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Gita - Chapter 1

      Chapter 1 - Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra

As the opposing armies stood poised for battle, Arjuna, the mighty worrior,saw
his intimate relatives, teachers and friends in both armies ready to fight and
sacrifice their lives.  Overcome by brief and pity, Arjuna failed in strength,
his mind became bewildered, and he gave up his determination to fight.

King Dhrtarastra enquired from Sanjaya about the conditions 
in the battlefield.  Sanjaya was a student of Vyasa, and therefore, by the 
mercy of Vyasa, he was able to envision the battlefield of Kuruksetra 
even while he was in the room of Dhrtarastra.  Dhrtarastra was blind 
from birth.  Unfortunately, he was also bereft of spiritual vision.  He 
knew very well that his sons were equally blind in the matter of 
religion, and he was sure that they could never reach an understanding 
with the Pandavas, who were all pious since birth.  Kuruksetra is 
referred to as a holy place and Dhrtarastra was very fearful about the 
influence of this holy place on the outcome of the battle.  He knew very 
well that this would influence Arjuna and the sons of Pandu favourably, 
because by nature they were all virtuous.  In the battlefield, Duryodhana 
was confident of his victory because he thought that the strength of his 
armed forces is immeasurable, being protected by the most experienced 
general, Grandfather Bhisma.  Although he knew that Dronacharya and 
Bhismadeva had some sort of affection for the Pandavas, he hoped that 
these generals would now completely give it up, as they had done during 
the gambling performances, wherein Draupadi was insulted. Bhisma and the 
Kuru Army then loudly blew their conchshells giving Duryodhana joy.

On the other side, Lord Krishna, Arjuna and the others in the Pandava 
army blew their respective counchshells.  The conshells in the hands of 
Krishna and Arjuna are described as transcendental.  This indicated that 
there was no hope of victory for the other side because Krishna was on 
the side of the Pandavas.  And whenever and wherever the Lord is 
present, the goddess of fortune is always there because she never lives 
alone without her husband.  Therfore, victory and fortune are awaiting 
the Pandavas.  Here Lord Sri Krishna is referred as Hrsikesa because He 
is the owner of all senses.  In the case of pure devotees, who have 
surrendered to the Lord, He directly controls their senses.  It is also 
mentioned that the hearts of the sons of Dhrtarastra were shattered by 
the sounds vibrated by the Pandavas' party.   On the other hand, there 
was no heart-breaking mentioned on the side of Pandavas.  This is due to 
their confidence on Lord Krishna.  One who takes shelter of the supreme 
Lord has nothing to fear, even in the midst of the greatest calamity.  
Arjuna requested Lord Krishna to draw his chariot between the two armies 
so that he could see those present there.  Although Sri Krishna is the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead, out of His causeless mercy He became 
Arjuna's chariot driver.  As charioteer, He had to carry 
out the orders of Arjuna.  Although He had accepted the position of the 
charioteer for His devotee, His Supreme position was not challenged.  
The relationship between the Lord and His servitor is very sweet and 
transcendental.  The servitor is always ready to render service to the 
Lord, and, similarly, the Lord is always seeking an opportunity to 
render some service to the devotee.  Since, He is the master, everyone 
is under His orders, and no one is above Him to order Him.  But when He 
finds that a pure devotee is ordering Him, He obtains transcendental 

Lord Krishna drew up the chariot in the midst of the armies of both parties.
Then He said to Arjuna, "behold the Kurus". He did not mean that Arjuna 
should stop there and not to fight. As a Supersoul of all living entities, He
could understand what was going on in Arjuna's mind. Thus He predicted it in
a friendly joking.

Arjuna saw his intimate relatives, teachers and friends in both armies 
ready to fight and sacrifice their lives.  Overcome by grief and pity, 
he failed in strength, his mind became bewildered, and he gave up his 
determination to fight.  He stated the following reasons:

(1) If all his relatives and friends will be killed on the battlefield, 
he will be unable to share his opulence after victory.  This is a 
typical calculation of material life.  But it was the Lord's plan that 
they should be killed.  The devotee of the Lord does not retaliate 
against the wrongdoer, but the Lord does not tolerate any mischief done 
to the devotee by the miscreants.  The Lord can excuse a person on His 
own account, but He excuses no one who has done harm to His devotees.  
(2) He considered that rather than kill his own kinsmen for political 
reasons, it would be better to forgive them on grounds of religion and 
saintly behavior.  Any man who has genuine devotion to the Lord has all 
the good qualities which are found in godly persons or in the demigods.  
This is also confirmed in the Srimad Bhagavatham (5.18.12).  As a devotee, 
Arjuna had all these godly qualities.
(3) He felt that on the death of the elder members, the family 
traditions could stop and the remaining younger family members may 
develop irreligious habits and thereby lose their chance for spiritual 
salvation.  The ancestors of such corrupt families also fall down, 
because the performances for offering them food and water are entirely 
stopped.  This offering is performed by worship of Lord Vishnu and when 
the remanants of the food are offered to the forefathers by the 
descendents, the forefathers are released from ghostly or other kinds 
of miserable life.  But, one who is engaged in devotional service is 
not required to perform such actions.  Simply by performing devotional 
service, one can deliver hundreds and thousands of forefathers from all 
kinds of misery. 

Arjuna was so afflicted with lamentation that he sat down, setting aside 
his bows and arrows.  Excessive attachment for material things puts a 
man in such a bewildering condition of existence.  Everyone is 
interested in himself and his own welfare.  No one is interested in the 
Supreme Self.  One's real self-interest lies in Krishna.  The 
conditioned soul forgets this, and therefore suffers material pains.  
They are attracted by bodily relationships, hoping to be happy in such 
situations.  In such a blind concept of life, they forget even the 
cause of material happiness.  Materially, everyone wants to satisfy his 
senses, and he wants God to be the order supplier for such satisfication.  
The Lord will satisfy the senses of the living entities as much as they 
deserve, but not to the extent that they may covet.  But when one takes 
the opposite way - namely, one who tries to satisfy the senses of Govinda 
without desiring to satisfy one's own senses - then by the grace of Govinda 
all desires of the living entity are satisfied.  

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