Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā – Introduction and chapter 1 (viṣāda-yoga)

School of Yoga explains Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā, chapter 1 – viṣāda-yoga (yoga of melancholy)

Acknowledgement –

School of Yoga is profoundly grateful to Saṃskṛta scholars and academics Pijus Kanti Pal (pal.pijuskanti@gmail.com) and Dolon Chanpa Mondal for their support in Saṃskṛta transliteration and quality control.

School of Yoga explains Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā – Overview 

No single text discusses or explains the many philosophies which fall under the umbrella of sanātana-dharma. Sanātana-dharma philosophy encompasses multiple schools of thought or shākhās which are subdivided into sub-schools or pravara. Further, these get subdivided depending on interpretation, region, culture, practice and most importantly, guru.

Consequently, availability of a vast number of options in schools of thought can confuse the practitioner, resulting in some abandoning their search for the truth or looking for simpler solutions. However, these simpler systems generally have rigid rules for easy understanding and application, which constrict experimentation or personalisation. 

What are the advantages of this open philosophical format? It allows for three major adjustments;

  1. First, it allows one to change philosophical direction multiple times.
  2. Next, it allows one to rearrange philosophical construct to suit personality & aspirations. This means that it allows one to borrow from various philosophical streams.
  3. Eventually, this open format structure allows practitioners to adapt their spiritual path to changes brought by age and experience.

School of Yoga explains the importance of Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā.

Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā should be viewed in the light of its importance to the overall philosophy of yoga (yogaśāstra).

  • The ancient Indian philosophical basis is that all existence is impermanent and a farce or illusion (māyā).
  • Illusion (māyā) rises from Brahman which is a state of imperishable equilibrium or peace, or a state where there is no change.
  • In fact, only the Brahman is permanent and absolute, everything else is impermanent or relative. Also, since it is permanent and absolute, Brahman is known as the state of Truth.
  • Obviously, there can be only one absolute Truth, and everything else is derived from it and known as illusion or māyā.
  • Everything in this illusionary state of relativity and impermanence (māyā) has a natural state (dharma). When anything is in this natural state (dharma), it is at material, stable, harmonic or thermodynamic equilibrium.
  • Dharma applies to all entities, from an atom to all existence. 
  • All forms of existence come as combinations of the primordial elements pañcabhūtas (five primordial elements) comprising earth (pthvī), water (ap), fire (agni), air (vāyu), space (ākāśa).
  • Also, dharma includes all sentient or insentient entities, systems, processes, businesses, travel and even countries. Since this natural state of peace encompasses everything, it is called sanātana-dharma or universal natural state.
  • In fact, everything in illusion (māyā) is governed by sanātana-dharma.  
  • Importantly, by the very nature of māyā, material equilibrium or dharma, is continuously subjected to both, sentient and insentient stimuli. As a result, the equilibrium of dharma is constantly disturbed by change. This causes turbulence, confusion or chaos which is called adharma.
  • Consequently, change creates an imbalance in all the systems impacted by change. Since any system that goes out of balance never returns to its original state of order or equilibrium (dharma), it can be deduced that dharma changes continuously and at the same time, there is a continuous increase in chaos or thermodynamic entropy which is the measure of randomness in any system (adharma)
  • The ancient seers (ṛṣis) of Bhārat realised that while realisation of Brahman was the main objective of existence, human and societal existence had to be structured so that chaos in daily living was minimised and individuals lived harmoniously in well-defined life-structures while gravitating naturally towards the Truth.
  • Hence, they integrated this sanātana-dharma philosophy into the lifestyle of the individual and society so that each life-activity assisted the person in transcending māyā naturally and reaching perfection (Brahman). This is the ancient civilisation (rāṣṭra) of Bhārat.
  • This system that they worked out is called Hinduism today. Interestingly, Hinduism cannot be called a religion in the traditional sense because it has no dogma. It is a way of life that is influenced by philosophical schools (shākhā) as well as sub-schools (pravara), each of which follow broad based practices but these too have a very open structure and a lot of overlap with other philosophical schools in their construct and practices.

School of Yoga explains sanātana-dharma.

