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9-5 Gems in MBH

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9-5 Gems in MBH

Mahaabhaarat is considered as the 5th Ved. It is a bright light which provides a complete picture of our Dharm, culture and civilization.

yena twayaa bhaarata taila poornaha,   prajwaalito gyaanamayah pradeepah

In order to show us the correct path, it has the specialty of using the three methods - of Prabhu Sammita, Mitra Sammita and Kaantaa Sammita (ordering us like a king, advising like a friend and with pleasing words like a beloved wife). With 18 Parv (sections) and 2,109 chapters, it is perhaps the biggest ever story in the world. It has the four Purushaarth - Dharm, Arth, Kaam and Moksh - and what is not here is not found anywhere else.

Several stories including Harivansh, Shakuntalopaakhyaan, Saavitree, Nalopaakhyaan etc adorn this beautiful garden where, in addition to these, there are several other invaluable gems -  Bhagvad Geetaa (Beeshm Parv), Vishnu Sahastra Naam, Bheeshm Stavaraaj, Anu Smriti and Gajendra Moksh are the most famous commonly recognized five gems in it. But there are several others also like Sanatsujaat and Dhritraashtra discussion (Udyog Parv), Yaksh-Prashn, Anu Geetaa, Shiv Sahasra Naam, Raam Rakshaa Stotra etc, in this great ocean.

Bhagavad Geetaa : -
Having come directly from the Lord, this is one of the three Prasthaan and it contains the essence of all Upanishad. Shree Krishn has condensed all Upanishad in it and given it to us through his friend and disciple Arjun.

"Bhagvad Geetaa Kinchit Adheetaa  ......Tasya Yamah Kim Kurute Charchaa" said Aachaarya Shankar.
(Who can even Yam do to the one who knows at least something of Bhagvad Geetaa)

Geetaa has been extolled in several Puraan like Varaah Puraan, Skand Puraan and Padm Puraan. It is usual for us to loose balance and search for light under different circumstances in life. Arjun also faced such a situation and Krishn using the opportunity has given us a set of guidelines which contains a balanced treatment of Bhakti, Gyaan and Karm. The first part is Karm Kaand followed by Upaasanaa Kaand and finally, Gyaan Kaand. Some consider that it is an explanation for the famous words of Chhaandogya Upanishad, "Tat, Twam, Asi" in the order of "Twam Tat Asi".

The details of the circumstances for the generation of the Geetaa is the starting point of the song celestial followed by Saankhya Yog. Here it is explained as to how Karm helps in attaining Chitta Shuddhi which finally leads to Gyaan. The characteristics of the Gyaanee is explained and it is followed by Karm Yog wherein it is asserted that with dedicated Karm, Gyaan sets in. In the next Gyaan Yog, Brahmaarpan Bhaav, Gyaan-Karm-Sanyaas Yog, Bhakti through intellect, Karm through dedication etc are dealt with. The Karm-Sanyaas Yog deals with how Mukti is attempted through understanding the Self. In Dhyaan Yog, self control, practice of meditation and how the internal and external features change with these are discussed. This finishes the Karm Kaand.

Continuing, Krishn deals with Gyaan Vigyaan Yog, Akshar Brahm Yog, Raaj Vidyaa Raaj Guhya Yog, Vibhooti Yog, Vishwaroop Darshan Yog, and Bhakti Yog. These form the Upaasanaa Kaand. The last part deals with the Gyaan Kaand consisting of Kshetra-Kshetragya Yog, Gunatraya Vibhaag Yog, Purushottam Yog, Devaasur-Sampatti Vibhaag Yog, Shraddhaatraya Vibhaag Yog, Moksh-Sanyaas Yog.

Its Main Teachings or Message :-
1. To get real happiness, we should perform our duties with dedication to God. (Bhagavadaarpan Bhaav).
2. We should have faith in God.
3. Aatmaa is permanent and births and deaths are for the body only.
4. Without expectation of the results, we should do our duty according to our natural Gun.
5. We should never remain without doing anything.
6. It is possible to get Mukti with this body only.
7. Our aim should be to lead a life beyond the three Gun of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas.
In conclusion Bhagvad Geetaa is an excellent and a unique guide for the entire humanity and for all times.

Vishnu Sahastra Naam : -
That which pervades every where is Vishnu. He is the Sattwa Pradhaan force responsible for the sustenance of the creation. Aachaarya Shankar says,
"Sakal Purushaarth Saadhanam, Sukh Sampaadyam, Alpa Prayaasam, Analpa Phalam"
while referring to this Sahasra Naam. "The importance he attached to this is indicated when he said
"Geyam Geetaanaam Sahasram" equating the Bhagavad Geetaa with the Sahasra Naam.
The fact that he chose this for his first attempt on writing Bhaashya also indicates his respect for this.
In confirmation of the Vaidik truth, "Ekam sat, vipraah bahudaa vadanti", there are Shiv's names, names of Skand, Ganeshwar, Bhaanu, Aaditya, Vanhi etc, and even the names of Siddhaarth, Rishabh, Vardhmaan etc indicating that these names were popular even before Buddha, and other religious teachers who became famous later.

For any Praayashchitt, for progress and even for getting Moksh there is no other method than reciting this Sahasra Naam. The fact that apart from Shankar, fifteen other great teachers like Madhwaachaarya, Sant Tukaaraam, Paraashar Bhatt etc, have eulogized the greatness of this prayer makes it undoubtedly a great composition. According to Aachaarya Madhwa, Mahaabhaarat which is the essence of all Shaastra has Geetaa and Vishnu Sahasra Naam as its kernel. It is generally believed that the diseases which cannot be cured with medicines get cured with the chanting of the Sahasra Naam. Baan Bhatt, in one of his epics, states that this was being chanted in the delivery rooms in order that the delivery takes place without difficulty.

