It is our dream for the future to promote the art of singing the Gita bhajan style in a huge way at Kurukshetra, the holy place where Lord Krishna spoke the Gīta, and invite all members of our international GJ network to participate!
Extracts from an article mailed out by Chandan Bhatia:
The Exact Spot where Lord Sri Krishna spoke SRIMAD BHAGAVAD-GITA to Arjuna
by Chandan Bhatia
THE LAND OF SRIMAD BHAGAVAD-GITA
KURUKSHETRA: Kurukshetra the holy pilgrimage in which 360 places of pilgrimage related to the Mahabharata can be seen. It is one of those holy towns that have borne the imprint of Lord Sri Krishna's footsteps. Kurukshetra is referred to as “Dharmakshetra” is the place in Haryana state in India where the epic Mahabharata battle took place between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Indian government has named the state as ‘Haryana’ which in local language means: ‘Hari ka ana’ (Lord Hari came here). Tradition holds that the great 18-day battle between the Pandavas and Kauravas as described in the pages of the epic Mahabharata, was fought on the plains of Kurukshetra. Kurukshetra lies on the Delhi-Ambala stretch of the National Highway 1. Kurukshetra has been a symbol of sanctity and holiness for centuries. A visit to this hallowed land of high religious and cultural significance is indeed a rewarding experience!
The founder of the land was King Kuru who practiced austere penance to make this land righteous that is why in the first verse of Bhagavad-Gita, Kurukshetra prefixed with an epithet Dharmakshetra.
History of Kurukshetra: This region - the holy circuit- comprises 48 kosas or 100 miles with a large number of temples and tanks of antiquity and traditions. It covered a wide area with present Panipat and north-west corner of Jind district in south and eastern part of Patiala district, in the west Saraswati and Yamuna rivers as its northern and eastern boundaries. King Kuru is said to have made this land a great centre of spiritual culture. The Puranic story about this land is very interesting and runs thus:
King Kuru selected this land on the bank of sacred river Saraswati for spiritual culture and cultivation of eight-fold virtues. King came here on his golden chariot and utilized its gold for making a plough for cultivation. He took bull of Siva and buffalo of Yama on loan and started ploughing the land. Indra, the king of heaven, came and asked Kuru as to what he was doing? King replied that he was preparing the land for growing eight-fold virtues of religious austerity (tapa), truth, forgiveness, kindness, purity, charity, yoga and continence (brahmacharya). Indra asked him to where he would get the seed of these virtues. King replied that the seed was in his possession. At this Indra laughed and went away.
After king had cultivated land for several days, Visnu appeared before him and asked as to what he was doing? King replied in the same manner as he had done when questioned by Indra. Visnu asked Kuru to give Him the seed and that He would sow it for him. At this Kuru put forward his right arm and the same was cut into 1000 pieces with the Chakra of Visnu and sown in the field. In the same way king Kuru’s left arm, his 2 legs and then his head were offered by him to Visnu for sowing.
This act of Kuru pleased Visnu very much and He blessed him. Indra also appeared at this stage and told that he was very much pleased with his sacrifice and told him to ask for any boon from him. Kuru there-upon begged of him 2 boons: one, that this land would forever remain a holy land named after himself, and the other, that anyone dying here would get relieved of cycle of birth and death irrespective of his sins or virtues. Thus King Kuru with wealth of his state and his austerities established at Kurukshetra an extensive institution of spiritual culture for humanity as a whole.
Sripad Madhavacharya, a great Vaishnava acarya, who is also the third son of Vayu (after Hanuman and Bhima) visited here around 1250 AD. During his visit he dug-up a certain piece of land in Kurukshetra and found the mace (club/gada) used by Bhima on the battle of Kurukshetra. Later after showing this to his disciples he again kept back the gada to the place where Bhima originally kelp it after the battle.
Kurukshetra is 2 hour journey from New Delhi by Train and about 3½ by Bus. Sridham Vrindavan to Kurukshetra is about 5-6 hour journey by train via Mathura-New Delhi route. While travelling by bus there is a stop called “Pipli” on Kurukshetra by-pass. From there catch an auto-rickshaw to reach ISKCON Main Bazaar temple and then see the holy places with the assistance from the local devotees, or at a nominal cost one can take the auto-rickshaw to visit all the important places to be seen in and around Kurukshetra.
