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Ch1-Sainya Darsana

Observing the Armies

Bhagavad Gita consists of 18 chapters , each culminating in the message of Bhakti. Arjuna behaved on the battlefield as if he were immersed in lamentation. Krishna then explained that the jiva's eternal atma dharma has nothing to do with the dharma of the body, dynasty and caste, although those who falsely identify with the body as the real self cannot understand this. As long as the jiva remains bound by maya and misidentifies his body as his self, he is forced to undergo the miseries of lamentation, delusion, fear and so on. It is therefore imperative that he accepts the shelter of a tattvavit guru.

The Glories of Chapter One (Mahatmya):

Parvati said “My dear husband, You know all the transcendental truths, and by your mercy I have heard the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna. Oh Lord, now I long to hear from You the glories of the Shrimad Bhagavad-gita, which was spoken by Lord Krishna, and by hearing which, one’s devotion to Lord Krishna increases”

Lord Siva replied “That person, Whose body is the color of a dark rain cloud, whose carrier is the king of birds, Garuda, and Who is lying on Ananta-Sesa, the thousand headed serpent, that Lord Vishnu, Whose glories have no limit, I am always worshipping.
My dear Parvati once after Lord Vishnu had killed the demon Mura, He was resting peacefully on Ananta-Sesa, when the bestower of all good fortune of the universe, Shri Lakshmi, respectfully inquired from Him.

“Bhagavan, You are the controller and maintainer of the whole universe, but yet You are sleeping unhappily on this ocean of milk. What is the reason?” Lord Vishnu said, “My dear Lakshmi, I am not sleeping, but I am watching how wonderfully My energy is working. It is by this wonderful energy of Mine, by which I am controlling all things, and yet remain separate. And it is by remembering these divine activities of Mine, that the great devotees and yogis manage to free themselves from the wheel of birth and death, and attain that transcendental nature of Mine, which is eternal and free from all qualities”

Lakshmi said, “O, controller of all things. You are the goal of the meditation of great yogis. Nothing can go on without You. And yet You are separate. You are the cause of creation, maintenance and destruction of all the material universes. Kindly inform me about the workings of Your wonderful energies, which are so attractive, that even You are lying here, meditating upon them”

Lord Vishnu said, “My dear Lakshmi, the workings of My multi-fold energies, and how to become free from the bonds of birth and death, and attain My eternal Nature, can only be understood by one of pure intelligence, who has an inclination to render service unto Me. This transcendental knowledge is fully explained in the Shrimad Bhagavad-gita”

Lakshmi inquired, “My dear Lord, if you yourself are amazed, by the workings of Your energies, and are ever trying to fathom their limit, then how is it possible that the Bhagavad-gita can describe those unlimited energies of Yours, and how to cross over them, and attain the transcendental nature?”

Lord Vishnu said, “I Myself have manifested in the Form of Bhagavad-gita. Please understand that the first five chapters are My five heads, the next ten chapters are My ten Arms, and the Sixteenth Chapter is My stomach. The last two chapters are My lotus-feet. In this way you should understand the transcendental Deity of the Bhagavad-gita. This Bhagavad-gita is the destroyer of all sins. And that intelligent man who daily recites one chapter or even one sloka, one half sloka, or at least one quarter sloka, will attain the same position as Susharma had attained.”

Lakshmi inquired, “Who was Susharma? What class did he belong to? And what destination did he attain?”

Lord Vishnu said, “My dear Lakshmi, Susharma was a very wicked and a most sinful man. Although he was born in a brahmana family, his family had no Vedic knowledge. And he only took pleasure from hurting others. He never engaged in the chanting of, My names, in giving charity, or receiving guests. In fact, he never performed any pious activities. For his livelihood he collected leaves, and sold them in the bazaar. He especially enjoyed drinking wine, and eating flesh. In this way he passed his life.

“One day that foolish Susharma had gone to the garden of one sage for collecting leaves, when a snake came and bit him, and he died. After his death he was cast into many hells, where he suffered for a long time. After which he attained the body of a bull. That bull was purchased by a crippled man, who engaged him in his service. For about seven or eight years he was carrying extremely heavy loads. One day that crippled man had piled a very heavy load onto the back of his bull. Very quickly he was forcing that bull along when suddenly the bull fell over and became unconscious. Many persons gathered there, to see what was happening, feeling sorry for that bull. One pious man bestowed upon that bull the results of some of his pious activities. Seeing that, other persons standing there started remembering their pious activities, and offered the results of some of those activities to that bull. In that crowd there was also one prostitute who did not know if she had ever performed any pious activities, but seeing everyone else offering their pious credits to that bull, she also offered the results of any pious activities she might have performed After that, the bull died, and was taken to the abode of Yamaraja, the God of Death.