Without discrimination of caste, creed, religion, old or young, male or female, rich or poor, all can chant it and derive the benefits. It is our proud privilege that we can chant this Mantra Roopee hymn and come out of all our difficulties at all times.

Bheeshm Stavaraaj : -
The prayer that Bheeshm, the grand old man of Mahaabhaarat offered to Lord Krishn just before his death is famous as Bheeshm Stavaraaj. It is a very nice poem equivalent to a great Kaavya (epic) and it starts with the words, "May the great Krishn be pleased with the prayer that I offer to him with the intention of worshiping him". Bheeshm continues with the exposition of the vastness of that great Lord and concludes that it is impossible to understand Him completely. Describing His vastness he says,
"Harim sahastra shirasam sahastra charanekshanam, sahastrabaahu mukutam sahastra vadanojjwalam" .
(I surrender to that great Lord who has Innumerable heads, innumerable legs, eyes, shoulders, shining faces etc., and who wears innumerable crowns.) I prostrate to Him who is the shining beacon of light outside the darkness of A-Gyaan and by knowing whom we can get Mukti which removes us from the eternal bondage to the cycle of births and deaths. Bheeshm continues with the prayer to the ten incarnations that Vishnu took on a clear understanding that Krishn is that Vishnu himself.

Shooline tridasheshaaya tryambakaaya mahaatmane, bhasm digdhaang lingaaya tasmai rudraatmane namah.
With this, he clearly indicates that God is one and names may be different.
(The one who is Shoolapaani, Eesh of all deities, the three-eyed, the one with his body smeared with ash, the one in the form of a Ling, - such a Rudraatmak is Shree Krishn himself and I prostrate to Him). Continuing, he says, "Chandraardh Krit Sheershaaya Vyaalayajnopaveetine, Pinaak shool hastaaya tasmaaugraatmane namah." - thus prays to Krishn in the form of Rudra.

Thus, Ved Vyaas in the Mahaabhaarat which is generally considered as Krishn Charit has indicated clearly that there can be no difference between Hari and Har. It should be noted that Shiv Sahastra Naam is also an important part of Mahaabhaarat. It is also interesting to note that Shree Krishn Himself describes the thousand names of Shiv to Yudhishthir.

Anu Smriti :-
The Anu Smriti is narrated by sage Naarad to Bheeshm in the Ashwamedhik Parv of Mahaabhaarat.
"Naaram dadaati iti Naaradah" which means, Naarad is the one who gives knowledge.
The main teachings of Anu Smriti can be summarized as follows :-
1. The Almighty is existing in all creations and all creations are in the Almighty.
2. We should understand the oneness of that great force Almighty.
3. Controlling the body, mind and intellect and placing the mind in the Aatmaa, we should become peaceful.
4. Considering that we belong to Him and meditating on Him, we should realize His all pervasive nature.
5. It is impossible to understand Him completely with our human intellect.
6. The Almighty stands by the devotee firmly.
7. All Karms, Poojaa, Daan and other Dhaarmik acts when done without expecting any returns lead us towards pure body and mind and that leads us to the realization of the Self (Aatm Saakshaatkaar).
8. When all Karm are done for Almighty only, we get the feeling of satisfaction (Dhanyate).
9. Prostration to God with complete Bhakti results in the gain of heavenly pleasures.
10. Meditation should be directed towards final emancipation from Sansaar and not for temporary gains.
11. All these teachings of Anu Smriti should be distributed to all devotees.
There is no better gift than the gift of spiritual knowledge.

Gajendra Moksh :-
The mount Trikootaachal at the centre of the sea of milk has three peaks and there is a beautiful lake there. A huge elephant was enjoying life there with his paraphernalia. One day when the elephant was drinking water in that lake, that a crocodile caught hold of its leg and in spite of best efforts, there was no respite. None of the elephant's friends and relatives could help him. The elephant in his previous birth was a king by name Indradyumn and now he started praying to the Lord with the Parabrahm Stuti that he used to sing in his previous birth. Shree Hari came down and killed the crocodile with His Chakra. The elephant was thus saved.

Now, let us understand the inner meaning of this story. Elephant represents the Jeev which takes births and deaths. Our body is the Trikoot Mountain and its three peaks are the Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas Gun. A-Gyaan and the consequent desires and the Karm keep haunting us. The feeling of I and Mine is represented by the crocodile. When time comes for us to die, no one except the Lord can help us. He will be satisfied with a single Patra (leaf), Pushp (flower), Phal (fruit) and a drop of water. He was satisfied with a single lotus that was offered by the elephant king.

There is an interesting anecdote concerning this story between Akbar Baadashaah and his Minister Birbal. Once Akbar taunted Birbal when he heard this story with a mischievous question, "Why your God could not send one of his assistants? Did he not have even an assistant?" Birbal requested for some time to answer this question. Next day, the King's son went out to the swimming pool to learn swimming. By a previous arrangement, Birbal had managed to throw a wax model of the Prince in the pool and made the servant there to shout, "Oh, the Prince has drowned in the pool." As Akbar heard this shouting, rushed to the pool himself and immediately jumped into the pool to restore the wax statue of the Prince. Birbal smilingly asked as to why the King did not send his assistants and came down all by himself?" Akbar had got his answer. This is how God loves us.

We may continue to study the other gems like Sanatsujaat preaching, Yaksh-Prashn, Shiv Sahastra Naam, Raam Rakshaa Stotra etc.



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Created by Sushma Gupta On 05/27/04
Modified on 11/29/12