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The Philosophy of Life


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Chapter - 1
"Despondency of Arjuna"

The great discourse given by the Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra is not meant for him alone. It is for the entire humanity. In the first chapter, the names of the main warriors and generals of both sides are given. However, the main event is the despondency of Arjuna. In the battlefield, Arjuna saw that all teachers, relatives, members of his family had gathered together eager for battle. This caused great anguish to Arjuna and temporarily forgetting his duty as a warrior, he became depressed. And this faint-heartedness caused him to renounce his duty (dharma), He became reluctant to fight. Hence this chapter is entitled. "The Despondency of Arjuna"

Dhritarastra said -

O. Sanjaya- In the area of righteousness, the area of Kurus, where my sons and the sons of Pandu had gathered together, what did they do.

Sanjaya Said - Having observed the arrangment of the army of the Pandavas, king Duryodhana went to his teacher (Drona) and said these words.

See (O, Teacher) this vast army of the sons of Pandu organised into the battle array by your wise pupil, the son of Drupada (Dhristadhyumna).

Here is a great bowman, who is equal of Bhima and Arjuna in the art of warfare - Yuyudhana, Virata and Drupada are (great) warrior(s).

Dhristaketu, Chekitan and the brave king of Kashi, besides, Purujit, Kuntibhoja and Shaibya - the finest among men.

The mighty Yudhamanya, the brave Uttamauja and also the son of Subhadra (Abhimanyu - son of Arjuna and a nephew of Krishna) and the (five) sons of Draupadi are all mighty warriors (Maharathis).

O, the best among the twice-born (Brahmins) - know the leaders of our side, who are very distinguished. I give you the names of our generals for your information.

You (Drona) and Bhishma and Karna and Kripa, the invincible, Ashvatthama, Vikarna and also the son of Somdatta (Bhurishrava).

There are many other brave men who risk their lives for my sake. Armed with various kinds of weapons, all of them are experts in the art of warfare.

Our army, which is guarded by Bhishma is more than sufficient (too large to be defeated) whereas their army protected by Bhima is limited (can be defeated without much difficulty.)

Therefore, standing firmly in your respective positions, all of you should protect (support) Bhishma.

His (Duryodhana's) brave grandfather, the aged Kuru, (Bhishma) roared like a lion and blew his conch, thus cheering him up.

Thereafter, sitting in their grand chariot. Which was having white horses, Krishna and Arjuna sounded their divine conches.

Krishna sounded his panchajanya and Arjuna his Devadatta and Bhima the doer of terrific deeds, sounded his great conch Paundra.

The sons of Kunti, king Yudhisthir, sounded his Anantavijaya and Nakul and Sahadev blew their Sughosha and Manipushapak.

And the greatest archer, the king of Kashi, the great fighter Shikhandi, Dhristadyumna and Virata and the unconquerable Satyaki.

O, Lord of the Earth, Drupad and sons of Draupadi and the mighty-armed son of Subhadra sounded their respective conches.

The terrific uproar, echoing through the sky and the earth, rent the hearts of the sons of Dhritarashtra.

Arjuna said

Then Arjuna, who had a flag, with the emblem of Hanuman, on his chariot, observed the sons of Dhritarastra standing in the battle-array and as the use of weapons was about to commence, he took up his bow.And, O king, he spoke the following words to Krishna, place my chariot between both the armies.

Then I shall see the men who are standing, keen for battle, with whom I shall have to fight. I wish to see those, who are assembled here to fight for the evil of the sons of Dhritarashtra.

Sanjay said

O' king - thus spoken by Arjuna, Shri Krishna brought the noble chariot between the two armies.

In the presence of Bhishma, Drona and all the kings, he said, O Arjuna look at these Kauravas gathered here.

Arjuna observes fathers and grandfathers, teachers, uncles, brothers, sons and grandsons as also friends.

And also (he saw) fathers-in-law and friends in both the armies. When he saw these relatives standing there.

Arjuna said

He was overwhelmed by grief. He said, when I see my own kith and kin standing in the battle formations eager for fighting, (O, Krishna)

My limbs shiver, my mouth becomes dry, my body shakes and my hair stand on end.

The Gandiva (Bow) is slipping through my hands and my skin is also on fire. I am unable to even stand properly. My mind is unsettled.

I see bad omens, O Krishna (Keshava) no good can come of the killing of our relatives in the battle.

Neither I crave for victory, O Krishna, nor kingdom, nor lust for pleasures. What can be the use of kingdom or even life? O, Govinda (Krishna)

For whom we desire these kingdom, enjoyments and pleasures, they are ready for battle unmindful of their lives and wealth.

Teacher, father, sons and grandfathers too, uncles and fathers-in-law, grandsons and brother-in-law and relatives.

Even if they kill me, I can not kill them, O Madhusudana (Krishna) even for the kingdom of the three worlds; what to speak of the earth.

What satisfaction can we derive, O Krishna by slaying the sons of Dhritarastra? Only sin will be committed if we kill these evil doers.

So, it shall not be right for us to kill our kinsmen, the sons of Dhritarashtra. O Madhava, we can never be happy by killing our own relatives.

Even if these, whose minds are corrupted by greed are not able to see the sin in the destruction of the family and find no wrong in betraying the trust of their friends.

If a family is destroyed its ancient laws are destroyed, and when the laws are absent, the whole family becomes lawless.

And when lawlessness prevails, O Krishna, the women of the family become polluted and they give births of the mixed-castes.

Such mixed-breeds cause the family as well as it destroyers to live in the hell. Their ancestors suffer (fall) as the offerings of rice and water is stopped.

By the misdeeds of these mixed-breeds and the destroyers of the family the ancient laws of the caste and the family are destroyed.

We have heard it, O Krishna, that the men of the families, whose laws are destroyed live in hell forever.

Alas, what a great sin we are ready to commit, we agree to kill our kinsmen for the greed of kingdom and for the lust of plearures.

If the sons of Dhritarashtra kill me in battle, while I am unarmed and not fighthing, it would be far better.

Sanjay said

After speaking this, Arjuna put aside his bow and arrows and sat down in the back of the chariot with his mind full of sorrow.  In the Upanishad of the Bhagawadgita, the science of the ultimate, the scripture of yoga and the dialogue between ShriKrishna and Arjuna, this is the first chapter titled "The Despondency of Arjuna."

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