Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra

“After that, the conchshells, drums, bugles, trumpets and horns were all suddenly sounded, and the combined sound was tumultuous.

On the other side, both Lord Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, stationed on a great chariot drawn by white horses, sounded their transcendental conchshells.

Lord Kṛṣṇa blew His conchshell, called Pāñcajanya; Arjuna blew his, the Devadatta; and Bhīma, the voracious eater and performer of herculean tasks, blew his terrific conchshell, called Pauṇḍra.

King Yudhiṣṭhira, the son of Kuntī, blew his conchshell, the Ananta-vijaya, and Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughoṣa and Maṇipuṣpaka. That great archer the King of Kāśī, the great fighter Śikhaṇḍī, Dhṛṣṭadyumna, Virāṭa, the unconquerable Sātyaki, Drupada, the sons of Draupadī, and others, O King, such as the mighty-armed son of Subhadrā, all blew their respective conchshells.

The blowing of these different conchshells became uproarious. Vibrating both in the sky and on the earth, it shattered the hearts of the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra.

At that time Arjuna, the son of Pāṇḍu, seated in the chariot bearing the flag marked with Hanumān, took up his bow and prepared to shoot his arrows. O King, after looking at the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra drawn in military array, Arjuna then spoke to Lord Kṛṣṇa these words.

Arjuna said: O infallible one, please draw my chariot between the two armies so that I may see those present here, who desire to fight, and with whom I must contend in this great trial of arms.

Let me see those who have come here to fight, wishing to please the evil-minded son of Dhṛtarāṣṭra.

Sañjaya said: O descendant of Bharata, having thus been addressed by Arjuna, Lord Kṛṣṇa drew up the fine chariot in the midst of the armies of both parties.

In the presence of Bhīṣma, Droṇa and all the other chieftains of the world, the Lord said, “Just behold, Pārtha, all the Kurus assembled here.”

There Arjuna could see, within the midst of the armies of both parties, his fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, friends, and also his fathers-in-law and well-wishers.

When the son of Kuntī, Arjuna, saw all these different grades of friends and relatives, he became overwhelmed with compassion and spoke thus.

Arjuna said: My dear Kṛṣṇa, seeing my friends and relatives present before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up.

My whole body is trembling, my hair is standing on end, my bow Gāṇḍīva is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning.

I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I see only causes of misfortune, O Kṛṣṇa, killer of the Keśī demon.

I do not see how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle, nor can I, my dear Kṛṣṇa, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom or happiness.

O Govinda, of what avail to us are a kingdom, happiness or even life itself when all those for whom we may desire them are now arrayed on this battlefield? O Madhusūdana, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, why should I wish to kill them, even though they might otherwise kill me? O maintainer of all living entities, I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth. What pleasure will we derive from killing the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra?

Sin will overcome us if we slay such aggressors. Therefore it is not proper for us to kill the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra and our friends. What should we gain, O Kṛṣṇa, husband of the goddess of fortune, and how could we be happy by killing our own kinsmen?

O Janārdana, although these men, their hearts overtaken by greed, see no fault in killing one’s family or quarreling with friends, why should we, who can see the crime in destroying a family, engage in these acts of sin?

With the destruction of the dynasty, the eternal family tradition is vanquished, and thus the rest of the family becomes involved in irreligion.

When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Kṛṣṇa, the women of the family become polluted, and from the degradation of womanhood, O descendant of Vṛṣṇi, comes unwanted progeny.

An increase of unwanted population certainly causes hellish life both for the family and for those who destroy the family tradition. The ancestors of such corrupt families fall down, because the performances for offering them food and water are entirely stopped.

By the evil deeds of those who destroy the family tradition and thus give rise to unwanted children, all kinds of community projects and family welfare activities are devastated.

O Kṛṣṇa, maintainer of the people, I have heard by disciplic succession that those whose family traditions are destroyed dwell always in hell.

Alas, how strange it is that we are preparing to commit greatly sinful acts. Driven by the desire to enjoy royal happiness, we are intent on killing our own kinsmen.

Better for me if the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, weapons in hand, were to kill me unarmed and unresisting on the battlefield.

