Chapter 1

Arjuna Visada Yoga

The first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita - "Arjuna Vishada Yoga" introduces the setup, the setting, the characters and the circumstances that led to the epic battle of Mahabharata, fought between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. It outlines the reasons that led to the revelation of the of Bhagavad Gita. As both armies stand ready for the battle, the mighty warrior Arjuna, on observing the warriors on both sides becomes increasingly sad and depressed due to the fear of losing his relatives and friends and the consequent sins attributed to killing his own relatives. So, he surrenders to Lord Krishna, seeking a solution. Thus, follows the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita.

Verse 1
Dhritarashtra said, "What did my people and the sons of Pandu do when they had assembled together, eager for battle, on the holy plain of Kurukshetra, O Sanjaya?"
Verse 2
Sanjaya said: Having seen the army of the Pandavas drawn up in battle array, King Duryodhana approached his teacher, Drona, and spoke these words.
Verse 3
Behold, O Teacher! This mighty army of the sons of Pandu, arrayed by the son of Drupada, thy wise disciple.
Verse 4
Here are heroes, mighty archers, equal in battle to Bhima and Arjuna, Yuyudhana (Satyaki), Virata, and Drupada—all mighty warriors.
Verse 5
Dhrishtaketu, Chekitana, the valiant king of Kasi, Purujit, Kuntibhoja, and Saibya—the best of men.
Verse 6
The strong Yudhamanyu and the brave Uttamaujas, the son of Subhadra (Abhimanyu, the son of Subhadra and Arjuna), and the sons of Draupadi, all of them great charioteers (great heroes)."
Verse 7
Know also, O best among the twice-born! the names of those who are the most distinguished amongst ourselves, the leaders of my army; these I name to you for your information.
Verse 8
"Thou thyself, Bhishma, Karna, Kripa, the victorious in war, Asvatthama, Vikarna, and Bhurisrava, the son of Somadatta—all these are ready for battle."
Verse 9
And also many other heroes, ready to give up their lives for my sake, armed with various weapons and missiles, all well-skilled in battle.
Verse 10
Our army, marshalled by Bhishma, is insufficient, whereas theirs, marshalled by Bhima, is sufficient.
Verse 11
Therefore, do all of you, stationed in your respective positions in the several divisions of the army, protect Bhishma alone.
Verse 12
His glorious grandsire, the oldest of the Kauravas, roared like a lion to cheer Duryodhana and blew his conch.
Verse 13
Then, suddenly, conches, kettledrums, tabors, drums, and cow horns blared forth from the Kaurava side, and the sound was tremendous.
Verse 14
Then, Madhava (Krishna) and the son of Pandu (Arjuna), seated in the magnificent chariot yoked with white horses, blew divine conches.
Verse 15
Hrishikesha blew the Panchajanya, Arjuna blew the Devadatta, and Bhima, the wolf-bellied doer of terrible deeds, blew the great conch Paundra.
Verse 16
King Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, blew the Anantavijaya; Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughosha and the Manipushpaka.
Verse 17
The king of Kasi, an excellent archer, Sikhandi, the mighty car-warrior, Dhrishtadyumna, Virata, and Satyaki, the unconquered.
Verse 18
Drupada and the sons of Draupadi, O Lord of the Earth, and the son of Subhadra, the mighty-armed, blew their conches each separately.
Verse 19
The tumultuous sound rent the hearts of Dhritarashtra's party, reverberating through both heaven and earth.
Verse 20
Then, seeing the people of Dhritarashtra's party standing arrayed and the discharge of weapons about to begin, Arjuna, the son of Pandu whose ensign was a monkey, took up his bow and said the following to Krishna, O Lord of the Earth.
Verse 21
Arjuna said, "O Krishna, place my chariot in the middle between the two armies, so that I may behold those who stand here, desirous to fight, and know with whom I must fight when the battle is about to commence."
Verse 22
Arjuna said, "O Krishna, place my chariot in the middle between the two armies, so that I may behold those who stand here, desirous to fight, and know with whom I must fight when the battle is about to commence."
Verse 23
For I desire to observe those who are assembled here to fight, wishing to please in battle the evil-minded Duryodhana—the son of Dhritarashtra.
Verse 24
Sanjaya said, Thus addressed by Arjuna, Krishna stationed the best of chariots, O Dhritarashtra, in the midst of the two armies.
Verse 25
In front of Bhishma and Drona, and all the rulers of the earth, he said: "O Arjuna, son of Pritha, behold these Kurus gathered together."
Verse 26
Then, Arjuna (son of Pritha) saw there (in the armies) stationed fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, and friends.
Verse 27
He saw fathers-in-law and friends in both the armies. The son of Kunti, Arjuna, seeing all those kinsmen thus standing arrayed, spoke sorrowfully, deeply filled with pity.
Verse 28
Arjuna said, "O Krishna, seeing my kinsmen arrayed here, eager to fight,
Verse 29
My limbs fail, my mouth is parched, my body quivers, and my hair stands on end.
Verse 30
The Gandiva slips from my hand, and my skin burns all over; I am unable to stand, and my mind is reeling, as it were.
Verse 31
And I see ill omens, O Kesava. I do not see any good in slaying my kinsmen in battle.
Verse 32
I desire not victory, O Krishna, nor kingdom, nor pleasures. What use is dominion to us, O Krishna, or pleasures or even life?
Verse 33
Those for whose sake we desire kingdom, enjoyments, and pleasures stand here in battle, having renounced life and wealth.
Verse 34
Teachers, fathers, sons, and grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law, and other relatives—
Verse 35
These I do not wish to kill, O Krishna, even though they kill me, for the sake of dominion over the three worlds; leave alone killing them for the sake of the earth."
Verse 36
By killing these sons of Dhritarashtra, what pleasure could be ours, O Janardana? Only sin would accrue to us from killing these felons.
Verse 37
Therefore, we should not kill the sons of Dhritarashtra, our relatives; for how can we be happy by killing our own kin, O Madhava (Krishna)?
Verse 38
Though they, with intelligence overpowered by greed, see no evil in the destruction of families and no sin in hostility to friends,
Verse 39
Why should we not, who clearly see the evil in the destruction of families, learn to turn away from this sin, O Janardana (Krishna)?
Verse 40
In the destruction of a family, the immemorial religious rites of that family perish; on the destruction of spirituality, impiety indeed, overwhelms the whole family.
Verse 41
O Krishna, by the prevalence of impiety, the women of the family become corrupt; and, when women are corrupted, O Varshenya (descendant of Vrishni), intermingling of castes arises.
Verse 42
Confusion of castes leads to hell for the slayers of the family, for their forebears fall, deprived of the offerings of rice-balls and libations of water.
Verse 43
By these evil deeds of the destroyers of the family, which cause confusion of castes, the eternal religious rites of the caste and the family are destroyed.
Verse 44
We have heard, O Janardana, that those men in whose families the religious practices have been destroyed are inevitably destined to dwell in hell for an unknown period.
Verse 45
Alas! We are involved in a great sin, for we are prepared to kill our kinsmen, out of greed for the pleasures of a kingdom.
Verse 46
If the sons of Dhritarashtra, with weapons in hand, should slay me in battle, unresisting and unarmed, that would be better for me.
Verse 47
Sanjaya said, Having thus spoken in the midst of the battlefield, Arjuna cast away his bow and arrow and, his mind overwhelmed with sorrow, sat down on the seat of the chariot.