Bhagavadgita

Chapter 1 !

|| om tat sat ||
धृतराष्ट्र उवाच:
धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः ।
मामकाः पांडवश्चैव किमकुर्वतु संजय ॥1||
'Oh Sanjaya! What did Panadavas and my children do when they assembled together on the great plains of Kurukshetra eager for battle?'

Salutations to Sri Krishna
Bhagavd Gita
Chapter 1
Arjuna's sorrow

Bhagavad-Gita begins with the question from Kaurava's father Dhritarashtra. The scene is set with the armies of Pandavas and Kauravas facing each other ready for the battle. Dhritarashta being blind Sanjaya a confidant of Dhritarashtra was on hand with Dhritarashtra to relay to him the happenings on the battle field. When Sanjaya returns from the battlefield on the ninth day to announce the fall of Bhishma, the grandsire, revered by all King Dhritarashtra was surprised. Unable to comprehend the events unfolding Dhritarashtra asks Sanjaya to tell him what all happened on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Then Sanjaya starts narrating the events starting from the moment the armies faced each other.

Thus, the Bhagavad-Gita starts with the question from the old blind king Dhritarashtra.

"धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः
मामकाः पांडवश्चैव किमकुर्वतु संजया ।"

The question was directed to Sanjaya. Dhritarashtra asks Sanjaya " Oh Sanjaya ! What happened on the righteous field of Kurukshetra when my people and Pandavas met"

After this question, we hear the complete discourse between Krishna and Arjuna through the words of Sanjaya - "Sanjaya uvaacha".

In response to Dhritarashtra's question Sanjaya starts relating the events on the battle field which is filled with warriors from both sides. There may be many a dialog on the battle front. Dhritarashtra wants to hear about his people, his " mamakaah"! So Sanjaya starts by telling Dhritarashtra about what his son Duryodhana was doing.

"दृष्ट्वातु पांडवानीकं व्यूढं दुर्योधनस्तदा
आचार्य मुपसंगम्य राजा वचनमब्रवीत् "

Seeing the Pandava armies arrayed in front, Duryodhana approaches his teacher Drona and tells him about all the warriors on both sides. After Duryodhana details the warriors on both sides, he then exhorts all of Kaurava warriors to support and protect Bhishma the chief of the Kaurava army. To encourage Duryodhana as well as to signal the start of the battle the grandsire Bhishma blows his conch. He was followed by all the main warriors on both sides blowing their conch. That included Krishna and Arjuna too.

"पांचजन्यं हृषीकेशः देवदत्तं धनंजय"

With Krishna blowing his Panchajanya and Arjuna also following him blowing his conch Devadatta both sides are all set. That should be the start of the battle.

But then Arjuna has second thoughts. He tells his charioteer Krishna the following:

"सेनयोः उभयोः मध्ये रथं स्थापय मे अच्युता ।"

"Oh Achyuta ! Please keep the chariot in between the two sides", so that he can see those who have come for this battle. When Arjuna makes this request, Krishna brings the chariot to that point where he could see his grandfather Bhishma, his teacher Drona arrayed on the other side of the battle.

Seeing his teachers, grandfather, uncles, nephews, sons and friends etc. Arjuna loses heart at the thought of having to kill them. He tells Krishna," O Krishna! Seeing all the relations gathered here I am at a loss. My limbs are shaking. My throat is parched. My whole body is shivering with anticipation of events. Gandiva my bow is slipping from my hands. My mind is in a swirl!".

Having detailed his state Arjuna adds the following!

"नकांक्षे विजयं कृष्ण
न च राज्यं सुखानि च"

" O Krishna! I do not desire victory or the kingdom. What is the use of that kingdom if we have to kill our own people?" He goes on to say that it is better that he 'unarmed is killed by the armed Kauravas' than his having to demolish the Kauravas to enjoy the kingdom. Having said that Arjuna tells Krishna that he wants to quit the battle.

The picture of that moment is best captured by Sanjaya.

"विसृज्य सशरं चापं
शोकसंविग्नमानसः ।"

Sanjaya says Arjuna threw down his arms and with his mind drenched in sorrow sat down on the chariot.

Thus, ends chapter one Bhagavad-Gita appropriately named as " Arjuna Vishada yoga" or Arjuna's sorrow.

It is part of life's pattern that everyone continuously encounters some problems however big or small. At that moment of crisis, it is but natural that the individual's confidence is shaken much like Arjuna's. We are better off understanding how Krishna guided Arjuna through such a crisis. Understanding what Krishna taught Arjuna will allow us to face our mental battles too. We too can achieve the victory in the daily battles.

The two key aspects of first chapter are the overwhelming attachment of Dhritarashtra stamped by the word "mamakaah". Dhritarashtra is the father of Kauravas no doubt but he is also the father equivalent for Pandavas. Dhritarashtra "mamakara" makes him truly blind to think of only his sons.

Second is the attachment of Arjuna too for his near and dear.

Respect for elders is very normal among us. But if the elders are not following the right path then they are not to be followed. The parental affection for children sometimes blinds them enough to overlook their misdemeanors. Parental affection when it crosses limits in ignoring misdemeanors is called "Moha" which is blind to correct actions. Dhritarashtra's love for his children is of that nature. The Moha immobilizes the parents own capability to pursue the righteous path, resulting in their inability to show the righteous path to their children. Dhritarashtra could not show the right path to his sons resulting in the war between Pandavas and Kauravas. Even Arjuna is affected by his affection for his near and dear and in that sense when became " Soka saMvginamaanasa" , he too is under the "Moha" which blinds him to his duty. The ability of one to recognize the "Moha" and stay away from it is the pointer to one's commitment to righteous path. He can then correct his children. If the father does not correct his children like Dhritarashtra the fate of such children will be similar to the fate of Kauravas.

We may see one other stream of thought.

That is about the battle between good and evil. Pandavas represent the good in us and Kauravas represent the evil! There is a struggle in every one's mind between that internal evil and good. Several times we may not even be sure which is "good" and which is "evil". When that veil of Moha or ignorance is removed, the evil is seen in its true light and good is recognized. That leads to the triumph. The war of Kurukshetra is nothing but the daily war between good and evil that is fought in every body's mind. The man is blinded, much like Dhritarashtra, by the sweetness of good life which masks the path of evil.

So, the continuous battle is nothing but ability to recognize the " good".

The minute that is done, the triumph is the natural outcome.

||Om tat sat ||
संजय उवाच:
एवमुक्त्वा अर्जुनः संख्ये रथोपस्थ उपाविशत् ।
विसृज्य सशरं चापं शोक संविघ्नमानसः ॥47||
'Having spoken thus, throwing away his bows and arrows in the battle, Arjuna sank into the seat of the chariot with a grief stricken mind'.
||ओम् तत् सत् ||
||Om tat sat ||

 

Om tat sat