Yudhisthira is the eldest Pandava prince. Yudhisthira comes from the words, Yuddham Sthairyam, meaning ‘the one who is steady in war’. The body-brain system is our only instrument to rise to higher levels of consciousness (realise our divine nature). We feel we have one mind but actually have five minds within us. It is as if we are a house with five rooms, each with a window, offering a different view of the world outside.
We have thinking, feeling, moving, sensitive, and a sexual mind. The Pandavas represent these five centres within us. Yudhisthira is the thinking mind in us. He represents both, the lower faculty of thinking – that which comes from attitudes, and the higher faculty of thinking – that which is in contact with Krishna (pure intellect or buddhi).
The higher faculty is characterised by clarity of perception, devoid of emotional storms, calm in the consciousness, and powered with discernment - leading to right action in our moving mind. Such a person has the power to hold attention on an object, a problem, or a thought. Also, he possesses the ability to penetrate attention to the heart or cause of the matter. On the spiritual path the greatest enemy is passion, which seduces our attention all the time. Yudhisthira is that power in us which continuously visualises and creates little techniques to fight passion. When I first met my guru, I told him that thoughts of sex kept seducing my attention and were disturbing me. He suggested visualizing beautiful green fields with lovely waterfalls whenever thoughts of sex came by. Over the years, this small technique has worked wonders. This is the power of Yudhisthira.
Our lower thinking is bound by deeply ingrained attitudes, limiting the mind and not allowing it to communicate with our inner Krishna. The deepest attitude we have is ‘I am always right’. This is the cause of our blindness. When life does not go the way we have planned it, we get upset, loose our balance, and become hypnotised by the events of life. We have attitudes about everything – life, religion, politics, even clothes. We see and relate to the world through these attitudes. Whenever we argue about anything, it is always through attitudes. It takes years of self-study and inner observation to free the mind of attitudes. Once our thinking is free of the limitations of attitudes, we are able to understand what truth is, and then live this truth in our lives. This is living as Yudhisthira.
Another way of looking at the five Pandavas is through the eyes of yoga, which says that the world we see around us is made up of five ‘tattvas’ or elements; not the elements of physics but the psychological sensitivities of sound, touch, sight, taste and smell – those that excite the five sense organs. Yoga says these sensitivities lie in five different brains within us called chakras. These are the five Pandavas. Yudhisthira represents akash (ether) in the throat chakra, Bhima vayu (wind) in the heart, Arjuna agni (fire) in the solar plexus, Nakula apas (water) in the sensual chakra, and Sahdeva prithvi (earth) in the sacral chakra.
Within Yudhisthira or akash element, lies the art of steadying our attention in space or in gaps. Whenever we see a person, we fix our attention on his body or form and never see the empty space around the body. If we can train our attention to remain in this empty space, slowly we would notice that it is not just an empty space but is filled with subtle vibrations and colours. This can tell us a lot about the person we are observing. When we close our eyes, we see only darkness but if we can hold our attention and let it penetrate beyond the darkness, we enter into the chittakash or space of the mind. Here, we can observe our own thoughts, emotions, and reactions.
Sea waves merge or break with one another. Where two waves of opposing motion meet, there is a small space where there is no motion. This is akash and Yudhisthira is the one who can stand steady in this space. If on meeting an angry person, we become angry then two waves clash, indicating that we are not steady at the meeting ground. Instead, if we become receptive then the anger mingles with our receptivity and for a moment, we are able to experience that point where all motion stops. In Zen this is known as satori.
Even though our bodies may be male or female, psychologically we are both. In any relationship and especially marriage, if we can see beyond the body and recognise which energy has come to meet us then we can become the opposite. If the wife is angry, the husband can sense the aggressive male energy in her and he should become the inner female with warmth and acceptance. If we can do this then, there is a marriage not of bodies but of energies. If this can happen in every relationship – father and son, boss and employee, two friends; then every moment these energies meet, we can experience the orgasm of that meeting. Then, life is free of conflict and this very earth becomes the lotus paradise the great Buddha talked about.
(Edited by Chintu Gandhi. Illustration by Siddharth Ramanuj.)
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