There, Yamaraja informed him, “You are now free from the reactions of all your previous sinful deeds, due to the pious credits given to you by that prostitute.” Then he took birth in a very high brahmana family. In that birth, he was able to remember his past lives. After many days, he decided to search out that prostitute, who had been the cause of freeing him from his hellish situation.

After he had found and introduced himself to that lady he inquired from her “ What were the pious activities performed by you, the fruits of which freed me from my hellish situation?” The prostitute replied to him, “My dear sir, in that cage is one parrot, which recites something everyday. Hearing that recitation, my heart has become completely pure. The results of hearing that recitation I had given to you.” Thereafter they both inquired from that parrot about that recitation. That parrot. remembering his previous life, started to narrate his history. “Previously, I had been a very learned brahmana. But due to my pride, I used to insult other learned persons. I was also extremely jealous. After I died, I was cast into many hells, and after a long time of suffering, I achieved this body of a parrot. Due to my past sinful activities, my mother and father died while I was a baby. One day, while I was lying on the hot sands, with no protection, some rishis saw me, and took me to their ashram, and put me in a cage. At that same place, the children of those rishis were learning the recitation of the First Chapter of the Shrimad Bhagavad-gita, Hearing them repeat those slokas, I also. started repeating those slokas along with them.

“Shortly after, one thief stole me from that place and sold me to this pious lady.” Lord Vishnu continued, “By reciting the First Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, that parrot had become completely pure. And by hearing that recitation, that prostitute also became completely pure. And by receiving some of the pious results of hearing that recitation, Susharma also become completely pure.

After discussing for some time the glories of the first chapter of Bhagavad-gita, Susharma returned to his home, and the three of them individually engaged in reciting the First Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita, and very quickly attained the supreme destination, Vaikuntha.” Anyone who recites, who hears, or studies the First Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, will very easily cross over the ocean of material miseries, and attain the service of the lotus-feet of Lord Krishna.

Ch 1 Verse 1

dhritarashtra uvaca
dharma-kshetre kurukshetre / samaveta yuyutsavah
mamakah pandavash caiva / kim akurvata sanjaya

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dhritarashtra uvaca---King Dhritarashtra said; sanjaya---O Sanjaya; kim---what; eva---indeed; akurvata---did they do; mamakah--- my sons (headed by Duryodhana); ca---and; pandavah---the sons of Pandu (headed by Yudhishthira); samaveta---assembled; dharma-kshetre kuru-kshetre---in the land of dharma named Kurukshetra; yuyutsavah---desiring to fight.


Dhritarashtra said: O Sanjaya, what did my sons and the sons of Pandu do, having assembled at the sacred land of Kurukshetra, desiring to fight?


The Innermost Intention of The Shower of Essential Meanings


gauramshukah sat-kumuda-pramodi

svabhikhyaya gos tamaso nihanta

shri-krishna-chaitanya-sudha-nidhir me

mano-dhitishthan sva-ratim karotu

pracina-vacah suvicarya so-ham

ajno?pi gitamrita-lesha-lipsuh

yateh prabhor eva mate tad atra

santah kshamadhvam sharanagatasya

May Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who dispelled the darkness of the earth by distributing His own name; who is increasing the bliss of the lotus-like bhaktas; who is the storehouse of the nectar of prema; and who is the bestower of unnata-ujjvala-rasa, which is the most elevated relationship of divine conjugal love, perform His playful pastimes in my heart. Although I am ignorant, by following the conclusions of Shri Gauranga-Sundara, the crestjewel of all sannyasis, and by deliberating on the thoughts expressed by the previous Vaishnava acaryas, I have become greedy to taste a drop of nectar in the form of the Gita. Therefore, saintly persons should forgive this surrendered soul.

The Supreme Absolute Truth, parabrahma Shri Krishna, whose lotus feet are the ultimate objective of all devotion and shastra, appeared in His original human-like form as Shri Vasudevanandana, the son of Shri Vasudeva, in Shri Gopala-puri. Although He is adhokshaja, supremely inconceivable, beyond the cognition of material senses, He nevertheless became visible to the eyes of common men through the medium of His yogamaya potency. He imparted the instructions of Bhagavadg ita, thus delivering the jivas of this world who were drowning in the ocean of birth and death. He submerged them in the great ocean of prema by bestowing upon them a taste of the sweetness of His beauty (saundarya-madhurya) and other qualities. He appeared in this world, being bound by His promise to protect the saintly persons and annihilate the asuras. But on the pretext of removing the burden of the earth, He in fact awarded supreme protection in the form of mukti (liberation) to miscreants, to those who were antagonistic towards Him and to all those jivas drowning in this vast ocean of material existence which is compared to Kumbhipaka-naraka, a hellish planet where sinful persons are cooked in boiling oil.

