Chapter 1 Prathama Adhyaya : Arjuna’s Emotional and Spiritual Turmoil
1ST chapter Prathama Adhyaya
Arjuna’s Emotional and Spiritual Turmoil
The first chapter of Srimad Bhagwad Gita gets the reader introduced to the elucidation of self-centered, dishonest, and malafied arrangement of Dhuryodhna, the seated crown prince of Hastinapur, as he vehemently refuses to part with half of the kingdom of Hastinapur (which Dhuryodhna had usurped in the rigged game of gambling )from pandavaas) . Pandavaas have established their legitimate right by honorably completing the task assigned to them by the court of king Dhratrashtra. Pandavaas had been promised half the share of the kingdom of king Dhratrashtra if they were successful in spending next twelve years of their life in exile and stayed for the last one year in undercover, incognito without being recognized by anyone, as the sons of Kunti and Madri. Dhuryodhna had been jealous of the pandavaas achievements and their splendor after he had witnessed the wealth, opulence and ceremonial grandeur of pandavaas in their kingdom on the occasion of the Rajsuyagaya performed by Yudhishtra. Kuru prince Dhuryodhna had also felt offended and having been dishonored when he had been called a blind progeny of a blind man by Draupadi the wife of all five pandavaas brothers. As a preplanned intrigue of treachery with his maternal uncle Shakuni, Dhuryodhna invited all the five pandavaas brothers and their wife Draupadi to pay a visit to Hastinapur to play a game of gambling played by throwing a set of dice. With the help of his maternal Uncle Shakuni, Dhuryodhna played a cheat on Yudhishtra the eldest of the pandavaas brothers and in a game of dice he had won over the entire kingdom and other materialistic wealth of Pandavaas, leaving them with no choice but to accept to become the slaves of Dhuryodhna which was the ultimate condition set forth in the game by Dhuryodhna.
To liberate and set free Yudhishtra and his other four brothers from the slavery of Dhuryodhna and save them the embarrassment caused on account of the crooked game of gambling stage managed by Dhuryodhna and to heal and redress the wounds created as a result of the insults heaped on Draupadi the wife of all the five pandavaas brothers, by Dhuryodhna and his shrewd coteries a compromise is arrived at between the warring cousins. The compromise as drafted by Dhuryodhna and his cronies insists upon to banish the pandavaas to the forest where they will spend twelve years in exile and the last year of their banishment will be spent by them in disguise without being recognized by any one. After the expiry of twelve years in the forest and the last one year spent in incognito successfully, Pandavaas returned to Hastinapur the capital of Kuru Kingdom. They had successfully completed the conditional punishment meted out to them by the scheming Dhuryodhna and his associates. It was in the appropriate that they demanded their share of kingdom back from the crown prince Dhuryodhna, as had been agreed upon and promised in the court of king Dhratrashtra earlier through the compromise arrived at . In violation of the agreement arrived at, Dhuryodhna the crown prince of Hastinapur, adamantly and violently refused to surrender any part of the kingdom’s land to pandavaas. He declared in the court of the king Dhratrashtra that he would not part with a piece of land equal to the area covered by the tip of a needle. Dhuryodhna rather challenged the pandavaas that if they ever wanted their part of the kingdom they must do so by waging a war against the Kuru Empire and if they win the war they will get complete reign over the kingdom that they have lost in the game of gambling or otherwise the pandavaas will be exterminated from this surface of the earth.
Pandavaas obviously who were enraged on this backing out of the truce treaty by the King Dhratrashtra and his crown prince Durdhoyadan accepted the challenge of waging a war against the sovereignty of Dhratrashtra . They asked for permission to wage a war against the Kuru kingdom from their mother Kunti, and upon the receipt of the blessings of their mother, pandavaas had earnestly embarked on the preparation for the impending war. Both the sides however wanted Lord Krishna to join their forces and take side with them in the war against the rival party. Dhuryodhna wanted Lord Krishna’s help for retaining the kingdom and thus wipe out the pandavaas. Arjuna who had been a close friend and a devoted disciple to lord Krishna wanted to seek the blessings of Lord Krishna in winning the war.
It so happened that both Arjuna and Dhuryodhna reached Dwarka the abode of Lord Krishna at the same time, to seek the inclusion of Lord Krishna on their side and to support them against the other side. Finding the lord Krishna sleeping in his bed room Dhuryodhna preferred to wait for Lord Krishna to wake up and ask for his blessings thereafter. He took a seat next to the pillow where lord Krishna had been sleeping by resting his head. Arjuna, who was the humbler of the two cousins, stood with his hands folded in all meekness and request towards his mentor and friend, near the feet of Lord Krishna. As soon as Lord Krishna had woken up and opened his eyes, he sighted Arjuna first, who was standing with his hands folded and head bowed in front of him in all reverence, humility and devotion. And then the Lord turned his face around and his eyes could see Dhuryodhna also sitting towards the place where his pillow had been supporting his head. Lord Krishna obviously asked both the visitors about the reason of their visit. Dhuryodhna who was known for his impatience insisted that since he was the first one to enter the room of lord Krishna he should be given priority in hearing, says Dhuryodhna to lord Krishna, “you have equal amount of love for both Arjuna and me and you love us both very dearly. We are both closely related to you. But I am the first people who have come here and have entered your place of residence and the room in which you have been resting while we waited. It is but a gentlemanly manner that the first person to have come to you for help should be served first. You are revered as the most gentle and courteous of all men all around the universe and it is but natural that you should help keep up the gentleman’s practices and help me first with my problem”.