  • The philosophical basis of Hinduism are the Vedas, which are considered to be apauruṣeya which can be translated as “not of man”, meaning that they were composed by ṛṣis or seers when in a state of complete merger with the Brahman. There are four Vedas (ig, yajur, sāma, atharva).
    • The Vedas are followed by Vedāṅga (limb of the Vedas) which are six auxiliary disciplines that help in maintaining the purity of the These are,
      • śikā (phonetics or enunciation of Saṃskṛta),
      • chandas (metering or how the verses should be chanted),
      • vyākaraa (grammar or linguistic analysis),
      • nirukta (explanation of certain words which are not generally used in everyday living),
      • kalpa (passage of life or life event rites)
      • jyoti (astrology).
    • Vedāṅga are followed by vedānta or upaniads which elaborate the qualities of Brahman as well as process of renunciation by simplifying the philosophy without diluting it, through explanations, comparison, storytelling (example – kahopanad) and other means.
    • Purāṇas are the next level of simplification for easy understanding of the Brahman and these cover life stories of people who can be called role-models, those who transcended physical existence to realise the Truth.
  • While the above texts cover the philosophical and intellectual aspects of Brahman, they are highly conceptual and difficult to implement in a secular manner. So, for daily application, the ṛṣis devised another approach for implementation of the above philosophy in society and this evolved to become,
    • Dharma-sūtras or sūtras which covered every aspect of physical existence. The intent was to condition behaviour of society and people with constant focus on transcending māyā and living in peace, so that transcending physical existence to realise the brahman became integrated into life and living. 
    • However, while dharma-sūtras applied to everyone, people had different socio-environmental requirements, so these sūtras were modified for local and regional adaptation and these local nuances became known as sampradāya. For example, rice and fish is a staple of Bengal and all religious and cultural events have both, rice and fish. However, sampradāya in Punjab it is wheat based, while in the South and East of India celebrations are predominantly rice based.
Thus, we can see that the sanātana-dharma philosophical system has some noteworthy features.
  • First, it is personal because it allows moulding of the philosophy to the person’s background, capability and outlook. There is no wrong path, there is only the effort, learning and transition. All that is required is sincerity and dedication of purpose and effort (śraddhā).
  • Second, since Brahman is an infinite unchanging peace, by its very nature it requires orientation towards internalising peace, balance and harmony among all entities, people and societies. Consequently, this makes Hinduism the most natural, organic and scientific philosophy ever designed by mankind. By its nature, it adapts to external influence and is never in conflict with any alien thought or civilisational pressure. Finally, this philosophy is unique because it does not seek to establish political or social ascendency over anyone because, its core principle is that all creation is equal.
  • Thirdly, Hinduism is designed around the code that every creation, whether it is sentient (jīva) or insentient (jadam) has a soul that has the potential to transcend māyā and eventually merge with Brahman. This covers everything from a lowly atom to the solar system. Hence, it does not restrict transcendental development to man alone. In fact, since man is intellectually superior, it places an onerous leadership responsibility on man to ensure health and harmony of the complete ecosystem. These responsibilities are enshrined in the pañca-mahā-yajña (five great sacrifices) and are covered in subsequent chapters.
  • Lastly, Hinduism is secular by design because it recognises that there are many distinct paths to realise Brahman and these paths need to be personalised to the natural capabilities of the seeker.

This is why Hinduism is not a religion but a “way of life”.

School of Yoga explains sanātana-dharma and its logical construction.

The ancient seers or ṛṣis specified that any philosophical hypothesis should satisfy certain testing rules that are called pramāṇas (rules of evidence). All pramāṇas are based on experience and logic, hence they can be personalised.

School of Yoga explains the pramāṇas.

The pramāṇas are – pratyaka (personal vision or experience of logic), anumāna (inference through application of rules of nature), upamāna (comparison and analogy with various logical constructs that have been accepted as valid), arthāpatti (postulation and derivation from evidence), anupalabdhi (non-apprehension or negative cognitive proof) and śabda (verbal testimony).

Pratyaka or personal experience. 

This is the most effective source of proof because it is based on personal experience. 

Example: Assume that you are walking down a street and see someone walking unsteadily in front of you. Generally, you would assume that he is drunk and feel disgusted. However, as you overtake him, if you were to see that the person is ill or in pain, your attitude would change immediately.

Any change in perception has been brought about by personal experience in the situation is pratyaka or personal experience. 

Anumāna or inference from experience.

This is the drawing of a conclusion based on prior knowledge, like assuming that if there is smoke, there must be fire.

Example: Assume that you are a parent whose child has been consistently getting good marks and grades. If in one exam, the child’s marks were to deteriorate unexpectedly, you would rightly assume from experience that the situation needs investigation. This is anumāna or inference drawn from experience.

Upamāna or comparison based on experience.

Example: We know that domestic dogs are similar to street dogs because we compare their form and function. Consequently, when we go on a wild life safari, we are able to recognise wolves, foxes or hyenas as different from dogs. 

This ability to compare and conclude is upamāna or comparison from experience.

Arthāpatti or postulation derived from evidence.

Example: All businesses create forecasts based on prior performance and future potential. These projections are based on analysis of prior performance, examination of current business situation, resources and risk.

The accuracy of any forecast depends on the analyst’s experience and exposure to various aspects of the business being forecasted.

This is arthāpatti or postulation derived from evidence. 

Anupalabdhi or negative cognitive proof.

Anupalabdhi is the ability to recognise a missing aspect of any problem being analysed.

Example: Assume that you are collating all your documents for an interview and you find your birth certificate missing.

Since, you recognise the absence of the certificate, you will initiate a search. This is anupalabdhi or negative cognitive proof.

Sabda or verbal testimony.

This is a commonly used pramāṇa or proof of existence.

Example: You are a manager with many sales representatives reporting to you. While, you may go with a few on customer visits, you will rely on verbal inputs or sabda of your subordinates to assess the state of your operations. 

Conclusion: one can see that this system does not prescribe, it allows one to seek, make mistakes, correct in small and incremental steps, called anubhava or experience to reach the truth or state of brahman. Obviously, this means that aspirant needs to have enormous drive, persistence and patience (śraddhā) to overcome frustration and failure.

This also means that the aspirant can choose from multiple paths in a manner that aligns with his or her personality and all will lead to a state of cognitive perfection, the state of Truth or brahman. Interestingly, this is enshrined in the Indian constitution as “Truth will triumph” (satyameva-jayate).

School of Yoga explains the value of a guru (read about the ancient gurukul system here).

