OVERVIEW

I Introduction 1-2
II Duryodhana Speaks 3-11
III Armies Blow Conches 12-19
IV Arjuna Ready for Battle 20-25
V Arjuna Succumbs to Emotion 26-30
VI Arjuna Reasons Wrongly 31-37
VII Arjuna Collapses 38-47

 

I. The Bhagavad Gita begins with Dhrtarastra, the blind monarch and father of the Kauravas, asking Sanjaya, his minister, what his sons and their cousins, the Pandavas, were doing in Kurukshetra. Sanjaya had been endowed with the power of viewing the proceedings at Kuruksetra from Hastinapur, about 100 km away.
II. Duryodhana, the eldest of the hundred sons of Dhrtarastra, and Commander-in Chief of the Kaurava army, approaches guru Dronacarya with arrogance. He speaks of their superior forces but is tormented by insecurity, fear and bitterness.
III. Sensing Duryodhana’s diffidence Bhisma, the majestic patriarch, blows his conch to cheer Duryodhana. Warriors from both armies follow suit. The combined noise that ensues pervades the earth and sky, filling the hearts of the Kauravas with fear.
IV. The battle-ready Arjuna asks his charioteer, Krsna, to drive him between the two armies so he may see those who had gathered there to please Duryodhana. Krsna drives him in front of Bhisma and Dronacarya suggesting that Arjuna should draw inspiration from these mighty warriors who were just doing their duty. They were not fighting to pander to Duryodhana.
V. Arjuna sees his own beloved grandfather Bhisma who had sacrificed the kingdom for which they were fighting. He sees his guru Dronacarya who had taught him archery. He sees relatives and friends on the other side, not warriors. He gets overwhelmed with emotion and drops his bow Gandiva.
VI. Emotion rules over his intellect and Arjuna reasons wrongly. He claims he has no desire for victory, sovereignty or pleasure and concludes they would be doing wrong by fighting their own people. He forgets that his mission was to resurrect righteousness. He was fighting for justice, not for wealth or power. It did not matter who the opponent was.
VII. Confused, Arjuna concludes they would incur great sin by killing their own relatives. He would rather have Dhrtarastra’s sons kill him than commit this sin. This was uncharacteristic of a mighty soldier like Arjuna. Grief-stricken, he sinks into his seat and drops his bow and arrow. Arjuna, the great warrior who had won many battles and brought great honour to his kingdom now crumbles when faced with a personal problem. So are we great heroes as long as the crisis is someone else’s. When it comes to our own issues we are unable to face up to them.

 

 

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