JYOTISAR: This is the exact spot where Lord Sri Krishna spoke Bhagavad-Gita. Is the most important place to be seen because there is a Banyan tree in this place under which Krishna explained Bhagavad-Gita 5000 years back to Arjuna - his greatest friend and devotee. There is a board placed on the tree in which is written “The immortal banyan tree witness of the celestial song Bhagavad-Gita”. In fact this place is named as the “Gitopadesh sthal - place where theBhagavad-Gita was spoken”.
The tree is full of birds and squirrels which adds to the mystic aura of that place. This place is eternally peaceful despite amidst coming and going of pilgrims throughout the day. Doing the Parikrama or Circumambulation of the tree is considered as a very auspicious. There is also a small chariot in a glass and marble case below the banyan tree where one can see Krishna and Arjuna speaking to each other. There is also another chariot nearby much bigger entirely in glass casing where both Krishna and Arjuna are seated. In the same courtyard of the Geethopadesh sthal is a Ved Pathshala, rooms containing different characters of Mahabharata like Ganga mata, Bhismadeva, Krishna-Arjuna etc… There is also an ancient Siva temple which is sheltered by the Banyan Tree. This temple is a witness to foreign invasions. Then there are also several other temples for other divinities. There is a small water body in front of the Geetopadesh sthal. Jyotisar lies on Pehowa road, 5 km from Kurukshetra.
Extracts from the Introduction to Bhagavad Gita As It Is by His Divine Grace Sri Srimad A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the illustrious founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust and the Bhaktivedanta Institute:
BHAGAVAD-GITA: Bhagavad-Gita is also known as Gitopanisad. It is the essence of Vedic knowledge and one of the most important Upanisads in Vedic literature. The spirit of Bhagavad-Gita is mentioned in Bhagavad-Gita itself, which is, Bhagavad-Gita should be accepted ‘as it is’ directed by the speaker Himself. The speaker of Bhagavad-Gita is Lord Sri Krishna. He is mentioned on every page of Bhagavad-Gita as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan. The word Bhagavan designates that Lord Sri Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as is confirmed by all great acaryas (spiritual masters) like Sankaracarya, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Nimbarka, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and many other authorities of Vedic knowledge. The Lord Himself also establishes Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the Bhagavad-Gita, and He is accepted as such in the Brahma-samhita and all the Puranas,especially the Srimad-Bhagavatam, known as the Bhagavata Purana (Krishnas tu bhagavan svayam). Therefore we must take Bhagavad-Gita as it is directed by the Personality of Godhead Himself.
What is Bhagavad-Gita?
The purpose of Bhagavad-Gita is to deliver mankind from the nescience of material existence. Every man is in difficulty
in so many ways, as Arjuna was in difficulty. Arjuna surrendered unto Sri Krishna, and consequently this Bhagavad-Gita was spoken. Not only Arjuna, but every one of us is full of anxieties because of this material existence. Our very existence is in the atmosphere of nonexistence. Actually we are not meant to be threatened by nonexistence. Our existence is eternal. But somehow or other we are put into asat. Asat refers to that which does not exist.
Out of so many human beings who are suffering, there are a few who are actually inquiring about their position, as to what they are, why they are put into this awkward position and so on. Unless one is awakened to this position of questioning his suffering, unless he realizes that he doesn’t want suffering but rather wants to make a solution to all suffering, then one is not to be considered a perfect human being. Humanity begins when this sort of inquiry is awakened in one’s mind. In the Brahma-sutra this inquiry is called, Athato brahma jijnasa. Every activity of the human being is to be considered a failure unless he inquires about the nature of the Absolute. Therefore those who begin to question:
§ why they are suffering or where they came from and where they shall go after death are proper students for understanding Bhagavad-Gita. The sincere student should also have a firm respect for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a student was Arjuna.