Sañjaya said: Arjuna, having thus spoken on the battlefield, cast aside his bow and arrows and sat down on the chariot, his mind overwhelmed with grief.

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Sañjaya said: Seeing Arjuna full of compassion, his mind depressed, his eyes full of tears, Madhusūdana, Kṛṣṇa, spoke the following words.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the value of life. They lead not to higher planets but to infamy.

O son of Pṛthā, do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not become you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O chastiser of the enemy.

Arjuna said: O killer of enemies, O killer of Madhu, how can I counterattack with arrows in battle men like Bhīṣma and Droṇa, who are worthy of my worship?

It would be better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers. Even though desiring worldly gain, they are superiors. If they are killed, everything we enjoy will be tainted with blood.

Nor do we know which is better – conquering them or being conquered by them. If we killed the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, we should not care to live. Yet they are now standing before us on the battlefield.

Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.

I can find no means to drive away this grief which is drying up my senses. I will not be able to dispel it even if I win a prosperous, unrivaled kingdom on earth with sovereignty like the demigods in heaven.

Sañjaya said: Having spoken thus, Arjuna, chastiser of enemies, told Kṛṣṇa, “Govinda, I shall not fight,” and fell silent.

O descendant of Bharata, at that time Kṛṣṇa, smiling, in the midst of both the armies, spoke the following words to the grief-stricken Arjuna.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead.

Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.

As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.

O son of Kuntī, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.

O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation.

Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by studying the nature of both.

That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul.

The material body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is sure to come to an end; therefore, fight, O descendant of Bharata.”


Excerpted from : Bhagavad-gītā As It Is

 

Spiritual Life in the New Age

One point I would like here to bring to your attention and that is that the two great groups of divine agents – the Great White Brotherhood and the Lodge of Materialistic Forces – are both of them seeking to divert these energies into channels which will further the ends for which they work and for which they were formed and exist. Therefore, I would ask you to remember that behind all the outer events are these two directing agencies. You have, as a consequence:

1) Two groups of advanced Minds, both groups equally illumined by the light of the intellect, and both of them formulating clearly their objectives, but differing in their direction and their emphasis. One group, under the divine plan, works with the form aspect entirely, and in this group the light of love and of selflessness is absent. The other group is working entirely with the soul or the consciousness aspect, and in this group the doctrine of the heart and the law of love control.
In this connection, the two groups are working in opposition, therefore, upon the mental plane.

2) The plans, which embody these two differing ideals and objectives, are next carried down on to the astral plane, and thus into the world of desire. The lines of demarcation remain ever entirely clear as far as the workers in these two groups are concerned, but are not so clear where ordinary human beings and the world disciples and initiates are concerned. There is much chaos on the plane of desire, and the world Arjuna is today sitting in bewilderment between the two opposing forces or camps, recognizing his relationship both to form and to soul and at the same time wondering where his duty lies. His point in evolution determines his problem.
Thus the two groups are working in opposition upon the plane of desire.

3) The materializing of the plans of these two groups of illumined minds proceeds steadily under the differing laws of their being – the laws of form life and the laws of spiritual living. In this initial stage and whilst the battle is being fought out in the realm of desire (for that is where the major conflict is being waged, and all that is happening upon the physical plane is only a reflection of an inner conflict) the forces of these two groups, working with the energies of the sixth and seventh rays, have brought about in the field of physical living, a state of complete cataclysm. The economic situation and the religious hatreds are the two major instruments. This is a subject upon which you would do well to ponder.

Consequently, you have two groups, two objectives, two great formulated ideals, two streams of active energy and two rays predominantly in conflict, thus producing the differing ideologies. The result of this dualism is the external chaos, the differentiation of the two group ideals into the many human experiments, and the resultant ranging of the entire human family under many banners, which testify to the various viewpoints in the many fields of thought – political, religious, economic, social, educational and philosophical. The result of all this conflict is, I would tell you, definitely good, and it demonstrates the steady achievement of the Great White Lodge. The consciousness of humanity has been definitely expanded and the whole world of men at this time is thinking. This is a totally new phenomenon and a fresh experience in the life of the human soul. The first result of all the turmoil has been to shift the focus of human attention on to the mental plane and thereby nearer to the sources of light and love.

