Chakravyuha – The Maze of Life by Hariharan Raman

Inspired by the teachings of Grand Master Choa Kok Sui

The other day, I was making my son sleep at night and when I thought he had fallen asleep and I could get back to watching my game, he started “Papa, please tell me a story”. I was in mythological mode and couldn’t think of anything else, so I started with the story of Abhimanyu. I asked him, “Do you know Abhimanyu from the Mahabharata”?

He said, “I know about the Mahabharata but not Abhimanyu. Can you please tell me about him?”

So then I started…

Abhimanyu is the son of Arjuna and Subhadra, sister of Lord Krishna. When Subhadra was pregnant with Abhimanyu, Arjuna was explaining the battle formation of Chakravyuha or the maze to his wife Subhadra. Subhadra was listening intently however in the process, without realizing, she fell asleep. So she was only able to hear the part where Arjuna talked about entering the maze or Chakravyuha but slept over the part where Arjuna was explaining how to get out of the Chakravyuha.

During the battle of Mahabharata which was fought several years later, there came a time when Arjuna had to step away and Abhimanyu tasked himself with the responsibility of protecting Yudhishtra and other Pandavas from the Kauravas. On that particular day, the Kaurava army decided to use the maze/Chakravyuha formation to trap the Pandavas in the absence of Arjuna. Abhimanyu, the young and brave warrior decided to enter the maze and fought valiantly against the Kaurava elders. He single-handedly defeated many of them in a man to man combat. Now the Kaurava elders ganged up against him together and slowly he lost all his weapons. Nevertheless, he fought hard and pulled out the wheel of his chariot and used it as a weapon to fight. He fought long and hard but ultimately fell to the trickery of the Kauravas and was killed in the maze. If only Abhimanyu knew how to break or crack the Chakravyuha, he would have emerged alive and victorious. How Subhadra would have wished that she stayed awake during her conversation with Arjuna about the Chakravyuha and see her son live the day!.

This narrative achieved its purpose, my son finally fell asleep. But that left me awake, as I began to ponder on the story myself.

Isn’t every soul an Abhimanyu by itself? The Higher Nature, Arjuna knows about the maze of life or so called Chakravyuha, how to get in and out of it. Remember Arjuna has the guidance of a wise Guru, Lord Krishna. However, it is Abhimanyu, a part of the Higher Soul incarnated in Subhadra’s womb, symbolically the body, that has partial memory or consciousness. Abhimanyu knows how to come into this world or enter into the maze. Abhimanyu is familiar with circuiting the maze yet gets trapped in the maze over and over again and loses his life to the maze. Abhimanyu loses his consciousness and perishes in the Chakravyuha. This is like us going through life over and over again and yet in many instances repeating the same mistake. We get into the situation but many a times succumb to the situation. This is especially true with the difficult lessons of our life.

The maze of life or Chakravyuha is constructed in order for the soul to emerge victorious. The maze exists and is meant to be broken. Yet that can only be done by the soul itself. The guidance in the form of wisdom teachings from the Gurus exist but there is no handholding. Following the law of gravity into incarnation is easy but awakening oneself out of the pull of gravity of the material world around us requires effort. If we fail, we enter the maze again and again until we learn to deconstruct the maze and emerge alive.

The wheel that Abhimanyu uses to fight may be likened to the wheel of the Zodiac. The soul born under a particular Zodiac sign, has to fight or battle situations in life using the qualities under the sign that it is born. Every sign has its strength and attendant weakness. The soul has to use this to the best of its abilities and transform the weakness into a strength as it goes through the maze. As the soul matures, it is able to use the different qualities or the entire wheel to its purpose even though predominantly it is born under one sign. The different constellations of the Zodiac present trials to the gladiator soul and cook it in their light. The cooked and ripened soul then radiates fragrance in the form of love, compassion, wisdom, oneness and higher qualities.

It will be easy for us the first time we receive the ball of yarn from Ariadne (love) and then go through the mazes of the labyrinth (life) to kill the monster. But how many there are who plunge into life (the labyrinth) without taking that precaution? – Soren Kierkegaard

As we go through the maze over and over again, the Abhimanyu in us is reminded of its learnings from past failures and learns to contact Arjuna, the Higher Nature. Arjuna though away from the battlefield holds contact with Abhimanyu through the fine thread of yarn or sutra-atma. Through guidance and wisdom from experience, Abhimanyu is able to solve the maze of life and earn immortality. Till then he fights, to live another day!

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