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.