“I am in agreement with you that you were the first person to enter my abode and the room where I had been resting, but I had spotted Arjuna ahead of you. However I should help both of you since you both have come to seek my support. We all have to understand that as per the traditions laid down by the ancient scriptures, the desires and aspirations of those younger in age should be recognized first and since Arjuna is the younger of the two of you cousins, we should give him first preference and ask him for the reason of his coming to meet me and his demand should be met by me on priority”, said Lord Krishna, ‘I shall offer and lend a helping hand to both of you in two different manners and on dissimilar conditions. To the one of you two cousins I shall offer the most powerful narayani army that I possess and to the other I shall tender my personal services but since I have taken an oath to not to touch and make use of any arms, I shall offer myself as the one that will stay unarmed all through the war, and all alone”.
Arjuna being younger of the two had been given the opportunity to make his choice known first. Arjuna knew that the lord was the demolisher of all enemies and evil doers across the universe hence he said that he had wanted Lord Krishna to render his help and advice and not his Narayani Army, so he opted for the blessings of the narayan Krishna and that he does not want his army which will be of no use without its commander Lord Krishna himself being there to lead it, howsoever strong and powerful it might be. Dhuryodhna like an imbecile fool had rejoiced that Kuru will be getting the lord Krishna’s army. He did not possess the wisdom to foresee due to his false pride and dimmed intellect that an army without its general can never be complete and that the war he was to fight had begun with a losing proposition much before it actually was to be fought on the battle ground of Kurukshetra.
Thus the first lesson in emotional intelligence can be learnt is that of maintaining and exhibiting patience, self – esteem and dignity in all matters in life. The impatience and the impertinence can lead to many unwanted situations in life and can result into bigger losses rather than gains. We can understand the importance of this statement by noticing the impatience and over confidence exhibited by Dhuryodhna, which ultimately results into complete destruction of not only the families and the clans but the kingdoms too .The fear of the destructive consequences of the war are writ large in every Shloka of the Srimad Bhagwad Gita and these fears cannot leave the mighty king Dhratrashtra too untouched as we can see in his communication with Sage Vyaasa, where the king declines the offer of sage Vyaasa, restoring the internal celestial vision of Dhratrashtra the blind king of Hastinapur to enable him see the war from the secured ground of his palaces only, without physically being present at the battle field.
Lord Krishna on the other had asked Arjuna, “O Arjuna you are aware that I have avowed that I shall not be making use of any kinds of arms in this war of Kurukshetra between you two families, then why have you preferred and accepted me and not asked for my most powerful Narayani Army that could have helped in winning over the war”.
“My Lord I am aware that even the greatest of any armies cannot match your strength and power and you alone are powerful enough to vanquish and destroy all enemies hence I would not require any of the mightiest militaries of the universe. Of what use will be the greatest armed force if it is not commanded by you, you are the supreme commander amongst all commanders of the universe. Besides it has been my earnest desire and I have for long prayed for that you will guide my chariot some times in my life and now that this war has very gracefully and to my good fortune , presented an opportunity for you to do so. Please bless me by granting my wishes and by gratifying my prayers”. The lord smiled and accedes to Arjuna’s humble request. He very kindly accepted to act as the guide to the chariot of Arjuna as being an Omniscient he had foreknown and foreseen the need to teach Arjuna the divine philosophy of life, death and the life afterwards. The lord could prophesy and anticipate that Arjuna’s indecisiveness and his love and affection for his teachers , elders, and other members of his clan could be the impediment to this war of truth against evil. The lord Krishna knew that his most ardent and devout follower will need to resolve the is emotional, ethical, religious and many other conflicting issues arising in his mind before he could be persuaded and motivated to raise arms in a confrontation against the king Dhratrashtra and his son Dhuryodhna.
Fearing the imminent predictable consequences of the war, Sage Vyaasa had forewarned his friend Dhratrashtra the unsighted ruler of kuru clan, “the kshatriya are destined to visit war and face extermination, and if you are keen to see the action in the war I have the powers to grant you a special divine psychic vision to help you look at the scenes of the war from the far off distance here while sitting in your palaces”.
King Dhratrashtra has always been apprehensive of the mighty strength of the pandavaas brothers and in his heart he always knew that a war with pandavaas will ultimately result into the obliteration of his own kingdom and the total demise of his kith and kin. He said to Rishi Vyaasa,” but I have never been able to look at anything or at any object all my life as I have led a blind man’s life. I am not keen to sight with my own eyes the destruction and death of my own blood related nearest and dearest family. I can though listen to the details of the war from Sanjaya ´.
