Dhrta'rashtra' and Dhrta'Hari' - Part 1

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev.

In Bhagavad Gita verse 1.1 Dhrtarashtra inquires Sanjaya,

dhṛtarāṣṭra uvāca
dharma-kṣetre kuru-kṣetre samavetā yuyutsavaḥ
māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś caiva kim akurvata sañjaya

Dhrtarashtra said: O Sanjaya, after my sons and the sons of Pandu assembled in the place of pilgrimage at Kurukshetra, desiring to fight, what did they do?

The above inquiry of Dhrtarashtra shows that he was stuck with fear, anxiety and doubts when the armies were all assembled in Kurukshetra. 

1) Dhrtarashtra feared that the Kauravas might loose their kingdom. Our beloved spiritual master HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj says that, "Dhrta-rashtra means one who was eager to grab the nation - Like him we are also "dhrta-money", "dhrta-house", "dhrta-spouse" etc. Instead of being "Dhrta" for these things we should behave like Lord Brahma and be "Dhrta Hari". In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 2.6.34 Lord Brahma says to Narada Muni,

na bhāratī me ’ṅga mṛṣopalakṣyate
na vai kvacin me manaso mṛṣā gatiḥ
na me hṛṣīkāṇi patanty asat-pathe
yan me hṛdautkaṇṭhyavatā dhṛto hariḥ

O Nārada, because I have caught hold of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, with great zeal, whatever I say has never proved to have been false. Nor is the progress of my mind ever deterred. Nor are my senses ever degraded by temporary attachment to matter.

2) He was doubtful that Duryodhana might change his mind (due to the influence of the dharma-kshetra, Kuru-kshetra) and donate all the land to the Pandavas. As Srila Prabhupada explains in the purport to above verse Kurukshetra is a dharma kshetra - sacred place of pilgrimage, place of worship even for denizens of heaven. It is a place where a lot of dharma, yajna etc. have been performed over many years. The purity of the holy place is that it has the potency to change even a man with bad qualities. Also Krishna and His pure devotees who follow dharma were present in Kurukshetra.  

Any place which is sanctified by Lord and His pure devotees becomes a dham. Wherever dharma is followed that place beomes dharmakshetra. Real dharma is to love and serve Krishna, do things which are pleasing to Krishna. By mercy of Srila Prabhupada now we have such dhams all over the world. Maharaj says that our home also can become Vaikuntha if we do regular chanting of Lord's Names and study of scriptures like Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavatam. And that will give peace of mind not only to the residents, but also to anyone who is visiting our homes. In his book "On the way to Krishna", Srila Prabhupada gives nice example of impact of pligrim place and association of sadhus on a thief."In this regard there is the story of a thief who went on a pilgrimage to a holy town, and en route he and the other pilgrims stopped to rest overnight at an inn. Being addicted to stealing, the thief began making plans to steal the other pilgrims' baggage, but he thought, "I'm going on a pilgrimage, so it doesn't seem appropriate that I should steal this baggage. No, I shall not do it." Nonetheless, due to his habit, he could not keep his hands off the baggage. So he picked up one person's bag and placed it in another place, and then another person's bag and placed it elsewhere. He spent all night placing different bags in different places, but his conscience bothered him so that he could not take anything from them. In the morning, when the other pilgrims awoke, they looked around for their bags and couldn't find them. There was a great row, and eventually, one by one, they began to find the bags in various places. After they were all found, the thief explained: "Gentlemen, I am a thief by occupation. Being that I am habituated to stealing at night, I wanted to steal something from your bags, but I thought that since I am going to this holy place, it is not possible to steal. So I may have rearranged the baggage, but please excuse me." This is the characteristic of a bad habit. He does not want to commit theft anymore, but because he is habituated, sometimes he does."

Thus the holy dhams have the transcendental quality of purifying anyone with bad habits and transform them into saintly personalities.

Krishna willing we shall continue to meditate more on this topic in the subsequent offering.

Hare Krishna
Thank you very much
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva
Kalacakra Krsna das