In this open philosophical format for reaching the Truth, there is need for someone who can help the aspirant navigate the various paths (mārga). Such a person is called a guru (weighty one or one who guides from darkness = gu to light = ru).

guru may be defined as a teacher, guide or anchor who pounds and pestles all ignorance and delusions or ajñāna out of the aspirant and directs him or her to the truth. So, the guru must also have the discriminatory ability (viveka) and dispassion (vairāgya) to pierce the delusions and apprehensions that cloud the student and offer solutions without attachment to the student.

Oriental systems and practices clearly enunciate the quality or attitude with which the aspirant must approach the guru. It should be one of surrender or śaraṇāgati, which roughly translates to “I surrender my speed to you”. “Speed” here means “speed of movement of the sense of Self”. Consequently, śaraṇāgati means that the aspirant no longer exists as an individual, but as a tool of the guru, to be moulded, used or discarded as the guru wishes (read about the ancient gurukula system). Therefore, this also means that once the aspirant surrenders, he or she should not judge the guru, but submit without reservation.

Indeed, there are very few known yogīs who have reached the Truth without a guru, chief among them being Rāmakṛṣṇa Paramahaṃsa and Ramana Maharishi.

School of Yoga explains the background of Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā.

Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā is the only text that covers most of the paths to realisation of the Truth or Brahman. It does not prescribe any solution, that is for the aspirant to find – if one is lucky, at the feet of a guru. Since it does not prescribe, Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā is not a religious text just as sanātana-dharma is not a religion. In fact, one could adhere to any religion and follow the concepts in Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā to reach the Truth.

Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā was composed on a battlefield, more specifically an internecine, fratricidal civil war, where the warring factions were all kinsmen. The protagonist, warrior Prince and ace archer Arjuna is beset by fear of chaos which would ensue when so many died and his own personal grief at the thought of losing so many kinsmen as he reviews the battlefield situation. His doubts are answered by Śrī Kṛṣṇa, his charioteer and this forms the background of the text.

The conversation between Arjuna and Śrī Kṛṣṇa mirrors our own state in many situations.

  • It starts with internal confusion and conflict at the chaos arising from consequences.
  • Then, as we study Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā, we begin to understand the nature of permanence or the
  • Next, we learn about work and duty. Also, we learn about how to work without losing our sense of Self (asmitā).
  • This followed by an explanation of the many paths that we can take to re-establish equilibrium.
  • Finally, we understand the integration of the system with society (vijñāna), which is followed by our understanding of the Self (jñāna) and its integration within the macro-system.
  • So, Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā is actually a manual which each of us can use to navigate the labyrinth called “life”.
School of Yoga explains the timelines of Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā. 

There are some who have calculated the dates of the Mahābhārata battle (commonly called kuruketra War) as follows:

  • Start – mgaśirāśukla-ekādaśī = 8th December BCE 3139
  • End – 25th December BCE 3139.
School of Yoga explains the structure of Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā.

Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā is made up of 18 chapters, each chapter is a description of a yoga or method for harmonising).

These 18 chapters are broadly categorised as

  • Chapters 1- 6          Karma-kānḍa –       Volume of action
  • Chapters 7 – 12       Upanyāsa-kānḍa – Volume of proof and
  • Chapters 13 – 18     Jñāna-kānḍa –        Volume of knowledge

These 18 chapters contain 690 couplets as a conversation that includes 4 participants – the King Dhṛṭarāṣṭra (1 couplet), Sañjaya who oversees the conversation between Arjuna and Śrī Kṛṣṇa (40 couplets), Prince Arjuna who is the confused protagonist (85 couplets) and Śrī Kṛṣṇa (564 couplets).

Importantly, Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā is the only significant world-text that has its own birthday or Jayanthi. It is celebrated on the 11th day of the waxing moon in the month of Mārgaśīra.

School of Yoga introduces Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

In Mahābhārata, Śrī Kṛṣṇa operates as two personas – a pūraṇaic personality Śrī Kṛṣṇa who lived in the period and the yogī, who had reached a particular state of perfection. Often, it is easy to confuse the person from the yogī. This is a confusion that will last throughout Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā. 

  • Biological father – Vasudeva (Yādava Clan)
  • Biological Mother – Devakī (Ugra Race)
  • Brother – Balarāma
  • Sister – Subhadrā
  • Birthplace – Gokula,
  • Birth details:
    • Date – 18 July, 3228 BCE,
    • Month – śrāvaṇa,
    • Tithi aṣṭamī (eighth day of the waning moon),
    • Nakatra rohiī,
    • Day – Wednesday,
    • Time – 00:00 (midnight)
  • Wives: Rukminī, Ratyabhāmā, Jāmbavatī, Kālindī, Mitravindā, Nāgnajitī, Bhadrā, Lakṣmaṇā.
  • Death details: 18th Feb 3102 BCE. Age at death: 125 years, 8 months and 7 days.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa migrated from Mathurā to Vṛndāvana at age 9, staying in Vṛndāvana till age 14-16. Thereafter, he killed his maternal uncle Kaṃsa and released his parents who had been imprisoned by Kaṃsa. Following this, he migrated to Dvārakā and never returned.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa died 36 years after kuruketra war, in 3103 BCE, when the present-day kaliyuga is said to have begun.