The sage Vyaasa, using his celestial powers had endowed Sanjaya with divine sight, and he said, “I endow Sanjaya with the talent of extrasensory vision to see all, the happening that will take place in the battle fields of Kurukshetra from this place. Sanjaya has been bestowed by me with the divine insight; by making use of these celestial powers he will be able to actually perceive the happenings in the battle field. He will be able to hear what the warriors are talking amongst themselves from far off distance. He will be able to read and infer the thoughts that occur in the minds of the people taking part into the Great War. He will then narrate the same to you in a manner as if you have yourself been present in the battle field and every action is taking place in your presence”.
Dhratrashtra however did not ask Sanjaya for the happenings at the battlefield of Kurukshetra for the initial ten days of the war, which could be attributed to his fears of the outcomes of the war. He was always anticipating and he had hoped so that that his brother Pandu’s sons will eventually suffer defeat at the hands of his son Dhuryodhna and his armed forces . But he was equally apprehensive of the fact the powerful and mighty foes that pandavaas five brothers had been so far they would be able to exterminate his entire clan that had gone into the war. It is only when he learnt that mighty Bhishma had fallen prey to the arrows of Arjuna in the battle ground that he showed his keenness to Sanjaya to learn of the events taking place at the battle fields of Kurukshetra. Sanjaya had come to Dhratrashtra and informed him of the Pitamaha Bhishma falling down in the battleground and the defeat of the Duryodhana’s army for the day. Dhratrashtra implored upon Sanjaya to tell him of all the goings-on at the combat zone. Says Dhratrashtra to Sanjaya:
“Dharamkshetre kurukshetre samvetayuyutsva
Mamka pandavaschaiv kimkurvt Sanjaya” (!)
“O Sanjaya! All my sons and the sons of my brother Pandava have gathered with the intentions of waging a war against each other at the sacred place of Kurukshetra .Please tell me what they have been up to”.
Dhratrashtra here refers to all his relations and his 100 sons who had gathered under the banner of Kuru prince Dhuryodhna to fight against the pandavaas. He had also expressed his desire to know about the kings and the rulers, the princes and the warriors who had gathered at the war field in support of his brother’s sons’ pandavaas. He wanted to know as to who had been able to survive the war and the fighting of the armies in the last ten days and who have been eliminated in this gruesome and fierce fight by falling to the enemy’s mighty power.
Sanjaya on being implored by the Kuru king Dhratrashtra commences his description of the battle field. He narrates to the king Dhratrashtra, the happenings that have taken place there in the battle fields of sacred Kurukshetra. Both the armies of the kuru and the pandavaas had taken their positions in the war grounds of Kurukshetra ready to go into war the instant their war generals wanted them to begin the aggressive assault.
“Drashtavaa tu pandavaanikam vyuhdam duryodhanstda
Acharyamupsagdmy raja vachanmavvreet (2)
Said Sanjaya, “king Dhuryodhna at that time looked at the army of pandavaas deployed strategically in the battlefield and he then went to Dronacharya and addressed him with these words,
“Pashyataam panduputramnamacharya mahtim chamoom
Vyuhdam dhrupadputren tv shishen dheemta” (3)
“Oh my teacher, behold the huge army deployed strategically by your clever disciple and the son of Dhrupad, Dhrishtdumna “. And then Dhuryodhna tells his teacher about the other leading fighters and generals of the pandavaas’ military who have been lined up to fight against kuru in the war , by naming each one of them,
“Atr shura maheshwasa bhimaarjunsma yudhi
Yuyudhano viratsch dhrupdasch maharatha (4)
Dhrshtketuaschekitan kashirajasch viryavaan
Purujitkuntibhojasch shaivayasch narpungdv (5)
Yudhamanusch vikrant utmojasch viryavaan
Sabhdro draupadeyasch sarv ev maharatha (6)-
“The pandavaas army include amongst them great fighters who possess mammoth bows. These troops include courageous men like and equal to Bhima, Arjuna, Yuyudhana, Virata and great charioteer Dhrupad. We can see amongst them Dhrstaketu, Cekitana and the gallant King of Kasi, also Purujit, Kuntibhoja and Siaibya the prime man amongst all men. There are invincible Yudhamanyu, the potent Uttamauja, the brave; and son of Subhadra and all five sons of Draupadi, all of them being great warriors are also involved in this warfare and they are present in the war ground”.
The political temperament adopted by Dhuryodhna for highlighting the strength , valor and the fighting capabilities pertaining to the warriors and commanders of the mighty army of the pandavaas to his teacher Dronacharya clearly indicates the shrewd glib talk adopted by Dhuryodhna to set off and influence his mentor Dronacharya against his favored disciples Pandavaas. Duryodhana’s fully well knew that his teacher Dronacharya had always favored the pandavaas brothers and that Arjuna had always been his most endeared disciple. Dhuryodhna always had wanted to sow the seed of dislike for pandavaas in the mind of his guru Dronacharya and hence that is the reason, Dhuryodhna mentions about the potency and killing power of the troops deployed by the pandavaas’ military commander Dhrishtdumna, who is being mentioned as the son of Dronacharya’s friend Dhrupad and the smart disciple of Dronacharya. Dhuryodhna also appears to be forewarning Acharya Dronacharya about each brave warrior’s (who fights on the side of pandavaas), potential threat to the soldiers of Kuru military by mentioning about their strengths and powers.