Bhagavan Shri Krishna instructed Bhagavad-gita so that even after His disappearance, baddha-jivas, conditioned souls, who have been influenced by ignorance since time immemorial and completely bound by lamentation, illusion and so forth, could be delivered. Another purpose was to uphold His glories which are found in the shastra and sung by the munis. He directed these instructions of Bhagavad-gita to His very dear associate, priya-parikara Arjuna, who had voluntarily accepted a veil of lamentation and illusion.

This Gita has three divisions: karma-yoga, jnana-yoga and bhakti-yoga. The eighteen chapters of Bhagavad-gita are blessed with the purport of the entire Vedas which manifest as eighteen types of knowledge. Thus Shri Krishna reveals the parama-purushartha or supreme objective. Nishkama-karmayoga, working without attachment to the fruits of one?s prescribed duties, is described in the first six chapters, and jnanayoga (acquiring union through knowledge) in the last six chapters. The six chapters placed between them are more confidential, describing bhakti-yoga, which is more rarely attained than either karma-yoga or jnana-yoga. Bhakti is the very life of karma and jnana. Without bhakti, karma and jnana are fruitless. Therefore, they are partially successful only when they are mixed with bhakti.

Bhakti is of two types: kevala (exclusive) and pradhani-bhuta (with bhakti predominating). Kevala-bhakti, being independent and supremely powerful, does not need any assistance from karma and jnana. Therefore, it is known as parama-prabala (supremely powerful), akincana (whereby Krishna is one?s only possession), ananya (unalloyed), and so on. On the other hand, pradhani-bhuta-bhakti remains mixed with karma and jnana. This will be examined later in more detail.

To explain the nature of Arjuna's lamentation and illusion, the speaker of the Mahabharata, Shri Vaishampayana, a disciple of Vyasadeva, recited the Bhishma-parva section to his listener, Janamejaya, by beginning with dhritarashtra uvaca. Dhritarashtra asked Sanjaya,"O Sanjaya, what did my sons and the sons of Pandu do, having assembled at Kurukshetra, desiring to fight?" Here a question arises. Dhritarashtra has mentioned that his sons and the Pandavas have assembled with the sole purpose of fighting, so it is certain that they will fight. What, then, is his intention in asking, "What did they do?" In response to this, Dhritarashtra has used the words dharma-kshetre, the land of dharma. In the shruti it is said: kurukshetram deva-yajanam. "Kurukshetra is the sacrificial arena of the devas." Therefore, this land is famous as that which nourishes dharma. Thus, by the influence of association with this land, the anger of adharmika (irreligious) persons like Duryodhana and others can be subdued and they may become inclined to follow and accept dharma. The Pandavas are already dharmika by nature. The influence of Kurukshetra may arouse the faculty of discrimination when they take into consideration that the massacre of one's own relatives is improper. Thus both parties may agree to a peaceful settlement. Outwardly Dhritarashtra is pretending that he will be happy with a peace treaty, but internally he is feeling great dissatisfaction. He considers that, if they negotiate a truce, the presence of the Pandavas will continue to remain an impediment for his sons. Dhritarashtra thinks, "The warriors on my side, like Bhishma, Drona and others cannot be conquered, even by Arjuna. Therefore, since our victory is certain, it will be beneficial to fight." These internal sentiments of Dhritarashtra, however, are indiscernible to others.

Here, by the component kshetra in the word dharma-kshetre, Sarasvati-devi is indicating a special meaning for dharma; Yudhishthira, the incarnation of dharma, and his associates are like plants of rice, and their maintainer, Bhagavan Shri Krishna, is like a farmer. The various kinds of assistance given by Krishna to the Pandavas are likened to watering the crop and making a causeway around the field. The Kauravas, headed by Duryodhana, are like the shyama (blackish) weeds which grow in the rice field. This indicates that as the shyama weeds are uprooted from the rice field, similarly Duryodhana, along with the other Kauravas, will be uprooted from this dharma-kshetra, land of dharma.