The subject of the Bhagavad-Gita entails the comprehension of 5 basic truths: Isvara (the Supreme Lord), jiva (the living entity), prakrti (nature), kala (eternal time) and karma (activity) are all explained in the Bhagavad-Gita. Out of these five, the Lord, the living entities, material nature and time are eternal. The manifestation of prakrti may be temporary, but it is not false. Some philosophers say that the manifestation of material nature is false, but according to the philosophy of Bhagavad-Gita, this is not so. However, the karma, is not eternal. We are suffering or enjoying the results of our activities from time immemorial, but we can change the results of our karma, or our activity, and this change depends on the perfection of our knowledge. We are engaged in various activities. Undoubtedly we do not know what sort of activities we should adopt to gain relief from the actions and reactions of all these activities, but this is also explained in the Bhagavad-Gita....
... Lord Krishna descends specifically to re-establish the real purpose of life when man forgets that purpose. Actually we are all swallowed by the tigress of nescience, but the Lord is very merciful upon living entities, especially human beings. To this end He spoke the Bhagavad-Gita, making His friend Arjuna His student.
ENTRANCE TO “JYOTISAR”
JYOTISAR - THE EXACT SPOT WHERE SRIMAD BHAGAVAD-GITA
WAS SPOKEN BY THE SUPREME LORD SRI KRISHNA.
THE SUPREME PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD LORD SRI KRISHNA
AND HIS DEAR-MOST FRIEND & DEVOTEE ARJUNA ON CHARIOT AT JYOTISAR
SUPREME LORD SRI KRISHNA AND HIS DEAR-MOST FRIEND & DEVOTEE ARJUNA ON CHARIOT AT JYOTISAR
THE “IMMORTAL BANYAN TREE” THAT IS WITNESS TO CELESTIAL SONG OF LORD:
DURING THE MOGUL REGIME THIS TREE WAS ALMOST COMPLETELY CUT DOWN.
HOWEVER BY THE MERCY AND DESIRE OF SUPREME PERSONALITY OF GODHEAD
LORD SRI KRISHNA THIS TREE AGAIN GREW-UP, THUS DECLARING THAT
THE TEACHINGS OF LORD IN BHAGAVAD-GITA ARE ‘IMMORTAL’ AND ‘ETERNAL’.
HOLY BANYAN TREE
HOLY DUST OF JYOTISAR
LOTUS FEET OF LORD SRI KRISHNA AT JYOTISAR
Ancient Siva temple witness to foreign invasions
Ancient Siva temple witness to foreign invasions is a tree in the compound of “Jyotisar”, the Geetopadesh Shtal is witness of so many foreign attacks.
“SRI KRISHNA-ARJUNA” TEMPLE JYOTISAR, ISKCON KURUKSHETRA
v This temple is very next to “Jyotisar”, the exact spot where Lord Sri Krishna spoke Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.
v It was Srila Prabhupada’s strong desire that there be ISKCON Temple next to Jyotisar.
v The presiding Deities are Their Lordships Sri Sri Jagannatha-Baladeva-Subhadra & Sri Sri Nitai-Gauranga Mahaprabhu.
v This temple has a garden with variety of beautiful roses for the pleasure of Their Lordships.
v Temple also has a Goshala.
v ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) has 3 Temples in Kurukshetra: (1) Sri Krishna-Arjuna Jyotisar Temple, (2) Sri Sri Radha-Radha Kant Temple, Main Bazaar, (3) another preaching centre in Kurukshetra.
THEIR LORDSHIPS SRI SRI RADHA-RADHA KANT
at Main Bazaar ISKCON Kurukshetra Temple
SRI SRI RADHA-RADHA KANT
HIS DIVINE GRACE A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI SRILA PRABHUPADA,
Founder Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
BHISMA KUNDA & BAN GANGA at Dayalpur Village, Kurukshetra:
BHISMA KUNDA: This is the place where the great grandsire of Kuru dynasty, Bhismadeva, was shot down by Arjuna in a volley of arrows with Shikhandi in front of him and Bhisma refusing to fight. Bhismadeva was down and lying on a ned of arrows called ‘sharashayya’, waiting for his death at the most auspicious time called Uttarayana. Following the advice of Lord Sri Krishna, all the Pandavas headed by Yudhisthira Maharaj arrived at the spot where he learned the science of Raja-dharma.
BHISMA KUNDA & BAN GANGA
BHISMA KUNDA - Bhisma was shot down by Arjuna in this place.
