We noticed in past about the ' meaningless' stories in the Mahabharata. In the epic we are told that the king Shantanu falls in love with the Ganga , the river/ lady. He wants to marry her , but she has a condition , unless the king agrees to it , no marriage . The condition is that the king Shantanu will never question he r the Ganga about her actions. The love had blinded the king and he agrees to the condition and they are married . Soon after the marriage the Ganga gives birth to a baby, which she drowns in the river Ganga. Shantanu can not ask any questions as he had agreed to her condition of not questioning her actions. This is continued for next 6 boyes( totle7 )and Shantanu is helpless. When the 8th child is born the Ganga starts walking towards the Ganga river , Shantanu questions her actions. She takes the boy with her and disappears in the river Ganga. This one is named Bhishma and at the request of the king, is returned to the king Shantanu.
Now the king Shantanu falls in love with daughter of a fisherman called Matsyagandha or Satyawati. Her body odour was that of 'fish' and was foul , so she was called Mastsyagandha, She had a child through sage Parashar, who in turn blesses her and now she smells like fragrance of lotus. The son that was born was none other than author of the Mahabharata, sage Vyas. Satywati would not marry king Shantanu as she feels that 'her' son would not have any chance of becoming king after Shantanu dies. So Shantanu decides to let go the idea of marriage . But then Bhishma comes to know the problem that his father is facing and decides to 'never marry'. So the the king Shantanu gives him a boon , that he can decide when he wants to die.
So now Shantanu and satyawati are married and have 2 boyes, named Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. Chitrangada dies at very early age and Vichitravirya can not produce any offspring . So then Bhishma snatches 2 girls (princes) and marries them to the vichitravirya. The kingdom is in need of new king and since Vichitravirya is impotent, sage Vyasa decides to 'help' . When he enters the bedroom ( my way of describing ) one closes the eyes with fear, (Ambika) , so the child born is blind , the other one turns 'white with the fear, (Ambalika) , so the child born is 'white or anemic . They also had third one , (who was put in by Ambika )a maid , she gives birth to normal child . So the blind one is Dritharashtra, the pale one is Pandu and the son of the maid was Vidur. . the Drtharashtra is married to Gandhari and has 100 sons and his second wife is Vaishya and has one son -Yuyutsu. The story on the other side is bit more complicated and interesting . Lord Krishna's father gives away a daughter to a king (Kuntibhoja ) and her name is Kunti. She was serving a sage named Durwas He was pleased with her service, and gives her 6 mantras . By chanting these mantras she can invoke 6 different 'gods' and can have a child through them . Kunti decides to 'try ' out and through the 'sun ' she gives birth to a son , named Karna. As she was not married she decides to give it up and pots him in a box and floats him in a river, which is picked up by a charioteer . After marriage to Pandu, she has to use remaining mantras as Pandu is 'cursed that he will die if he has intercourse.So by invoking 3 different 'gods' (Yama, Wind and Indra, the king of 'gods' ) she has 3 boyes, named Yudhisthir, Bhima and the Arjuna, the hero of the Bhagawat Geeta. Remaining 2 she gives to the other wife and she has 2 sons ( from the Doctors of the gods called Ashwinikumars . )They are called Nakul and Sahadewa.
The Arjuna is victorious and 'wins ' Draupadi ' and tells the good news to his mother , she tells him to 'divide ' among all the brothers . So now the Draupadi becomes the 'wife ' of all 5 Pandawas- the sons of Pandu .
The Pandawas and the 100 sons of Drutarastra, called , Kaurawas are taught by the teacher named Dronacharya,. He is called Dronacharya as he was conceived in a'Drona' a bowl made of dry leaves .
If one is not amused and confused by this story , there are more stories and complications in the latter part of the story . But what I would like to do is to try to start with this information and try to understand . I would like to take first 10 or 11 shlokas of the Geeta and try to explain the meaning of it . I have not seen much commentary on these shlokas by any one except The Yogananda and what I understand is his explanation and not my own .
Just to start , I want to tell what each of these characters represent and then do the Geeta shlokas..
The king Shantanu is the Parabrahma-the Father , the creator.
The Ganga represents the Universal consciousness--The Holy Ghost
The Bhishma represents universal Ego -AHANKAR.
The Satyawati represents primordial nature as the matter.
The sage Vyas is the "consciousness cloaked in relativity".
The Chitrangada is the Mahat Tatwa , the 24 principles that go in to formation of the universe. (24 elders sitting on the throne in the 'Revalation')
The Vichitravirya is Divine Ego.
The ' White ' Pandu is 'clear' intellect, Bhudhdhi.
The 'blind ' Dritarashtra is blind mind .
The Ambika is 'perception without clear discrimination or discernment.'
The Ambalika is 'perception with discrimination '.
The 100 Kaurawas are 100 'defects' of 5 sense organs and 5 organs of actions .
(10 of each one , )
The Pandawas are the results of union between the 'dispassion ' and the 5 great elements--the space (akash ) , wind ( vayu ) , energy ( teja ), the water (aap ) and the earth (pruthwi). The Madri , the 2nd wife of Pandu is attachment to dispassion .
The Gandhari is the power of Desire, so when it unites with the 'blind ' mind we have various sense organ and organs of action tendencies and the defects.
The Dronacharya is 'stored up impressions '. (from our actions this and previous lives. So he 'teaches ' , or make us do both good and bad things.
The 8 'children of the Ganga -the consciousness- Maha Prakruti- also called d Holy Ghost are 6 governing intelligences ( of 3 micro and 3 macro universes---causal , astral and physical )one spirit pervading entire universe. The reflected spirit called Abhas chaitanya when unites with the matter it creates feeling of separate existence, so called the Ahankar or Ego. Since we do not see the 6 governing intelligences or the spirit they are 'drowned ' in the 'universal consciousness.' (Drowned by the Ganga )
The Draupadi is the Kundalini- the energy or may be the Brahmanadi , which is coiled up in the lower part of the spine. The 5 Pandawas represent 5 Great elements in the universe, but in the human body they represent 5 chakras or 5 centers. So when one controls each of these elements or chakras, the Draupadi 'meets ' and ascends , so she is 'married' to 5 Pandawas.
This is quite complicated , but when one takes in to account the bizzar story , this will help .
Once again this is what I got by reading Yogananda and like it .