Avatar in the Saptashati & Bhagwad Gita


Shehjar e-magazine
Avatar in the Saptashati and Bhagwad Gita
*Dr Chaman Lal Raina
Gita Jayanti was on the 28th of November, 2009 on the Marga Shirsha Shukla Ekadashi. It was on this day that the Sanjaya narrated to the blind King Dritrashtra the dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, and thus made the universal teachings of the Lord available to the world, for all times to come.

I recollect the year 1955, when on the same day, I also entered in the Gita Recitation competition, held at Shri Sanatan Dharma Pratap Sabha Lal Chowk,Srinagar. There wewre at least 30 contestants, all from the High School or college. I was from the Ist year College student then. I was asked to recite any Shloka from the Bhagwadgita very dear to me. I recited the 41st Shloka of the 11th chapter,which runs as:
सखेति मत्वा प्रसभं यदुक्तं
हे कृष्ण हे यादव हे सखेति।
अजानता महिमानं तवेदं
मया प्रमादत्प्रणयेन वापि॥
sakheti matvā prasabhaṁ yaduktaṁ
he kṛṣṇa he yādava he sakheti|
ajānatā mahimānaṁ tavedaṁ
mayā pramādatpraṇayena vāpi||
Later, I was asked to give its translation in Hindi,which I did to the satisfaction of the committee, sponsoring the Gita Jayanti program,then. This program would continue in that Sabha till late seventies.

Since this Shloka is very interesting, written in simple words, easily understandable , but this in essence is the Bija Mantra of the Gita, as I understand it now.This Mantrik Shloka is in close proximity with the Karma Yoga, as Arjuna learnt from the Yogiraja Krishna, in the battle field of Kurukshetra. Before realizing the Avatiirana--descent of Lord Krishna, Arjuna as usual would address Him as sakha/friend, Krishna or yaadava, in his right of being his friend and brother-in-law,unaware of the fact of His descent to uphold Dharma. All these names were said out of pramada/negligence or may be through pranaya/fondness.

These are the words of the aspirant Arjuna,after seeing his Vishwarupa Darshana/universal form,through his intuitive eyes, and there is no hiding, nothing secret, when there is Shradha/devotion and Vishwas/faith.Through that intutive visualization of the cosmic form of the Divine in Descent,Arjuna made a humble submission to the Lord for expressing many informal gestures.

The Lord is always with us ,only we need to recognize his descent, feel his presence and visualize his radiance.

Shri Krishna refers to the "Maatri-Tattva"--motherhood og God as under, which needs to be studied in the light of the Durga Sapta Shati,though there is no direct reference to Durga in his Vishwarupa Darsghan, but Lord Krishna says :
कीर्तिः श्रीर्वाक्च नारीणां स्मृतिर्मेधा धृतिः क्षमा
kīrtiḥ śrīrvākca nārīṇāṁ smṛtirmedhā dhṛtiḥ kṣamā
Bhagwadgita Chaper 10 Shloka34

Among the womanhood, I am to be seen in their कीर्तिः/fame,श्री/fortune,र्वाक्च/fine speech, स्मृति/memory, र्मेधा/intelligence, धृतिः/steadfastness and क्षमा/patience, forbearance ,forgiveness.

All these epithets are found in the Shri Chandi--popularly revered as the Durga Sapta Shati.

Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya Glaanir Bhavati Bharata
Abhut-tthanam Adharmasya Tadaatmaanam Srijaamiham
Paritraanaaya Saadhunaam Vinaashaya Cha Dushkritaam
Dharama Sanasthaapnaarthaaya Sambhavaami Yuge Yuge
(Bhagvadgita Chapter 4, Shloka 7-8)

Bhagawaan Shri Krishna declares of his designated Descent, known as AVATARA of the Absolute Reaqlity in the battle-field of Kurukshetra.

Avatara is purely a Hindu concept.

Hindus believe that God is both transcendent and immanent. God incarnates in the human form, to save the suffering humanity from the great terror of the evil in man,. The Mahabharata war happened to be the deciding factor for the Pandavas and Kauravas, about the parental dispute of their kingdom, for being rightful inheritor of the kingdom of Shantanu, the descendent of Bharata,who was the trust worthy just king of the Arya-Vartta. Lord Krishna played the role of the SAVIOR, as promised in the Bhagwad Gita.

In the Sanatana Dharma , Avatara is not only a concept, but the acclaimed Truth about the descent of the Divine Being. The same declaration has been made by MAHAMAYA, popularly revered as Shri Durga, in the 8th Manvantara, much before before the Mahabharata war took place.

