Narach Philosophy

THE ESSENCE OF THE EPIC: ASVAMEDHA PARVA


We have examined all systems of Philosophy and Religion, and seen how we rise from a lower to a higher one by means of the idea of Sacrifice. At the bottom of all is the Sacrifice of the senses, by means of which we rise from Sankhya to Nyaya and thence to the Vaiesika; then by the Sacrifice of the Mind we go up to Yoga; and thence by the Sacrifice of Buddhi to Vedanta.

All these different forms of Sacrifice have in them the idea of God as a Creator of the universe; and so long as we have even the lowest conception of Sacrifice, viz., the Sacrifice of the senses, we cannot forget God. This is the idea of the Sacrifice of the Horse, for the Horse is a symbol of the senses in sacred literature.

The Request of Arjuna to Krshna; the Anugita: We have seen that according to Vedanta, in which Man has been established now, all acts of Sacrifice are performed by the Soul and they contain the essence of the idea of God. The Soul (Arjuna), therefore, desires to understand the idea of Sacrifice from God (Krshna) himself. This is the request of Arjuna to Krshna, and it is this that is expressed in the discourse of the Anugita.

The Birth of Pariksit: When we realize how Sacrifice embodies the idea of God, we can understand how all our actions, associated with Nature or Prakrti, can be linked up with God When they are performed as a Sacrifice. This is the idea of Pariksit as a still-born child, revived by the grace of Krshna, implying that the world of Nature (Pariksit) is like something dead if it is not filled with the idea of God; but when it possesses the grace of God and is characterized by Sacrifice, it comes to a newer life. It also signifies that God by his own grace gives to Nature or Prakrti his own power to create.

The Dismemberment of the Horse; the Place of Draupadi: All Sacrifice is a creative function; and the Sacrifice of the senses is controlled by the Mind, Buddhi, and above all by the Soul, befriended by the over-Soul or God and so all the Pandava brothers (who personify these energies), with Draupadi (Sacrifice) and Krshna (God), take part in the Sacrifice. Then, as each of the senses is capable of separate action conceived as a Sacrifice, the different limbs of the Horse (senses) are separated and offered as a Sacrifice. Draupadi is assigned an important place because she personifies the creative Sacrifice of the senses and the Mind, always pervaded by the idea of God.

A SUMMARY OF ASVAMEDHA PARVA:
  1. When we study all systems of Hindu Philosophy and Religion, we see that they are all connected together by means of the idea of Sacrifice, which contains the essence of the idea of God.
  2. Then we realize how Nature, which is like something dead without God, can be revived by means of his name.
  3. The basis of all Sacrifice is the Sacrifice of the senses; that is, when the actions of our senses and the knowledge acquired by them are characterised by selflessness and self-control and are meant for the benefit of all. So long as this is so, we cannot forget God.
  4. The senses function separately, but each of them is associated with the Mind, Buddhi, and the Soul and God is always present when they act in a spirit of Sacrifice.