Jyotisar: The Place Where Krishna Preached Bhagavad Gita

      Jyotisar is five kilometers from Kurukshetra, on Pehowa road. This sacred site, along with Brahma Sarovar, is the most popular tourist place in Kurukshetra. Jyotisar was at this very spot that Lord Krishna preached the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna, the sacred text of the Hindus. Jyoti means 'light' and 'sar' means 'tank' so Jyotisar means the tank of enlightenment. This refers to the enlightenment that Arjuna received in the form of the Bhagavad Gita. This is also the sacred place where Lord Krishna showed Arjuna His Viraat Roop (Supreme Form) as the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer.

      While travelling on the Kurukshetra-Pehowa highway, Jyotisar is on the right, about 500 metres off the main road. Since it is one of the most famous tourist places in Kurukshetra it was no surprise to see lots of tourists here. In the narrow lane that led to the entrance, there were shops on either side of the road, selling books and pictures related to Kurukshetra, and Jyotisar, in particular. A beautiful marble courtyard greeted me at the entrance. I found verses of the Bhagavad Gita inscribed on the walls. Beyond this courtyard, was an old banyan tree to the right. There are steps that lead to a small shrine which has an old Shiva Linga. I noticed that the shrine was in ruins. The priest informed me that this shrine was partially destroyed by the tyrant Moghul king, Mohammed Ghazni. Next to this was a modern Shiva Temple. To its left was an idol of Hanuman and to its right was the Kali Mata Temple.

      As I proceeded, I came across an open courtyard that had two small temples on the left, namely, Gita Mandir, and Saraswati Mandir. Gita Mandir had a blue idol of Krishna. On the right side of the courtyard, there was a shrine which housed eight sets of idols. These were Dhritarashtra and Sanjaya; Dronacharaya and Duryodhana; Surya Bhagwan, Arjuna, and Krishna; Krishna showing His Virata Swaroopa to Arjuna; Narada and Krishna talking to Bhishma who is lying on a bed of arrows; Krishna preaching the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna; and Shiva, as Nataraja, in His dancing posture.

      As I walked further, I came to a flight of steps that led me to the most sacred spot of Jyotisar. On the left were shrines of Vishnu, Durga, and Hanuman and on the right were those of Ganesha and Vyasa. It is believed that all the idols of these shrines were found in Jyotisar lake. The priest informed me that these idols had been hidden by the priests during the times of Mohammed Ghazni to prevent desecration. Ahead was an ancient banyan tree. People believe that this was the same banyan tree, under which Krishna preached the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna at the start of the war at Kurukshetra. A board hung on this tree proclaims Immortal Banyan Tree Witness to the Celestial Song Bhagavad Gita. White marble had been laid on the ground around the banyan tree, which made the place look very neat and clean. In front of this tree was a marble mantapa. A picture of Krishna in His Viraat Swaroop (Cosmic Form) was placed at the centre. To the left was a small white marble chariot. Marble idols of Krishna and Arjuna had been kept on the chariot. On the right were marble footprints of Lord Krishna.

      I stood transfixed, my mind visualizing the events that happened before the Mahabharata war started which led to the preaching of the Bhagavad Gita. Slowly, I shifted my gaze to my left. I saw another white marble chariot with idols of Krishna and Arjuna. Those were identical to those inside the mantapa but were probably 20 times bigger in size. In order to prevent miscreants from causing damage to the chariot and the idols, they are kept inside a glass enclosure. The enclosure was aptly labelled as Gitopadesha' since it depicted Krishna preaching the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. There was also a huge picture of Lord Krishna showing His Viraat Swaroop to Arjuna.

      In front of the banyan tree I saw the Jyotisar lake. This lake was quite clean and well-maintained. It was about 1000 feet by 500 feet in size. On the other side of the lake I saw an amphitheater. There was a beautiful garden which connected the area near the banyan tree with the amphitheater. The amphitheatre hosted a Light and Sound Show which is held every evening at 6.45 p.m. The show depicted the Kurukshetra war and related stories. Since my visit to Jyotisar was in the morning, I came once again in the evening to witness it. The show is conducted by the Haryana Tourism Department and is quite reasonably priced at Rs. 15.

      The show starts only after dark, so the timings vary, depending on the season. On that day, the show started promptly at 6.45 p.m. For the next 60 minutes, we saw lights flashed from different locations of Jyotisar, accompanied by the narration of different incidents from Mahabharata. The narration was in Hindi, interweaved with shlokas in Sanskrit. As the Sanskrit verses boomed through the loudspeakers and filled the cold winter air, I was transported to a different era. I was in the midst of the Pandavas and the Kauravas on a huge battlefield.

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