It is right here and in connection with this eventful change of focus that the world disciples can shoulder responsibility and proceed to active work. When I here speak of disciples, I am using the term in connection with all who aspire to true humanity, to brotherhood, and to the living expression of the higher and spiritual values. I am not using it altogether in the technical sense, which involves a recognized relation to the Hierarchy through the grades of probationary or accepted discipleship, though these are included in my thought. I refer to all aspirants and to all who have any sense of true values and an urge to meet the world’s need.

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The Destiny of the Nations – Spiritual Life in the New Age
Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul

From The Five Groups of Souls

our premises and conclusions can be stated in the following propositions:

1. Every human being, in or out of incarnation, is a “fragment of divinity,” and an outpost of the divine consciousness, functioning in time and space for purposes of expression.

2. All these souls, selves, or human beings are found, as we have seen, on one or other of the seven emanations of spiritual energy, issuing forth from God at the beginning of an era of creative activity. They return to their emanating Source when that particular cycle is brought to a close.

3. In the interim between emanation and reabsorption, these souls pass through various experiences until such time as they can “shine forth in all their exactitude of truth.”

4. They are called, as has been stated, in A Treatise on Cosmic Fire (See page 855.)

Lotuses of revelation.
Lotuses with perfume.
Radiant lotuses.
Lotuses wherein the flower is on the point of opening.
Lotuses of closed and sealed condition.
The colorless lotuses.
Lotuses in bud.

5. These souls, cycling through various forms of life in the long evolutionary process arrive eventually at full, self-conscious existence. By this we mean that they are self-determined, self-conditioned, and self-aware. They are also conscious of and responsive to their environment.

6. Once this conscious awareness is achieved, then progress becomes more rapid. It should be borne in mind that many human beings are not thus aware. The groupings which arise out of this awareness (limiting our ideas entirely to those within the radius of the human family) can be expressed as follows:

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  • The souls who are primarily emotional. The mind nature is not functioning strongly, and only rarely does it swing into activity, and the physical body is slipping steadily into the realm of the unconscious. In every race and nation there are millions of such souls in existence. They may be regarded as the modern Atlanteans.
  • Those souls who can now be classed as intelligent human beings, capable of mental application, if trained, and showing that they can think when need arises. They are still, nevertheless, predominantly emotional. They constitute the bulk of modern humanity at this time. They are the average citizens of our modern world, – good, well-intentioned, capable of intense emotional activity, with the feeling nature almost over-developed, and oscillating between the life of the senses and that of the mind. They swing between the poles of experience. Their lives are spent in an astral turmoil, but they have steadily increasing interludes wherein the mind can momentarily make itself felt, and thus at need effect important decisions. These are the nice good people, who are, nevertheless, largely controlled by the mass consciousness, because they are relatively unthinking. They can be regimented and standardized with facility by orthodox religion and government, and are the “sheep” of the human family.
  • The souls who think, and who are minds. These are steadily increasing in number and gaining in power as our educational processes and our scientific discoveries bring results, and expand human awareness. They constitute the cream of the human family, and are the people who are achieving success in some department of human life. They are writers, artists, thinkers in various fields of human knowledge and aspiration, politicians, religious leaders, scientists, skilled workers and artisans, and all those who, though in the front rank, yet take ideas and propositions and work with them for the ultimate benefit of the human family. They are the world aspirants, and those who are beginning to get the ideal of service into their consciousness.
  • Those souls whose sense of awareness on the physical plane is now of such an order that they can pass on to the Probationary Path. They are the mystics, conscious of duality, torn between the pairs of opposites, but who are yet unable to rest until they are polarized in the soul. These are the sensitive, struggling people, who long for release from failure and from existence in the world today. Their mind natures are alive and active but they cannot yet control them as they should and the higher illumination remains as yet a joyous hope and final possibility.
  • Souls whose intelligence and love nature is becoming so awakened and integrated that they can begin to tread the Path of Discipleship. They are the practical mystics, or the occultists, of modern times.
  • The souls who are initiate into the mysteries of the kingdom of God. These are souls who are not only conscious of their vehicles of expression, the integrated personality, and conscious also of themselves as souls, but they know, past all controversy, that there is no such thing as “my soul and your soul,” but simply “the Soul”. They know this not only as a mental proposition, and as a sensed reality, but also as a fact in their own consciousness.
  • The souls who have achieved release from all the limitations of the form nature and who dwell eternally in the consciousness of the One Soul, withdrawn from identification with any aspiration of the form life, no matter how highly developed. They can and do use the form at will for the purposes of the general good. These are the Masters of Life, the perfected adepts.

