KRISHNA Tarangam

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You all need him like your breath and lungs!

Everybody knows this special son of Bheem and Hidimbi—the sister of demon Hidimba, who was killed by Bheem during their exile. Ghatotkach is a loyal son of Bheem. He joins the battle of Mahabharata at the call of his father. He is a great magical warrior who almost finishes the Kaurava army and even corners the mighty Karna by his dynamic strikes. Later, Duryodhan presses upon Karna to kill him as he had already decimated a major portion of the Kaurava army, including the demon Alambush, who Duryodhan depended on much. Karna uses Indra Shakti, granted to him by Lord Indra in exchange of his armour with a condition that he would be able to use it only once. The Shakti kills Ghatotkach, who is a master of assuming any size, knows that he is going to be killed now grows his body a million times and crushes billions of Kaurva army men under his body. Arjuna and Bheem become sad. But, Krishna is happy. He says after using the Shakti, Karna is sure to die, who otherwise, was enough to decimate the Pandavas, he says, explaining his jubilation to Arjuna.

Real Import

But, this is all history. Ghatotkach signifies a particular yogic kriya, which grants sadhak magical powers that can disarm even Karna (the habit). In fact, his legendary battle with Alambush also conveys a deep psychophysical event in our life. Ghatotkach's role can only be understood if we understand how he has been described by Sanjay in the Mahabharata. His body is black and its dimension huge, his eyes are red, his face and lips are of copper and his belly is pinched in, his muscles are strong and his touch harsh, wearing the garland of fire and an armour made of copper, lead and zinc alloy (kaansa). He wears a crown of gold. Quite a metallic form!

But, what does he really signify? Ghatam yo udkaroti kuchati cha so Ghatotkachah. This means who has the natural power to expand and contract his body (chest region) at will is called Ghatotkach. His form symbolises the organs of respiration—the lungs, which are characterised by rhythmic breathing (pranayama). Through systematic pranayama, one can attain magical powers. What is the form of this pranayama? The study of the bodily characteristics of Ghatotkach reveals that. Gold crown makes it the king of the yogic sciences (Raj Yoga). His face and lips represent copper’s purifying nature. Pinched belly denotes that it doesn’t store any energy for itself but expels it all out to keep the body system alive (only when we breathe as per the yogic injunctions). The armour of copper alloy means the yogic breathing protects you from all kinds of bodily infections. It wears the garland of Agni. That means the yogic exercise benefits only when the praan (energy, fire) is regulated through repeated practice.

He kills Alambush

Alambush means vomiting in Sanskrit or any action which imitates vomiting—like repeated expulsion of air from lungs to the extent of breathlessness. Alambush is also called Shaalkantak. This shows when a thorn of Shaal (a kind of fish) gets stuck in your throat, you vomit to death. Ghatotkach kills Alambush. This means holding breath on exhalation should be avoided (not allowed to detail further). But, if you have disharmonised breathing by holding it out, you reset harmony by taking to Ghatotkach.

Ghatotkach as son

We already know that Bheem means fire or energy or will. Hidimbi in Sanskrit means a power of honest and devoted perseverance to achieve something, which moulds the will to carry out its job. Her devotion was so intense that even Kunti ( the inverted triangle of gravitational pull   ) advocated her cause and asked Bheem to grant her wish by tying a knot with her ( Gandharva vivaah). Hidimbi wanted a son from Bheem. She gets it in the form of Ghatotkach. This signifies only one thing, when the will is satisfied by honest perseverance, the lungs begin to breathe systematically—Pranayam is performed and power and energy is gained. Otherwise, bad breathing will rob you of your energies. Just imagine how you breathe  when you are anxious or angry—you breathe erratically. Such breathing leaves you good for nothing--weak.
 Hidimbi and Kunti represent two qualified motions of breathing with their natural stoppages. One chases the course of the will as Bheem was chased by Hidimibi.  Hidimbi approaches Kunti when Bheem refuses to oblige her. Kunti supports her cause and directs Bheem to tie a knot with her till Hidimbi’s purpose is served.  This is the story of Hidimbi and Bheem’s marriage.
Hidimbi is demon’s sister. She represents apaan movement and Kunti praan movement.  The former is exhalation and the latter inhalation. Bheem is with Kunti, his mother. Will remains with inhalation. But, Hidimbi chases Bheem and the point comes where Kunti allows Hidimbi to take will in the opposite course. This up and down movements continue till Ghatotkach is born (complete rhythmic breathing) . After he is born, Hidimbi leaves Bheem. When pranayama is perfected this way, the exhalation is completely offered into inhalation and inhalation into exhalation. This means exhalation and inhalation are equalised to the extent of no difference. Yogis call this the state of natural kumbhak —ceasation of breathing ( not forced one) and entering the zone of Krishna. ( not allowed to detail further). Krishna reveals the Kriya  in Chapter 4, shloka 29.
अपाने जुह्वति प्राणं प्राणेऽपारे तथापरे।
प्राणापानगती रुद्ध्वा प्राणायामपरायणा:।।

Karna is stunned by him

Habit (Karna) is not easy to be killed. But, systematic pranayama can recharge your power constantly and disarm it by forcing it to use up the Indra Shakti (the power to use the power of senses once--habit has a temporary command  over the senses). This is what happens. When you perform pranayama, all your senses attack you and de-energize you. But, that attack renders Karna powerless--habit loses its command over senses).
This is the end of Ghatotkach. Now you no longer require the practice—it has done its job. Krishna is happy. Because, the very purpose of pranayama has been achieved in the form of Krishna’s happiness. When He is happy, everything becomes automatic. But, why is Arjuna  sad at the killing of Ghatotkach? It is because the mind habitually is dependent on the energy feed of the lungs. But, when Krishna explains to him how He had done everything to help Arjuna achieve his goal, Arjuna is satisfied.  The mind calms down. Krishna says,
जरासंधश्चेदिराजो ... सर्वे एते योगैस्तैस्तैस्त्वद्धिर्थे मयैव।।  O Arjuna! I got all the great warriors killed one by one just to help you achieve your goal. This is enough to reveal all the roles of Krishna.

Takeaway: Perform pranayama daily till you have disarmed Karna. But, beware of Alambusha! Don’t hold breath on exhalation.

Next: Who is Virat Raj?

Vivek Sharma

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YOU ASK Comments

How simple you make even complex things. Thanks...

;very nice and praisworthy

Jai ho!

Very true

Very true