We always enjoy helping our customers with their projects and we are constantly amazed by the unique ways in which they use our display cases. Recently, we received a story from one of our customers of a project they completed using one of our larger display cases. It’s unique to be sure and the final result was something we hadn’t thought about. Our customer, Chandrashekhar, created a great showcase to display a beautiful silver murti (symbolic icon of a deity) of a chariot carrying the Hindu god Krishna. With the assistance of a fabricator, Chandrashekhar had holes drilled in the base of the display to hold the murti in place with screws and bolts.
Hinduism is ripe with many gods and goddesses with just as many stories about each of them. One of these stories is the Indian epic “Mahabharata” (Great Epic of the Bharata Dynasty). The tale is about two branches of family known as the Pandavas and the Kauravas waging war over a throne in Hastinapura India. It has 13,000 pages and was written over 5,000 years ago making it one of the oldest texts known. One of the stories within this epic tale is called the “Bhagavad Gita” (Song of God). The Bhagavad Gita was added later to the Mahabharata around the second century BCE. It is in this spiritual text that we find the great dialogue between the Pandava prince Arjun and Krishna.
Before the great battle between the families, Krishna had offered the warring cousins a choice of either him being a charioteer for their side, or Krishna’s 100,000-man army. In either case Krishna explained he would not take up arms as he was part of a different clan and had to remain neutral politically. Krishna’s cousin and best friend, prince Arjun, had first choice and he chose Krishna as his charioteer. He knew Krishna could provide intelligence and guidance and he also knew the weakness of every warrior in the Kauravas camp.
Prince Arjun was stuck in a moral dilemma. He couldn’t come to terms that he was about to engage his cousins in battle. He asked Krishna how he could possibly wage war against his extended family and with that question Krishna began to poetically explain deep matters regarding Hindu theology, Dharma (What is right), and liberation. This dialogue which became the Bhagavad Gita gives great spiritual insight and how to keep one’s mind with regards to how one is supposed to live. Krishna explained to Arjun that the war was between good and bad. That Arjun should stick to the path of truth and not hesitate when it is time to take action. To have faith that the divine will lead him on his path and that the end goal is not what matters but the path you choose to get there.
I have had a passing interest with religious traditions for most of my adult life and always find the Hindu stories and traditions particularly fascinating. I can’t do the Bhagavad Gita, let alone the Mahabharata, justice with this single blog post due to the vastness of the stories in the book, and Hinduism in general. Truth be told, I’ve tried reading the Mahabharata but reading 13,000 pages can be a bit daunting. Hinduism has many traditions and though those traditions can fall under a single blanket, they can be as different to each other as the three Abrahamic religions and the many sects that fall under them.
Many see the Bhagavad Gita as the cusp of Hinduism and there are a few English translations of the scriptures outside of the Mahabharata. Just like the stories of our lives, the Gita is poetically written and can give great insight into the many different aspects of ourselves that make each of us unique as well as being one with god. I find the symbolism of Krishna being the charioteer for Arjun to be a metaphor of god being our individual charioteer and to let god guide us in the struggles we battle every day. Every culture, and every individual, has a different story to tell and we are proud to help you tell yours.
Photo of Silver Murti Courtesy of: Sudha Shekhar