Gita 1(28, 29, 30)

arjuna uvaca

drstvemam sva-janam krsna

yuyutsum samupasthitam

sidanti mama gatrani

mukham ca parisusyati


vepathus ca sarire me

roma-harsas ca jayate

gandivam sramsate hastat

tvak caiva paridahyate


na ca saknomy avasthatum

bhramativa ca me manah

nimittani ca pasyami

viparitani kesava

Meaning – Arjuna said: Oh Krishna, seeing my friends and relatives present before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up. My whole body is trembling, and my hair is standing on end. My bow Gandiva is slipping from my hand and my skin is burning. I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I foresee only evil, O killer of the Kesi demon.

Explanation – Dhritarashtra, in the first verse of this chapter, uses the phrase ‘Samaveta Yuyutsavah’ (gathered together desirous to fight) and Arjuna here has said, ‘Yuyutsum Samupasthitam’ (arrayed eager to fight). But there is a vast difference, in the views of the two. Dhritarashtra is partial to his sons. So, he uses the words ‘Mamaka’ (Mine), and ‘Pandava’ (Pandu’s), But Arjuna is impartial. So he uses the term ‘Svajanam’ (Kinsmen), which includes persons of both sides. It means, that Dhritarashtra is worried about the death of his sons in the warfare, while Arjuna is worried about the death of warriors, in both armies, because he thinks that both the warring groups, are his own kith and kin.

Thinking of the consequences of the war, Arjuna is worried and sad. So his limbs are giving way, his mouth is getting parched, his body shakes, and his hair is standing on an end. The same Gandiva bow, the sound of whose string, terrified enemies, is dropping from his hand and his skin is burning all over. His mind is reeling, he is in a dilemma, and he is unable even to stand at the war-front. He feels, as if he will fall unconscious, and thinks it is a sin to wage war.

This is what usually happens when we confront difficult situations in life. Sitting in the examination hall eagerly waiting for the question paper and if you see the first question itself is so difficult that you do not know the answer, this will happen to you. What happens when you are anxiously sitting outside the operation theatre where one of your very close relative is undergoing a major operation? Similarly we find that Arjuna is suffering from some kind of anxiety attack or hysteria.

The physical symptoms of anxiety attacks are themselves so frightening that many people believe they’re having a heart attack. After an anxiety attack is over, you may be worried about having another one, particularly in a public place where help isn’t available or you can’t easily escape.

Symptoms of anxiety attacks include:

•        Surge of overwhelming panic

•        Feeling of losing control or going crazy

•        Heart palpitations or chest pain

•        Feeling like you’re going to pass out

•        Trouble breathing or choking sensation          

•        Hyperventilation

•        Hot flashes or chills

•        Trembling or shaking

•        Nausea or stomach cramps

•        Feeling detached or unreal

Common symptoms and signs of anxiety can include

•        Restlessness or feeling edgy,

•        becoming tired easily,

•        Trouble concentrating,

•        feeling as if the mind is going “blank,”

•        Irritability,

•        Muscle tension,

•        Sleep problems (trouble falling or staying asleep or having sleep that is not restful).

Neuropsychologists have noted that generally the left side of the brain which specialises in analytical, logical and verbal tasks is more active in men while the right side which activates the artistic and creative functions, working with emotions, feelings and metaphor are more active in women. The masculine side reveals itself as the powers of discrimination, self-control, exacting judgement – qualities that express or respond to reason. The feminine nature consists of feeling, sympathy, kindness, mercy, joy, etc. In the ideal person, these two aspects are perfectly balanced. But if reason lacks feeling, it becomes calculating, harsh and judgemental, but if feeling lacks reason, it becomes blind emotion.

By addressing Arjuna by names such as ‘Kaunteya’ and ‘Partha’, he is indicating that in Arjuna the balancing has not taken place and he is more prone to the feminine qualities of kindness and sympathy.


Gita 1. 31

na ca sreyo ‘nupasyami
hatva sva-janam ahave
na kankse vijayam krsna
na ca rajyam sukhani ca

Meaning – I do not see how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle, nor can I, my dear Krishna, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom, or happiness.

