When Ashwatthama’s Brahmastra is charging towards Arjuna how does he get time to do achmana and offer prayers to Krishna before countering it?
Transcription by: Keshav Gopal Das & Ambuj Gupta
Question: When the brahmastra is rushing forward towards Arjuna, Arjuna is actually doing achaman and then he is offering prayers to Krishna. Where is the time for doing all this when the missile is rushing forward?
Answer: There are two-three things. First is that when there is a very deeply devotional philosophical culture, one doesn’t have to think to offer prayers. That’s how the prayers speak out spontaneously from the heart. At that time for Arjuna, Sanskrit is a normal conversation language and that kind of prayers are just thoughts to be expressed. It is not that Arjuna is doing something extra ordinary in the sense that, that level of thinking and that level of speaking was natural. Just like when there is suddenly somebody gets a heart attack, and if there is a lay person attending him, the person will be completely panic struck, but when there is a doctor, what happens to the doctor? The doctor immediately comes into action. “Ok do this. Do this. Do this”. Immediately the necessary words, they come out of doctor’s mind, they come out of the speech and immediately comes into action mood appropriately. That’s how when one is very deeply spiritual, one is trained in the philosophy, trained in the process of bhakti then the thoughts and emotions come out immediately. That’s the first point.
Second is as far as achman is concern that is the standard way in which celestial weapons are invoked. It’s normal process. Even when Arjuna gets the pashupatastra from Lord Shiva, at that time this sort of weapons can be invoked in different ways. You can invoke it as an arrow, you can invoke just by mind, you can invoke just by sound, but the idea is this is not just the physical weapon. Invoking that weapon is a sacred activity and that’s why doing achman is a normal part of it.
Thirdly is that, this brahmastra is so powerful, it is coming very fast but even when it is a far distant away the symptoms of what is happening that become evident. The whole temperature is rising up and sky started becoming cloudy and even at a long distance away even coming fastly saw it and immediately he discussed. That’s how they can discuss and all the actions can happen the same time.
Apart from that it is not described specifically with respect to this but there is other situation Krishna can expand time also. But that is specifically for His past times. Now according to some devotees, that’s what Krishna did at the time of Bhagavad Gita. None of the acharyas have mentioned specifically how in the middle of the battlefield whole Bhagavad Gita is spoken and what happened. Devotees are of the opinion that Krishna expanded time but I have not found the reference for this. General understanding within the shri sampradya is that actually as long as the Bhishma is the commander, even the Kaurvas could not do any serious misdeeds. When Krishna and Arjuna came in the middle of the war field and then Arjuna wanted to speak with Krishna so at that time Bhishma raised his hand. Stop. Although the conch shell had been blown, Bhishma raised his hand and he stopped. Kaurvas also saw that Yudhisthir also not signaling to fight. Dhrishtadum is also not doing that. So because there is no danger of attack and because Duryodhana wanted Bhishma to fight his side, He did not want displease Bhishma, they all stopped and then they have a discussion for war for about the Bhagavad Gita. If somebody is fluent in Sanskrit and can speak naturally, Bhagavad Gita doesn’t take more than one hour. For hours when we recite on Gita Jayanti, it may take two three hours also. I depends on how fast we can recite. That’s how we understand these beautiful examples of time. Thank you.