ? surely it could have been done without
    these two, or at the least done with 3 and leave out the king.

    Does anyone see the significance or symbols in this arrangement ? Nothing is by happenstance .

    iti śivaṁ

    words

    • 700 verses – some say 699, others say 700, and we find some translatations that 715 as in the bhāgavadgītārthasaṁgraha
    • A sūta is a charioteer, a story-teller whose business to proclaim/reveal/recite the heroic actions, and the knowledge of the great epics. The recitation of these epics is considered jñāna-yajña.
    • vyāsa is veda vyāsa - the one who compiled the veda-s and is also known as kṛṣṇa dvaipāyana for more insight on vyāsa see this HDF post: http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/sho...5&postcount=35



    • many names: One is keśava – ‘having long / flowing handsome hair’ . yet the name as ka + śa + va disassembled - ka = brahman , śa = śiva , va = varuṇa ‘ all enveloping sky’ and the master of ṛtá ( order, law, rightness, enlightened , luminous) like viṣṇu defined as all-pervading.
      • Yet another view is keśava as ka + iśa + va ( when a+i or a+ī come together side-by-side we get ‘e’ , hence keśava ). Now we can infer that this ka ( 3rd derivative) is a name for prajāpati ( creator), or brahman, or viṣṇu, or yama + va = varuṇa; Add īśa which is defined as lord, master, or even śiva. This then says keśava is He that lords over prajāpati ( creator), brahman, viṣṇu, yama + va = varuṇa.


    • māyā - rooted ( √ ) in mā - measuring
    • buddhi - the power of forming and retaining conceptions and general notions , intelligence , reason , intellect , mind , discernment , judgement ; in sāṃkhya darśana the second of the 25 tattva-s called buddhi-tattva)

    Last edited by yajvan; 06 December 2015 at 07:20 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  8. #18
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    Re: Symbols of the mahābhārata

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    this is one view answering the question in post 17 above... ( others may vary).


    • kṛṣṇa-jī is none other than the supreme, anuttara, all-inclusive wholeness, Being, the stainless & boundless SELF.
    • arjuna is localized Self within the human condition ( some say jīva, others puruṣa)
    • sañjaya ( some write saṃjaya) – he is blessed with the ability to have divine sight and hearing represents purified mind, perfect clarity and hence these natural abilities ( siddhi-s) that come to it.
    • dhṛtarāṣṭra the king – he is the symbol of the mind, of ego or limited, bound being. As mentioned above, The key to this personality is the idea of being blind. King dhṛtarāṣṭra is the symbol of manas , the mind. That faculty or instrument through which thoughts enter or by which objects of sense are collected.


    What then is the ‘code’¹ here?
    One view is the following: It is the method for unfolding the highest knowledge in one’s nature.

    • For one’s being, one’s puruṣa , the Supreme is the greatest of teachers - kṛṣṇa-jī + arjuna
    • For the ego or ~mind~ the best teacher is the one with the purified mind - sañjaya + dhṛtarāṣṭra

    With kṛṣṇa-jī being Supreme, He is the highest and 1st method (uttara) – pure knowledge, of unfoldment. Arjuna receives direct knowledge from the Supreme ;
    a ~direct~ method

    The other method is ‘throttled down’ . It is from the one’s with purified minds and intellects as they relay the knowledge to the more ‘constrained’ person. Here we have it as sañjaya relaying to dhṛtarāṣṭra. That ( IMHO) is the message of using the 4 characters within the bhāgavad gītā. Yet I think there is more.

    Extending the conversation

    Yet there is more for one to consider… the first words/salutation/invocation/ āvāhanaṃ for each parvan ( major section) hails the following by vāysa before it begins the chapter’s offering:
    om̐ nārāyaṇaṃ namaskṛtya naraṃ caiva narottamam |
    devīṃ sarasvatīṃ caiva tato jayam udīrayet ||
    this says,
    om̐ - having bowed down to nārāyaṇa and nara, the most exalted male being, and also to devī sarasvatī, must the word jaya! be uttered.