Explanation – Here Arjuna exclaims that he cannot foresee any benefit from slaying his own kinsman in battle. In the Vedic scriptures it is revealed that in this world two types of living entities are automatically granted entrance to the heavenly planets: one being the renunciate who is disciplined in the practice of yoga and the other is the warrior slain in battle. So Arjunas argument is that although there is provision for the slain, there is no declaration of any merit for the slayer.

The meaning of this sloka can also be analysed differently. Here Arjuna is not discussing killing his own people, but his habits. Our habits are also our own and we are very reluctant to change it, whether they are good or bad. Particularly it is very difficult give up pleasurable habits.

Gita 1. 32-35

kim no rajyena govinda
kim bhogair jivitena va
yesam arthe kanksitam no
rajyam bhogah sukhani ca

ta ime ‘vasthita yuddhe
pranams tyaktva dhanani ca
acaryah pitarah putras
tathaiva ca pitamahah

matulah svasurah pautrah
syalah sambandhinas tatha
etan na hantum icchami
ghnato ‘pi madhusudana

api trailokya-rajyasya
hetoh kim nu mahi-krte
nihatya dhartarastran nah
ka pritih syaj janardana

Meaning – O Govinda, of what avail to us are kingdoms, happiness or even life itself when all those for whom we may desire them are now arrayed in this battlefield? O Madhusudana, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and all relatives are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, then why should I wish to kill them, though I may survive? O maintainer of all creatures, I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth.

Explanation – When we do not desire anything (victory, kingdom and pleasure) of what use to us, is kingdom or pleasure? Victory, kingdom and pleasure, seem pleasant only, when there is desire for these. But we have no desire for these. So, how can these be pleasant to us? After killing our kith and kin, we have no desire to live, because after death, who will enjoy pleasure? The so-called pleasure, will rather lead us to worry and ‘unhappiness.

By Arjuna addressing Lord Krishna as Govinda expresses that since Lord Krishna is the knower of all the functions of the senses, Lord Krishna is also the knower of his mind. The reasons for not desiring the kingdom etc. are given in the second half of verse 32 beginning: yesam arthe. One can desire a kingdom for the happiness of one’s kinsman even at the cost of one’s own life; but in this battle when the destruction of ones kin is certain it is a fruitless desire to engage in battle. If it is put forth that although Arjuna out of compassion might not wish to slay his enemies; but it is certain that his enemies will surely slay him to keep the kingdom free from thorns. To answer this Arjuna is saying even if they intend to slay him he will not slay them. He says: I do not desire the ruler ship of the three worlds let alone this tract of land called Earth. If it is argued that Arjuna could slay only the sons of Dhritarashtra who caused the Pandavas so much troubles and leave all the others warriors alive then to answer this Arjuna is saying: what pleasure is there for us the Pandavas to kill the sons of Dhritarashtra? In expectation of temporary, earthly pleasures, fratricide is not in any way an appropriate action and will only insure eternal damnation to hell. By Arjuna addressing Lord Krishna as Janardhana which means He who always naturally protects His devotees; that since He has appeared for removing the sins from this world, then He can just slay all these sinners Himself and since Lord Krishna is the Supreme Lord there is no question of Him incurring any sinful reaction for causing their deaths.

Now a days people kill their own parents and close relatives for property or other silly reasons. Also look at our politicians, government servants or businessmen, for the sake of amassing wealth they are willing to stoop down to any level to eliminate friends and foes alike and achieve their earthly objectives. However Arjuna is displaying a very unique character by abandoning everything for the sake of peace and wellbeing of others.

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Gita 1. 23

yotsyamanan avekse ‘ham

ya ete ‘tra samagatah

dhartarastrasya durbuddher

yuddhe priya-cikirsavah

Meaning – Let me see those who have come here to fight, wishing to please the evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra.

Explanation – Arjuna wanted to see all those who have joined the evil minded Duryodhana to help him fight and usurp the Kingdom rightfully belonging to the Pandavas. Since the war is about to start Arjuna wanted to know with whom he has to fight, who are his friends who have joined the enemy side and who are his real enemies.

