धृतराष्र उवाच धमाक्षेरे कुरुक्षेरे समवेता युयुत्मसव:।
मामका: पाण्डवाश्चैव ककमकुवात सञ्र्य।।१।।
[ Dhritrashtr said, “Assembled at Kurukshetr* [*The field or sphere of dharm. Dharm is not only moral virtues and good works, but the essential character that enables a thing or being to be its own Self.], at Dharmkshetr, and eager for combat, O Sanjay, what did my and Pandu’s sons do?” ]
Dhritrashtr is the very image of ignorance; and Sanjay is the embodiment of self-restraint. Ignorance lurks at the core of the objective, the outward-looking, mind. With his mind enveloped in darkness, Dhritrashtr is blind since birth, but he sees and hears through Sanjay, the epitome of self-control. He knows that God alone is real, but as long as his infatuation for Duryodhan born from ignorance lasts, his inner eye will be focused on the Kaurav, who symbolize the ungodly forces of negative, sinful impulses. The human body is a field for combat. When there is abundance of divinity in the realm of the heart, the body is transmuted into a Dharmkshetr (field of dharm), but it degenerates into a Kurukshetr when it is infested with demoniacal powers. Kuru means ‘do’; the word is an imperative. As Krishn has said, “Driven by the three properties* [*Sattwa, tamas and rajas, the three gun or properties or constituent qualities of all material objects and beings. Sattwa is virtue or the quality of goodness; tamas is ignorance or darkness, and rajas is passion or moral blindness.] born out of prakriti (nature) man is compelled to act; without action he cannot even live for a moment.” These properties, virtue,ignorance, and passion, compel him to act. Even in sleep action does not cease, for it is the necessary sustenance for the body. The three properties bind men, from the level of gods to that of the lowest creatures such as worms. So long as the material world and its properties are, kuru must be. Therefore, the sphere of birth and death, of that which is evolved from a previous source or prakriti (nature) is Kurukshetr, whereas the sphere of righteous impulses which guide the Self to God, the highest spiritual reality, is Dharmkshetr. Archaeologists are engaged in research in Punjab, Kashi, and Prayag to locate Kurukshetr. But the poet of the Geeta has himself suggested, through Krishn, where the war of his sacred poem was fought. “This body is itself, O Arjun, a battlefield, and one who conquers it grows spiritually dexterous by perceiving its essence.” He then elaborates the structure of this “battlefield,” sphere of action constituted of ten preceptors* [*The ten organs of sense : five of perception (gyanendriani) and five organs of action (karmendriani).], the objective and the subjective mind, the ego, the five elements* [*Primary substances], and the three properties. The body itself is a field, a ring or an arena. The forces that clash on this field are twofold, the godly and the ungodly, the divine and the devilish, the offspring of Pandu and those of Dhritrashtr, the forces that are congenial to the essentially divine character of the Self and those which offend and demean it. The clue to the mystery of the conflict between the opposed impulses begins to be seen when one turns for enlightenment to an exalted sage who has enriched himself with worship and meditation. This field belongs to one who realizes its essence, and the war fought on it is the only real war. History is crowded with wars of the world, but the victors in these wars have but sought in vain for a permanent conquest.
These wars were nothing beyond acts of retribution. True victory lies in subduing matter and in perceiving, as well as becoming one with, the Supreme Spirit that transcends it. This is the only conquest in which there is no prospect of defeat. This is true salvation after which there are no fetters of birth and death. The mind lying in the abyss of ignorance perceives through one who has mastered the mind and the senses, and thus knows what has transpired on the battlefield, where fighters include even those who have known its reality. Vision is ever in proportion to mastery of the mind and the senses.