Higher than this we need not go, except by inference. A detailed analysis is not, however, in order, owing to the limitations of men’s minds. The above is only a wide generalization, and the various groupings shade into each other in a bewildering way. The varieties of intermediate types are myriad, but this analysis will serve as a skeleton structure upon which to build.

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Esoteric Psychology II – Chapter I – The Egoic Ray – The Five Groups of Souls
Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul

The Eagle’s Gift

Being involved with the rule may be described as living a myth. Don Juan lived a myth, a myth that caught him and made him the Nagual.

Don Juan said that when the rule caught him he was an aggressive, unruly man living in exile, as thousands of other Yaqui Indians from northern Mexico lived at that time. He worked in the tobacco plantations of southern Mexico. One day after work, in a nearly fatal encounter with a fellow worker over matters of money, he was shot in the chest. When he regained consciousness an old Indian was leaning over him, poking the small wound in his chest with his fingers. The bullet had not penetrated the chest cavity but was lodged in the muscle against a rib. Don Juan fainted two or three times from shock, loss of blood, and in his own words, from fear of dying. The old Indian removed the bullet, and since don Juan had no place to stay, he took him to his own house and nursed him for over a month.

The old Indian was kind but severe. One day when don Juan was fairly strong, almost recovered, the old man gave him a sound blow on his back and forced him into a state of heightened awareness. Then, without any further preliminaries, he revealed to don Juan the portion of the rule which pertained to the Nagual and his role.

Don Juan did exactly the same thing with me, and with la Gorda; he made us shift levels of awareness and told us the rule of the Nagual in the following way:

The power that governs the destiny of all living beings is called the Eagle, not because it is an eagle or has anything to do with an eagle, but because it appears to the seer as an immeasurable jet-black eagle, standing erect as an eagle stands, its height reaching to infinity. As the seer gazes on the blackness that the Eagle is, four blazes of light reveal what the Eagle is like. The first blaze, which is like a bolt of lightning, helps the seer make out the contours of the Eagle’s body. There are patches of whiteness that look like an eagle’s feathers and talons. A second blaze of lightning reveals the flapping, wind-creating blackness that looks like an eagle’s wings. With the third blaze of lightning the seer beholds a piercing, inhuman eye. And the fourth and last blaze discloses what the Eagle is doing.

The Eagle is devouring the awareness of all the creatures that, alive on earth a moment before and now dead, have floated to the Eagle’s beak, like a ceaseless swarm of fireflies, to meet their owner, their reason for having had life. The Eagle disentangles these tiny flames, lays them flat, as a tanner stretches out a hide, and then consumes them; for awareness is the Eagle’s food. The Eagle, that power that governs the destinies of all living things, reflects equally and at once all those living things. There is no way, therefore, for man to pray to the Eagle, to ask favors, to hope for grace, The human part of the Eagle is too insignificant to move the whole. It is only from the Eagle’s actions that a seer can tell what it wants. The Eagle, although it is not moved by the circumstances of any living thing, has granted a gift to each of those beings. In its own way and right, any one of them, if it so desires, has the power to keep the flame of awareness, the power to disobey the summons to die and be consumed. Every living thing has been granted the power, if it so desires, to seek an opening to freedom and to go through it. It is evident to the seer who sees the opening, and to the creatures that go through it, that the Eagle has granted that gift in order to perpetuate awareness.

For the purpose of guiding living things to that opening, the Eagle created the Nagual. The Nagual is a double being to whom the rule has been revealed. Whether it be in the form of a human being, an animal, a plant, or anything else that lives, the Nagual by virtue of its doubleness is drawn to seek that hidden passageway.

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Excerpted from “The Eagle’s Gift”
by
Carlos Castañeda