The Commentary which Illuminates The Shower of Essential Meanings


om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-shalakayah
cakshur unmilitam yena tasmai shri-gurave namah

I offer my most humble obeisances unto Shri Gurudeva, who with the torchlight of transcendental knowledge has opened my eyes which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance.

namah om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhu-tale
shri-shrimad-bhakti-prajnana-keshava iti namine
ati-martya-caritraya sva-shritananca-palin
e jiva-duhkhe sadarttaya shri-nama-prema-dayine

I offer my obeisances unto the lotus feet of om vishnu-pada ashtottara-shata Shri Shrimad Bhakti-Prajnana Keshava Gosvami Maharaja, who is so dear to Shri Krishna in this world. He is a completely divine personality who nurtures with great affection those who have taken shelter of him. Aggrieved upon seeing the suffering of those jivas who are averse to Shri Krishna, he bestows upon them shri-nama along with prema. namah om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhu-tale shrimate bhakti-siddhanta sarasvatiti namine I offer my obeisances unto om vishnu-pada Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddh anta Sarasvati Prabhupada, who is so dear to Shri Krishna having taken shelter at His lotus feet.

namo bhaktivinodaya sac-cid-ananda namine
gaura-shakti-sva-rupaya rupanuga-varaya te

I offer my obeisances unto Saccidananda Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who is the foremost of rupanuga devotees and the embodiment of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu?s shakti.

vishvasya natharupo'sau bhakt vartma pradarshanat
bhakta-cakre varttitvat cakravartty akhyaya bhavat

 Because he illuminates the path of bhakti for everyone (vishva), he is known as Vishvanatha. And because he has attained the foremost position among the community of bhaktas (bhaktacakra), he is known as Cakravarti. Hence his name has become significant as Vishvanatha Cakravarti.

The great preceptor, maha-mahopadhyaya Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, an eminent acarya and great scholar of Vedanta in the Shri Gaudiya sampradaya and the crest-jewel of rasika-bhaktas, has compiled an invaluable commentary on Shrimad Bhagavad-gita named Sarartha-Varshini, a shower of essential meanings. This commentary was written in Sanskrit and was previously only available in Bengali translations. Consequently, the Hindi and English-speaking audience have been completely deprived of reading this invaluable treasure. Thus, for the comprehensive welfare of faithful persons, I am translating the commentary into Hindi and English. The style and bhava of the commentary are extremely deep and enriched with exalted philosophical conclusions (siddhanta). To make the translation simple and comprehensive, I found it necessary to write a Sarartha-Varshini Prakashika-vritti, a further explanation to illuminate the commentary. This arduous task is not possible without the mercy of Shri Guru, Vaishnavas and Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura himself. Therefore, first of all, in a mood of great distress, I pray at their lotus feet for their mercy and blessings.

Shrimad Bhagavad-gita is the essence of all shrutis, Upanishads and Puranas. Based on the sound evidence of Vedic literature received through guru-parampara, it is concluded that Vrajendra-nandana Shri Krishna Himself, the son of the King of Vraja, is Svayam Bhagavan, the Original Personality of Godhead. He is the embodiment of all nectarean mellows (akhila-rasamrita-murti) and He is the omnipotent (sarva- shaktiman), non-dual Absolute Reality (advaya-jnana-paratattva). Among His unlimited potencies three are prominent: cit-shakti (the internal potency), jiva-shakti (the marginal potency) and acit-shakti (the external potency). By the will of Svayam Bhagavan Shri Krishna, Vaikuntha, Goloka and Vrindavana are transformations of His cit-shakti. All jivas are a transformation of His jiva-shakti and the material creation is the transformation of His maya-shakti. The jivas are of two types: mukta (liberated) and baddha (bound). The muktaj ivas are eternally engaged in relishing the bliss derived from serving Bhagavan in Vaikuntha, Goloka and various other dhamas. They never become bound in this material world, the prison-house of maya, and hence they are called nityamukta, eternally liberated. Sometimes, by the will of Bhagavan, they appear in this illusory world as His associates for the sole purpose of bestowing welfare to the people. The other type of jiva is called anadi-baddha, or bound by maya since time immemorial. As a result of being bound, the jiva is being burnt by the three types of miseries while wandering in the cycle of birth and death.

