Bhgawad Gita starts off with Dhritarashtra asking Sanjay about the lay of the battlefield. How he constructs his question is very instructive.
धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः।
मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत संजय॥१-१॥
(हे संजय, धर्मक्षेत्र में युद्ध की इच्छा से इकट्ठे हुये मेरे और पाण्डव के पुत्रों ने क्या किया। Sanjay, gathered in Dharma-kshetra Kurukshetra (place of Dharma, Kurukshetra), what are my and Pandava’s sons doing?)
What is most remarkable is that every action is characterized in Hinduism as “Dharma”. Even war. Kurukshetra was not just a battle-field but a place where Dharma was being given shape to.
Dharma does not equate to “Religious duty” nor does it have any relationship to Morality or ethics. All of which are man-made pegs to hold our egos on. Dharma, actually means the cosmic flow or law.
Nature and this creation has a natural flow. Every creature works as per their tendencies. The color of the tendencies (Varna) is what propels a person in a certain direction. The action (karma) of a person is decided by the interaction of one’s Varna with another’s Varna in the giant cosmic flow of Dharma and that is what moves the world.
As long as you are influenced and affected by your tendencies and perform specific actions as per your past conditioning as opposed to your Free will, you are fighting against the Dharma or the cosmic flow – and therefore “Adharmic”.
In that situation, even mind – sans any physical violence – becomes a giant battlefield. This is what J. Krishnamurti often called “Conflict from conditioning”.
In this shloka – the first one, Dhritarashtra (Dhrit means will or resolve and rashtra loosely means nation – his name meant one who would set the direction and will of the nation) in one sentence lays down the main reason for War. Any war.
“Mine” vs “Yours”.
Although he was the patriarch and a father figure to both, his and his brother’s sons, and thus should have been similar in love for them, he betrays his bias here by segregating them as मामकाः and पाण्डवः
This one separation was the cause of the war.
This separation between Me and You is the cause of all wars.
Land, Religion, God, Wealth, etc are all objects in the framework which distinguishes. The Duality that manifest as Me and Mine, ultimately leads to Me and You.
The first shloka clearly showcases the unconscious and “learned” understanding of Dhritrashtra that Kurukshetra was now a “Dharma-kshetra” and his prejudiced love for his “own” sons.
Dharma-kshetra requires Dharmic preparation and action
When we are embroiled in any battle, it is important that we approach it as a “Dharma-kshetra”, for that is exactly what it really is. But you cannot term something as a Dharma-kshetra, if all you have is prejudice, fanaticism, and ignorance as your weapons and shields.
If we are to enter a Dharma-kshetra, we need to equip ourselves with knowledge and understanding of things the way they are.
For example, if we have to know Akbar, let us know him directly via his own writings and see whether he was worthy of being called Great or not? So, instead of reading Romila Thapar’s fictional stories and Ram Guha’s mischievously spun histories - read Fatehnama-i-Chitor for yourself and see what is said there.