The Arcanum of the Chariot


Arjuna next instructs Krishna (his Divine Charioteer) to drive their chariot directly between the two opposing armies. The very symbol of the chariot plays a dominant role in the Gita. It is an Ancient Arcanum and holds a particularly high significance in the mystical action that is about to unfold. Let’s take time now to significantly breakdown all of its mystical import:

Firstly, the chariot itself represents the body. The body (rupakaya) is the vehicle that houses both natural and divine faculties. Its passenger is Arjuna, representative of the wandering nomad-mind looking for direction; in fact the emblem on his breast plate is that of a monkey—symbolic of the meandering monkey mind. The charioteer is non-other than Lord Krishna himself—the Self-Supreme, the Unborn Divine Atman, the governing Divine Intellect (Buddhi). The horses are the raging senses, which if left unchecked, will always run wildly out of control. The horses reins represent the manas, that gives mental-coordination to the otherwise uncontrolled sensate faculties. Yet it is vitally important that Transcendent Control over the manas, via the Divine Charioteer, remains in vogue lest the unruly senses gain the upper-hand over the manas that are oftentimes blinded to any dangers ahead; thus intelligent guidance is always required. In this fashion the chariot’s wheels will always roll along through Right-Effort towards the ultimate destination, that of Self-Realization. We will soon learn just how much in need of Divine Guidance Arjuna is, and it is always the Divine Charioteer that is the mystic-force extending that guidance. The insightful book, Meditations on the Tarot, posits the following:

 …the charioteer of the Arcanum “The Chariot” is the victor over trials, i.e. the temptations, and if he is master, then it is thanks to himself. He is alone, standing in his chariot; no one is present to applaud him or to pay homage to him; he has no weapons—the sceptre that he holds not being a weapon. If he is master, his mastership was acquired in solitude and he owes it to the trials alone, and not to anyone or anything external to himself. (MOTT, 152) 


Arjuna needs to confront and take-on the “trials” that are forthcoming in his life. He cannot just sit around like a toad on a Lotus-Flower hopefully wishing that events will just rot-away of their own accord. No, he will soon realize that ultimately he will need to take Responsible-Action, and the Divine Charioteer in his life will always be readily at hand to apply the necessary gnosis to enlighten him to carry on forward with yogic one-pointed attentiveness, as is his destiny.

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