More than 5000 years ago, in north-central India, two people sat in a chariot in the midpoint of a great battlefield. One of them, the yogi Arjuna, one of the greatest warrior of his time, was confused & feeling dejected, knowing that to win the battle he has to kill his own relatives & elders. There were several questions in his mind. He knew that it would be not be long before the conflict would begin. So he asked Krishna, the Master of Yoga, what should be his attitude and perspective in such a scenario. And above all: What should he do?
There was no time to spare in empty words. In a brief discourse, later turned into seven hundred Sanskrit verses by the sage Vyasa, Krishna outlined to Arjuna the way to live an entire life so as to gain perfect self-knowledge and self-mastery.
The battle was ferocious and–as always with war–everyone lost. But when Vyasa wrote his epic poem, the Mahabharata, he put Krishna’s inspired words into it as a precious jewel. Instantly they were extracted, named The Song of God (Bhagavad Gita), and circulated throughout the subcontinent.
The Bhagavad Gita today
That was 5000 years ago, today Gita is a way of life for large population of this world. It is like the official book of ‘C0de of Conduct’ for the people of Indian Sub-continent – some people refer to it as the Bible for Hindus but that may not be totally correct, as Gita only talks about the duties and responsibilities of human being in a social context and not in the strictly religious context.
Gita is found in every household in India, specially among the Hindu, ( Out of the total 1.2 billion people residing in India more than 75% follow Hindu religion) and in other parts of the globe. It has been translated into every major language of the world. Literally billions of copies have been handwritten and printed. Organization like ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness) are spreading the good words by printed millions of copies for distribution every year.
What is the appeal of the Gita?
First of all, it is totally practical, free of any vague or abstract philosophy. In every nook & corner of this country one may come across yogis who have been enriched with the knowledge of Gita, they do not have to spoke or write about it; they will just show the light by pointing out the relevant portion of the book. The inquirer would have a perfect and complete solution to the questions, confusions, in the mind and the tricky problems of life.
There is nothing a human being faces in day-to-day, practical household life, internal or external, that the Gita has not made clear and enabled us to deal with or understand. Yet is it not dogmatic. At the very end Krishna says to Arjuna: “Now I have taught you that wisdom which is the secret of secrets. Ponder it carefully. Then act as you think best.” No threats, no promises, no coercion. It is all in the reader’s hands. Even better: the Bhagavad Gita tells us that we can attain a Knowing beyond even what it tells us. And it shows us the way.
The Bhagavad Gita is a lifetime study, and it is extremely beneficial to read at least one chapter a day. Its meanings are virtually infinite, so that new things will be continually found within its seven hundred verses. Equally important is the Gita’s ability to continually point us in the right direction spiritually. Further, it conveys to us the necessary perspective for success in spiritual life. Although it presents the clearest philosophical principles, even more it provides us with the practical means for cultivation of higher consciousness.
Chapter 1 : Arjuna Vishaad Yoga – The Yoga of Dejection of Arjuna
Chapter 1 introduces the scene, the setting, the circumstances and the characters involved determining the reasons for the Bhagavad Gita. The scene is the sacred plain of Kuruksetra. The setting is a battlefield. The circumstances is war. The main characters are Lord Krishna and Arjuna, witnessed by four million soldiers led by their respective military commanders. After naming the principal warriors on both sides, Arjunas growing dejection is described due to the fear of losing friends and relatives in the course of the impending war and the subsequent sins attached to such actions. Thus this chapter is entitled: Dejection of Arjuna
- Section-1 (Shloka1-11)
- Principal warriors on both sides and their qualities.
- Section-2 (Shloka 12-19)
- Blowing of conchs by warrior on both sides.
- Section-3 (Shloka 20-27)
- Arjuna observes the warriors
- Section-4 (Shloka 28-47)
- Overwhelmed by infatuation, Arjuna expresses faint-hearted-ness and grief.
“dharmakhshetre kurukhshetre samvetaa yu-yutsavah maamakaah paandavaashchaiva kimkurvat sanjaya”
1.1 Dhritrashtra said “Sanjay, gathered on the sacred soil of Kuru-khshetra, eager to fight, what did my sons and the sons of Pandu do ?”