Dhuryodhna then looked towards the armed forces under the control of Hastinapur and insists that Dronacharya should also get familiar with those braves who had gathered to fight against the pandavaas and who were willing to lay down their lives for the cause of Hastinapur.
“Asmakam tu vishishta ye tannbodh dwijotam
Nayka mum sainyasya sanagayarth taan brvimi te “(7)
“O supreme Brahman! You should also meet and understand those chiefs and commanders who are fighting this war on our side. Let me tell you about the commanders who are commanding our units in this war.” Dhuryodhna begins his praises of the chiefs of his own army”.
“Bhawaan Bhishamasch Karnasch Kripasch Smitianjay
Ashvtthama Vikarnasch Somdattistthaiv Ch “(8)
Dhuryodhna had on purpose begun his address to his teacher Dronacharya by addressing him as supreme Brahman in order to emphasize upon the fact that he himself is not less than anyone in this world and in fact on the contrary he happens to be greater than many warriors of the enemy army who have assembled in the grounds of Kurukshetra for the confrontation. Dhuryodhna further laid stress on the fact that the army under their control comprised of many greats warriors and heroes and he insisted to introduce a few of them,
“We have Grandfather Bhishma and karna. We have the Great War clincher Kripacharya, and as great as him Ashvtthama, Vikarna, And Bhurishrva the Son of Somdatta”.
“Anye ch bahva shura madrthe tyakyjivita
Nanashastraprahrna sarve yudhvisharda” (9)
“And we have in our army many others brave leaders of soldiers who are willing to die for my cause. They are all fully equipped with the artillery for war and are capable and totally trained in the use of these weapons of warfare”.
Now Dhuryodhna very shrewdly makes an evaluation of the two armies confronting each other in the war Of Kurukshetra and he makes sure that he must praise his own army and declare it as superior to the military in the enemy camp. Says Dhuryodhna,
“Aprayatm tadsmakm balam Bhishmabhirakshitam
Paryatam twidmeteshan balam Bhimabhirakshitm” (10)
“We have an invincible army that is protected by the great grandfather Bhishampitamah and it has become very easy to win over the enemy army of the pandavaas lead by and under the protection of Bhima “.
Dhuryodhna of course has exhibited in a manner an outstanding positive emotional intelligence of building up the trust and confidence level of his supreme commander and teacher Guru Dronacharya. He has equally displayed his own optimism into the great combatant of the ranks of Bhishma Pitamaha who is the supreme commander of his forces. He had at the same time undervalued and underplayed the warfare and combating skill of the pandavaas’ army on the other side under the command of Bhima who was a great fighter himself but in the opinion of Duryodhana Bhima lacked the strategy, vision , experience and the expertise of a veteran general that would have fought many a wars. Hence kuru crown prince Dhuryodhna was fully aware of psychological strategy that he must adopt to intelligently play upon the emotions of his teacher in such a subtle way that it should give his teacher the sense of superiority of the armed forces he was commanding on the day of the war.
Dhuryodhna makes a special request to his entire staff of commanders that the chief commander of kuru armed forces, and the grand patriarch Bhishampitamah should be given protection by them on all fronts in the war field and that the life of the legendry fighter must be saved even as the other commanders focus on the place where they are stationed to battle out the hostilities in the armed combat with the enemies.
“Ayneshu ch sarveshu yathabhagmvstitha
Bhishamevabhirakshantu bhavanta sarv aiv hi “(11)
Having described the subject matter of the communiqué that took place between Dhuryodhna and Dronacharya, to the blind king Dhratrashtra, Sanjay now begins narrating to him about the incidents and the events that are taking place in the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
“Tasya sanjnayan harshm kuruvridha Pitamaha
Sinhnaad vindyochche shankham dadhmo pratapvaan” (12)
“In order to please and excite the kuru prince Dhuryodhna, Bhishampitamah, had blown on the conch Dadhmo making out the sounds of many lions growling simultaneously in the forests”.
“Tt shankhasch bheyarshch panvaankgomukha
Sahsevabhynynt s shabdstumuloabhavat” (13)
“Thereafter the battle field had boomed with the sounds of conchs, drums, and mridangams echoing very frightening reverberations”.
Sanjaya continued with his description of the happenings of the early preparatory incidents on the war front. He now speaks about what the pandavaas were doing in the battle field of Kurukshetra”.
“Tt shavetharyeyurkte mhti syandne stitho
Madhava pandavaschaiv divyo shankham pradmtu” (14)
“Thereafter Lord Krishna and Arjuna too had blown on their divine conches while they were riding a splendid chariot being pulled by white horses “.