In fact this question is a metaphor. Much before the start of the war, everyone knew who are fighting with Pandavas and who have joined Kauravas. Yet, Arjuna wanted to see them as he is confused. This is exactly what happens in our life as we always find it difficult to identify our real enemies and friends. Sometimes what looks good could be bad and vice versa. Certain things that we consume may be enjoyable, but may not be good for health. Junk foods, alcohol, smoking, etc. are enjoyable but certainly not good for health. Whereas medicines or raw vegetables are not enjoyable but certainly very good for maintaining a good health.

Gita  1 (24, 25)

sanjaya uvaca

evam ukto hrsikeso

gudakesena bharata

senayor ubhayor madhye

sthapayitva rathottamam



sarvesam ca mahi-ksitam

uvaca partha pasyaitan

samavetan kurun iti

Meaning – Sanjaya said: O descendant of Bharata, being thus addressed by Arjuna, Lord Krishna drew up the fine chariot in the midst of the armies of both parties.

In the presence of Bhishma, Drona and all other chieftains of the world, Hrsikesa, the Lord, said, just behold, Partha, all the Kuru who are assembled here.

Explanation – In this verse Arjuna is referred to as Gudakesa. Gudaka means sleep, and one who conquers sleep is called gudakesa. Sleep also means ignorance. So Arjuna conquered both sleep and ignorance because of his friendship with Krishna. As Hrsikesa, or the controller of the senses and mind of every living entity, Krishna could understand Arjuna’s purpose in placing the chariot in the midst of the armies.

Again the Lord addressed Arjuna as ‘Partha’, means son of Pritha or Kunti who is the sister of Krishna’s father. This could mean either that ‘Arjuna, no need to worry, as being your close relative, I am there to help you’. Or it could also be that oh, son of Kunti, do not behave like a woman, be brave and start fighting instead of getting confused as you have the necessary knowledge to do what is required.

Why did Krishna position the chariot in front of Bhishma and Drona and not closer to Duryodhana? May be Krishna had a hidden agenda in doing so! If the chariot was placed in front of Duryodhana, may be Arjuna would have been so angry that the war would have started instantly and the world would not have been benefitted with this great philosophical treatise called “Bhagavad Gita”. Also Krishna asked Arjuna to see the ‘Kurus’ who are assembled there and did not say to look at the children of Dhritarashtra who are assembled there. Being a Kuru himself, Arjuna for sure is going to be confused.

Gita  1. 26

tatrapasyat sthitan parthah

pitrn atha pitamahan

acaryan matulan bhratrn

putran pautran sakhims tatha

svasuran suhrdas caiva

senayor ubhayor api

Meaning – There Arjuna could see, within the midst of the armies of both parties, his fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, friends, and also his father-in-law and well-wishers–all present there.

Explanation – When Lord Krishna, told Arjuna to behold the Kuru on the battlefield, Arjuna saw the members of his family, assembled on both sides. He saw Bhurisrava, who was just like his father. He saw his grand-fathers and uncles such as Bhishma and Somadatta etc., preceptors Drona and Kripa etc., maternal uncles, such as Purujit, Kuntibhoja, Salya and Sakuni etc., brothers and cousins- Bhima and Duryodhana etc., sons, such as Abhimanyu, Ghatotkatcha, Laksmana (Duryodhana’s son) etc., grandsons, such as the sons of Laksmana; friends of Duryodhana and Pandavas, named Ashvatthama etc.,; fathers-in- law such as Drupada and Saibya etc., and also well-wishers, such as Satyaki and Kritavarma etc.

