māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś caiva
kim akurvata sañjaya
Dhṛtarāṣṭra said: O Sañjaya, what did my sons and the sons of Pāṇḍu do, having assembled at the sacred land of Kurukṣetra, desiring to fight?
First of all, we remember Śrī Guru-pāda-padma, his causeless mercy, and offer all respectful obeisances unto him.
Now we begin anuśīlana of that Śrī Bhagavad-gītā. The purport of anuśīlana is that we endeavor to realize Kṛṣṇa’s message, or that which He wants us to understand through His Bhagavad-gītā.
What is dharma? This is described herein by Śrī Kṛṣṇa. If there is no understanding of what real dharma is, then even if one goes to a dharmic place, he will not necessarily be able to follow dharma as a result. Many people come to religious places or even come in contact with liberated souls, but because of their material tendencies and desire for sense enjoyment, they cannot receive any benefit.
Kṛṣṇa wants to give the highest type of happiness to all, but people do not accept, understand or follow His teachings. They simply want to satisfy their insignificant material desires.
Dharma-ksetre—why is this place called the field of dharma? In the Vedic histories it has been described this way:
Long ago, Kuru Mahārāja established this place, “Dharma Ksetra” as a sacrificial center for the performance of dharma. Ever since then, those who come to this place receive the tendency to follow dharma. This was his intention.
When he began contemplating he thought, “All come and go in this world, receiving no benefit for the soul. They rarely establish any relationship with the Supreme Soul. They come into this world and become attracted to material objects. Due to illusory attachment they become controlled by temporary objects of this world. Thus the living entities cannot consider, ‘Who am I? Who is the Supreme Soul, Paramātmā?’”
For the living entities to attain any spiritual benefit, it is essential for someone qualified to help them. Without getting spiritual help, the living entities only waste their time eating, sleeping, mating and defending. Human beings perform fruitive actions and as a result of their activities they move among the 84 lakh, or 8,400,000 species of life, suffering the results of their karma.
Kuru Mahārāja therefore endeavored to establish a place where if anyone came, the desire to perform dharma would enter within him naturally, along with the tendency to serve God.
Kuru Mahārāja wanted there to be a place where knowledge of the soul was taught and could be easily understood. He wanted there to be a place where people would worship the Lord of sacrifice Śrī Hari, and by doing so the Lord Śrī Hari would become pleased and appear before His worshipers. Also, the tendency to follow the soul’s inherent nature as a servant of the Lord would come to them, and the nature of following the general flow in this material world would cease.
After great effort, Kuru Mahārāja experienced a revelation in which Lord Brahmā gave him the order, “By the desire of God, I created this world. Therefore there should be a special place set aside for Hari in this world. All holy places should not be used solely for fruitive action; karma. A particular place should be reserved and made favorable for Hari, bhakti, and bhajana. You must create a place where all this can be accomplished.”
With this purpose in mind of making a place for the worship Lord Hari, Kuru Mahārāja took up a plow and began to clear all things like thorns and stones from the area, as well as any other kind of impure substances. Thus he was making a place fit for Lord Hari to appear.
While he was engaged in plowing the field, Indra appeared before him and asked, “Why are you plowing here?”
“I’m making a place for sacrifice,” he replied.
Indra then departed, but very soon returned and asked again, “So, what is it you are doing here?”
“I’m making a yajna-bhumi. I will perform a yajña here.” replied Kuru Maharaj.
Indra left and returned again in a few minutes and asked, “What are you doing here?”
“I am making a yajna-bhumi.”
Indra came 100 times and asked the same question, but Kuru Mahārāja was not disturbed. He did not show any anger. This is called austerity. If any person is going forth to perform good work, then he must have fortitude. This type of fortitude is essential; this is austerity. If one has this fortitude, his austerity will be successful.
Therefore Indra asked Kuru Mahārāja 100 times again and again the same question. Yet Kuru Mahārāja was never upset, nor did he show any anger. Each time he gave a peaceful and sweet answer. Indra then became satisfied and said, “You have controlled your senses fully. Certainly the Lord will be pleased with you as well as your sacrifice.”
God does not appear before those who have not mastered their own senses. When Kuru Mahārāja completed clearing the land he arranged to perform a large yajña, and in that performance Lord Hari appeared. He gave blessings and said, “This field made by Kuru Mahārāja has become “dharma-ksetra”; a place where dharma is performed. If any person comes here to meditate on the self and to serve and meet with Paramātmā, this place will be the supremely helpful to him.”
The Lord was then bathed on that spot by Brahmā, Śiva as well as the other demigods who were present. That place then became known as Brahma kuṇḍa. It has been revealed that five other kuṇḍas are also present there as well as Samantaka-pancaka. Vast amounts of milk, yogurt, butter, sugar, and honey were brought and stored in these five kuṇḍas. With these ingredients the enormous fire sacrifices were conducted.
This yajna-bhumi was manifested in satya-yuga and has remained present throughout tretā-yuga, dvāpara-yuga, and kali-yuga.
Hari-katha inspired by the Guru-varga.
Bhagavad Gita – Verse 1 Purport – Prabhuji