Arjuna’s chariot

When we think of the war between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, what leaves an indelible impression is the advice which Lord Krishna gave to Arjuna on the battlefield. The Bhagavad Gita shows us the path to moksha, and tells us that we must perform our duties, and yet be indifferent to the results. But while the Lord’s advice is recalled by us often, how often do we think of Arjuna’s chariot and meditate on the chariot? We must meditate on Arjuna’s chariot, said V.S. Karunakarachariar, in a discourse, and explained why. Vedanta Desika shows that Arjuna’s chariot represents the pranava mantra. Those who have understood the meaning of the pranava mantra will think of Arjuna’s chariot, every time they chant the pranava.

The fist akshara in pranava is ‘a,’ the middle akshara is ‘u’. and the last akshara is ‘m.’ Now visualise the chariot. Who is in the front portion of the chariot? It is Krishna, for He is Arjuna’s charioteer. And the letter ‘a,’ which is the first letter of the pranava, indicates Lord Narayana. So, Krishna, the One who is referred to by the very first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet, is in front. Arjuna is behind Him, inside the chariot, and the letter ‘m’ of the pranava, indicates Arjuna. In other words, ‘m’ represents the jivatma. So in the chariot, we see the Paramatma in front, with the jivatma behind Him. The letter ‘m’ is the twenty-fifth letter in the Sanskrit alphabet, and this too reinforces the jivatma concept. There are 24 tattvas, which are acetanas. The 25th tattva is the jivatma, which is a cetana (sentient being). The akshara ‘m’ indicates the jivatma. So, the Lord in the driver’s seat, with Arjuna the jivatma behind Him, is a representation of the pranava mantra. So, Arjuna’s chariot must be visualised, when the pranava is chanted.

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 7:57:13 AM |

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