Deities of Bhismadeva, Pandavas & Lord Sri Krishna nearby at Bhisma Kunda Temple.
BAN GANGA: During the course of discussions between Bhismadeva and Yudhisthira Maharaj, Bhismadeva asked for water, and Arjuna shot an arrow on the ground from which emanated the sacred Ganga water which flowed into Bhisma’s mouth like a jet that quenched his thirst. This body of water is called ‘Ban Ganga’ which means that the Ganga that emanated with the shot of a ‘Ban’ (arrow).
BAN GANGA - This is the lake from which Ganges emanated after Arjuna shot an arrow at the ground after Bhismadeva requested him to give water while lying on Sharashayya. Besides the Ban Ganga is a very tall and huge figure of Hanuman.
BHISMA KUND TEMPLE
BRAHMA SAROVARA: This is a huge lake the size of 5 football stadiums put together where people do “Pitr tarpan” for the betterment of the souls of their dead near and dear. Performing pitr tarpan on the day of Amavasya is considered to be very auspicious. A lot of people come to take bath there on that day. There are so many temples situated along a strip of land extending right into the middle of the huge pond including a huge beautiful black chariot with Krishna and Arjuna.
Among the holiest of water tanks in India, the Brahma Sarovar is an important place to visit in Kurukshetra. This is a vast water body. In the centre of the tank stands the Sarveshwar Mahadev Temple looking like a lotus. The eastern section of the tank is 1800 ft long and 1500 ft wide while the western section is a square of 1500 ft length and 1500 ft breadth. The tank is 15 ft deep. This large water body is edged with 20 ft wide platforms, stairs and a 40 ft wide `parikarma'. In this section, a number of meditation chambers have been built for the convenience of pilgrims. A dip in the Sarovar bears the sanctity of performing Ashwamedha Yajna. The months of November and December are the time when migratory birds flock around Brahma Sarovar and add an exhilarating environmental setting to the sanctity of the place. The tank lies about 3 km from the railway station. A number of temples lie in close vicinity of this holy water body.
PIPLI - This is the bye-pass for Kurukshetra on the highway connecting Delhi. Several modes of transportation are available from here for seeing in and around Kurukshetra. Kurukshetra town is 4km and Jyotisar is 9km from here.
Pehowa: It is an ancient town not far from Kurukshetra has been a centre of pilgrimage for ages. It is on the, left bank of the sacred Saraswati, 12 km from Thanesar. Pehowa was built sometime in 882 AD although an inscription on a temple claims that it was actually built in 895 AD. The town derives its name from King Prithu. On the death of his father, the King sat on the bank of river Saraswati, offering water to all visitors. As a result, the place came to be known as Prithudaka or Prithu's pool. The town which he afterwards built on the spot was called by the same name. With time, the town of Prithu came to be called Pehowa. Today, it is an ancient place of great sanctity, where prayer and `pind daan' for ancestors is believed to grant redemption from the cycle of birth and death.
Solar Eclipse in Kurukshetra:
Millions of pilgrims and tourist throng to the town during the Solar Eclipse to have the privilege of having a dip in the sacred tanks Brahma Sarovar and Sannihit Sarovar. A holy dip in these tanks during the eclipse gives the merit of performing 1000 Ashawamedha Yajnas. It is said that in the Sannihit Sarovar during this time all the sacred places & pilgrimages assemble there by and thus one directly gets the merits of all the sacred places at one particular place.
Lord Sri Krishna along with his family came from Dvaraka to participate in the fair of solar eclipse at Kurukshetra. People from all over India too assembled at the sacred place as also the Vrishnis, the Bhojas, Akrura, Vasudeva, Ugrasena and others. From Vrindavana the gopis also came to have sacred bathe in the tanks of Kurukshetra. Krishna was a child when he left Vrindavana thus after a long time the gopis could see Krishna at Kurukshetra. Krishna and Balarama warmly embraced their parents. They were also hugged by Rohini and Yasoda.
LORD SRI KRISHNA AND GOPIS IN KURUKSHETRA ON SOLAR ECLIPSE
“The gopis saw their beloved Krishna at Kurukshetra after a long separation. They secured and embraced Him in their hearts through their eyes, and they attained a joy so intense that not even perfect yogis can attain it. The gopis cursed the creator for creating eyelids that interfered with their vision."