The Markandeya Purana,establishes the descent of Shri Durga,for killing the nine Rakshasas--Madhu, Kaitabha,Mahishshasura, Dhumralochana,Chanda-Munda Raktabija,Shumbha and Nishumbha.Thus the Mahamaya is revered as the Nava Durga.

Shri Krishna is not only the incarnation of Maha-Vishnu, but he is seen with all the potentials of the Yogiraja., as described in the BHAGVATAM. He is revered as the Lord of Yoga. He was the Great Yogi, who excelled much before the Patanjali’s Yoga system, because Patanjali came much later after Shri Krishna. But Shri Krishna's Yoga was in confirmation to the Yoga, as taught by Rishi Vasishtha to Shri Rama, the Avatara of the Treta Yuga. Yoga Vasishttha is the authoritative scripture on Yoga, in relation to God, man and Universe. Shri Krishna is adored as the Yogiraja , by all the denominations of the Sanatan Dharma, with all reverence and adoration, as the Savior of the Pandavas . Yogiraja means the king of the Yogis, or the Supreme Sovereign Yogi.

There is no evidence that he underwent any Yogic practice, when he made the miracles of the highest order, when he was merely a new born baby. He showed the Chaturbhuja Narayana Roopa Darshan to his father Vasudeva, which he forgot, after performing his obligation to leave the Baby Krishna at the bed of Yashoda, popularly known as Jasodha Mata/ maiya.

The moment Lord Krishna was born, at the same moment Mahamaya-Vindhyavasini Durga was born from the womb of Yashoda/Jasodha. When Jasodha felt that she gave birth to the male baby, his own daughter, in the incarnation of Durga,was carried away by Vasudeva in the prison cell. Lord never assumes human form without his Shakti. Therefore, Krishna and Kali are one, according to the Shakta scriptures.Kali is noneelse but the Vindyavasini Durga


When we turn the pages of the Durga Sapta Shati—the highest reverential book on the Shaktivad, we come across the word MAHAMAYA. It should never be taken as great illusion but ‘Sat-Chit- Ananda’ of the Absolute. The Mahamaya/ Krishna is also revered as YOGA- Nidra by Lord Brahma, after he was rescued by VISHNU, from the deadly usurping mouths of Madhu and Kaitabha Rakshasas, when he was just born from the lotus navel of Shri Vishnu.

The moment Brahma was born, he was about to be killed by two ferocious Rakshasas, namely Madhu and Kaitabha.

It was unfortunate for Brahma to see Vishnu in great slumber or deep sleep. Brahma never knew at that time that Vishnu/ Lord Krishna was in the Samadhistha Yoga, which is termed as Yoga Nidra in Samadhi . Vishnu was not sleeping at all, or taking any sort of rest, because it was neither day nor night, nothing could be deciphered at that moment. All was in the process of evolution. Vishnu was rather absorbed in his Yoga, after given birth to Brahma. But Brahma for himself could not withstand the wrath of two demons. Therefore, he cried and cried, spontaneous were his words, with tears in his eyes. He uttered the Word SVAHA, SVADHA, VASHATKARA. He did not utter AUM at that time. He cried for " Nitya Akshara", which means eternally immutable sound/Shabda Brahman. Svaha is an invocation to the Divine Being, the Lord of sustenance, but Svadha is an oblation for the departed ones. Brahma was not clear in his mind, about the very being of Vishnu. He was too frightened to speak with any definite form or figure.

He was caught in great AVIDYA, or the whirlpool of anxiety how to recognize his own creator.

Since Brahma’s ‘cry’ was pure in intent, as it was concerning his life, so Vishnu recognized his cry, roused from his Yoga Nidra and appeared before Brahma with his Four arms which has been described by the Veda Vyasa as:-

Shantaakaaram Bujanga Shayanam Padma Naabham Suresham
Vishvaadhaaram Gagana Sadrishyam Megha Varnam shubhangam
Lakshmi Kaantam Kamal Nayanam Yogibhir Dhyaana Gamyam
Vande Vishnum Bhava Bhaya Haram Sarva Lokeka –Naatham

I bow to Vishnu, who is supremely serene.His coach is Ananta—the serpent king. Brahma rests on his lotus navel. He is the fountain head of this universe, and is infinite in his innate nature. His hue is like that of the clouds in the sky. He is the consort of Shri Laksmi. His eyes resemble that of a lotus. He is being meditated upon by the Yogis. He alone is the Lord of this Universe. It is he, who destroys all the evils in the world.