“Panchjanya hrishikesho devdattam dhananjaya
Pondram dadhmo mahashankham bhimakarma vakrodar “(15)
“Lord Krishna who is referred to as Hrishikesh had blown on a conch Named Panchjanya; Arjuna who had been named Devdatta after he had defeated many kinds in the Rajsuyaga and won huge wealth blew on the Conch Devdattam given to him by Indra. Bhimsen (who was so named as Bhimakarma due to his colossal physique and Vakrodar on account of his regular routine of eating and digesting massive quantities of food) blew into the big conch Pondram”.
“Anantvijayam raja kuntiputro Yudhishtra
Nakula Sahdevasch sughushmanipushpko” (16)
“Yudhishtra the son of Kunti and who is expected to be the king had blown into Anantvijayam conch, and Nakula and Sahdeva the youngest of the pandavaas, had heralded the war by making sounds of confrontation through the conches named Sughosh and Manipushpak respectively”.
“Kasyasch parmeshwas shikhandi ch maharatha
Dhrashtdhyumno viratsch satyakischprajita “(17)
Dhrupdo draupadeyasch sarvasch prithivipate
Saubhadrasch mahabahu shankhandhmu prathak prathak “(18)
“Kashiraja the one who possesses a great bow and Shikhandi the expert charioteer, Dhrashtdhyumno, and king Virata and the invincible Satyaki, king Dhrupad and all the five sons of Draupadi and the large armed Abhimanyu the son of Subhadra, o king! , they had all blown into their conches separately”.
“Sa ghosho dhartrashtranam hridyani vyadart
Nabhasch prithvim chaiv tumulo vyanunadyan” (19)
“ And the dreadful sounds coming out of all the conches used by all these people spelt their reverberations all over the skies and the earth, putting fears into the hearts and minds of all those who are fighting this war from your side”.
Sanjaya wanted to tell the blind king Dhratrashtra that the sounds made by all the conches used by the great warriors from the pandavaas army had been very vindictive and imposing in nature and that these sounds could actually be killing for the weak hearted members of the kuru army.
“Ath vyasavathittandrshtva dhratrashtran kapidhvaj
Pravarte shastrasampate dhanurudhyam Pandava” (20)
After Sanjaya has described the impact of the sounds made by brave pandavaas in the battle field he now shifts his focus of attention on Arjuna and starts narrating as to how Arjuna has very bravely asked the charioteer Lord Krishna to drive his chariot in the middle of the war, in the midst of the commandos from both the armies.
“Hrishikesham tda vakyamidmah mahipate”,
Says Arjuna to lord Krishna,
Sainyorubhyomardhye ratham stathpaty meachyut” (21)
Sanjay tells the king that Arjuna has implored upon lord Krishna by addressing him as Achyut which means invincible God, the one that can never be destroyed and the one whose powers and whose potential can never be lessened and diffused.
Says Arjuna, “o Achyut please park my chariot in the midst of both the armies “.
Kaimrya sah yudhavyamsmin ransmudhyme” (22)
“And please keep the horses and my chariot parked in the midst of the enemies forces till the time I am able to look at and appraise at those opponents from the opponent army who are in favor of Dhuryodhna , are desirous of war and against whom I have to fight out this war in the battle fields of Kurukshetra”.
“Yotsyamananvekhsyeahm y aiteatr smagta
Dhratrashtrasya durbudheryudhe priychikirshav” 23
“I want to understand this business of war and look at all those kings and other fighters who have come together here under the banner of Dhuryodhna the rogue son of Dhratrashtra and have agreed to take part in this war in his support”.
Arjuna while expressing such emotions obviously is letting out his, pain, anguish and astonishment at all those who have been favoring arch enemy and a swindler kuru prince Dhuryodhna in spite of their being aware of the fact that he had cheated pandavaas and had usurped their land and kingdom depriving them of their legitimate ownership and privileges . Arjuna wanted to convey to Lord Krishna that he was willing to give all the opponents who have joined in support of Dhuryodhna a befitting reply in the war for their supporting a fraudster Dhuryodhna.
Sanjaya who is explaining the events that are taking place in the war , further narrates to Dhritrashtra, the reaction of the lord Krishna, to the words spoken by Arjuna, to lord Krishna,
“Evmukto hrishikesho gudakeshen bharat
Sainyorubhyomardhye sthaaphpityitva rathotam (24)
Bhishamdronpramukhta sarvesham ch mahikshitam
Uvaach parth pashyaitan samvaitan kuruniti” (25)
Sanjaya said, “O king Dhratrashtra! On hearing such a request from Arjuna, Lord Krishna had driven and parked Arjuna’s chariot in the middle of the grounds where rival armed forces commandeered by Bhishma and Dronacharya and all other kings who had come to the war were facing each other in all their ferociousness to take it out in the battle . Lord Krishna then had addressed Arjuna, “o Partha! Look closely at all the kaurvaas ready to wage a war”.
Lord Krishna had addressed Arjuna in a manner as if he wanted to tell him that” look at all these people who are from your family and clan who have the same blood flowing in their veins and flesh as you. But perhaps these people are made up of different ethical and moral constitution that spells evil and only evil of war and hence you must look at them from the close range and understand their intentions and willingness to kill you and all your brothers”.
