Saturday, November 1, 2014

Gurudev, in the first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, it is described how every warrior blew his own conch before the start of the battle. The names of the different conches are also mentioned. What is the meaning of narrating this? Please explain.

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
I feel there is some great secret behind narrating this. There must be some meaning behind the name of every conch shell mentioned in the verses. People who are good at research should put their minds to this and find out what the secret is.
The names of all the conches mentioned are so beautiful. There is a verse in the Gita:
'Panchajanyam Hrishikesho devadattam dhananjayah. Paundram dadhmau maha-shankham bhima-karma vrkodarah'. (1.15)
These verses were not simply written just like that. There are qualities associated with every name. Every name is special in some way.
For example, the word 'Parna' means 'A Leaf' in Sanskrit. But do you know what it really means? It means that which absorbs the radiant light of the sun within itself.
We all know that leaves perform the function of photosynthesis. A leaf absorbs the sunlight and the moisture from the environment to generate chlorophyll. This meaning is contained so beautifully in its name.
In the same way, what does 'Aparna' mean (one of the sacred names of the Mother Divine)? It means that which does not absorb the sunlight; it means that which does not take anything and remains untouched by everything.
Suparna means that which shines or is able to fly. The Garuda (revered as the mount of Lord Vishnu) is referred to as Suparna because it can fly. It uses its feathers to push the air below and fly upwards in the sky. So in this way, every word implicitly contains a practical meaning in itself. This is the specialty of Sanskrit.

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