    First one notes that sarasvatī is the devata of knowledge. This aligns to the knowledge given and offered not only in the bhāgavad gītā but also the
    mahābhārata i.e. the blessings of devī sarasvatī. Yet why is nārāyaṇa and nara called out? One can posit that nārāyaṇá identifies/aligns with viṣṇu and
    therefore kṛṣṇa – all well and good. But what of nara?

    We are informed within the vana (forest) parvan of the mahābhārata, as kṛṣṇa-jī says to arjuna, ‘O invincible one, you are nara and I am nārāyaṇa (hariḥ), and we, the ṛṣi-s nara-nārāyaṇa, have come to this world at the proper time ( some translate this as ‘for a special purpose’ ); O pārtha¹ (prince) you are me and I am thee, bull of the bharata race; no one can understand the difference between us!’

    This is extremely interesting to me. Based upon this information kṛṣṇa-jī & arjuna are one and the same. At the very highest level of understanding we know
    that the Supreme and everyone & everything is one with Being, yet here is seems there is more going on. What would that be ?

    I take my support from a trika¹ book called the Anuttarasūtra¹ or the sūtra-s ( terse verses) of the Unsurpassable (anuttara). It calls out that there are 6 kinds of sabandha (binding, joining together, some say ‘contact’ ) between the teacher and the taught. Let me call out the 6 and perhaps you can see where the
    nara-nārāyaṇa paradigm fits in.


    • para-saṁbandha – ( Supreme joining) both questioner and answerer ( ~ teacher and taught~) are śiva or the Supreme (para), unsurpassable, anuttara, Being.
    • mahān- saṁbandha – (great joining) the questioner is sadāśiva and the answerer is śiva
    • antarāla saṁbandha – ( midway or intermediate joining) the questioner is anantabhaṭṭāraka and the answerer is sadāśiva
    • divya saṁbandha – ( divine joining) the questioner is the sage/ṛṣi nandakumāra and the answerer is anantabhaṭṭāraka
    • divyādivya saṁbandha dha ( divine and non-diving joining) – the questioner is the sage/ṛṣi sanatkumāra and the answerer is nāndī
    • adivya saṁbandha – both questioner and answerer are human beings. one that is called out is durvāsā ṛṣi, (from the school of thought) of sanatkumāra ṛṣi, and the disciple was tryambakanātha.


    Pending one’s knowledge and view of nara-nārāyaṇa we can see there is teacher and taught. I will let the reader decide on which one of
    the 6 saṁbandha applies. Yet for me ( and me only) the nara-nārāyaṇa relationship allows us to ‘listen in’ to the Supreme works and knowledge
    that is not afforded to everyone; it also clearly suggests that arjuna was not the fallen/down-trodden kṣatriya that many-an-author has depicted
    him to be.

    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si


    words


    • jaya – victory, triumph , winning , being victorious; it is also another name for arjuna (son of pāṇḍu);
    • code is indirectly (praṇāḍikayā), though hints and symbols (lakṣaṇā).
    • trika – is ‘code’ or another way of saying advaitya (non-dual) kaśmir śaivism school of thought
    • Anuttarasūtra -this book is also called Parā-trīśikā Vivaraṇa -or- That (Śrī Devī) who transcends and is Identical with trika. It also means That which speaks out (kāyati) the three (tri) śakti-s (śa) of the Supreme (parā). Vivaraṇa means the act of uncovering, opening, or explanation.

    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  9. #19
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    Re: Symbols of the mahābhārata

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    When one looks at symbols ((lakṣaṇā) we look directly and indirectly (praṇāḍikayā). That means we need to take apart words to see into them. With saṃskṛtá, sound forms are put together, as this is the definition of saṃskṛtá – ‘put together , constructed , well or completely formed , perfected’; and to take apart is vyākaraṇa – to disassemble, also defined as ‘grammatical analysis’. One also looks to the nirukta or explanation or etymological interpretation of a word to bring out more value when looked at as a whole or as a part.

