Dharmkshetr and Kurukshetr were named right at the beginning of the Bhagavad Gita but they were not located, but in Chapter Thirteen, Lord Krishn points out to Arjun that the human body itself is kshetr. And the one who knows it is a kshetragya. However, rather than being entangled in it he is liberated, and he provides direction to it.
When the body is only one, how can there be two spheres- Dharmkshetr and Kurukshetr-in it?
Lord Krishn sings:
“This body is, O son of Kunti, a battlefield (kshetr)
and the men who know it (kshetragya) are called wise
because they have grown spiritually dexterous by perceiving its essence.”
Instead of being involved in this sphere, the kshetragya dominate it. So it has been said by sages who knew and comprehended its reality.
In truth, within the one body there exist two distinct, primeval instincts. There is first the pious treasure of divinity that provides access to the Supreme Spirit who stands for the most sublime dharm. On the other hand, there are the demoniacal impulses made up of impiety which lead a man to accept the mortal world as real.
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 dominated by devilish forces. This process of alternate rise and fall, of ascent and descent, operates at all times, but a decisive war commences between the two opposing impulses when an earnest devotee engages in the task of worship in association with a sage who has perceived the reality. Gradually, then, while the treasure of divinity grows, impious impulses are enfeebled and destroyed.
The stage of God-realization is reached only after the complete elimination of the ill-gotten hoard of unrighteousness. And even the utility of the treasure of divinity is dispensed with after the stage of perception, for it is also then subsumed in the revered God.
In Chapter 11, Arjun saw after the Kaurav also the warriors of his own army plunging and vanishing into the mouth of the all pervading God. Kshetragya is the character of the Self after this final dissolution.
Lord Krishn adds:
“And be it known to you,
O Bharat, that I am the all-knowing Self (kshetragya) in all spheres;
and to me awareness of the reality of kshetr and kshetragya,
of mutable nature and the Self, is knowledge.”
The one who knows the reality of the sphere of the body is a kshetragya. This is vouched for by sages who have known the essence of this sphere by direct experience. Now Lord Krishn proclaims that he too is a kshetragya. In other words, he too was a yogi-indeed a Yogeshwar. Perception of the reality of kshetr and kshetragya, of nature with its contradictions and the Soul, is knowledge. Knowledge is not mere dispute.
“Listen to me briefly on the whence and what of that sphere
and its variations and properties,
as well on the kshetragya and his abilities.”
The sphere of action, of life and death, is mutable because it has evolved from some cause, whereas the kshetragya is possessed of authority. It is not only Lord Krishn who says this; other sages have also said the same.
“This has also been said in various distinct ways by sages
in different scriptural verses and well-reasoned,
definitive aphorisms on the knowledge of the Supreme Spirit (Brahmsutr).”
That is so say that Vedant, great sages, Brahmsutr, and Lord Krishn all say the same thing. Lord Krishn is, therefore, only saying what others have already said.
Is the corporal body just what is visible of it?
Lord Krishn sings:
mutable physical body is the aggregate of the five elements,
ego, intellect, even the unmanifest, the ten sense organs,
mind and the five objects of sense, as well as desire, malice,
pleasure and pain, and intelligence and fortitude.”
Summarizing the constitution of the body which is kshetr with all its variants, Lord Krishn tells Arjun that it is made up of the five great elements (earth, water, fire, ether, and air), ego, intellect and thought (which, instead of being named, has been called the unmanifest, metaphysical nature), and thus throws light upon primal nature with its eight parts.
Apart from this the other components are the ten senses (eyes, ears, nose, skin, tongue, organ of taste, hands, feet, genital organ, and anus), mind, the five objects of sense (form, taste, smell, sound, and touch), desire, malice, pleasure and pain, and consciousness and calm courage.
The body, the gross corporal frame, is the composite of all these parts. This in brief is kshetr and the good or bad seeds sown in it sprout as sanskar. Made up of components which have evolved from a previous source or nature (prakriti), the body must exist so long as these components survive.
Lord Krishn adds:
“Absence of pride and arrogant conduct,
disinclination to do injury to anyone, forgiveness,
integrity of thought and speech, devoted service to the teacher,
outward as well as inner purity, moral firmness,
restraint of the body along with the mind and senses, …”
These are only some of the attributes of the kshetragya who is not inclined but totally declined with this sphere : indifference to honour and dishonour, freedom from vanity, and reluctance to hurt anyone (ahinsa). Ahinsa does not only mean desisting from acts of physical violence.
Lord Krishn told Arjun earlier that he ought not to degrade his Soul. To lead the Soul to degradation is true violence (hinsa), whereas to elevate it is non-violence (ahinsa).
A man who is inclined to the amelioration of his own Soul is also actively devoted to the well-being of other Souls. It is true, though, that this virtue has its inception from not hurting others; the one is but a necessary concomitant of the other.
So ahinsa, mercy, honest thought and speech, faithful service to and worship of the teacher, purity, firmness of mind and heart, and control of the body along with the mind and senses, and-
“Disinterest in pleasures of both the world and heaven,
absence of ego, constant reflection over the maladies of birth, death,
old age, sickness, and pain,…”
“Detachment from son, wife, home and the like,
freedom from infatuation, bearing with both
the pleasant and the unpleasant with equanimity,…”
“Unswerving devotion to me with a single-minded concern for yog,
fondness of living in sequestered places, distaste for human society,…”
Fixing the mind firmly on Lord Krishn, a Yogeshwar, or on some sage like him, so that there is remembrance of nothing else except yog and devout contemplation of nothing besides the desired goal, dwelling in solitary places, disinterest in the company of men, and-
“Constantly resting in the awareness that is called adhyatm
and perception of the Supreme Spirit
who is the end of realization of truth are all knowledge
and whatever is contrary to them is ignorance.”
Adhyatm is knowledge of God’s dominance. The awareness that is derived from a direct perception of the Supreme Spirit, the ultimate essence, is knowledge. Sri Krishn said in Chapter 4 that the man who tastes the manna of knowledge generated by the accomplishment of yagya becomes one with the eternal God. Here, too, he says that apprehension of the reality that the Supreme Spirit is knowledge. Whatever is opposed towards it is ignorance.
~Revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans~