Bhagavad Gita: The Song Of The Lord
The term Bhagavad Gita means the “song of the Lord”. This song was sung by Lord Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. The Bhagavad Gita’s philosophy was spoken to enlighten Arjuna with the knowledge of the absolute truth. The knowledge of the absolute comprises the soul, the body, and the supreme controller.
Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1 depicts the scenario where armies of the two Kuru clans, Pandavas and Kauravas, have come together to fight the battle of Kurukshetra. It showcases the fearfulness of King Dhritarashtra with regards to the Pandavas turning victorious and his sons losing the battle of Kurukshetra.
This apprehension was quite natural to develop. Dhritarashtra knew that the battle was fought not for the kingdom, but for Dharma. Furthermore, he also knew that Pandavas had a greater chance of winning the battle over his sons. This was because Pandavas were extremely virtuous and pious and his sons were not at all spiritually religious.
The other half of the Chapter depicts the challenge faced by Arjuna at the beginning of the battle. He gets overwhelmed by material compassion for his blood relatives and refuses to fight. Eventually, he seeks Lord Krishna’s guidance as his religious knowledge is not helping him to solve the real-life challenge.
Following are the verses from Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1 along with explanation for you to understand what challenge did Arjuna face.
1. Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 1
The Verse 1 in Hindi
Mamakah pandavas caiva
Kim akurvata sanjaya
Verse 1 in English
Dhrtarastra said: O Sanjaya, after assembling in the place of pilgrimage at Kuruksetra, what did my sons and the sons of Pandu do, being desirous to fight?
The dialogues between Dhritarashtra and Sanjaya form the basis of this philosophy. ‘Bhagavad Gita’ as a Philosophy emerged on the battlefield of Kurukshetra which is taken to be the place of pilgrimage since the Vedic age.
As the name suggests, Bhagavad Gita means the song of the Lord and thus, was spoken by the Lord Krishna himself to his friend Arjuna. This philosophy was spoken when Lord Krishna was present on planet Earth to give directions to the mankind.
Importance of the Word Dharma-Ksetra
In the above verse, the word ‘Dharma-Ksetra’ means a place or location where religious rituals are undertaken.
It must be noted that the word ‘Dharma-Ksetra’ is extremely important. This is because apart from its Vedic significance, it also signifies that Lord Krishna was on the side of Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
Lord Krishna was on the side of Arjuna and his brothers who were sons of Pandu because they were morally correct.
On the other hand, King Dhritarashtra, who was the father of Kurus and Uncle to sons of his younger brother Pandu, was extremely uncertain about the chances of victory of his sons in the battle.
Although, he knew that both his sons and sons of Pandu had gathered together on the battlefield of Kurukshetra for a war, he still inquired from his Secretary Sanjaya as to what they were doing.
Sanjaya, being a student of Sage Vyasa, had the blessing of envisioning the battlefield of Kurukshetra even while he was sitting with Dhritarashtra in his room.
Hence, Dhitarashtra asks Sanjaya to tell him about the activities taking place on the battlefield.
Dhritarashtra’s Thought Process
There are many things that one clearly understands from Dhritarashtra’s inquiry from his Secretary Sanjay, which are as follows:
1. Wants To Know The Fate Of His Sons
Dhritarashtra doesn’t want his sons to make any sort of settlement with their cousins and wants to be sure of the fate of his sons on the battlefield.
2. Is Afraid of The Holy Place of Kurukshetra
Dhritarashtra is afraid of the holy place of Kurukshetra impacting the result of the battle. This is because as mentioned above, Kurukshetra has been specified as a holy place in the Vedas. And so he is scared that the outcome of the battle might go in the favor of the sons of Pandu.
This fearfulness on the part of Dhritarashtra is valid because he knew that the sons of Pandu were high on morals and that his own sons were not. And Lord Krishna, being the father of religion, would always be on the side of those people who are righteous; in this case the sons of Pandu.
3. Relationship of Dhritarashtra With Pandavas
The above Verse also reflects the kind of relationship that Dhritarashtra shared with his nephews. Although both the Pandavas (sons of Pandu) and his own sons belonged to the Kuru Dynasty, Dhritarshatra considered only his sons to be the Kurus.
Hence, he separated Pandavas from the family heritage and asked them to build their independent Kingdom which the Pandavas named Indraprastha’.
Swami Prabhupada in his translation of Bhagavad Gita compares the battlefield of Kurukshetra with a paddy field. Accordingly, just as the weeds are uprooted from the paddy field. In the similar way, undesirable persons like Duryodhana would be eliminated from the religious field of Kurukshetra.
This is because the Lord himself is present on the battlefield of Kurukshetra and he would allow only the religious persons like the ones led by Yudhisthira. These are the reasons why Kurukshetra being termed as Dharma-Ksetra is important.
2. The Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 2
Verse 2 in Hindi
Drstva tu pandavanikam
Vyudham duryodhanas tada
Raja vacanam abravit
The Verse 2 in English
Sanjaya said: O King, after looking over the army gathered by the sons of Pandu, King Duryodhana went to his teacher and began to speak the following words:
Dhritarashtra was not only blind since birth but also lacked an eye for spiritual understanding. He was fully aware that much like him, his sons too lacked the faculty of spiritual understanding. Thus, he was also sure that his sons would not be able to reach at any sort of a settlement with the sons of Pandu who were high on morals by birth.
Sanjaya, the Secretary of Dhritarashtra, fully understood the purpose behind Dhritarashtra’s concern over the situation on the battlefield. Dhitarashtra was fearful of the holy place of Kurukshetra acting in favor of the Pandavas.
Thus, in order to uplift Dhritarashtra’s low spirit, Sanjaya gave him confidence that his sons were not willing to make any sort of a settlement with their cousins. That is to say, they were not ready to make any compromise out of fear that Kurukshetra is a holy place and it could favor sons of Pandu.
Thus, Sanajaya tells Dhritarashtra that his son Duryodhana has approached Dronacharya, the commander-in-chief of their military, after seeing the military arrangement of the Pandavas.
This is because Duryodhana is left astonished and is fearful to see troops being so perfectly arranged by the sons of Pandu.
He finds the situation to be extremely severe and he being a great Diplomat, considers necessary to approach Dronacharya. So, Duryodhana approaches Dronacharya and informs him about the gravity of the situation.
3. Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 3
The Verse 3 in Hindi
Acarya mahatim camum
Tava sisyena dhimata
Verse 3 in English
O my teacher, behold the great army of the sons of Pandu, so expertly arranged by your intelligent disciple, the son of Drupada.
Since Duryodhana himself is a distinguished Diplomat, he touches upon the shortcomings of Dronacharya, who is the Brahman Commander-In-Chief of their army. To understand what Duryodhana is pointing at, it is important to know some events from the life of Dronacharya.
Drona and Drupad in Childhood
Dronacharya spent his childhood in poverty. However, he learnt about religion and military art with the then Prince of Panchala Dhrupad. Eventually, both Drupad and Dhrona became best of friends. And Dhrupad out of fun assured Dhrona that he will give half his kingdom to him once he sits on the throne of Panchala.
Drona As a Young Brahman
In the course of time, Dronacharya married Kripi who was the sister of Kripacharya – the royal teacher of the princes of Hastinapur. Thereafter, they had a son named Aswatthama. In order to give a good life to his son and wife, Drona wanted to get rid of poverty. For that reason Drona decided to approach King Drupad based on the very promise that Drupad made to him during childhood.
Drona Seeking Drupad’s Help
To his surprise when Drona asked Drupad for help, he refused to recognize Drona and humiliated him by calling him an inferior person. Besides this, Drupad explained that friendship is only possible between persons of equal stature. As kids, since both Drona and Drupad were equals, such a friendship was possible. However, now Drupad was a king and Drona was poverty stricken. Hence, such friendship was not possible under given circumstances.
In fact, Drupad told Drona that if he begged for arms as a brahman rather than claiming his right as a friend, he would satisfy Drona’s demand. After listening to such words, Drona went away silently. However, deep inside his heart, he desired revenge.
Eventually, Drona became the military arts teacher of the Kuru princes. When all the Kuru princes graduated, Drona asked them to bring Drupad bound in chains as an acknowledgement for receiving the training from him.
When Pandavas turn successful in capturing Drupad, Drona takes half of Drupad’s kingdom, therefore becoming his equal and forgives Drupad of his bad deeds.
To this, Drupad turns revengeful and performs a sacrifice as a result of which he is blessed with a son Dhrishtadyumna, who would eventually kill Dronacharya. When it was time for Dhrishtadyumna to attain military education, Drupad approached Dronacharya to become Dhrishtadyumna’s teacher and impart all the necessary military secrets to him.
As a liberal brahman, Dronacharya did not hesitate in becoming Dhrishtadyumna’s instructor despite knowing that he would kill him one day.
Drona and Drupada in the Battlefield
On the battle field of Kurukshetra, Dhrishtadyumna was on the side of the Pandavas and had arranged military phalanx for them having learnt the art from Guru Dronacharya.
Given this, when Duryodhana refers to his intelligent disciple Drupad in the above verse, he wants to point out Dronacharya’s mistakes. Duryodhana intends to inform Drona that he had committed a mistake by imparting military training to Dhrishtadyumna.
But now, Duryodhana warns Drona that he should not commit the same mistake on the battlefield of Kurukshetra and be more alert while fighting. Furthermore, he also intends to say that since Pandavas are his affectionate students, he should not be acting leniently with them in the battle. By all of this, Duryodhana meant to say that any leniency on the part of Drona would end up in Kauravas defeat in the battle.
4. The Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1 Stanza Four
Stanza 4 in Hindi
Atra sura mahesv-asa
Yuyudhano viratas ca
Drupadas ca maha-rathah
The Sonnet 4 in English
Here in this army there are many heroic bowmen equal in fighting to Bhima and Arjuna; there are also great fighters like Yuyudhana, Virata and Drupada.
This verse reflects the fearfulness of Duryodhana as he points out the other brave bowmen on the side of the Pandavas. These included fighters like Yuyudhana – friend of Arjuana, Virata – the king of Matsya kingdom and Drupad the king of Panchala.
As per Duryodhana’s view, these fighters can turn out to be obstacles in the path of the victory of Karavas as each one of them was as fierce as Bhima and Arjuna. Since Duryodhana was aware of the strength of Bhima and Arjuna, he compared their strength with the other heroic fighters. To him, Dhrishtadyumna was not as great a cause of concern as these heroic fighters given Drona’s prowess in military art.
5. Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1 Stanza Five
The Sonnet in Hindi
Kasirajas ca viryavan
Purujit kuntibhojas ca
Saibyas ca nara-pungavah
Stanza 5 in English
There are also great, heroic, powerful fighters like Dhrstaketu, Cekitana, Kasiraja, Purujit, Kuntibhoja and Saibya.
6. The Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Sonnet Six
Sixth Stanza in Hindi
Yudhamanyus ca vikranta
Uttamaujas ca viryavan
Saubhadro draupadeyas ca
Sarva eva maha-rathah
The Stanza 6 in English
There are the mighty Yudhamanyu, the very powerful Uttamauja, the son of Subhadra and the sons of Draupadi. All these warriors are great chariot fighters.
7. Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Stanza 7
The Verse 7 in Hindi
Asmakam tu visista ye
Tan nibodha dvijottama
Nayaka mama sainyasya
Samjnartham tan bravimi te
Verse 7 in English
O best of the brahmanas, for your information, let me tell you about the captains who are especially qualified to lead my military force.
8. The Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 8
Verse 8 in Hindi
bhavan bhismas ca karnas ca
krpas ca samitim-jayah
asvatthama vikarnas ca
saumadattis tathaiva ca
There are personalities like yourself, Bhisma, Karna, Krpa, Asvatthama, Vikarna and the son of Somadatta called Bhurisrava, who are always victorious in battle.
Duryodhana continues to make a mention of the extra – ordinary heroes on the side of kauravas fighting the battle of Kuruskshetra.
By making their reference, Duryodhana exhibits confidence with regards to Karavas victory in the battle since these exceptional heroes have always been victorious in their military pursuits.
Few of these brave men included Vikarana – brother of Duryodhana , Asvatthama – son of Drona, Saumadatti or Bhurisrava – son of king of Bahlikas, Karan – half brother of Arjuna and son of Kunti before marriage with king Pandu and Kripacharya – brother of Kripi who married Drona.
9. Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 9
The Verse 9 in Hindi
Anye ca bahavah sura
Verse 9 in English
There are many other heroes who are prepared to lay down their lives for my sake. All of them are well equipped with different kinds of weapons, and all are experienced in military science.
Apart from the powerful men who are ever victorious in a battle, Duryodhana makes a mention of other heroes who are willing and ready to sacrifice their lives for him.
These include the (i) Jayadratha – King of the Sindhu Kingdom, who was married to Dushala, the only sister of the hundred Kaurav brothers, (ii) Krtavarna – one of the Yadava warriors and Krishna’s contemporary, (iii) Shalya – Ruler of Madra Kingdom and brother of Madri, who was second wife of King Pandu and mother of Nakula and Sahadeva.
All of these mighty men were prepared to lay down their lives in service to Duryodhana. Thus, one can deduce from this verse that all of these powerful men along with Duryodhana were destined to die in the battle of Kurukshetra. This is because they were on the side of immorality as they supported the evil minded Duryodhana.
This verse also indicates that Duryodhana was extremely confident about winning the battle based on the above mentioned mighty personalities who have never lost in a battle.
10. The Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 10
Verse 10 in Hindi
Aparyaptam tad asmakam
Paryaptam tv idam etesam
The Verse 10 in English
Our strength is immeasurable, and we are perfectly protected by Grandfather Bhisma, whereas the strength of the Pandavas, carefully protected by Bhima, is limited.
In this Verse, Duryodhana tries to evaluate the strength of his army against that of the Pandavas. He feels that his army is far more powerful, strong and that its strength is infinite. One of the biggest reasons why he feels so is because his army was being led by his Grandfather Bhishma who was most experienced Generals of all.
Moreover, Grandfather Bhishma was blessed with a boon from King Shantanu that he could only die when he desired. This was given at the time when Bhishma decided to live as a celibate throughout his life only to get his father King Shantanu married to Satyavati.
Thus, as against the strength of his army, Duryodhana feels that the strength of the military of Pandavas is limited. This was because Pandavas were being protected by Bhima who was far less experienced and his might was very small in front of Grandfather Bhishma.
Duryodhana since childhood was envious of Bhima, owing to his physical strength. This built fear in Duryodhana’s mind and he started considering Bhima to be a threat. Duryodhana even tried killing Bhima as a child by feeding him with poisoned feast at one time and pushing him in the river at the other.
Furthermore, during the infamous Game of Dice between Pandavas and Kauravas, Bhima claimed that he would take rest only after killing Duryodhana. He would do so by attacking the lower portion of Duryodhana’s body. This is because Duryodhana humiliated Draupadi, the wife of Pandavas, in front of all the generals in the Court by asking her to sit on her lap. At that point in time, he even ordered his brother Dushasana to derobe her.
Therefore, this verse indicates that although Duryodhana is confident to win the battle on one hand, he is also sure to be killed by Bhima, if at all he should die, on the other hand.
However, his confidence to turn out victorious in the battle is well placed on the basis of Grandfather Bhishma being on the side of the Kauravas.
11. Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 11
The Verse 11 in Hindi
Ayanesu ca sarvesu
Bhavantah sarva eva hi
Verse 11 in English
Now all of you must give full support to Grandfather Bhisma, standing at your respective strategic points in the phalanx of the army.
Putting his diplomatic skill to practice, Duryodhana in this verse attempts to acknowledge the other members of his military after praising his Grandfather Bhishma. This is because he is of the view that the other members might feel that they are less worthy if he continues to endorse Grandfather Bhishma’s might.
Therefore, he tries to manage the situation by claiming that no doubt Bhishma Deva is the mightiest and greatest of all, he has now come of age. Thus, everyone must give him protection from all the sides during the battle.
He further connotes that Bhishma might get occupied during the fight and the enemy meanwhile could take undue advantage of such an engagement. Therefore, it was extremely important for all the other fighters to hold their strategic positions so that it was not possible for the enemy to break their military arrangement.
As is mentioned in the above Verse as well, Duryodhana is of the view that Kauravas could win the battle only because Bhishma Deva was present on their side. And that their victory is based on Bhishma Deva being safe.
Furthermore, Duryodhana is also confident of the fact that the two great Generals of the Kuru army, Bhishma and Drona, would extend full support till the time they are safe and fighting in the battle of Kurukshetra.
This he is able to affirm on the grounds that both Bhishma and Drona didn’t utter a word when Draupadi, Arjuna’s wife, was being humiliated and was forced to be disrobed in front of all the Generals present in the assembly.
No doubt, both Bhishma and Drona were fond of the Pandavas and were deeply attached with them, they would still support Kurus the way they had done during the infamous Game of Dice.
Moreover, Bhishma had taken the oath of not only staying as a celibate for the rest of his life but also provide lifelong service to whoever sat on the throne of his father. Likewise, Drona too was receiving financial assistance from the Kuru clan and wanted to stay loyal to the throne that had given him such a support.
Duryodhana knowing this very well was thus confident to have the support of these mighty men irrespective of all the odds.
12. The Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 12
Verse 12 in Hindi
Tasya sanjanayan harsam
Sankham dadhmau pratapavan
The Verse 12 in English
Then Bhisma, the great valiant grandsire of the Kuru dynasty, the grandfather of the fighters, blew his conch shell very loudly like the sound of a lion, giving Duryodhana joy.
The grandfather of Kuru dynasty Bhishma understood the fearfulness of his grandson Duryodhana. Thus, to motivate him and give him courage, he blew the conch shell very loudly that sounded similar to the roar of a lion.
In Mahabharata, conch shell is of great importance. In ancient India, warriors blew conch shells to announce the battle as described in the beginning of the battle of Kurukshetra. The vibration of conch shells are believed to drive away the evil spirits as well as give courage, hope, determination to the blower as well as those surrounding him. Thus, grandfather Bhishma wanted to give courage to Duryodhna on one hand but on the other he wanted to warn him that his chances of victory in battle were meek as Lord Krishna was on the side of Pandavas.
Through the vibrations of his conch shell grandfather Bishma wanted to alert Duryodhana that the battle of Kurukshetra was the battle of Dharma and not about winning the throne. Since Lord Krishna was fighting for Dharma and Duryodhana along with other Kauravas were no where close to being righteous, they had no chance of winning this battle. Thus, by blowing the conch shell grand father Bhishma wanted to signify that it was his duty to fight this battle. But he also wanted to indicate that no mercy would be shown for evil minded souls.
13. Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 13
The Verse 13 in Hindi
Tatah sankhas ca bheryas ca
Sa sabdas tumulo ‘bhavat
Verse 13 in English
After that, the conchshells, bugles, trumpets, drums and horns were all suddenly sounded, and the combined sound was tumultuous.
14. The Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 14
Verse 14 in Hindi
Tatah svetair hayair yukte
Mahati syandane sthitau
Madhavah pandavas caiva
Divyau sankhau pradadhmatuh
The Verse 14 in English
On the other side, both Lord Krsna and Arjuna, stationed on a great chariot drawn by white horses, sounded their transcendental conchshells.
As Bhishmadeva blew his conch shell, Lord Krishna and Arjuna also blew their conch shells standing at the opposite side of the Kauravas. In contrast to Bhishma’s conch shell, the conch shells blown by Lord Krishna and Arjuna are described as transcendental.
They are described as transcendental because of the virtuosity and the piousness of the Pandavas and Lord Krishna supporting them. The sounding of such transcendental conch shells signified that there was no chance for Kauravas to win the battle of Kurukshetra since Lord Krishna was supporting Pandavas, that is supporting Dharma.
There is a verse in Bhagavad Gita that says ‘Jayas tu pandu-putranam, yesam pakse, janardanah‘. This means that persons who are like the sons of Pandu would always turn victorious because Lord Krishna is always associated with them. This is because the sons of Pandu were righteous, virtuous, full of morality and justice. And Lord Krishna is always on the side of virtuousness and morality.
Why Are Lord Krishna and Arjuna’s Conch Shells Transcendental?
Furthermore, wherever Lord Krishna is present, the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi is also present. This is because Lord Krishna was the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu and Lord Vishnu was the husband of Goddess Lakshmi. And the goddess of fortune never lives without her husband.
Thus, both victory and fortune were on the side of Arjuna as indicated by the transcendental sound produced by the conch shell of Vishnu that is Lord Krishna. In addition to this, the chariot on which both Lord Krishna and Arjuna was given to Arjuna by Agni, the God of fire.
How Arjuna Got His Weapons?
Once, Arjuna and Krishna were roaming in the Khandava Van where they met the god of fire ‘Agni’. Agni was very hungry and desired to burn down the entire Khandav Van in order to satisfy his hunger. But, he could not do so as Takashaka – the serpent king – resided in the same forest and was a friend of ‘Indra’.
Each time Agni tried to set the forest on fire, Lord Indra brought down heavy rains to prevent Agni from burning the woods. Hence, Agni requested Lord Krishna and Arjuna to help him achieve his goal.
As a result, Arjuna told Agni that his normal bows were not capable of bearing the strength of his arms and he needed ‘Gandiv’ to shoot the arrows. Thus, the three of them appealed god of the oceans Varuna. Hence Varuna blessed Arjuna with Gandiv – the bow created by Brahma.
Besides the Gandiv, Varuna also gave a radiant chariot named ‘Shvathavahana’. It had four white horses yoked and also had a flag that would later be occupied by Hanuman.
In addition to this, Varuna also gave a conch named ‘Devadatta’ and also the famous disc-like weapon named ‘Sudarshana Chakra’ to Krishna. Consequently, Arjuna as directed by Lord Krishna carried out a battle against Lord Indra successfully. Thus, he helped Agni burn the entire Khandava Van.
This way Lord Indra was gratified with Arjuna winning the battle and thus his anger faded. As a result, he bestowed all the greater powers to Arjuna. Thus, the chariot indicated that it was capable of protecting Arjuna by conquering all the sides.
15. Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 15
The Verse 15 in Hindi
Paundram dadhmau maha-sankham
Verse 15 in English
Then, Lord Krsna blew His conch shell, called Panchajanya; Arjuna blew his, the Devadatta; and Bhima, the voracious eater and performer of Herculean tasks, blew his terrific conch shell called Paundram.
Lord Krishna is referred to as Hrsikesa in the above verse. Hrsikesa means the owner or controller of all senses. All living beings are part of Lord Krishna. Therefore the senses of all living beings also form part of Krishna.
That is to say, Lord Krishna resides in the hearts of all living beings and thus guides their senses. But Lord Krishna guides the senses of the living beings in the nature of surrender of the living entities to him.
As far as a pure devotee of Lord Krishna is concerned, he directly guides the senses of such devotees. Since Arjuna was a pure devotee of Lord Krishna, Lord Krishna directly controls the senses of Arjuna on the battlefield.
That is the reason why Lord Krishna is called Hrikesa.
What Are Different Names Given To Lord Krishna?
Lord Krishna has a number of names depending upon the various activities undertaken by him. For instance, Krishna is called Madhusudana as he killed a demon whose name was Madhu.
Further, Lord Krishna is known as Govinda for he provides pleasure to the cows as well as the senses. He is also called as Vasudeva for he took birth as the son of Vasudeva.
Likewise, he is also called Devaki-Nandana for Devaki was Krishna’s mother. Likewise, he is also called by the name of Yasoda-Nandana because all his childhood pleasures were experienced with Yasoda at Vrindavan.
Similarly, he is called Partha-Sarathi for he acted as a charioteer to his friend Arjuna. In a similar fashion as mentioned in this verse, Lord Krishna is also called Hrikesa for he guided Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
What Are Different Names Given To Arjuna and Bhima?
In the above verse, Arjuna is called Dhananjaya as Arjuna helped his elder brother, Yudhistra, to collect wealth as it was needed by the King to incur expenses for making various sacrifices.
Likewise, Bhima is called as Vrkodara for he is not only able to undertake tasks that require great strength but is also eat uncontrollably. For instance, he killed a demon like Hidimba.
Thus, the various conch shells that were blown by various entities on the side of Pandavas gave encouragement to the soldiers. However, on the other side, nothing was in favor of Kauravas, neither Lord Krishna nor the goddess of fortune. Thus, such blowing of conch shells by Panadavas suggested that Kauarvas were bound to lose the battle of Kurukshetra.
16. The Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verses 16 to 18
Verses 16 to 18 in Hindi
Nakulah sahadevas ca
Kasyas ca paramesv-asah
Sikhandi ca maha-rathah
Dhrstadyumno viratas ca
Drupado draupadeyas ca
Saubhadras ca maha-bahuh
Sankhan dadhmuh prthak prthak
The Verses 16 to 18 in English
King Yudhisthira, the son of Kunti, blew his conch shell, the Anantavijaya, and Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughosa and Manipuspaka. That great archer the King of Kasi, the great fighter Sikhandi, Dhrstadyumna, Virata and the unconquerable Satyaki, Drupada, the sons of Draupadi, and the others, O King, such as the son of Subhadra, greatly armed, all blew their respective conch shells.
In the above Verse, Sanjaya tries to convey Dhritarashtra in a very skillful way that his intention of cheating on the sons of his younger brother Pandu and enthroning his own sons was not at all worthy.
There were clear indications that at no cost Kauravas could win the battle of Kurukshetra and that they were all doomed. This was taking place only because Dhritarashtra supported the strategy that his sons followed.
Apart from the entities mentioned in the above verse, there were other fighters who blew their conch shells to remind Kauarvas of their end. For instance Yudhishtra, who was the son of Kunti, blew his conch shell Anantavijaya. While Nakual blew his conch shell named Sughosa and Sahadev blew his conch shell named Manipuspaka.
Further, the above verse also makes a mention of (i) the great archer, King of Kasi,(ii) the great fighter Sikhandi, (iii) Dhristadyumna – the son of Drupada, (iv) King Virata at whose court the Pandavas took refuge in concealment during their period of exile (v) Satyaki – aka Yuyudhana, who was the charioteer of Lord Krishna (vi) Drupada – the King of Panchala, (vii) sons of Draupadi and (viii) Abhimanyu – the son of Subhadra.
17. Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 19
The Verse 19 in Hindi
Sa ghoso dhartarastranam
Nabhas ca prthivim caiva
Verse 19 in English
The blowing of these different conchshells became uproarious, and thus, vibrating both in the sky and on the earth, it shattered the hearts of the sons of Dhrtarastra.
This verse reveals the breathlessness of the kauravas on hearing the uproar of the conch shells blown by the Panadavas. As mentioned in the above verse, the tumultuous sound by the pious conch shell of the Pandavas indicated that the Kauaravas had no chance of winning the battle of Kurukshetra. Given the goddess of fortune and the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna was on the side of Pandavas who were themselves personification of Dharma.
Therefore, this verse clearly reveals that one who surrenders to the Lord does not have to fear about anything. Not even the greatest calamities. This verse also reveals the fearfulness of Kauravas as it was quite heart breaking for them to hear the uproarious vibrations of conch shells blown by Pandavas.
18. The Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 20
Verse 20 in Hindi
Atha vyavasthitan drstva
Dhanur udyamya pandavah
Hrsikesam tada vakyam
Idam aha mahi-pate
The Verse 20 in English
O King, at that time Arjuna, the son of Pandu, who was seated in his chariot, his flag marked with Hanuman, took up his bow and prepared to shoot his arrows, looking at the sons of Dhrtarastra. O King, Arjuna then spoke to Hrsikesa (Krsna) these words –
As already mentioned before, the sons of Dhrtarastra were not happy looking at the proper arrangement of military done by the Pandavas. This was because Pandavas were guided by Lord Krishna, who was an embodiment of virtuosity and righteousness himself.
Kauravas didn’t expect Pandavas to arrange military in such a way. Moreover, the emblem of Hanuman was on the flag of Arjuna. So, this was another indication revealing that victory was on the side of Pandavas. There’s a short story behind how Hanuman appeared on the flag of Arjuna’s chariot
How Hanuman Appeared On The Flag Of Arjuna’s Chariot?
Once Arjuna along with many saints went on pilgrimage touring various lands. After paying a visit to a number of shrines, they reached Rameswaram in South India. After taking a bath, Arjuna went sightseeing.
He was amazed to see the remains of the bridge that was constructed out of stones and trees across the ocean during the age of Ramayana. This bridge was constructed with the help of an army of monkeys and bears in order to rescue Sita from Lanka. And some remains of the bridge were still intact.
Looking at the bridge Arjuna wondered ‘Why did a great archer like Rama need an army of monkeys and bears to build the bridge? Why didn’t he bridge the distance with the help of his arrows?
On hearing this none of the saints had an answer to take Arjuna out of perplexity.
However, a small monkey who was following Arjuna and saints for quite some distance laughed out and said ‘Aren’t you aware of the might of monkeys from the age of Ramayana? Don’t you know champions like Sugreeva, Neela, Nala, Angada, and Hanuman who were part of their league? How could a bridge built of arrows bear the weight of such mighty creatures? In fact, such a bridge would not have been able to bear the weight of a feeble creature like me.”
Arjuna Taking The Challenge
After hearing this Arjuna understood that the monkey was throwing an implied challenge on him. He then replied ‘Let us have a bet. I shall lay down a bridge of arrows. In case the bridge fails to take your weight, then I will burn myself.”
Hearing all this, the monkey agreed to make this bet. Consequently, Arjuna started laying down the bridge across the ocean with the help of the arrows in his quiver.
Next, the monkey jumped onto the bridge and after he walked ten steps, the bridge collapsed. Arjuna helped the monkey out of the water and asked to give him another chance. The monkey agreed and hence Arjuna started constructing the bridge for the second time. But this time he laid arrows much closer to each other. After he completed laying the arrows, he asked the monkey to jump again.
19. Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 21 to 22
The Verse 21-22 in Hindi
Senayor ubhayor madhye
Ratham sthapaya me ‘cyuta
Yavad etan nirikse ‘ham
Kair maya saha yoddhavyam
Verse 21-22 in English
Arjuna said: O infallible one, please draw my chariot between the two armies so that I may see who is present here, who is desirous of fighting, and with whom I must contend in this great battle attempt.
Despite being the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna is involved in serving Arjuna as his charioteer on the battlefield.
This is the very reason why Lord Krishna is called infallible here as he never ceases to show his love and affection to his devotees.
Lord Krishna knows that as a charioteer he would have to follow the instructions given by Arjuna. But not for a moment is Lord Krishna is in two minds to serve as a charioteer to his true friend and devotee Arjuna on the battlefield.
Given Lord Krishna’s benevolence, forgiving nature, love and affection for his true devotees, he is known as the infallible in the above verse.