Gita  1. 27

tan samiksya sa kaunteyah

sarvan bandhun avasthitan

krpaya parayavisto

visidann idam abravit

Meaning – When the son of Kunti, Arjuna, saw all these different grades of friends and relatives, he became overwhelmed with compassion and spoke thus:

Explanation – After seeing the warriors, who were related to him, through family and learning, on both the sides, Arjuna suddenly developed an attitude of kinship with them because he thought that on both sides there were his kinsmen and they would be killed in the war. In this way it was his family that would be destroyed ‘on either side. The use of the word ‘Kaunteyah’ in addressing Arjuna it indicates that since he is the son of Kunti he is affected by the morality and afflictions of the mundane world. The use of the word ‘kripaya’ signifies that Arjuna was naturally compassionate. By the use of the word ‘paraya’ it is intimated that not only for his own soldiers was he compassionate but for the enemy soldiers as well.

As a warrior and man of action Arjuna realizes the extend of sacrifice the society would be called upon to make in order that his ambition might be fulfilled and Duryodhana’s cruelty avenged. He reaches the highest level of compassion and his words subsequently clearly reflects his thoughts that reaffirms his feelings to avoid bloodshed at any cost including his own life.


Gita 1.16-17-18

anantavijayam raja

kunti-putro yudhisthirah

nakulah sahadevas ca



kasyas ca paramesv-asah

sikhandi ca maha-rathah

dhrstadyumno viratas ca

satyakis caparajitah


drupado draupadeyas ca

sarvasah prthivi-pate

saubhadras ca maha-bahuh

sankhan dadhmuh prthak prthak

Meaning – King Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, blew his conchshell, the Ananta-vijaya, and Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughosa and Manipuspaka. That great archer the King of Kasi, the great fighter Sikhandi, Dhristayumna, Virata and the unconquerable Satyaki, Drupada, the sons of Draupadi, and the others, O King, such as the son of Subhadra, greatly armed, all blew their respective conchshell.

Explanation – Sanjaya addressing Yudhishthira as Raja illustrates his respect for him, though Yudhishthira did receive the title as ‘raja’ from the Rajasuya ceremony he successfully performed earlier. Thus the superiority of the Pandavas is illustrated along with the inferiority of the Kauravas.

In the Pandava side there are many famous conch shells, such as Panchajanyam of Lord Krishna, Devadatta, Paundram, Anantavijaya, Sughosa and Manipuspaka of the five Pandavas. However in the army of Duryodhana there are no famous conch shells with any names.

Then the great warriors of the Pandava army began to sound their conch shells. Sikhandi is the son of Drupada who was born out of penance especially to slay Bhishma. Dhristayumna was born from a fire sacrifice especially to slay Drona. Satyaki was invincible like Arjuna never knowing defeat. So this verse is indirectly revealing to Dhritarashtra that he should not entertain any ideas that his son Duryodhana will be victorious in the battle even with the assistance of Bhishma and Drona.

Sanjaya, mentioned only one warrior named Bhishma, who blew his conch from the Kaurava-army, while he mentioned eighteen warriors, such as Lord Krishna, Arjuna, Bhima etc., from the Pandava-army. This once again reflects the great regard for Lord Krishna, the Pandavas and the Pandava-army, because of their righteousness. From the Pandava army, each of the generals blew their Conch shells in an order, one by one, after Lord Krishna blew his conch. However from the Kaurava side it was a pandemonium of various musical instruments and in no particular order. This also reflects lack of discipline and unity among the Kauravas.

Gita 1.19

sa ghoso dhartarastranam

hrdayani vyadarayat

nabhas ca prthivim caiva

tumulo ‘bhyanunadayan

Meaning – The blowing of these different conch shells became uproarious, and thus, vibrating both in the sky and on the earth, it shattered the hearts of the sons of Dhritarashtra.

Explanation – The sounds of the conchs of the Pandava-army, was so thunderous, roaring and horrifying, that it echoed through the sky and the earth, and rent the hearts of the Kauravas, the sons of Dhritarashtra who had usurped the empire, and also of the kings, who had come to fight on their side. It means that, the sound discouraged the Kaurava-army and its warriors were horror-struck, thinking at the formidable strength of the Pandava-army.