Sanjaya continued his description of the battle field,
“Tatrapashystithan partha pitranath pitamahan
Acharyanmatulan bharaatran putraan pautraan sakhisnstha (26)
Shavsuraan suhradyaishaiv sianyorbhyorpi”
Thereafter the lord had implored Arjuna; he looked at his uncles, grand- fathers, great grand –fathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, and friends. He also looked at his in-laws and other well wishers and family folks. He noticed that there in the war grounds amongst the armies of kuru and pandavaas, stood his father’s brother Bhurishrva and his sons, his grand – fathers and great grand- fathers like Somdatta, Bhishma, and Bahmik, his teachers and mentors Dronacharya and Kripacharya. There stood the brothers of his mother Purujit, Kuntibhoja and Shalya. He noticed there amongst the warriors willing to lay down their lives, his own sons and his brothers’ sons Abhimanyu, Prativindhya, Ghatokatch, Lakshman and the Sons of Lakshman who were related to him as his grandsons and who had also come to fight out this war. There were many such who had been his friends during his childhood and with whom he had played many childhood games and all kind of pranks. They have all wished him well in his life till this day of the war ,when many of the people he was looking at had come here with the plans to either take his and his brothers’ lives or lay down their life for fro supporting Duryodhana’s in retaining the ill-begotten kingdom which had actually rightfully belonged to pandavaas.
“Taan smikshya sa kaunteya sarvaa bandhunvstithan (27)
Kripya paryaavishto vishidnnidamabraveet”
“Arjuna, the son of Kunti looked at all his near and dear ones, family members and other people who were related to him very intimately. He lamented the unfortunate occasion, the place and the circumstances where he was meeting all of them. He in a very pathetically mind addressed lord Krishna in these words,
“Drashatavem swajanam Krishna yuyutsun samupastitham (28)
Sidanti mam gatrani mukham ch prishushyti
Vaipthushch sharire me romharshch jaayte” (29)
It is obvious that Arjuna could not have been able to bear the sudden shock of coming across face to face, with his all the near and dear ones in the battle field of Kurukshetra standing by prepared to kill and take someone else’s life or be all set to sacrifice their own life . The emotions of shock, apprehension and skepticism expressed by Arjuna are such as would be the outcome from any person on learning that his own family members, relatives, friends and well-wishers have been taking a stand either in favor of him or against him and have gone to the point of either taking a life or offering their own life at the altar by waging a war against the protagonist.
Unable to bear the shock of what he saw in the battle field, Arjuna, expresses his immediate fears and anxiety to lord Krishna, “o Krishna! My hands and feet are going numb when I look at my own people eager to wage a war against us in this battle field. My mouth gets dry, my body trembles and I am absolutely taken aback as I look upon them and understand the reason of their presence in this war ground of Kurukshetra”.
Arjuna had expressed all such terms of trepidation, caution and apprehensions, not because he was afraid of the threat and devastation occurring to his own body and matter as an outcome of the war but he was concerned and apprehensive of causing grievous hurt and injury to all those people who had belonged to him and who had been part of his living and breathing in his life. He considered all of them to be an element of his own way of existence, in flesh and blood. He was afraid that all those near and dear ones from both sides of the family and the extended clan of his familial relations , who have gathered for bringing about a war against each other, will ultimately be vanquished and they will die out in front of his eyes. He did not want his own self and person to become a cause for their destruction and annihilation.
Arjuna had displayed a greater amount of apprehension, anxiety and worry for the life and property of his folks, even when he was in the war in the face his own death and destruction. The very thought that all his relations and his family members would be facing the threat of elimination and death in this war had caused immense anxiety and pain to Arjuna. The reality of losing everyone in this war, had affected his psychic and mind so much that his mouth had gone dry and his body had started trembling
“Gaandivam santrste hastatvkchaiv pridhamyte
Na cha shaknomyavasthatum bhramtiv ch me man “(30)
“My bow Gaandivam is falling down and slipping away from my hands as my hands have gone too feeble to hold it. My body and skin appears to be on fire, as I am totally at a loss to understand and make out the events that are taking place here in this battle field. I am not able to hold myself. I may lose my consciousness and fall down’.
It will be incorrect to call Arjuna a coward here as many would think that Arjuna being a great warrior should not have expressed himself and reacted the way he had, because the decision to wage a war had been taken and no soldier can and should be afraid of the consequences of the war, once the warring forces have come face to face against each other with an intention to begin the fight. No one could have doubted Arjuna’s capacity and capabilities to fight and win over this war that had been declared against kaurvaas, as the same Arjuna has been addressed as Dhananjaya a few Shloka before which means the winners of many a wars who had brought home ample wealth and riches for the kuru king Dhratrashtra after vanquishing many kings and bringing them under the sovereignty and control of Hastinapur. Even his bow Gaandivam has been a witness to many a wars won by Arjuna. This bow Gaandivam had been bestowed upon and gifted to Arjuna by the god Varun Dev on the insistence of the fire god (Agnidev) when Arjuna had set afire to the Khnadavaa forests. Arjuna possessed a celestial bow and he knew that he could never be defeated by anyone in the world. He had often been referred to as the unvanquished and the best bowman of the world.
