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Gita Lesson - 0201: Battlefield of Life

Bhagavad Gita
Unit - 02
Lesson - 0201: The Battlefield of Life
By Raja Subramaniyan

The first part of the Chapter 1 of Gita describes a situation wherein Arjuna faces a grave problem in his life. In order to appreciate the teaching of Lord Krishna, it is essential that we relate the situation faced by Arjuna with our life.

It is very difficult for someone to listen to the teachings of Gita when one is really immersed in a problem. Arjuna managed to do this because he surrendered unconditionally to Lord Krishna and sought his guidance. Normally we do not have recourse to such a resourceful guide nor will our ego permit us to surrender totally. To put ourselves in the position of Arjuna, it will help if we recall a problem faced by us in the past or imagine any problem with vivid details.

Example 1: You come to know that your spouse is having an illicit relationship with your best friend for the past two years.

Example 2: Your own siblings are trying to cheat you your rightful share in an ancestral property.

Example 3: Your cousin, who works as your superior officer is taking undue advantage of the position and portrays a poor image of you among your coworkers.

There are innumerable such examples in real life but most of us never accept that such a thing may happen to us. Invariably, we will be forced to face difficult situations and will be unprepared to face such situations. Then we will call that a crisis in life.

Unless we feel the need of a solution now, to help whenever problems strike us, we will not be in a position to appreciate the words of wisdom of Lord Krishna. Therefore, it is essential to imagine an appropriate situation involving our own close friends/ relatives that could be related to the situation faced by Arjuna in the battlefield.

Arjuna is forced to fight a war against his own cousins and the situation is described from Verse 1 to 25. We should note that every character mentioned in these verses are related / known to each other. There were no aggressive foreigners, masked terrorists, guerrilla army or underground mafia involved in the fight. Arjuna would have had no difficulty in fighting such enemy.

It will be difficult to imagine that our own siblings, parents, children could turn against us. If it happens, how will we face the world and what will be our reaction is the question that needs to be answered. Arjuna is facing his own relatives and friends in the opposing army.

What do we do when the Special Dharma is contradicting the Ordinary Dharma?

Example: A police officer finds his son among a gang of outlaws fighting with the police. In order to fight for his cause, even the son is forced to shoot at the father. How will the father and son respond to the situation?

We may not know how to face such situations in our life. It will be easy to comment on someone else's life. When such situations arise in our own life, we will be at loss for words or action. Such a situation in the life of Arjuna is described in the verses given below.

Chapter 1: Cause of Suffering & Delusion [Verses: 01 - 25]

1.1 Dhrtarastra asked: Oh Sanjaya, after assembling at Kuruksetra, what did my sons and the sons of Pandu do, being desirous to fight?

1.2 Sanjaya replied: Oh King, after looking over the army gathered by the sons of Pandu, King Duryodhana went to Dhrona and began to speak the following words:

1.3 Oh my teacher, behold the great army of the sons of Pandu, so expertly arranged by your intelligent disciple, the son of Drupada

1.4 Here in this army there are many heroic bowmen equal in fighting to Bhima and Arjuna; there are also great fighters like Yuyudhana, Virata and Drupada

1.5 There are also great, heroic, powerful fighters like Dhrstaketu, Cekitana, Kasiraja, Purujit, Kuntibhoja and Saibya.

1.6 There are the mighty Yudhamanyu, the very powerful Uttamauja, the son of Subhadra and the sons of Draupadi. All these warriors are great chariot fighters.

1.7 Oh best of the brahmanas, for your information, let me tell you about the captains who are especially qualified to lead my military force.

1.8 There are personalities like yourself, Bhisma, Karna, Krpa, Asvatthama, Vikarna and the son of Somadatta called Bhurisrava, who are always victorious in battle.

1.9 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.

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

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

1.12 Then Bhisma, the great valiant grandsire of the Kuru dynasty, the grandfather of the fighters, blew his conch shell very loudly like the sound of a lion, giving Duryodhana joy.

1.13 After that, the conch shells, bugles, trumpets, drums and horns were all suddenly sounded, and the combined sound was tumultuous.

1.14 On the other side, both Lord Krishna and Arjuna, stationed on a great chariot drawn by white horses, sounded their conch shells.

1.15 Then, Lord Krishna blew His conch shell, called Pancajanya; Arjuna blew his, the Devadatta; and Bhima, the voracious eater and performer of Herculean tasks, blew his terrific conch shell called Paundram.

1.16-18 King Yudhisthira, the son of Kunti, blew his conch shell, the Ananta-vijaya, and Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughosa and Manipuspaka. That great archer the King of Kasi, the great fighter Sikhandi, Dhrstadyumna, Virata and the unconquerable Satyaki, Drupada, the sons of Draupadi, and the others, Oh King, such as the son of Subhadra, greatly armed, all blew their respective conch shells.

1.19 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 Dhrtarastra.

1.20 Oh 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 Dhrtarastra. Oh King, Arjuna then spoke to Lord Krishna these words:

1.21-22 Arjuna said: Oh Krishna, please draw 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.

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

1.24 Sanjaya said: Oh Dhrtarastra, being thus addressed by Arjuna, Lord Krishna drew up the fine chariot in the midst of the armies of both parties.

1.25 In the presence of Bhisma, Dhrona and all other chieftains of the world, Lord Krishna said, You can now see, Arjuna, all the Kurus who are assembled here.

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