1.2 Sanjay uvaach
“drishtavaa tu paandavaaneekam vyoodham duryodhanastadaa aachaaryamupasangamya raajaa vachanamabraveet”
1.2 Sanjay said “At that time, seeing the army of Pandavas drawn up for battle; Approaching Dronacharya, King Duryodhana spoke these words:”
1.3 pashyaitaam panduputraanaam aachaarya mahateem chamoom vyoodhaam drupadputren tavashishyena dheemataa
1.3 Behold, master, the mighty army of the sons of Pandu arrayed for battle by your talented pupil, Dhrishtya-dhuman, son of Drupada.
1.4 atra shoora maheshvaasaa bheemaarjuna-sama yudhi
1.4 There are in this army heroes wielding mighty bows
1.5 yuyudhaano viraatashcha drupdashcha mahaa-rathaah
1.5 and equal in military prowess to Bhima and Arjuna,
1.6 dhrishtaketush-chakitaanah kashi-rajashcha veerya-vaan purujit-kunti-bhojashcha shaibiyashcha narpungavah
yudhamanyuhshcha vikraanta uttamaujaashcha veerya-vaan saubhadro draupadeyashcha sarva aiva mahaa-rathaa
1.6 Satyaki and Virata and the Maharathi (warrior chief ) Drupada; Dhrisht-ketu,Cekitana and the valiant King of Kanshi, and Purujit, Kuntibhaja, and Saibya, the best of men, and mighty Yudhamanyu, and valiant Uttamauja, Abhimanyu, the son of Subhadra and the five sons of Draupadi– all of them Maharathis ( warrior chiefs).
1.7 asmaakam tu vishishtaa ye tannibodha dvijottama
nayakaa mam sainasya sangyaartham taan-briveemi te
1.7 O best of Brahmanas, know them also who are the principal warriors on our side,–the generals of my army. For your information, I mention them below:-
1.8 bhavaan-bheeshamashcha karanashcha kripashcha samitinjayah
ashvathaamaa vikaranashcha soumdattis-tathaaiv cha
1.8 ” Yourself and Bhishma and Karna and Kripa, who are ever victorious in battle; and even so Ashvat-thama, Vikarna and Bhurisrava ( the son of Somadutta) ;”
1.9 anye cha behvah shooraa madarthe tyakta-jeevitaah
naanaa-shastra-praharnah sarve yudh-vishaardaah
1.9 ” And there are many heroes, equipped with various weapons and missiles, who have staked their lives for me, all skilled in war fare.”
1.10 aparyaaptam tadasmaakam balam bheeshmaabhi-rakshitam
prayaapatam tvidme-teshaam balam bheemaabhi-rakshitam
1.10 “This army of ours, fully protected by Bhishma is unconquerable; while that army of theirs, guarded in every way by Bhima, is easy to conquer.”
1.11 ayaneshu ch sarveshu yathaa-bhaagama-avisthitah
bheeshamamev-aabhirakshantu bhavantah sarva ev-hi
1.11 “Therefore, stationed in your respective positions on all fronts, you all, do guard, Bhishma in particular on all sides.”
1.12 tasya sanjanyan-harsham kuru-vridhah pitaamahah singhnaadam-vinadyochaih shankham-dadmau praataapvaan
1.12 The grand old man of Kaurava race, their glorious grand uncle Bhishma, cheering up Duryodhana, roared terribly like a lion and blew his conch.
1.13 tatah shankhaashcha bheharshcha panvaanakagomukhaah sahasaiv-aabhyahanyantah sa shabdastumulo-abhavata
1.13 Then conchs, kettledrums, tabors, drums and trumpets suddenly blared forth and the noise was tumultuous.
1.14 tatah shwetair-hayair-yukte mahti syandane sthitau maadhvah paandavashchaiv divyau shankhau prad-dhamatuh
1.14 Then seated in glorious chariot drawn by white horses, Shree Krishna as well as Arjuna blew their celestial conchs.
1.15 Shree Krishna blew His conch named Panchjanya; Arjuna, his own called Devdutta; while Bhima of terrible deeds blew his mighty conch Paundra.
1.15 paanchjanyam hrishikesho devdattam dhananjayah paundram-dhadhmau mahaashankham bheemkaramaa vrikodarah
1.16 anantvijyam raajaa kuntiputro udhishtrah nakula sahdevashcha sughoshmanipushpkau
1.16 King Yudhishtra, son of Kunti, blew his conch Anantvijaya, while Nakul and Sahadeva blew theirs, known as Sughosha and Manipushpaka respectively.