    This explains why various writings on HDF and in various śastra’s ( via the author) take the time to apply vyākaraṇa to ferret out deeper meanings. Example: yudhiṣṭhira is one of the 5 sons of pāṇḍu. His name = yudhi + ṣṭhira. Sthira= sthíti = standing upright or firmly , not falling + yudhi = battle. Hence yudhiṣṭhira is the one that stands firm, without falling , in battle. Hence it adds to the comprehension of the person and to the story/description that is being discussed.

    There are also several other ways other than looking deeper into each word and tat would be via associations, family relations and origen of a person, place, or thing, telling us much about the subject or the deeper truth that is trying to be conveyed.

    Why mention this?
    It is an introduction to part of the mahābhārata that I have found most interesting and elusive ( at least to my comprehension). It is the game of dice that occurs between yudhiṣṭhira and śakúni the brother of queen gāndhārī (and therefore the brother-in-law of dhṛtarāṣṭra the blind king). This dice game as a symbol has alluded me for years on end. Yet every now and then by some stoke of grace a new ray of knowledge is offered and I am able to open the doors of understanding a bit more.

    This game of dice occurs within the sabhā́¹ parvan ( which has 10 subsections) to it. This is where the dyūtá ( game playing, also the prize or winning of a battle) and anudyūtá (after or alongside ~ re-playing~) parvan offers this game. Not only does the game occur once, but is revisited again , and in both cases yudhiṣṭhira loses to śakúni. There are several other mentions of dice games that occur within the mahābhārata that includes yudhiṣṭhira so this vehicle ( of dice) has relevance.

    From the standpoint of every-day reasoning what may a game of dice offer as a symbol?
    1. fate, ~destiny~ - actions that are influenced by the total cosmic order
    2. chance as an expression of luck
    3. māyā ( this always seems to be a std. answer)
    4. actions, choice, and their results
    5. weakness even of the most noble ? (yudhiṣṭhira)

    These things may ring true, yet there is always a deeper ( meaning more significant) view that can be offered.

    I will try to do that in a few upcoming posts.

    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si

    1. sabhā́ – large assembly; assembly hall; a place for public meetings , large assembly-room or hall , palace , court of a king or of justice
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  10. #20
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    Re: Symbols of the mahābhārata

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    regarding dice from post 19 above...

    I have spent some time trying to figure out the best way to write this post regarding the the game of dice occurs within the sabhā́¹ parvan as mentioned previously. This is where the dyūtá ( game playing, also the prize or winning of a battle) parvan resides.

    I have come up short from determining the best course of action to describe the intricacies of the dice game’s subtler meanings. That is , I have not determined how to do it in a meaningful way without excessively writing and reviewing the various darśana’s ( schools of thought ) that are orthodox and non-orthodox¹. If I proceed in this fashion then I am excessively commenting, reviewing and referencing, yet not getting to where one ‘peels back the onion’ to see the internal workings of this game of dice. So, what is one to do? I can only reference the books that have lead me to my insights on this matter ( shown in the footnote¹ below) and hope that those that have extreme interest take to the reading. Now that said, I did wish to offer just one or two notions that I find delightful to bring up…

    The first is dyūtá
    Note that dyūtá is defined as play , gaming; dyū is rooted in ‘div’ and this means ‘playing or sporting with , delighting in’. Note also that dyūtá also means ‘contest’. So , we are told that a game will occur with agreed upon rules (sabhā́ parvan section 58). The dice game can also take on the same ‘contest’ as a debate. This is the subtler view here that many do not see. The debate from various schools that are represented by the debaters yudhiṣṭhira and śakúni, within a grand hall sabhā́, no less filled with kings ‘conversant with the veda-s’ (sabhā́ parvan section 59).

    This in my opinion is beyond brilliant on vyāsa’s (kṛṣṇa dvaipāyana) part and demonstrates his extraordinary skill, ability and mastery of all the schools of thought and that of saṃskṛtá .
    He is able to offer the reader multiple levels of knowledge in one setting of dyūtá… dice + debate + ‘div’ ( suggesting sport).