Arjuna himself however clarifies his unwillingness and futility of fighting this war as he explains to lord Krishna.
“Nimitaani ch pashyaami vipritaani keshava
Na ch shreyoanupashyami hatvaa swajanmahve”
“O keshava! I can foresee that the foreboding omens of this war are too gloomy in their nature and I do not anticipate any one’s benefit in killing of entire family members in this war”.
Arjuna laments that in the event of his winning this war, who he would share and enjoy his winnings with if not with the close kith and kin. Arjuna feels that fighting a war with all the relatives, family and friends that will result into eternal Killing of own family members which will be gross wrongdoing in this world and also in the next birth.
He again reiterates when he says,
“na kadkshe vijayam Krishna na ch rajyam sukhani ch
Ta ime awastithta yudhi prananstyktva dhnaani ch “(32)
“O lord Krishna! I do not crave for winning this war, nor do I look forward to the luxury of ruling a kingdom that I would succeed after winning this war. O Gobind! Of what use is such an empire, of what use are such comforts and life if we have to be deprived of our near and dear ones and pay the price of winning this war, and for these luxuries by ending their life”.
Arjuna is taken aback as he gets into the shock by learning that his family and friends too are in the race for helping Dhuryodhna to retain his wrongfully gained territory and the rule that he had usurped form the pandavaas, even when they fully well know that they are likely to get killed in this war.
Arjuna continues his bewail,
“Yeshamrthe kadkshitam no rajyam bhoga sukhani ch
Ta imeavasthita yudhi praananstayaktvaa dhnaani ch” (33)
“It is so disheartening and painful to note that all those for whom we desire to provide for all the comforts of life and the riches of kingdom they have lost all hope and interest in these material goods and treasures. They have all come to the war grounds to wage a war. I do not want such riches and wealth as any amount of riches and wealth, can be of no use if all these people who have come to the war are destined to face certain death”.
Arjuna now starts reciting the names of all those family members who he can actually identify and make out in the war grounds and who have come to defy death or accept death as the case may be.
“Acharya pitra putrastthaiv ch Pitamaha
Ma aatula shvasura shyala sambhandinsttha” (34)
Arjuna tells lord Krishna, “We have in this war ground amongst other people, my teachers, elders and younger brothers of my father, and grandfathers, maternal uncles, my in-laws, and many other close relatives who have come to fight this war. The winnings and the exploits that we get by becoming victorious in this war will be of no worth to me if all of these people who have come to fight this war have to be sacrificed and their life taken to win this war.
Arjuna expresses thus his unwillingness to fight this war and he refuses eventually to be a party to any hostilities that will kill all his family members and the relatives who have come to the fighting arena,
“Etaant hantumichhami dhantoapi Madhusudana
Apee trailokyarajyasya heto Kim nu mahikrite” (35)
Arjuna addresses Lord Krishna as Madhusudana and reiterates his unwillingness to fight this war,
“O Madhusudana! Even if the people gathered on the other side in the enemy camps happen to be my avowed foes and enemies and they want to kill me, I shall not be fighting this war. I cannot see any one of them dead and eliminated. Nor do I want to avail the benefit of becoming an emperor of the earth and its comforts after their death, as they are my nearest and dearest. I do not, not even when I am promised the kingdom of all three planets i.e. the sky, the earth and the world below. I am not willing to kill any of my kith and kin on the other side from the enemy camp nor do I want to see any one getting killed on my side as they are both my family.
“Nihatya dhratrashtran kaa preetee syaajnardana
Papmevaashraydasmaan hataitvanattaayina “(36)
Arjuna tries to justify the stand that he has been advocating by saying now that, “even when the villainous sons of Dhratrashtra have usurped our kingdom. Even when they, have deprived us of everything, we shall not be gaining anything by killing them. On the contrary we shall be committing a sin by butchering them. We shall not stand to gain in any way neither in this world nor shall we will ever become spiritually happy in the other world by killing these terrorists, then why should we unnecessary incur the wrath of all our forefathers and ancestors by committing a heinous sin of eliminating our own family”.
Arjuna obviously feels that even if the kuru sons have played foul with them and they have many a times plotted to murder Arjuna and his brothers yet Dhuryodhna and all his brothers belong to their clan and should not be killed thus in the war.
Arjuna here displays a very magnificent and noble emotion of granting pardon to perpetrators of criminal plotting against his and his brothers’ life, i.e. the Kuru brothers and their other associates somewhere anticipating that such a move of not raising weapons against them could perhaps reform the attitude of the wrong doers and they may perhaps comeback to the path of morality even though Arjuna is fully well aware that the selfish and criminal nature of Duryodhana does not deserve to be treated with any kind of mercy and piety, but then Pandava brothers had been raised by their mother Kunti in a way that their religious and family values had always been of the highest values.