School of Yoga introduces Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā, chapter 1 viāda-yoga (yoga of melancholy)

Dhṛṭarāṣṭra, the blind father of the kauravas, asks Sañjaya to explain the scene of battle at Kuruketra. Having seen the pāṇḍavas arrayed in battle opposite them, the kaurava King Duryodhana approached his Guru Droṇācārya and sought benediction and confidence. In response, Droṇācārya blew his battle conch, infusing confidence into the kaurava Army.  Likewise, the pāṇḍavas blew on their conches and there was a general exchange of drums and conches. Amidst this, Arjuna asked Śrī Kṛṣṇa to drive between the opposing armies so that he may see the opposing forces. Śrī Kṛṣṇa, his charioteer for the battle, did as asked.

Arjuna, seeing his kinsmen and close relatives on the opposite site, each preparing to slaughter the other, spoke with great sorrow that he had lost the strength and confidence to fight and began to question the very premise on which they had gone to battle, saying;

  • I do not wish to kill anyone.
  • What good will come out of this slaughter?
  • How can we be happy killing our own kinsmen despite the fact that their greed does not allow them to have softer sentiments?
  • The destruction of any family will result in corruption and destruction of all known social hierarchies and systems. Consequently, this is a great sin.
  • Putting down his bow, in distress and sorrow, Arjuna said “I won’t fight”.
Example 1.

You have been cheated of your property by a close relative. You are angry, frustrated and vengeful. You go to your lawyer to seek retribution. There, the lawyer explains the consequences of your action, the costs, efforts and risks…. You begin to have doubts on whether to proceed.

  • What is the difference in emotions between before and after your meeting with the lawyer?
  • The truth that you have been cheated has not changed. Your desire for justice has not changed, neither has the loss faced by you…
    • What has happened?
    • Why have you changed?
    • What is the change? 
Example 2.

You are dismayed at your annual appraisal rating and feel that it does not reflect your effort and contribution to the organisation. Consequently, you meet your immediate boss but his explanation does not satisfy you. So, you decide to go to the Head of the department. As you enter, you realise that your immediate boss will probably not be sympathetic to your action. Finally, you also realise that the Head may not be able to help! You feel nervous, experience palpitation and an unknown fear… 

  • Why are you afraid? 
  • What are you afraid of?
  • How do you deal with the anxiety?
  • Why do you constantly worry about the consequences of your action?
  • What is the role of dharma (conditioning) in your ability to deal with situations?

These are examples of Arjuna’s experiences when he examines the potential consequences of his action. 

School of Yoga posits some contradictions to accepted positions.

Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā is not a book of religion. By religion, we mean any system of thought that is based on the concept of God and has principles, dogma procedures and rules that need to be followed which are considered inviolable.

Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā does not have any dogma, principle or rules. It allows a practitioner to yoke his or her natural instincts with the state of peace in any manner that the person may find comfortable. Essentially, this means that the person works on his or her physical, emotional and intellectual strengths and weaknesses continuously to remain in peace, balance and harmony within the Self, surroundings and in all transactions.

This is why Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā is a book on yoga (yogaśāstra).

School of Yoga explains some lessons from Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā, chapter 1.

All of us face internal and external conflicts which result in stress and a feeling of melancholy. Often, internal stresses come from external factors such as job loss, negative annual appraisal and grading, conflicts at home or disagreements with friends etc. Internal factors can be perceived gap between expectation and achievement, inability to finish tasks, poor time management, obsession, loneliness etc.

This happens to all of us, the starting point in all situations is confusion, melancholy, internal conflict and stress, anxiety at the possible outcome etc. This is the reality that the Bhagavad-gītā uses as a foundation to build the open architecture of sanātana-dharma which gets detailed over the next seventeen chapters.

The transliteration and translation of Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā, chapter 1 follows.

The Saṃskṛta diacritic words are in red italics.

धृतराष्ट्र उवाच –

धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः ।

मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत सञ्जय ॥ १-१॥

Dhṛṭarāṣṭra said (1) At the field of righteousness, at kuruketra, what is the status of my people and also ṇḍavas who have gathered with a desire for battle (dharmakṣetre kurukṣetre samavetā yuyutsavaḥ māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāścaiva kimakurvata sañjaya ).

सञ्जय उवाच –

दृष्ट्वा तु पाण्डवानीकं व्यूढं दुर्योधनस्तदा ।

आचार्यमुपसङ्गम्य राजा वचनमब्रवीत् ॥ १-२॥

पश्यैतां पाण्डुपुत्राणामाचार्य महतीं चमूम् ।

व्यूढां द्रुपदपुत्रेण तव शिष्येण धीमता ॥ १-३॥

अत्र शूरा महेष्वासा भीमार्जुनसमा युधि ।

युयुधानो विराटश्च द्रुपदश्च महारथः ॥ १-४॥

Sañjaya said (2-4) having indeed seen the armies of ṇḍavas in battle array, Duryodhana, the king, approached his teacher and said (dṛṣṭvā tu pāṇḍavānīkaṃ vyūḍhaṃ duryodhanastadā ācāryamupasaṅgamya rājā vacanamabravīt 1-2). Teacher, behold here the great army the sons of Pāndu, marshalled by the son of Drupada, your talented student (paśyaitāṃ pāṇḍuputrāṇāmācārya mahatīṃ camūm vyūḍhāṃ drupadaputreṇa tava śiṣyeṇa dhīmatā 1-3). Here are daring warriors, great archers, equal to Bhīma and Arjuna in battle, Yuyudhāna, Virāta and Drupada the great charioteer (atra śūrā maheṣvāsā bhīmārjunasamā yudhi yuyudhāno virāṭaśca drupadaśca mahārathaḥ 1-4).