- Caitanya-Caritamrta Adi-lila 4.153 & Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 10 Chapter 82
Directions to reach Kurukshetra: Kurukshetra is 2 hour journey from New Delhi by Train and about 3½ by Bus. While travelling by bus there is a stop called “Pipli” on Kurukshetra by-pass. From there catch an auto-rickshaw to reach ISKCON Main Bazaar temple (6 km) and then see the holy places with the assistance from the local devotees, or at a nominal cost one can take the auto-rickshaw to visit all the important places to be seen in and around Kurukshetra.
Sridham Vrindavan to Kurukshetra is about 5-6 hour journey by train via Mathura-New Delhi route. From New Delhi railway station a number of trains run daily throughout the day between Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Amritsar routes which stop at Kurukshetra. Ticket reservation is essential. Tickets can be booked from any railway ticketing agent in India. More information: http://www.indianrail.gov.in/dont_Know_Station_Code.html
Accommodation in Kurukshetra: A number of accommodation options are available in Kurukshetra. Accommodation is easily available throughout the year except on Gita Jayanti and on a Solar Eclipse when huge number of devotees thong to attend the festivities. ISKCON Kurukshetra Main Bazaar temple (phone: +91 1744 234806 & +91 1744 235529 ) has limited accommodation available for the life-members. Only 100 meters from this temple is Aggarwal Dharmasala Guesthouse which is a good accommodation. At Jyotisar there is nice Haryana Tourism Guesthouse.
In conclusion, Bhagavad-Gita is a transcendental literature which one should read very carefully. Gita-çästram idaà puëyaà yaù paöhet prayataù pumän: if one properly follows the instructions of Bhagavad-Gita, one can be freed from all the miseries and anxieties of life. Bhaya-çokädi-varjitaù. One will be freed from all fears in this life, and one’s next life will be spiritual.
“If one reads Bhagavad-Gita very sincerely and with all seriousness, then by the grace of the Lord the reactions of his past misdeeds will not act upon him.” (Gita-mahatmya 2)
“One may cleanse himself daily by taking a bath in water, but if one takes a bath even once in the sacred Ganges water of Bhagavad-Gita, for him the dirt of material life is altogether vanquished.” (Gita-mahatmya 3)
Because Bhagavad-Gita is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one need not read any other Vedic literature. One need only attentively and regularly hear and read Bhagavad-Gita. In the present age, people are so absorbed in mundane activities that it is not possible for them to read all the Vedic literatures. But this is not necessary. This one book, Bhagavad-Gita, will suffice, because it is the essence of all Vedic literatures and especially because it is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (Gita-mahatmya 4)
“One who drinks the water of the Ganges attains salvation, so what to speak of one who drinks the nectar of Bhagavad-Gita? Bhagavad-Gita is the essential nectar of the Mahabharata, and it is spoken by Lord Krishna Himself, the original Visnu.” (Gita-mahatmya 5)
“This Gitopanisad, Bhagavad-Gita, the essence of all the Upanisads, is just like a cow, and Lord Krishna, who is famous as a cowherd boy, is milking this cow. Arjuna is just like a calf, and learned scholars and pure devotees are to drink the nectarean milk of Bhagavad-Gita.” (Gita-mahatmya 6)
ekam sastram devaki-putra-gitam
eko devo devaki-putra eva
eko mantras tasya namani yani
karmapy ekam tasya devasya seva (Gita-mahatmya 7)
In this present day, people are very much eager to have one scripture, one God, one religion, and one occupation.
§ ekam sastram devaki-putra-gitam: let there be one scripture only, one common scripture for the whole world—
§ Eko devo devaki-putra eva: let there be one God for the whole world—
§ Eko mantras tasya namani: and one hymn, one mantra, one prayer—the chanting of His name:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
§ Karmapy ekam tasya devasya seva: and let there be one work only—
the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
SRIMAD BHAGAVAD-GITA KI JAI!
GITA-JAYANTI MAHOTSAV, MOKSHA-EKADASI KI JAI!!
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE |
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE ||
by Chandan Bhatia
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