 Bhagavan Shri Krishna, who is an ocean of compassion, seems to have created illusion (ajnana), by the influence of His acintya-shakti (inconceivable potency) in the heart of His nitya-siddha-parikara Arjuna. Thus, on the pretext of dispelling this illusion, He spoke Bhagavad-gita, which establishes atma-tattva for the deliverance of all jivas under the grip of maya. The subject ultimately established in Bhagavad-gita is vishuddha-bhagavad-bhakti, supremely pure devotional service to Bhagavan. The jivas under the influence of maya become situated in their pure constitutional position (vishuddha-svarupa) only by taking shelter of shuddha-bhakti, as described in the Gita, and can thus render service to Shri Bhagavan. Aside from this, there is no beneficial path for the baddha-jivas.

On the basis of concrete evidence from shastra and invincible arguments, Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and other prominent Gaudiya Vaishnava acaryas have clearly established that the speaker of Bhagavad-gita is not nihshaktika (devoid of potency), nirvishesha (devoid of variety), or nirakara (formless), nor is He nirguna (devoid of transcendental qualities such as aprakrita-daya, transcendental mercy). The jiva is never parabrahma, and even in the liberated stage can never become parabrahma. Even after attaining mukti, the jiva will remain a pure atomic spiritual particle. However, at that time he is said to be a bhagavat-parikara, an eternal associate of Bhagavan.

In Vedic mantras (shruti), it is proven that both Parameshvara, the Supreme Controller, and the jivatma are qualified as having knowledge (jnana-svarupa), as being the knower (jnata-svarupa), the enjoyer (bhokta-svarupa), the doer (kartta- svarupa) and possessed of a pure spiritual ego (chinmayaaha nkara). Therefore, regarding their constitutions, there is no difference between them from the perspective of tattva. However, because the jiva is an atomic spirit, his knowledge is limited and he can be overpowered by maya. Parameshvara is the master of maya. Although there is no difference between Ishvara and the jiva on the basis of tattva, the perception of a difference is real. This perception of difference is called vaishishtya, meaning speciality or having a uniquely distinguishing characteristic. Just as the sun and the sun's rays are simultaneously one yet different, being the possessor of attributes and the attribute respectively, similarly, the relationship between Parameshvara and the jiva, which is that of being one and different, is firmly proven in the Vedas. Since this relationship of simultaneous oneness and difference is beyond intellect and is only intelligible with the help of shastra, it is therefore called acintya, inconceivable. Thus the subject matter of Bhagavad-gita is the nitya acintya-bhedabheda-rupa paratattva, the eternal Supreme Reality, who is inconceivably one with and different from His potencies.

Although it is accepted that para-tattva Shri Krishna is simultaneously one with and different from the jiva and the material world, which are both transformations of His shakti, it is the perception of difference which is eternal and predominant, not the perception of oneness. Knowledge of the jivatma, Paramatma, the abode of Paramatma and the means to attain Paramatma have been delineated in appropriate places in this Bhagavad-gita.

Although karma, jnana and bhakti have been explained as the three means to attain brahma, bhakti-yoga is the only means to achieve Bhagavan. The preliminary stage of bhaktiyoga is called karma-yoga. When there is further progress, the intermediate stage is called jnana-yoga and in its mature and elevated stage it is called bhakti-yoga. Karma in itself is not a direct sadhana (practice) to attain Bhagavan, but only a means to attain that direct sadhana. When the heart becomes purified by following karma-yoga mixed with bhakti, which is bhagavad-arpita-karma (offering the fruits of one?s activities to Bhagavan) as described in the Vedas, tattva-jnana (the true knowledge of spirit and non-spirit) appears there. Both jnana and karma which are devoid of a sense of bhagavat-tattva are futile.

 Along with the appearance of tattva-jnana, kevala-bhakti manifests in the heart. When this kevala-bhakti attains its mature stage, then prema manifests in the heart of the jiva. This prema is the only means of attaining and having direct realisation of Bhagavan. This is the concealed mystery of the Bhagavad-gita. One cannot achieve mukti merely by nirvishesha-jnana (knowledge of Bhagavan's impersonal feature). Only when jnana is mixed with bhakti-bhava, can one obtain mukti in the form of salokya, sarupya and so on, as an extraneous result. One can attain prema-mayi seva to Svayam Bhagavan Shri Krishna in His supreme abode, Goloka- Vrindavana by performing kevala-bhakti as described in the Gita. When one attains this abode, there is no possibility of coming back to the material world. For the jivas, achievement of this prema-seva is the prayojana, the ultimate goal. Bhakti is of two types: kevala (exclusive) and pradhani- bhuta (principally inherent). Kevala-bhakti is also called ananya, akincana, vishuddha and nirguna bhakti. Pradhani- bhuta-bhakti is also of two types: karma-pradhani-bhuta, where bhakti predominates over karma, and jnana-pradhani- bhuta, where bhakti predominates over jnana. By performance of karma-pradhani-bhuta bhakti, which gradually purifies the heart, tattva-jnana is achieved. The result of performing jnana-pradhani-bhuta bhakti is mukti. Only that karmapradh ani-bhuta bhakti which aims at tattva-jnana and that jnana-pradhani-bhuta bhakti which aims at obtaining kevalabhakti are to be known as karma-yoga and jnana-yoga respectively. These are only steps to bhakti. Otherwise, without bhakti both jnana and karma are futile.