Gita 1.20

atha vyavasthitan drstva

dhartarastran kapi-dhvajah

pravrtte sastra-sampate

dhanur udyamya pandavah

hrsikesam tada vakyam

idam aha mahi-pate

Meaning – O King, at that time Arjuna, the son of Pandu, who was seated in his chariot, his flag marked with Hanuman, took up his bow and prepared to shoot his arrows, looking at the sons of Dhritarashtra. O King, Arjuna then spoke to Hrsikesa [Krishna] these words:

Explanation – The battle was just about to begin as the great warrior Arjuna, whose flag bears the emblem of Hanuman is ready with his mighty bow called ‘Gandiva’.  The emblem of Hanuman on the flag of Arjuna is another sign of victory because Hanuman cooperated with Lord Rama in the battle between Rama and Ravana, where Lord Rama emerged victorious. Now both Rama and Hanuman were present on the chariot of Arjuna to help him. Lord Krishna is Rama Himself, and wherever Lord Rama is, His eternal servitor Hanuman and His eternal consort Sita, the goddess of fortune, are present. Therefore, Arjuna had no cause to fear any enemies whatsoever. And above all, the Lord of the senses, Lord Krishna, was personally present to give him direction. Thus, all good counsel was available to Arjuna in the matter of executing the battle. In such auspicious conditions, arranged by the Lord for His eternal devotee, lay the signs of assured victory.

Gita 21-22

arjuna uvaca

senayor ubhayor madhye

ratham sthapaya me ‘cyuta

yavad etan nirikse ‘ham

yoddhu-kaman avasthitan

kair maya saha yoddhavyam

asmin rana-samudyame

Meaning – Arjuna said: O infallible one, please keep my chariot between the two armies so that I may see who is present here, who is desirous of fighting, and with whom I must contend in this great battle attempt.

Explanation – Addressing Lord Krishna as ‘Acutya’, the infallible one, Sanjaya repeats Arjuna’s request to Lord Krishna to position the chariot in the middle, between the two firmly opposing armies. The reason for placing the chariot as instructed is being explained by the verse beginning: ‘yavad etan’. The Kauravas are only desirous of war not peace and externally appear unmoved by trepidation. One might say that Arjuna is a warrior not a spectator, so what is the necessity of viewing the enemy? The answer to this is that since the battle is taking place between relatives, Arjuna desires to see just which friends have joined the ranks of the enemy that he will have to fight.

In life also we confront such confusing situation quite too often. We are unable to decide what is good or bad for us, whether you are taking up a new job, a new customer or eating something new or special. Many times we do not know who are our real enemies or real friends! That is why we need the discriminative assistance of the almighty GOD Lord Krishna.

Gita 1.7

asmakam tu visista ye

tan nibodha dvijottama

nayaka mama sainyasya

samjnartham tan bravimi te

Meaning – “know also, O best among twice born, the names of those who are the most distinguished among ourselves, the leaders of my army, these I name to thee for thy information”.

Explanation – In this verse, Duryodhana probably wants to say, that his side is in no way weaker than that of the Pandavas, but is rather stronger, yet according to political prudence however weak the army of an enemy may be; it should not be regarded as weak. Therefore, one should not have in the least, a feeling of neglect and indifference, towards the enemy. So Duryodhana already described the warriors of the other side, to make Drona careful and now he is giving the names of the warriors of his army.

However by addressing Dronacharya as “Dvijottama”, twice born, means a Brahmin, Duryodhana hints that as a Brahmin he may not be fit to lead an army of Kshatriyas. A kind of insulting statement and doubts the Gurus ability to fight as Brahmins basically adhere to the principles of the Vedas and practise Sanatana Dharma. Vedic Brahmin’s have six occupational duties, of which three are compulsory — studying the Vedas, performing Vedic rituals and practicing dharma. Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness are the qualities by which the Brahmins work. Also by saying “my army” to the Guru, Duryodhana is displaying arrogance of the highest order.

There are managers who suspect the loyalties of their own staff and this is mainly due to their weakness or fear of failure. Passing on confidential information, not doing enough to be successful, demotivating others, etc. could be the charges that they frame against anyone when failure looms large across the horizon.

Gita 1.8

bhavan bhismas ca karnas ca

krpas ca samitim-jayah

asvatthama vikarnas ca

saumadattis tathaiva ca

Meaning – There are personalities like yourself, Bhishma, Karna, Kripa, Ashvatthama, Vikarna and the son of Somadatta called Bhurisrava, who are always victorious in battle.