Arjuna is expressing his opinion about this war and the people gathered in the war to fight, to kill their own family members. Says he,
“Tasmananhra vyam hantun dhratrashtran swabandhvaan
Swajanam hi katahm hatvaa sukhina syaam Madhava” (37)
“Now you will understand, hey Madhava! We are not in a position to kill the sons of our own family member Dhratrashtra, because how can we remain at peace within ourselves by killing our own people, hence I do not want to fight this war”.
“Yadhyapaite na pashyanti lobhopahtchetasa
Kulkshaykratam dosham mitradrohe ch paatkam (38)
Katahm Na gyeymsmaabhi paapaadasmaannivartitutam
Kulkshaykratam dosham prapashyabhdi janardana” (39)
“These people who have been corrupted by their avarice and have gathered to kill their family members can not actually assess the amount of sin involved in destroying one’s own family and in the act of cheating a friend. We who are aware of the curse that can befall us if we kill our family should desist from this heinous act and think of dropping the idea of war”.
Arjuna now discusses the kind of curse that can befall on those who end up killing their own family members and others from their own clan,
“Kulkyashey pranshyanti kuldharma sanatanaa
Dharme nashte kulam kratsanmadharmoabhibhvatyut “(40)
The annihilation of the tribe and the family by self result into the destruction of the sanatanaa kul dharma (religion of the families who otherwise lead a life of religiosity, truthfulness and of piety) and when the faith is destroyed then entire clan can be damned to suffer with all kinds of misdemeanors and wrongdoings that do not go with the religiosity of their dharma (religion). Arjuna meant that by the destruction of the family and its values, all kinds of traditions, and systems established to run a civilized society also get sacrificed and lead to a absolute disorder, anarchy, and impiety within the family and the society .
Arjuna now discusses the impact that such unreligiosity can have within the condemned family,
“Adharmabhibhvaatkrishna pradushyanti kulstariya
Strishu dushatshu varnney jayte varnsakadar” (41)
“ Hey Krishna In the event of there being intemperance of the failings and the transgressions in a family , the women folks of the family get vitiated and get defiled resulting into the loss of purity of the genes of the family . When such anarchy of unreligiosity spreads in the family it may result into the unwanted relationships amongst the men and women from other clans which can pollute the purity of the legacy of the clan”
“Sakdro narkayaiv kulghnaanam kulasya ch
Patanti pitro hyeshan luptpindodakkriya” (42)
“The debasement of the purity of a clan leads to the all those responsible for the killing of the families to get consigned to the hell and their families also get relegated to the miseries of suffering the same fate. Since such people who are killed by their own kith and kin do not receive any religious ceremonial send off and obeisance on the occasion of their death, , their forefathers (precursors) who have died earlier even due to natural causes do not rest in peace after death. Their souls suffer from the torments of the devil.”
Arjuna carries on,
“Doshairetai kulghnaanam varnsankadrkarkai
Utsaadhyante jaatidharma kuldharmaashch shaashvata” (43)
“When such killers as kill their own families abound in the world, they destroy their families’ faith and creed. They become the cause of their families too suffering in the process”.
Arjuna now explains the difference between the family’s religious inheritance and the faith of the family,
“Utsannkuldharmanaan manushanaan Janardana
Narkeaniyatan vaaso bhavtityanushushurum” (44)
“O Janardana! We have been hearing and the saying that people who have lost their family faith abide into the hell for perpetuity; because they also lose their family’s religious inheritance and hence we should not massacre our own family members”.
“Aho batt mahatpaapam kartun vyavsita vayam
Yadraajyasukhlobhen hantun swajanmudhyata “(45)
“It saddens me to think! That we agreed to commit this gross sin of killing our own kith and kin simply by being tempted by the desires of gaining comforts and riches by way of ruling a kingdom despite the fact that we claim to be very spiritual and well versed into the principles of holiness” .
“Yadi maampratikaaramshastran shastrapaanaya
Dhaartrashtra ranne hanyustnme kshemtaran bhavet” (46)
“I believe it will be more to my welfare if I am killed in the battle field without wielding any of my armaments and without challenging the enemy, by the abundantly geared up sons of Dhritrashtra, who are but out to kill me in this battle field. At least if I die in this manner I shall not be committing any gross transgression of my family’s sacred inheritance, traditions, religion and culture. This way my family virtues and the traditions established by my forefathers will also remain protected for the successive generations”.
In order to satisfy Dhratrashtra’s apprehensive impatience to know about the next step taken by Arjuna, Sanjay (who has been explaining the happenings of the war to his king Dhratrashtra) narrates further,
“Ekmuktvaarjuna sadkhye rathosasth upaavisht
Visarjya sashran chaapan shoksanvignmanasa” (47)
“Arjuna had become very sad, miserable, and crestfallen. He threw away his bow and arrows and took a seat in the rear part of the chariot. He was contemplating about the shameful offence he was about to commit by assassinating his cousins and other family members and the consequent sufferings that should have befallen his clan by consigning of the family virtues to eternal hell”.