This Gitopanishad is composed of eighteen chapters, beginning from Chapter Twenty-five of the Mahabharata?s Bhishmaparva to Chapter Forty-two. It has three divisions, each consisting of six chapters. The first division explains that the jivatma is an amsha (part) of Ishvara, and that his svarupa (constitution) is such that he can acquire the eligibility to render service to Bhagavan, the amshi (whole). Shuddha-bhaktitattva, the principle of pure devotional service, has been explained in the middle six chapters. It is this type of bhakti that is the topmost means of attaining bhagavat-prema, which is the supreme object to be achieved. In the third and final part, tattva-jnana is defined. The subject matter of the Gita is kevalabhakti, which is like cintamani, a wish-fulfilling jewel. This cintamani has been safely kept inside Bhagavad-gita, which is likened to a treasure chest. The base of this chest is nishkamakarma- yoga, the lid is jnana-yoga and the treasure is bhakti. Only those who have staunch faith, who are fixed in dharmika principles, who have good character and who are self-controlled are qualified to study this conversation.

For the proper flow of the book, Shri Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa has included in the first twenty-seven shlokas phrases such as: dhritarashtra uvaca or sanjaya uvaca. They should be accepted as the introductory part of Gita. Just as a piece of salt when mixed with the salty ocean completely dissolves to become one with the ocean, these introductory words composed by Shri Vedavyasa have similarly become one with the great ocean of Bhagavad-gita spoken by Shri Krishna.

Arjuna: Arjuna is an eternal associate of Bhagavan Shri Krishna. It is completely impossible for him to fall into a state of lamentation and delusion. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (1.7.7) it is said: yasyam vai shruyamanayam. "Bhakti unto the lotus feet of Purushottama Bhagavan Shri Krishna, who is transcendental to the modes of material nature, at once appears in the hearts of those who with great faith hear Shrimad-Bhagavatam, which is filled with the topics of His sweet pastimes, and thus destroys lamentation, illusion and fear." How then, is it possible that bhakta-pravara (the greatest devotee) Arjuna, who is a nitya-parikara of Shri Krishna serving in sakhya-rasa (divine friendship), can be in a state of illusion and lamentation? Bhagavan Shri Krishna, having arranged Arjuna?s illusion for the sake of the jivas afflicted with grief and delusion, says: tesham aham samuddharta mrityu-samsara-sagarat. "I deliver them from the ocean of material existence" (Gita 12.7).

Through the medium of questions and answers, He defines the svarupa (true nature) of His own tattva, as well as that of the jiva, dhama, maya, bhakti and so forth.

While commenting on the shloka: sarva-dharman parityajya (Gita 18.66), Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura quotes Krishna as saying: tvam avalambyaiva shastram idam loka-matram evo padeshtami. "Having made you the instrument, I am delivering this message of Bhagavad-gita for the benefit of every jiva." Apart from this, in his commentary on Shrimad-Bhagavatam called Sarartha-darshini-tika, Shrila Cakravarti Thakura explains the shloka, yogindraya namah (12.13.21), to mean that the description of Arjuna's bewilderment in Bhagavad-gita is just a statement of words. In fact, Arjuna is an eternal associate of Bhagavan. There is not even a tinge of this illusory world in him, what to speak of his being overwhelmed by lamentation and delusion. But beneficial instructions are given through the medium of famous personalities among perfected saints who are very merciful and highly expert in performing activities for the welfare of the jivas. This is seen throughout the shastras and such is the position of Arjuna.