1.17 kashyashcha parmeshvasah shikhandee cha mahaarathaa dhrishta-dhuyumano viraatashcha saatyakishcha-aaparaajitah
1.17 And the excellent archer, the King of Kashi, and Sikhandi the Maharathi, Dhrishtya-dhumana and Virata,
1.18 drupado draupade-yaashcha sarvashah prithveepate saubhadrashcha mahaabaahuh shankhaand-dhammuh prithak-prithak
1.18 and the invincible Satyaki, Dhrupada as well as the five sons of Draupadi, and the mighty-armed Abhimanyu, son of Subhadra, all of them, O lord of earth, severally blew their respective coonchs from all sides.
1.19 sa ghosho dhaartaraashtranaam hridyani vyadaaryat nabhashcha prithweem chaiv tumulo vyanunaadyan
1.19 And the terrible sound, echoing through heaven and earth, rent the hearts of Dhritrashtra’s sons.
1.20 atha vyavasthitaan-drishtaa dhartrashtraan-kapidhwajah pravrite shastra-sampate dhanurudhyamaya paandavah
1.20 Now O lord of the earth, seeing your sons arrayed against him and when missiles were ready to be hurled,Arjuna,son of Pandu
1.21 hrishikesham tadaaa vakyam-idamaah maheepate Arjun uvaach “senayoru-bhayor-madhye ratham staapya me-achyut”
1.21 took up his bow and then addressed the following words to Shree Krisna,
” Krisna, place my chariot between the two armies.”
1.22 yaavadetaan-nireekhshite-aham yodhukamaan-avisthitaan kaimariya sah yodhavyam-asmin-ransmudyame
1.22 “And keep it there till I have carefully observed these warriors drawn up for battle, and have seen with whom I have to engage in this fight”
1.23 yotasyamaanaan-avaekhshe-aham ya aite-atra samagataah dhaartrashtrasya durbhudhe-yudhe priye-chikeershwa
1.23 “I shall scan the well-wishers in this war of evil-minded Duryodhana, whoever have assembled on this side and are ready for the fight”
1.24 Sanjay uvaach “aivamukto hrishikesho gudaakeshen bhaarata senayoru-bhayor-madhye sthapyitva rathottamaa”
1.24 Sanjay said “O King, thus addressed by Arjuna,Shree Krishna placed the magnificent chariot between the two armies”
1.25 bheeshma dron pramukhtah sarveshaam cha maheekhshitaam uvaach paartha pashyaitaan-samvetaan-kurooniti
1.25 in front of Bhishma, Drona and all the kings and said, ‘ Arjuna, behold these Kauravas assembled here’
1.26 tatr-aapashyatisthaan-parathaah pitrnath pitamahaan achaaryaan-matulaan-bhraatrin-putraanpautraan-sakheemastathaa
1.26 Now Arjuna saw stationed there in both the armies his uncles, grand-uncles, and teachers, even great-grand-uncles, maternal uncles
1.27 shvashuraan-suhridashchaiv sen-yoru-bhayorapi taan-sameekhshya sa kaunteyah sarvaan-bandhoon-avisthitaan
1.27 brothers and cousins, sons and nephews, and grand nephews, even so friends, father-in-law and well-wishers as well.
1.28 kripyaa parayaavishto visheedannidam-braveet Arjuna uvaach “dvishvedam swajanam krishnayu-yutsum samupasthitam”
1.28 Seeing all those relations present there, Arjuna was filled with deep compassion, and uttered these words in sadness. Arjuna said “ Krishna, at the site of these kinsmen arrayed for battle”
1.29 seedanti mam gaatrani mukham chaparishushyati vep-thushcha shreere me rom-harshashcha jayete
1.29 my limbs give way, and my mouth is parching; nay, a shiver runs through my body and hair stands upright.
1.30 gaandeevam sanste hastaat-twakchaiv paridahyate na cha shaknomiyavasthaatu bhramteev ch me manah
1.30 The bow, Gandiva, slips from my hand and my skin too burns all over; my mind is whirling, as it were , and I can stand no longer.
1.31 nimittaani cha pashyaami viipritaani keshvaa na cha shreyo-anupashyaami hatva svajan maahave
1.31 And, Keshva, I see such omens of evil, nor do I see any good in killing my kinsmen in battle.
1.32 na kankhshye vijayam krishna na cha raajyam sukhaani cha kim no raajyen govind kimbhogair-jeevtena vaa
1.32 Krishna, I do not covet victory; nor kingdom, nor pleasures. Govinda, of what use will kingdom, or luxuries, or even life be to us.