Needless to say, though Lord Krishna served as charioteer to Arjuna, his stature as the supreme Personality of Godhead remains intact. No matter what the situation, Lord Krishna is the Hrsikesa – the controller of all senses.
Relationship Between Lord Krishna and His Devotee
The above verse depicts the relationship that exists between the Lord and his devotee. The way a devotee is always ready to be in service of the Lord, likewise the Lord too is always willing and is in search of circumstances that give him a chance to be in service of his devotees.
Lord derives contentment when his true devotees take the position of giving him orders rather than giving the orders to his devotees. Everything that we see, touch and do is under his control. No one is beyond him for he is the supreme reality – the Master.
Since he is the absolute reality, it is he who gives orders and everything thus functions as per his orders.
But at times where he finds his devotees being in the position of ordering him, he derives immense pleasure in receiving those orders despite he being the supreme realty.
Why is Lord Krishna Called Infallible?
In the above Verse, Arjuna refers to Lord Krishna as infallible and vows his unwillingness to fight with his cousins and brothers. But he is compelled to be on the battlefield owing to Duryodhana’s stubbornness.
This is because Duryodhana is not willing to make any peaceful negotiations or agreements with the Pandavas. Hence, Arjuna is extremely worried and wants to see who all are the ones who are desirous to fight at or on the battlefield.
Though Arjuna knows that there is no scope of any peaceful negotiation or an attempt for negotiation on the Battlefield, he still wants to see the people who are willing to undertake this undesirable war.
20. The Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 23
Verse 23 in Hindi
Yotsyamanan avekse ‘ham
Ya ete ‘tra samagatah
The Verse 23 in English
Let me see those who have come here to fight, wishing to please the evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra.
Everyone knew that Duryodhana wanted to seize the kingdom of Pandavas via immoral means by partnering with his Father Dhritarashtra.
Arjuna wanted to see all the persons who were on the side of Duryodhna as they too would have similar interests like Duryodhana. He wanted to see them on the Battlefield before the beginning of the war simply to understand who they were.
However, willingness to see the leading people on the side of the Kurus did not mean that Arjuna had any peacemaking intention with Duryodhana and his cousins. The willingness to see them was also there because he wanted to check the might of the people who he would be fighting against in the battlefield.
But since Lord Krishna was on the side of the Pandavas, Arjuna was sure that Pandavas would turn out victorious in the Battlefield of Kurukshetra.
21. Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 24
The Verse 24 in Hindi
Evam ukto hrsikeso
Senayor ubhayor madhye
Verse 24 in English
Sanjaya said: O descendant of Bharata, being thus addressed by Arjuna, Lord Krsna drew up the fine chariot in the midst of the armies of both parties.
In the above verse, Sanjay refers Arjuna as Gudakesa. Gudakesa comes from the word Gudaka which means ‘sleep’. Thus, any person who overcomes sleep is called as Gudakesa.
Sleep here also refers to ignorance. By being friends with Krishna, Arjuna is able to overcome both sleep and ignorance. This is because Arjuna is constantly thinking of Lord Krishna and his qualities and is not able to forget him at any moment.
Much like a true devotee, Arjuna is not able to forget Lord Krishna. Thus, by simply remembering or thinking about Lord Krishna, his form and his qualities, a devotee can overcome both sleep and ignorance.
What is Self Realization?
This what is defined in Upanishads itself, a concept that is called as realizing Self and ultimately realizing Brahman. Where Self is pure consciousness and Brahman is Supreme Godhead that resides in all created things and the one that is responsible for all the creation.
By realizing pure consciousness, one can be in unity with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is what is called as Samadhi or Absolute Absorption. In other words, one who realizes the Self during the lifetime, he or she is liberated from the cycle of life and death.
Thus, attaining pure consciousness makes one be in unity with the Supreme Godhead. Such a person does not desire anything more for attaining pure consciousness is all his desire.
Since Lord Krishna is the controller of senses and the life in all the living entities, he understands why Arjuna has asked Lord Krishna to move the chariot in the middle of the armies.
Therefore, without any hesitation, Lord Krishna brings the chariot in the middle of both the parties as directed by Arjuna.
22. The Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 25
Verse 25 in Hindi
Sarvesam ca mahi-ksitam
Uvaca partha pasyaitan
Samavetan kurun iti
The Verse 25 in English
In the presence of Bhisma, Drona, and all other chieftains of the world, Hrsikesa, the Lord, said, Just behold, Partha, all the Kurus who are assembled here.
As mentioned in the above Verse, Lord Krishna is referred to as Hrsikesa, the controller of all senses. He is the one who resides in all created things and thus is the controller of the senses of all living entities.
Since he is the one who is directing living beings, he knows everything. Therefore, being the master of all living entities, Lord Krishna knew what was going on in the mind of Arjuna.
Why Lord Krishna Calls Arjuna Partha?
Likewise, Lord Krishna calls Arjuna Partha as mentioned in the above verse. Partha means son of Kunti or Prtha, as was Kunti’s birth name. By calling Arjuna Partha, Lord Krishna wanted to intimate him that because Arjuna was the son of Prtha, who was the sister of Krishna’s father Vasudeva, Krishna had agreed to serve as a charioteer to Arjuna.