धृष्टकेतुश्चेकितानः काशिराजश्च वीर्यवान् ।

पुरुजित्कुन्तिभोजश्च शैब्यश्च नरपुङ्गवः ॥ १-५॥

युधामन्युश्च विक्रान्त उत्तमौजाश्च वीर्यवान् ।

सौभद्रो द्रौपदेयाश्च सर्व एव महारथाः ॥ १-६॥

अस्माकं तु विशिष्टा ये तान्निबोध द्विजोत्तम ।

नायका मम सैन्यस्य संज्ञार्थं तान्ब्रवीमि ते ॥ १-७॥

(5-7) Dhṛṣṭaketu and Cekitāna, King of Kāśi and valiant Purujit, Kuntibhoja and śaibya and best of men (dhṛṣṭaketuścekitānaḥ kāśirājaśca vīryavān purujitkuntibhojaśca śaibyaśca narapuṅgavaḥ 1-5). Yudhāmanyhu and courageous Uttamoujā and the brave son of Subhadrā and Draupadī and all great charioteers (yudhāmanyuśca vikrānta uttamaujāśca vīryavān saubhadro draupadeyāśca sarva eva mahārathāḥ 1-6). Ours also distinguished chiefs those who are knowledgeable, best of twice-born, the leaders of my army, for information, I will recount to you (asmākaṃ tu viśiṣṭā ye tānnibodha dvijottama nāyakā mama sainyasya saṃjñārthaṃ tānbravīmi te 1-7).

भवान्भीष्मश्च कर्णश्च कृपश्च समितिञ्जयः ।

अश्वत्थामा विकर्णश्च सौमदत्तिस्तथैव च ॥ १-८॥

अन्ये च बहवः शूरा मदर्थे त्यक्तजीविताः ।

नानाशस्त्रप्रहरणाः सर्वे युद्धविशारदाः ॥ १-९॥

अपर्याप्तं तदस्माकं बलं भीष्माभिरक्षितम् ।

पर्याप्तं त्विदमेतेषां बलं भीमाभिरक्षितम् ॥ १-१०॥

(8-10) Yourself, Bhīṣma and Karṇa and Kṛpa and Aśvatthāmā, victorious in war, and even Vikarṇa, son of Somadatta, (bhavānbhīṣmaśca karṇaśca kṛpaśca samitiñjayaḥ aśvatthāmā vikarṇaśca saumadattistathaiva ca 1-8). And many other heroes, for me willing to sacrifice their lives, armed with various weapons, all well skilled in battle (anye ca bahavaḥ śūrā madarthe tyaktajīvitāḥ nānāśastrapraharaṇāḥ sarve yuddhaviśāradāḥ 1-9). Unlimited is our strength, marshalled by Bhīṣmma, while their army marshalled by Bhima is insufficient (aparyāptaṃ tadasmākaṃ balaṃ bhīṣmābhirakṣitam paryāptaṃ tvidameteṣāṃ balaṃ bhīmābhirakṣitam 1-10).

अयनेषु च सर्वेषु यथाभागमवस्थिताः ।

भीष्ममेवाभिरक्षन्तु भवन्तः सर्व एव हि ॥ १-११॥

तस्य सञ्जनयन्हर्षं कुरुवृद्धः पितामहः ।

सिंहनादं विनद्योच्चैः शङ्खं दध्मौ प्रतापवान् ॥ १-१२॥

ततः शङ्खाश्च भेर्यश्च पणवानकगोमुखाः ।

सहसैवाभ्यहन्यन्त स शब्दस्तुमुलोऽभवत् ॥ १-१३॥

(11-13) Indeed, within and everywhere, the strength of the divisions is deployed to protect Bhīṣmma alone (ayaneṣu ca sarveṣu yathābhāgamavasthitāḥ bhīṣmamevābhirakṣantu bhavantaḥ sarva eva hi 1-11). Therefore, expressing happiness, the oldest of the kurus, the grandfather loudly let out a lion’s roar and blew his mighty conch (tasya sañjanayanharṣaṃ kuruvṛddhaḥ pitāmahaḥ siṃhanādaṃ vinadyoccaiḥ śaṅkhaṃ dadhmau pratāpavān 1-12). Then, conchs and kettledrums and tabors, drums and cow-horns suddenly blared forth in a sound that was tumultuous (tataḥ śaṅkhāśca bheryaśca paṇavānakagomukhāḥ sahasaivābhyahanyanta sa śabdastumulo’bhavat 1-13).