1.33 yashaamarthe kaankhshitam no raajyam bhogaah sukhaani cha ta ime-avsthitaa yudhe praanaas-tyaktva dhanaani cha
1.33 Those very persons for whose sake we covet the throne, luxuries and pleasures,-
1.34 achaaryaah pitrah putraasthaiv cha pitaamahaa maatulaah shwashuraah pautraah shyaalah sambhandinstathaa
1.34 teachers, uncles, sons and nephews and even so grand-uncles and great-grand-uncles, maternal uncles, father-in-law and other relations,- are here arrayed on the battle-field risking their life and wealth.
1.35 aitaan-na hantim ichchaami ghnatno-api madhusudana api trailokya-raajyasya hetoh kim na maheekrite
1.35 O slayer of Madhu, I do not want to kill them, though they could slay me, even for the throne of three worlds; how much the less for earthly lordship !
1.36 nihatya dhritrashtraan-nahkaa preetihsuaj-jan-janaardana paapmeva aashrayed-asmaan-hatvaitaan-aatataayin
1.36 Krishna, how can we hope to be happy slaying the sons of Dhritrashtra; by killing these desperadoes sin will surely take hold of us.
1.37 tasmaannaar vyam hantu dhartraashtraan svabhaandhvaan swajanam hi katham hatvaa sukhinah syaam maadhava
1.37 Therefore, Krishna, it does not behove us to kill our relations, the sons of Dhritrashtra. For how can we be happy after killing our own kinsmen.
1.38 yadyapyete na pashyanti lobho-pahat-chetasaa kul-khshya-kritam dosham mitra-drohe cha paatkam
1.38 Even if these people, with minds blinded by greed, perceive no evil in destroying their own race and no sin in treason to friends,
1.39 katham na gyeyam-asmaabhih paapaad-asmaannivartitum kul-khshya-kritam dosham prapashyyadbhir-janaardana
1.39 why should not we, O Krishna, who see clearly the sin accruing from the destruction of one’s own family, think of turning away from this crime ?
1.40 kul-khshyaye pranashyanti kuldharmah sanaatanaah dharme nashte kulam kritsanam-dharmo-abhibhavatyut
1.40 Age-long family traditions disappear with the destruction of family; and virtue having been lost, vice takes hold of entire race.
1.41 adharmaabhibhavaat-krishna pradushyanti kulistriyah streeshu dushtaasu vaarneya jaayate varnasankarah
1.41 With the preponderance of the vice, Krishna, the women of the family become corrupt; and with the corruption of women, O descendants of Varnish, there ensues an intermixture of castes.
1.42 sankro narkaayaiva kulghnanaam kulasya cha patanti pitro hioshaam lupta-pindodaka-kriyaah
1.42 And mixture of blood damns the destroyers of the race as well as the race itself. Deprived of the offerings of rice and water ( Shad, Tarpon, etc. )the manes of their race also falls.
1.43 doshairetaih kulghanaanaam varnasankar-kaarkaih utsaadyente jaatidharmaah kuldharmaashch shashvataah
1.43 Through these evils bringing about an intermixture of castes, the age-long caste-traditions and family customs of killers of kinsmen get extinct.
1.44 utsann-kuldharmanaam manushyaanaam janaardana narke aniyatam vaaso bhavteety-anushushruma
1.44 Krishna, we hear that men who have lost their family traditions dwell in hell for an indefinite period of time.
1.45 aho bat mahatpaapam kurtum vyavasitaa vyam yad-rajya-sukh-bhogen hantum svajanam-udyataaa
1.45 Oh what a pity ! Though possessed of intelligence we have set our mind on the commission of a great sin that due to lust for throne and enjoyment, we are intent in killing our own kinsmen.
1.46 yadi maam-pratikaaram-shastram shastra-paanayah dhaartaraashtra rane hanyus-tanme khshemataram bhavet
1.46 It would be better for me, if the sons of Drifters armed with weapons, killed me in battle while I was unarmed and un-resisting.
1.47 Sanjay uvaach “aivam-uktvaarjunah sankhaye rathopasta upaavishat visrijya sasharam chaapam shok-sanvignmaanasah”
1.47 Sanjay said “Arjuna, whose mind was agitated by grief on the battle-field, having spoken thus, and having thrown aside his bow and arrows, sank into hinder part of his chariot.”
om tat-sat-iti shree-mad-bhagwat-geetasupnishatsu
naam prathamo adhyayh ||1||
Thus in the Upanishad sung by the Lord, the Science of Brahma, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Shrew Krishna and Aruba, ends the sixth chapter entitled ” The Yoga of Dejection of Arjuna.”