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Updated on August 1, 2011

Gita as Spiritual Allegory

Queen Kunti, mother of the three eldest Pandava brothers, is a major actress in the Gita. Many people wonder why she declared war in the Mahabharata. One of the major reasons was to stop a social injustice and the tyrant who instigated the injustice.

Some individuals look at the events of the Gita purely on a physical level of an actual event, but as Paramahansa Yogananda states, "The Gita is a spiritual allegory about our spiritual battle or struggle." As Dr. Karan Singh, former Ambassor of India to the United States states, "The battlefield of Kurukshetra is not only a plain in Haryana, but within the consciousness of each individual. It is a more difficult battle: to become an instrument of Divine Will, to become a warrior for the divine cause, to become a fighter for the divine consciousness."

If you recall the story of the Mahabharata, Duryodhan, the unjust and tyrannical son of Dhrtarastra, would not compromise even with Lord Krishna, the Divine Messenger of Peace. For him it was my way or the highway. Kunti saw all the injustice he had caused the nation and her family. If he was not stopped, he would have done his tyrannical deeds for many years to come. He had sanctioned the abuse of her daughter-in-law, Drupadi, by his son, Dushanan, and many other terrible deeds.

Forward several centuries in time and a young lawyer, turned social activist, by the name of Gandhi used the Gita as a model when defeating the social injustice of the British Empire. In the story Kunti was a spiritual symbol of the fight against social injustice. He saw himself as someone who could not stand injustice. The Gita says it is better to act than not to act. Krishna, the Divine Messenger, is the charioteer, but he does not fight in the war. We are the ones who have the spiritual struggle. Krishna, the Divine Messenger, guides us in our struggles. Krishna's yoga promotes non-violence as the best path in this struggle for justice. So Gandhi uses this as a model in defeating the British Empire.

Each major person in the Gita and the Mahabharata symbolizes aspects of our spiritual quest for justice. We have aspects of their personalities and motivations. We all have a tyrannical side which think it's our way or the highway. We all have our aspects which want to stand against social injustice. We all have the peacemaker elements of the Divine Messenger, Krishna. Krishna symbolizes Spirit or Divine Power, Energy or Presence. As an incarnation of Spirit, Krishna embodies spiritual truth and justice in the world.

Some people just accept the events of their life as karma or fate. They do not see that we must act to better ourselves and society. We do not know the results of our actions, but it is better to do what's right. By doing so you will bring ultimately good karma to yourself and others.

Many people do not understand how deep the Gita and the Mahabharata are in essence. They have may aspects and elements. In the struggle for human rights, we see some of the greatest actions toward love for our brothers and sisters. It is one thing to talk about this concept in the abstract principle and yet another thing to live those principles. Some priests and teachers do not want to rattle the cage at all. They refuse to talk about these aspects. They see it was too political; and yet it's in the relationships with people (politics) that social progress happens. We are all related as the Native Americans tell us. Hindus believe this, too. When one brother or sister is treated with injustice, it affects us all. The Walmart Case is an illustration of this concept. When women at Walmart are discriminated against, we all are affected by it. Men are a part of families. Many women work outside the home now. When the woman of the house is not promoted and paid equally with men, it is the men in the family who suffer the lost income. Big corporations are the ones who gain in this situation. Judges do not always provide justice. Sometimes the people have to stand up against injustice.

Many women were for the abolishment of slavery because they understood what it was like to be considered to be a piece of property. That was the status women had at the time. These women realized the struggles of their black brothers and sisters were like their own struggles.

Queen Kunti was the aunt of Krishna, the Divine Messenger, and sister of Vasudeva, Krishna's father. She was the wife of Pandu and matriarch of the Pandava family. She understood who Krishna was better than most individuals at the time. She prays to suffer even more because she believes that her suffering will increase her devotion to Krishna and bring her liberation or mosha.

One thing I do know is when you have alot of challenges, struggles and limits you do understand that you can not get through this alone. I thought of myself as totally self-sufficient person until my unemployment in 2008. I realized the importance of other human beings when I was in such a situation. Connecting with others and being a spiritual human being does become more important to you when you have less materially. You truly live more in tune with your heart. You learn about your inner self and the kindness of others. It does rub off on you. You get to the point where you understand your struggle is shared by many. You realize we all are related. It's time to share your gifts with all.




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      7 years ago

      Thank you for your comment. You summed up the ideas very well.

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      7 years ago

      A beautiful article. The message it gives out is that any problem comes along with the solution also. It is upon us to decide to look at the problem and suffer or to look for the solution and come out of the problem successfully unfazed.


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