war of Mahabharata has begun after all negotiations by Lord Krishna
and others to avoid it failed. The blind King (Dhritarashtra) was
never very sure about the victory of his sons (Kauravas) in spite
of their superior army. Sage Vyasa, the author of Mahabharata, wanted
to give the blind king the boon of eyesight so that the king could
see the horrors of the war for which he was primarily responsible.
But the king refused the offer. He did not want to see the horrors
of the war; but preferred to get the war report through his charioteer,
Sanjaya. Sage Vyasa granted the power of clairvoyance to Sanjaya.
With this power Sanjaya could see, hear, and recall the events of
the past, present, and the future. He was able to give an instant
replay of the eye witness war report to the blind King sitting in
the mightiest man and the commander-in-chief of the Kaurava’s
army, is disabled by Arjuna and is lying on deathbed in the battleground
on the tenth day of the eighteen day war. Upon hearing this bad
news from Sanjaya, the blind King looses all hopes for victory of
his sons. Now the King wants to know the details of the war from
the beginning, including how the mightiest man, and the commander-in-chief
of his superior army ¾ who had a boon of dying at his own
will ¾ was defeated in the battlefield. The teaching of the
Gita begins with the inquiry of the blind King, after Sanjaya described
how Bhishma was defeated, as follows:
King inquired: Sanjaya, please now tell me, in details, what did
my people (the Kauravas) and the Pandavas do in the battlefield
before the war started?
said: O King, After seeing the battle formation of the Pandava’s
army, your son approached his guru and spoke these words
Master, behold this mighty army of the Pandavas, arranged in battle
formation by your other talented disciple! There are many great
warriors, valiant men, heroes, and mighty archers.
Of The Army Commanders
there are many heroes on my side who have risked their lives for
me. I shall name few distinguished commanders of my army for your
information. He named all the officers of his army, and said: They
are armed with various weapons, and are skilled in warfare.
army is invincible, while their army is easy to conquer. Therefore
all of you, occupying your respective positions, protect our commander-in-chief.
Starts With The Blowing Of Conch Shells
mighty commander-in-chief and the eldest man of the dynasty, roared
as a lion and blew his conch loudly, bringing joy to your son.
after that; conches, kettledrums, cymbals, drums, and trumpets were
sounded together. The commotion was tremendous.
that, Lord Krishna and Arjuna, seated in a grand chariot yoked with
white horses, blew their celestial conches.
blew His conch first, and then Arjuna and all other commanders of
various divisions of the army of Pandavas blew their respective
conches. The tumultuous uproar, resounding through the earth and
sky, tore the hearts of your sons.
Wants To Inspect The Army Against Whom He Is About To Fight
your sons standing, and the war about to begin with the hurling
of weapons; Arjuna, whose banner bore the emblem of Lord Hanumana,
took up his bow and spoke these words to Lord Krishna: O Lord, please
stop my chariot between the two armies until I behold those who
stand here eager for the battle and with whom I must engage in this
act of war.
wish to see those who are willing to serve and appease the evil-minded
Kauravas by assembling here to fight the battle.
said: O King; Lord Krishna, as requested by Arjuna, placed the best
of all the chariots in the midst of the two armies facing Arjuna's
grandfather, his guru and all other Kings; and said to Arjuna: Behold
these assembled soldiers!
saw his uncles, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers,
sons, grandsons, and other comrades in the army.
seeing fathers-in-law, companions, and all his kinsmen standing
in the ranks of the two armies, Arjuna was overcome with great compassion
and sorrowfully spoke these words: O Krishna, seeing my kinsmen
standing with a desire to fight, my limbs fail and my mouth becomes
dry. My body quivers and my hairs stand on end.
bow slips from my hand, and my skin intensely burns. My head turns,
I am unable to stand steady, and O Krishna, I see bad omens. I see
no use of killing my kinsmen in battle.
desire neither victory, nor pleasure nor kingdom, O Krishna. What
is the use of the kingdom, or enjoyment, or even life, O Krishna?
Because all those ¾ for whom we desire kingdom, enjoyments,
and pleasures ¾ are standing here for the battle, giving
up their lives.
do not wish to kill my teachers, uncles, sons, grandfathers, maternal
uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law, and other relatives
who are about to kill us, even for the sovereignty of the three
worlds, let alone for this earthly kingdom, O Krishna.
Lord Krishna, what pleasure shall we find in killing our cousin
brothers? Upon killing these felons we shall incur sin only.
we should not kill our cousin brothers. How can we be happy after
killing our relatives, O Krishna?
they are blinded by greed, and do not see evil in the destruction
of the family, or sin in being treacherous to friends. Why should
not we, who clearly see evil in the destruction of the family, think
about turning away from this sin, O Krishna?
DESCRIBES THE EVILS OF WAR
family traditions and codes of moral conduct are destroyed with
the destruction of the family. And immorality prevails in the family
due to the destruction of family traditions.
when immorality prevails, O Krishna, the women of the family become
corrupted; when women are corrupted, unwanted progeny is born.
brings the family and the slayers of the family to hell, because
the spirits of their ancestors are degraded when deprived of ceremonial
offerings of love and respect by the unwanted progeny.
everlasting qualities of social order and family traditions of those
who destroy their family are ruined by the sinful act of illegitimacy.
have been told, O Krishna, that people whose family traditions are
destroyed necessarily dwell in hell for a long time.
We are ready to commit a great sin by striving to slay our relatives
because of greed for the pleasures of the kingdom.
would be far better for me if my cousin brothers kill me with their
weapons in battle while I am unarmed and unresisting.
GOING GETS TOUGH, EVEN TOUGH ONES CAN GET DELUDED
said: Having said this in the battlefield and casting aside his
bow and arrow, Arjuna sat down on the seat of the chariot with his
mind overwhelmed with sorrow.