ततः श्वेतैर्हयैर्युक्ते महति स्यन्दने स्थितौ ।

माधवः पाण्डवश्चैव दिव्यौ शङ्खौ प्रदध्मतुः ॥ १-१४॥

पाञ्चजन्यं हृषीकेशो देवदत्तं धनञ्जयः ।

पौण्ड्रं दध्मौ महाशङ्खं भीमकर्मा वृकोदरः ॥ १-१५॥

अनन्तविजयं राजा कुन्तीपुत्रो युधिष्ठिरः ।

नकुलः सहदेवश्च सुघोषमणिपुष्पकौ ॥ १-१६॥

(14-16) Then, seated on a magnificent war-chariot yoked with white horses Mādhava and son of Pāndu also blew their divine conches (tataḥ śvetairhayairyukte mahati syandane sthitau mādhavaḥ pāṇḍavaścaiva divyau śaṅkhau pradadhmatuḥ 1-14). pāñcajanya of Hṛṣīkeśa, devadattam of Dhanañjaya and pauṇḍra was blown by the doer of terrible deeds, Bhīma (pāñcajanyaṃ hṛṣīkeśo devadattaṃ dhanañjayaḥ pauṇḍraṃ dadhmau mahāśaṅkhaṃ bhīmakarmā vṛkodaraḥ 1-15). Rājā Kuntīputra Yudhiṣṭhira blew the anantavijaya, Nakula and Sahadeva blew conches named sughoṣa and maṇipuṣpaka (anantavijayaṃ rājā kuntīputro yudhiṣṭhiraḥ nakulaḥ sahadevaśca sughoṣamaṇipuṣpakau 1-16).

काश्यश्च परमेष्वासः शिखण्डी च महारथः ।

धृष्टद्युम्नो विराटश्च सात्यकिश्चापराजितः ॥ १-१७॥

द्रुपदो द्रौपदेयाश्च सर्वशः पृथिवीपते ।

सौभद्रश्च महाबाहुः शङ्खान्दध्मुः पृथक्पृथक् ॥ १-१८॥

स घोषो धार्तराष्ट्राणां हृदयानि व्यदारयत् ।

नभश्च पृथिवीं चैव तुमुलोऽभ्यनुनादयन् ॥ १-१९॥

अथ व्यवस्थितान्दृष्ट्वा धार्तराष्ट्रान् कपिध्वजः ।

प्रवृत्ते शस्त्रसम्पाते धनुरुद्यम्य पाण्डवः ॥ १-२०॥

हृषीकेशं तदा वाक्यमिदमाह महीपते ।

(17-20) Supreme archer Kāśya, śikhaṇḍī and Dhṛṣṭadyumna, Virāta and unconquered Sātyaki (kāśyaśca parameṣvāsaḥ śikhaṇḍī ca mahārathaḥ dhṛṣṭadyumno virāṭaśca sātyakiścāparājitaḥ 1-17). Drupada, sons of Draupadī and all lords of the Earth and the mighty armed son of Subhadrā blew their conches one after another (drupado draupadeyāśca sarvaśaḥ pṛthivīpate saubhadraśca mahābāhuḥ śaṅkhāndadhmuḥ pṛthakpṛthak 1-18). That tumultuous resounding battle sound rent the hearts of Dhṛṭarāṣṭra’s team, from sky to earth (sa ghoṣo dhārtarāṣṭrāṇāṃ hṛdayāni vyadārayat nabhaśca pṛthivīṃ caiva tumulo’bhyanunādayan 1-19). Now, monkey banner seeing the arrayed Dṛtarāṣṭra’s people about to begin discharge of weapons, son of Pandu, taking up the bow then said this to Hṛṣīkeśa, Lord of the Earth (atha vyavasthitāndṛṣṭvā dhārtarāṣṭrān kapidhvajaḥ pravṛtte śastrasampāte dhanurudyamya pāṇḍavaḥ 1-20 hṛṣīkeśaṃ tadā vākyamidamāha mahīpate ).

अर्जुन उवाच –

सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये रथं स्थापय मेऽच्युत ॥ १-२१॥

यावदेतान्निरीक्षेऽहं योद्धुकामानवस्थितान् ।

कैर्मया सह योद्धव्यमस्मिन् रणसमुद्यमे ॥ १-२२॥

योत्स्यमानानवेक्षेऽहं य एतेऽत्र समागताः ।

धार्तराष्ट्रस्य दुर्बुद्धेर्युद्धे प्रियचिकीर्षवः ॥ १-२३॥

Arjuna said (21-23) Place my chariot in the middle of the armies, Acyuta (senayorubhayormadhye rathaṃ sthāpaya me’cyuta 1-21). I wish to see who has assembled here with the intention of fighting, and must be fought by me, in this eve of battle (yāvadetānnirīkṣe’haṃ yoddhukāmānavasthitān kairmayā saha yoddhavyamasmin raṇasamudyame 1-22). I wish to observe who among those who wish to please the deviant minded sons of Dhṛṭarāṣṭra (yotsyamānānavekṣe’haṃ ya ete’tra samāgatāḥ dhārtarāṣṭrasya durbuddheryuddhe priyacikīrṣavaḥ 1-23).

सञ्जय उवाच –

एवमुक्तो हृषीकेशो गुडाकेशेन भारत ।

सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये स्थापयित्वा रथोत्तमम् ॥ १-२४॥