Explanation – “O Acharya, in our army, there are so many valiant warriors, such as you, Bhishma, Karma, Kripacharya etc., while in the army of the Pandavas, such valiant warriors are not seen. In our army, two great warriors named Kripacharya and Ashvatthama are immortal, while in the army of the Pandavas there is none. Moreover, in our army there is no scarcity of righteous persons, therefore, we need not be afraid of them.

Duryodhana mentioned the exceptional heroes in the battle, all of whom are ever-victorious. Vikarna is the brother of Duryodhana, Ashvatthama is the son of Dronacharya, and Saumadatti, or Bhurisrava, is the son of the King of the Bahlikas. Karna is the half-brother of Arjuna, as he was born of Kunti before her marriage with King Pandu. Kripacharya is the brother in law of Dronacharya.

Once again Duryodhana is displaying his arrogance and lack of respect to elders and teachers by telling Dronacharya the members of his army that includes himself and the Grandfather Bhishma, indicating that they all are his employees and nothing more.

Gita 1.9

anye ca bahavah sura

mad-arthe tyakta-jivitah


sarve yuddha-visaradah

Meaning – There are many other heroes who are prepared to lay down their lives for my sake. All of them are well equipped with different kinds of weapons, and all are experienced in military science.

Explanation – Here Duryodhana inadvertently hits upon the fate of Kaurava army in saying that they are ready to give up their lives but the word ‘tyakta-jivita’ may also be construed to mean that they are all as good as dead.

Who would like to work in an organization where the Chief Executive Officer himself is not sure about the success and indicates that all might lose their job in due course of time as the company is destined to fail?



Gita 1.10

aparyaptam tad asmakamm

balam bhismabhiraksitam

paryaptam tv idam etesam

balam bhimabhiraksitam

Meaning – Our strength is immeasurable, and we are perfectly protected by Grandfather Bhishma, whereas the strength of the Pandavas, carefully protected by Bhima, is limited.

Explanation – Duryodhana thinks that the strength of his armed forces is immeasurable, being specifically protected by the most experienced general, Grandfather Bhishma. On the other hand, the forces of the Pandavas are limited, being protected by a less experienced general, Bhima. In fact Bhima is not the Commander in Chief of the Pandava army, yet Duryodhana has mentioned his name. This is because of the fact that Duryodhana was always envious of Bhima as he knew perfectly well that if he should die at all, he would only be killed by Bhima.

The word used by Duryodhana has double meaning and he cleverly expresses his lack of confidence in his army commandeered by grandsire Bhishma. “Aparyaptam” means unlimited, but could also mean inadequate. While the obvious meaning could be that the Kaurava army is unlimited and big compared to that of the Pandava army, it is not adequate to ensure victory as there is no unity of purpose in the Kaurava side. None of the senior generals in the Kaurava army is totally and unequivocally committed to their success like that of the Pandava generals or army.

Gita 1.11


ayanesu ca sarvesu

yatha-bhagam avasthitah

bhismam evabhiraksantu

bhavantah sarva eva hi

Meaning – Now all of you must give full support to Grandfather Bhishma, standing at your respective strategic points in the phalanx of the army.

Explanation – Duryodhana clearly felt that the victory of the Kauravas depended on the presence of Bhishma and Dronacharya in the battlefield. Although he knew that the two generals had some sort of affection for the Pandavas, he hoped that all such affection would now be completely given up by them. By saying the above words, Duryodhana wants to please Bhishma, so that he may be partial to his army. Secondly, he gives instruction to the warriors of his army, to see that Sikhandi should not face Bhishma. If Sikhandi comes in front of Bhishma, the latter will not use his arms and weapons against him, because he was a woman in the previous birth.

If anything happens to the leader, it could have a devastating impact on the morale of the entire army. They might think that if Pandavas can kill the mighty Bhishma, others are like dry grass in front of a raging fire and will be eliminated in matter of minutes.