Ashtadasha Vidyas (Eighteen Types of Knowledge): There are four Vedas -Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva -and six Vedangas (limbs of the Vedas) -shiksha, kalpa, vyakarana, nirukta, jyotisha and chanda. Then there are mimamsa, nyaya, dharma-shastra, purana, ayur-veda, dhanur-veda, gandharva-veda and artha- shastra. These are the eighteen vidyas, or types of knowledge, as mentioned in Vishnu Purana:

 angani vedash catvaro mimamsa nyaya-vistarah
dharma-shastram puranan ca vidya hy etam catur dashah
ayurvedo dhanurvedo gandharvash ceti te trayah
artha-shastram caturtham ca vidya hy ashtadashaiva tah

Kurukshetra: Shrila Vyasadeva has referred to the battlefield of Kurukshetra as dharma-kshetra. This has a hidden meaning. According to Shrimad-Bhagavatam (9.22.4), this land is named Kurukshetra after King Kuru. The Shalya-parva of the Mahabharata relates the following story:

 Once, when Kuru Maharaja was ploughing this land, Devaraja Indra appeared and asked him, "For what purpose are you doing this?" Kuru Maharaja answered, "I am ploughing this land so that those people who give up their bodies here may attain Svarga-loka (the heavenly planets)." Hearing this, Devaraja ridiculed him and returned to Svarga-loka. The king again began ploughing with great enthusiasm. Although Devaraja returned again and again to deride and deliberately disturb the king, Kuru Maharaja remained unperturbed and continued his work. Finally, on the insistence of other devatas, Indra became pleased with Kuru Maharaja and gave him the benediction that whoever gives up his body or is killed in battle on this land certainly attains Svarga. Hence, this land, known as dharma-kshetra, was chosen for the battle.

 Also in the Javalopanishad (1.2), Kurukshetra is described as a yajna-sthali (place of sacrifice) for the devatas and all living entities. One attains Svarga-loka by the performance of yajna at this place.

Also in the Sat-Patha Brahmana, it is written: kurukshetram deva-yajanam-asa tasmad ahuh kurukshetram deva-yajanam. "The devas performed worship of the Lord in Kurukshetra. Therefore, sages have named this place deva-yajanam." The phrase dharma-kshetra is composed of two words: dharma and kshetra. The word kshetra indicates land for cultivation. When a farmer waters the rice field, a type of weed called shyama grass also grows along with the rice plants. This grass looks exactly like the rice plants, and grows by taking the water used for the rice field, thereby covering the rice plants. Eventually, the rice plants dry up. Therefore, an expert farmer uproots these weeds because they are harmful to the rice crop. In the same way, in this land of Kurukshetra, Bhagavan Shri Krishna maintained and nourished Yudhishthira Maharaja, the personification of dharma, along with his associates by annihilating those who are anti-religious, pseudo-religious and non-religious, like Duryodhana and others.

The land between the rivers Sarasvati and Drishadvati is known as Kurukshetra. At this place, both the great sage Mudgala and Prithu Maharaja performed austerities. Shri Parashuramaji performed yajnas at five different places in this land after annihilating the kshatriyas. Therefore, previously this kshetra was known as Samanta Pancaka. It later became famous as Kurukshetra, following the activities of Maharaja Kuru.

Sanjaya: Sanjaya was the son of a charioteer named Gavalgama. He was shastra-jna (a knower of the conclusions of shastra), generous and dharmatma (dedicated to religious principles). Because of these virtuous qualities, Grandsire Bhishma appointed him and Vidura as Dhritarashtra's royal ministers. Sanjaya was considered to be a second Vidura and was also an intimate friend of Arjuna. Due to receiving divine vision by the mercy of Shri Vyasadeva, he was able to narrate all the events of the war to Dhritarashtra. This enabled him to view the battle of Kurukshetra from within the distant royal palace in Hastinapura. Maharaja Yudhishthira also described Sanjaya as a sweet-speaking well-wisher of everyone, who had a peaceful temperament, and was always satisfied and impartial. He was fixed in the bounds of morality (maryada) and was never agitated by others' ill behaviour. Always remaining unbiased and fearless, his speech was fully consistent with dharmika principles.

Ch 1 Verse 2

sanjaya uvaca

drishtva tu pandavanikam / vyudham duryodhanas tada

acaryam upasangamya / raja vacanam abravit

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sanjayah uvaca---Sanjaya said; drishtva---after surveying; pandavaan ikam---the army of the Pandavas; vyudham---arrayed in military formation; raja---king; duryodhanah---Duryodhana; tada-then; upasangamya---approached; acaryam---Dronacarya (the teacher); tu---and; abravit---spoke; (these) vacanam---words.

Sanjaya said: O King, after surveying the Pandava army arrayed in military formation, Duryodhana then approached Dronacarya and spoke the following words.