    The ~ sport~ in many viewer’s eyes is the influence of div and dyū suggesting that (too) the power of destiny daivá (from deva rooted in ‘div’) ‘belonging to or coming from the gods’ , or ‘ by chance’ are at work. This may be so, but is not my entry point to the conversation. Destiny overall is at hand, as it is kṛṣṇa-jī who informs arjuna that all his opponents are already crushed ( this is offered in the bhāgavad gītā , which resides in bhīṣma parvan of the mahābhārata).

    Worth mentioning
    It is quite notable that kṛṣṇa-jī is not at the dice/debate game. Why so? Herein is one clue:
    We are told multiple times that śakúni is śauṇḍa (or skilled in) kitavá
    kitavá as a general term is a gamester , gambler, a cheat , fraudulent. Yet if we apply vyākaraṇa ( to disassemble a term) we have ka+ita+va which aids our understanding.
    • ka - has many meanings but is the sound form for viṣṇu, brahman, even a name of prajāpati
    • ita = gone; not remembered
    • va - also has many meanings such as ‘dwelling’ , ‘auspiciousness’ , ‘reverence’ , the ocean as in the name varuṇa

    So, we know that śakúni is skilled (śauṇḍa) in cheating (kitava), yet we now can see a deeper meaning; that śakúni is one that is not dwelling (va) in the Supreme or for viṣṇu (ka) ;
    that is, the Supreme (va) is
    gone (ita) in this dwelling (va).

    Hence within this game/debate (dyūtá) , this dwelling (va) or the chambers that is holding the debate, the Supreme (viṣṇu) it not there , is gone (ita) or is not remembered which is another definition of ita. And, this is confirmed by what vāsudeva (kṛṣṇa-ji) says in the vāna (forest) pravan , section 13: If I had been present this evil would not have befallen you! I would haveprevented the game from taking place, by showing its many evils... O king (addressing yudhiṣṭhira), un-thought-of evils, befall a man from dice!
    This is how profoundly vyāsa (kṛṣṇa dvaipāyana) can comprehend and write – just brilliant!

    Which school ?
    So, the question is, which school is represented by śakúni ? Look to those schools that do not maintain that the Supreme is an intragal part of the whole or

    there is no need for the Supreme when explaining reality and how the universe unfolds; or if a Supreme does exist it plays a small role, perhaps even just a observer.
    There are such schools.

    Other ideas that I think are worth thinking about:
    • Why did yudhiṣṭhira play a second time ? He never can refuse a challenge (sabhā́ parvan section 57-58) & ‘ when summoned I do not withdraw’ – what is the deeper meaning?
    • Why did duryodhana¹ ( the antagonizer of the pāṇḍava’s ) not debate/play the game with yudhiṣṭhira ?
    • When draupadī enters the story during the dice game what is her symbol in the story? We are given a hint based upon one of her names yājñasenī … born of (fire) sacrifice.


    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si

    words

    • non-orthodox schools like jaina, cārvāka , and buddhist views. Non-orthodox simply means that they do not necessarily agree that the veda-s as the final authority; hence ‘orthodox’ means the veda-s are the final say on all matters.
    • duryodhana is the eldest son of dhṛtarāṣṭra, the blind king ; durodhana was the leader of the kaurava-s in their war with the pāṇḍava-s
      • duryodhana = dur +yodhana yet there is more to duryodhana than meets the eye:
      • dur is seen as wickedness; yet too gives us dura ‘one who opens or unlocks’; dvā́r gate , door , entrance or issue , expedient , means , opportunity
      • yodhana -the act of fighting , battle

    • sabhā́ – large assembly; assembly hall; a place for public meetings , large assembly-room or hall , palace , court of a king or of just
    • Books used as reference
      • Mahābhārata – translation by Kisari Mohan Ganguli
      • Mysteries of the mahābhārata - N.V. Thandani
      • Destiny and the Human Initiative in the mahābhārata – Julian F. Woods


    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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