Concept of Om - Painting by Dr Chamanlal Raina

The concept of SerialTime starts,from the birth of Lord Brahma,otherwise allwhich is infinite and beginningless is Eternal Time--the Anaant Kaala.

Vishnu fought himself for 5000 celestial years for saving the life of Brahma. This is the revelation by Medha Rishi, first in line of the Shakta Tradition. Vishnu deluded the Rakshas by saying them: "O demons! You are great, ask for a boon, and I promise to grant that boon to you.” They asked not to be killed in water or in the sky’, as they could visualize that two elements alone. Thus Shri Krishna chose to kill them on his thighs for saving the life of Brahma.

Brahma praised with the words:

Sa Shankha Chakram Sakirit Kundalam,
Sapeet Vastran Sarsa Ruhekshanam
Sahar Vaksha Sthala Kaustubha Shriyam
Namami Vishnum Shirsaa Chaturbhujam

I bow to Krishna, who is having a conch, a crown,a pair of ear rings, he is adorned with yellow garments. His eyes are but the two lotuses. He has lovely garland of Kaustubha flowers. He is having four arms.

The same Vishnu got incarnated as the son of Devaki and Vasudeva in the prison cell of MATHURA, ruled by the Evil Kansa . Kansa, who was none else but Madhu Rakshasa, born in the Dwapar Yuga some six thousand and more years ago. He was the Maternal uncle to Krishna,. He wanted to kill that BABY KRISHNA, as being the 8th offspring of Devaki and Vasudeva. Born at the ROHINI Nakshatra at the time of moon rise on the 7th Tithi of the dark fortnight of Badarpada, Lord descended, to relieve the masses from great suffering , atrocities, humiliation to the womanhood at the hands of Kauravas.

Lord Krishna is revered by the cross section of humanity for being rational in his outlook, as is evident from the translations of the Bhagwad Gita in the major languages of the world.

The best translation in Urdu poetry has been authored by Professor DIL MOHMAD, of the then Lahore College. His DIL KI GITA has been transliterated in the Devanagri script as well. Best Persian translation has been made by Abul Fazal at the time of Akbar. GITA RAHASYA by Loka Manya Bal Gangadhar Tilak is considered as the master peice reference book on the political thought of Shri Krishna on the basis of Spirituality. This book was authored by Tilak ji, in the KALAPANI Jail.

Commentaries on Bhagwadgita are innumerable. Sri Aurobindo's work on Gita is based on the integral yoga.

Iqbal was also in praise of Shri Krishna. He considers him as the most intellectual personality of India, this is documented in his preface to his Persian work ASRARI -KHUDI.

Dr. Radhakrishnan has also annotated and translated the Bhagwadgita in English. Prabhupad has written extensively on the Bhagwadgita.

To conclude, Bhagwadgita given by Shri Krishna belongs to the world, Shri Krishna belongs to those who want to know the beauty of NISH KAMA KARMA YOGA, STHITA PRAJNA stateof mind.This iswhat the Avatara teaches ,when the Transcebdental Brahman/Reality descends for establishing Dharma.

Therefore the concluding Shloka of the Bhagwadgita suggets:--


Wherever there is God incarnate Krishna, being the very Sovereign Master of Yoga; wherever there is Arjuna-the wielder of the bow..., there will be Shri/auspiciousness, Vijaya/victory. This is the verdict, as said by Sanjaya--the impartial and independent witness to the dialogue between Shri Krishna and Arjuna.

Arjuna was in distress and depression, he did not like to kill his cousins turned enemies, even after Draupadi was humiliated in the court of Dhritrashtra, before Bhishama--the grandsire, and Draunacharya, the Guru of the Pandavas and Kauravas. He was despondent, and he was made Sthitapragnya by Shri Krishna to fight the very source of the evil. Evil in any way needs to be eliminated, says Krishna to Arjuna.

Shri Durga also descends time and again for killing the Mahishasura like evil forces for establishing the Dharma.

*Dr. Chaman Lal Raina did Masters in Hindi & English. Ph.D. in Hindi & Iqbaliat at the University of Kashmir. Worked on the research project at the Iqbal Institute for writing monographs on Indology as Research Associate. Worked as lecturer to teach research methodology in Iqbal Institute, University of Kashmir. Dr. Raina's first love is for the Vedas and the Shakti Tradition of India. To his credit goes some ten books on Indology. He was awarded Nagmani Fellowship, Buddhist Fellowship etc. from various Institutions. Presently Dr. Raina is associated with the Yoga Studies, religion and sanskrit at Florida International University, USA.
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