Likewise, when Lord Krishna says ‘Just behold, Partha, all the Kurus who are assembled here, who have come to predict Arjuna’s mind which is thinking of not fighting with his brothers and cousins on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
Lord Krishna could not expect such a thing from Arjuna, who is the son of his aunt Prtha. Thus jokingly, Lord Krishna asks Arjuna to see all the Kurus gathered there for he has read the mind of Arjuna which has become desirous of stopping there and not fighting.
23. Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 26
The Verse 26 in Hindi
Tatrapasyat sthitan parthah
Pitrn atha pitamahan
Acaryan matulan bhratrn
Putran pautran sakhims tatha
Svasuran suhrdas caiva
Senayor ubhayor api
Verse 26 in English
There Arjuna could see, within the midst of the armies of both parties, his fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, friends, and also his father-in-law and well-wishers-all present there.
This verse depicts the cause of the confusion of Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. The very question of stopping and not fighting arises when Arjuna goes in for seeing all his relatives standing against him with whom he would be required to fight.
For instance, he could see people like Bhurisrava – the son of Somadatta and the contemporaries of Arjuna’s father Pandu, Grandfathers like Bhishma and Somadatta, Teachers like Dronacharya and Kripacharya, Maternal Uncles like Salya and Sakuni, Brothers like Duryodhana, Sons like Laksmana, Friends like Asvatthama and well-wishers like Krtavarma.
24. The Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 27
Verse 27 in Hindi
Tan samiksya sa kaunteyah
Sarvan bandhun avasthitan
Visidann idam abravit
The Verse 27 in English
When the son of Kunti, Arjuna, saw all these different grades of friends and relatives, he became overwhelmed with compassion and spoke thus:
25. Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 28
The Verse 28 in Hindi
Drstvemam sva-janam krsna
Sidanti mama gatrani
Mukham ca parisusyati
Verse 28 in English
Arjuna said: My dear Krsna, seeing my friends and relatives present before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up.
A person who is a true devotee of the Lord possesses all the good qualities present in divine beings or holy spirits. However, a non-devotee would lack such holy qualities despite his intellect owing to the material qualifications gained by education or culture.
Thus, Arjuna is taken over by compassion the moment he sees his friends, relatives, and kinsmen on the battlefield. He is unable to see that these are the same men who had decided to fight against him and his brothers and initiate or demand an unwanted war.
Why is Arjuna A Divine Being?
As mentioned in the previous verses, Arjuna is seen showing his compassion and sympathy for his soldiers. He is now seen feeling compassionate towards the soldiers of the opposite army, that is the Kuru warriors as he can see their death coming inevitably.
Thus, the very thought of their inevitable death made the limbs of his body quiver and his mouth dry. Arjuna is amazed to see the fervor with which his friends and relatives have come to fight with him.
Since the entire community of friends and relatives was standing against him on the battlefield, this made Arjuna who is a true devotee of Lord Krishna to get overwhelmed.
Such compassion towards his friends, relatives, and soldiers of the opposite party does not portray Arjuna’s weakness. Rather, it shows the kind-heartedness of Arjuna, a characteristic trait that is found across the true devotees of the Lord.
Thus, people who are true devotees of the Supreme Godhead possess all the good qualities of the divine beings.
What Are The Qualities Of A Non-Devotee?
However, the ones who are not the devotees of the Supreme Godhead possess only the material qualifications which are of little or no value.
This is because all living beings are driven by their senses and not by their consciousness. Thus, they get attracted to the material world and cannot escape fear, evil, sorrow, and unhappiness. They consider Self to be their body, mind, and senses and not the inner world of pure consciousness.
Thus, such living entities consider the familiar world of their senses to be the Absolute Reality over pure consciousness. The inner world of pure consciousness does not have any time, space, or causality. It is infinite, indivisible, inseparable, and immutable. Such a world thus is untainted of any fear, death, evil, sorrow, or passion.
One who realizes the pure consciousness is in unison with the Supreme Godhead and thus gets a mind to think and an eye to see. In other words, such a person is free from all the ignorance and bodily desire.
Arjuna at this point of time is not free from the world that is presented to him by his senses. That is the reason he is able to see his brothers, kinsmen, grandfathers etc. in the opposite army in place of the men who are demanding an unwanted war.
That is, Arjuna is compassionate towards the leading men of the opposite army, the same men who are the very reason for the battle of Kurukshetra.
26. The Bhagavad Gita Chapter I Verse 29
Verse 29 in Hindi
Vepathus ca sarire me
Roma-harsas ca jayate
Gandivam sramsate hastat
Tvak caiva paridahyate
The Verse 29 in English
My whole body is trembling, and my hair is standing on end. My bow Gandiva is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning.
This verse depicts Arjuna’s fear of losing his friends and relatives on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Typically, there are two types of trembling of body and raising of hearing on end. Such a trembling and standing of hair takes place either during extreme spiritual joy or due to fear resulting from the material circumstances of life.
When one attains spiritual individuality, that is, Self or pure consciousness, he is in unity with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a spiritual realization is untainted by any fear, evil, death, or sorrow.
In other words, a person who realizes Self does not have the material fears that are related to body, mind, and senses. In this verse, Arjuna is depicting signs of material fear that is the fear of losing his friends and relatives on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
This is also evident from signs such as his bow Gandiva slipping out of his hands and his skin feeling a burning sensation. All these signs depict or showcase that Arjuna is being driven by his material senses at this point in time.
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