भीष्मद्रोणप्रमुखतः सर्वेषां च महीक्षिताम् ।

उवाच पार्थ पश्यैतान्समवेतान्कुरूनिति ॥ १-२५॥

तत्रापश्यत्स्थितान्पार्थः पितॄनथ पितामहान् ।

आचार्यान्मातुलान्भ्रातॄन्पुत्रान्पौत्रान्सखींस्तथा ॥ १-२६॥

श्वशुरान्सुहृदश्चैव सेनयोरुभयोरपि ।

तान्समीक्ष्य स कौन्तेयः सर्वान्बन्धूनवस्थितान् ॥ १-२७॥

कृपया परयाविष्टो विषीदन्निदमब्रवीत् ।

Sañjaya said (24-27) Having been addressed by Guḍākeśa, Bhārata, Hṛṣīkeśa placed the supreme of chariots between the armies. (evamukto hṛṣīkeśo guḍākeśena bhārata senayorubhayormadhye sthāpayitvā rathottamam 1-24). In front of Bhīṣma and Droṇa and all other rulers of the earth, Pārtha said, behold the kurus gathered here (bhīṣmadroṇapramukhataḥ sarveṣāṃ ca mahīkṣitām uvāca pārtha paśyaitānsamavetānkurūniti 1-25). Stationed there, Pārtha saw, fathers, also, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, companions, fathers-in-law, friends and also warriors from both sides (tatrāpaśyatsthitānpārthaḥ pitṝnatha pitāmahān ācāryānmātulānbhrātṝnputrānpautrānsakhīṃstathā 1-26 śvaśurānsuhṛdaścaiva senayorubhayorapi ). Having seen all these relatives standing, filled with deep pity and sorrow, Kaunteya said (tānsamīkṣya sa kaunteyaḥ sarvānbandhūnavasthitān 1-27 kṛpayā parayāviṣṭo viṣīdannidamabravīt ).

अर्जुन उवाच –

दृष्ट्वेमं स्वजनं कृष्ण युयुत्सुं समुपस्थितम् ॥ १-२८॥

सीदन्ति मम गात्राणि मुखं च परिशुष्यति ।

वेपथुश्च शरीरे मे रोमहर्षश्च जायते ॥ १-२९॥

गाण्डीवं स्रंसते हस्तात्त्वक्चैव परिदह्यते ।

न च शक्नोम्यवस्थातुं भ्रमतीव च मे मनः ॥ १-३०॥

Arjuna said (28-30) Seeing my people, arrayed and eager to fight, my limbs fail me, and my mouth is getting parched (dṛṣṭvemaṃ svajanaṃ kṛṣṇa yuyutsuṃ samupasthitam 1-28 sīdanti mama gātrāṇi mukhaṃ ca pariśuṣyati ). My body is shivering and I am getting goosepimples, the gāṇḍīva is slipping from my hand and my skin is burning (vepathuśca śarīre me romaharṣaśca jāyate 1-29 gāṇḍīvaṃ sraṃsate hastāttvakcaiva paridahyate). I am unable to stand, it seems that my mind whirls with omens and I see adversity (na ca śaknomyavasthātuṃ bhramatīva ca me manaḥ 1-30 nimittāni ca paśyāmi viparītāni keśava ).

निमित्तानि च पश्यामि विपरीतानि केशव ।

न च श्रेयोऽनुपश्यामि हत्वा स्वजनमाहवे ॥ १-३१॥

न काङ्क्षे विजयं कृष्ण न च राज्यं सुखानि च ।

किं नो राज्येन गोविन्द किं भोगैर्जीवितेन वा ॥ १-३२॥

येषामर्थे काङ्क्षितं नो राज्यं भोगाः सुखानि च ।

त इमेऽवस्थिता युद्धे प्राणांस्त्यक्त्वा धनानि च ॥ १-३३॥

आचार्याः पितरः पुत्रास्तथैव च पितामहाः ।

मातुलाः श्वशुराः पौत्राः श्यालाः सम्बन्धिनस्तथा ॥ १-३४॥

(31-34) And no good I see in killing my people in battle, I do not desire victory, and not kingdom and other pleasures (na ca śreyo’nupaśyāmi hatvā svajanamāhave 1-31 na kāṅkṣe vijayaṃ kṛṣṇa na ca rājyaṃ sukhāni ca ). What will this kingdom give to us? What pleasure will be get in life? (kiṃ no rājyena govinda kiṃ bhogairjīvitena vā 1-32). The reason we desire enjoyment of kingdom pleasures, they stand ready to give life in battle, having abandoned wealth (yeṣāmarthe kāṅkṣitaṃ no rājyaṃ bhogāḥ sukhāni ca ta ime’vasthitā yuddhe prāṇāṃstyaktvā dhanāni ca 1-33). Teachers, fathers, sons and grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-laws as well as relatives (ācāryāḥ pitaraḥ putrāstathaiva ca pitāmahāḥ mātulāḥ śvaśurāḥ pautrāḥ śyālāḥ sambandhinastathā 1-34).

एतान्न हन्तुमिच्छामि घ्नतोऽपि मधुसूदन ।

अपि त्रैलोक्यराज्यस्य हेतोः किं नु महीकृते ॥ १-३५॥

निहत्य धार्तराष्ट्रान्नः का प्रीतिः स्याज्जनार्दन ।

पापमेवाश्रयेदस्मान्हत्वैतानाततायिनः ॥ १-३६॥

तस्मान्नार्हा वयं हन्तुं धार्तराष्ट्रान्स्वबान्धवान् ।

स्वजनं हि कथं हत्वा सुखिनः स्याम माधव ॥ १-३७॥

(35-37) I do not wish to kill them even if I am killed by them, or for the sake of domination of the three worlds, then why would I do it for earth? (etānna hantumicchāmi ghnato’pi madhusūdana api trailokyarājyasya hetoḥ kiṃ nu mahīkṛte 1-35). What pleasure will we get by killing the sons of Dhṛṭarāṣṭra, killing these terrorists will only stain us (nihatya dhārtarāṣṭrānnaḥ kā prītiḥ syājjanārdana pāpamevāśrayedasmānhatvaitānātatāyinaḥ 1-36). So, we are not justified in killing the sons of Dhṛṭarāṣṭra, our relatives and kinsmen, indeed, how can we be happy after killing them (tasmānnārhā vayaṃ hantuṃ dhārtarāṣṭrānsvabāndhavān svajanaṃ hi kathaṃ hatvā sukhinaḥ syāma mādhava 1-37).

यद्यप्येते न पश्यन्ति लोभोपहतचेतसः ।

कुलक्षयकृतं दोषं मित्रद्रोहे च पातकम् ॥ १-३८॥

कथं न ज्ञेयमस्माभिः पापादस्मान्निवर्तितुम् ।

कुलक्षयकृतं दोषं प्रपश्यद्भिर्जनार्दन ॥ १-३९॥

कुलक्षये प्रणश्यन्ति कुलधर्माः सनातनाः ।

धर्मे नष्टे कुलं कृत्स्नमधर्मोऽभिभवत्युत ॥ १-४०॥

(38-40) Although these do not see due to intelligence overpowered by greed, the wretchedness wrought by destruction of the clans, and crime brought by hostility to friends (yadyapyete na paśyanti lobhopahatacetasaḥ kulakṣayakṛtaṃ doṣaṃ mitradrohe ca pātakam 1-38). When I clearly comprehend the wretchedness in the destruction of the clan, why not turn away from this clearly inappropriate act (kathaṃ na jñeyamasmābhiḥ pāpādasmānnivartitum kulakṣayakṛtaṃ doṣaṃ prapaśyadbhirjanārdana 1-39). When the clan perishes, immemorial clan balances and universal practices are destroyed, the whole clan is overcome by chaos indeed (kulakṣaye praṇaśyanti kuladharmāḥ sanātanāḥ dharme naṣṭe kulaṃ kṛtsnamadharmo’bhibhavatyuta 1-40).

अधर्माभिभवात्कृष्ण प्रदुष्यन्ति कुलस्त्रियः ।

स्त्रीषु दुष्टासु वार्ष्णेय जायते वर्णसङ्करः ॥ १-४१॥

सङ्करो नरकायैव कुलघ्नानां कुलस्य च ।

पतन्ति पितरो ह्येषां लुप्तपिण्डोदकक्रियाः ॥ १-४२॥

दोषैरेतैः कुलघ्नानां वर्णसङ्करकारकैः ।

उत्साद्यन्ते जातिधर्माः कुलधर्माश्च शाश्वताः ॥ १-४३॥

(41-43) With the onset of chaos, clan women get corrupted, from women becoming corrupted, mixing of colours occurs (adharmābhibhavātkṛṣṇa praduṣyanti kulastriyaḥ strīṣu duṣṭāsu vārṣṇeya jāyate varṇasaṅkaraḥ 1-41). Confusion resembling hell exists for killers of the clan from the clan because the forefathers are denied their offering of rice and water (saṅkaro narakāyaiva kulaghnānāṃ kulasya ca patanti pitaro hyeṣāṃ luptapiṇḍodakakriyāḥ 1-42). Staining by destroyers of the clans causes intermingling of various people, eternal community practices are destroyed as are clan rituals and practices (doṣairetaiḥ kulaghnānāṃ varṇasaṅkarakārakaiḥ utsādyante jātidharmāḥ kuladharmāśca śāśvatāḥ 1-43).

उत्सन्नकुलधर्माणां मनुष्याणां जनार्दन ।

नरके नियतं वासो भवतीत्यनुशुश्रुम ॥ १-४४॥

अहो बत महत्पापं कर्तुं व्यवसिता वयम् ।

यद्राज्यसुखलोभेन हन्तुं स्वजनमुद्यताः ॥ १-४५॥

यदि मामप्रतीकारमशस्त्रं शस्त्रपाणयः ।

धार्तराष्ट्रा रणे हन्युस्तन्मे क्षेमतरं भवेत् ॥ १-४६॥

(44-46) Those men, whose clan practices are destroyed, we have heard that they stay in hell for an indefinite period (utsannakuladharmāṇāṃ manuṣyāṇāṃ janārdana narake niyataṃ vāso bhavatītyanuśuśruma 1-44). Alas, we are prepared to do great wretchedness and kill our kinsmen for the pleasure of kingdom (aho bata mahatpāpaṃ kartuṃ vyavasitā vayam yadrājyasukhalobhena hantuṃ svajanamudyatāḥ 1-45). If the sons of Dhṛṭarāṣṭra were to kill me unresisting and unarmed, with their weapons in hand in the battlefield, that would be better (yadi māmapratīkāramaśastraṃ śastrapāṇayaḥ dhārtarāṣṭrā raṇe hanyustanme kṣemataraṃ bhavet 1-46).

सञ्जय उवाच ।

एवमुक्त्वार्जुनः सङ्ख्ये रथोपस्थ उपाविशत् ।

विसृज्य सशरं चापं शोकसंविग्नमानसः ॥ १-४७॥

Sañjaya said (47) Thus having spoken, Arjuna in the battlefield, in the chariot, sat down with a distressed mind after throwing away the arrow and bow (evamuktvārjunaḥ saṅkhye rathopastha upāviśat । visṛjya saśaraṃ cāpaṃ śokasaṃvignamānasaḥ ॥ 1-47॥). 

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