After understanding the internal intention of Dhritarashtra, Sanjaya confirmed that there would definitely be a war. But knowing that the result would be contrary to Dhritarashtra.s expectations, Sanjaya is speaking these words beginning with drishtva etc. Here, the word vyudham means the arrangement of the Pandava army into a strategic formation. Thus King Duryodhana, who felt fear within himself, spoke nine shlokas beginning with pashyaitam in the next shloka.


Unfortunately, apart from being blind since birth, at the time of the Mahabharata war, Dhritarashtra was also bereft of both dharmika and spiritual vision. Thus he became overwhelmed with lamentation and illusion. Due to the influence of the dharma-kshetra, his son Duryodhana might return half of the kingdom to the Pandavas. Fearing this, he became dejected. Sanjaya, being highly dharmika and a visionary (durdarshi), could sense the internal feelings of Dhritarashtra. Although Sanjaya knew that the result of this battle would not be in Dhritarashtra.s favour, he very intelligently hid this information and, while pacifying Dhritarashtra, said, "Duryodhana is not going to compromise with the Pandavas. Rather, after seeing the extremely strong arrangement of the Pandava army, he is personally approaching Dronacarya, his guru in military science, to inform him of the actual situation." Duryodhana had two motives for approaching the acarya. First, he was fearful after seeing the formidable arrangement of the Pandava army. Second, on the pretext of giving his guru due respect, he wanted to display his political expertise. Due to his expertise in politics, he was certainly qualified in all respects for the post of king. This is verified here by his diplomatic behaviour. This is the meaning of the shloka: sanjaya uvaca etc.

Duryodhana: Among the one hundred sons of Dhritarashtra and Gandhari, Duryodhana was the eldest. At the time of his birth, there were various bad omens which caused many saintly persons such as Vidura to fear that he would be the cause of the destruction of the Kuru dynasty. According to the Mahabharata, Duryodhana took birth from an amsha (a part) of Kali. He was sinful, cruel and a disgrace to the Kuru dynasty. At the time of his name-giving ceremony, the family priests and other learned astrologers, seeing the indications of his future, gave him the name Duryodhana. Finally, after a hint from Shri Krishna, Bhima killed him in such a horrific way that even to think of it would make one.s hair stand on end.

Vyuha: It is said in Shabda-ratnavali: samagrasya tu sainyasya vinyasah sthana-bhedatah / sa vyuha iti vikhyato yuddheshu prithivi-bhujam. "A vyuha is the formation of a military phalanx, arranged by an expert king in such a way that it is impenetrable by opponents from any direction, thereby assuring victory in battle."

 Dronacarya: Dronacarya taught astra-shastra, the science of weaponry, to the sons of both Pandu and Dhritarashtra. He was the son of Maharshi Bharadvaja. Because he was born from a drona, a wooden water-pot, he became famous by the name Drona. Just as he was a great teacher of astra-shastra, he was similarly expert in the knowledge of Veda and Vedanga (auxiliary portions of the Vedas). After pleasing the Maharshi Parashurama, he learned from him the secrets of dhanur-veda (the science of archery) and other sciences. Since he had the benediction that he could die at the time of his own choosing, no one could kill him. After being insulted by his childhood friend, King Drupada of Pancala, Dronacarya went to Hastinapura to earn a livelihood. Impressed by Drona.s qualifications, Grandsire Bhishma appointed him the acarya to instruct and train Duryodhana, Yudhishthira and the other princes. Arjuna was his dearmost disciple. In the battle of Kurukshetra, King Duryodhana, by polite persuasion and diplomacy, appointed him as commander-in-chief of the Kaurava army, second-in-command to Bhishma.

Ch 1 Verse 3

pashyaitam pandu-putranam / acarya mahatim camum
vyudham drupada-putrena / tava shishyena dhimata

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acarya---O teacher; pashya---behold; etam---this; mahatim-great; camum---army; pandu-putranam---of the sons of Pandu (the Pandavas); vyudham---arranged in a military phalanx; tava dhi- mata---by your intelligent; shishyena---disciple; drupada-putrena--- Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Drupada-

O Acarya! Behold this great army of the Pandavas, arranged in a military phalanx by your intelligent disciple Dhrishtadyumna, son of Drupada.


With these words Duryodhana is implying, "Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Drupada, is indeed your disciple. He has taken birth only to kill you. Although you knew this, you continued to give him shiksha (military training). This certainly exposes your dull intelligence." Here, Duryodhana has used the word dhimata, intelligent, for Dhrishtadyumna. This has a deep meaning. Duryodhana wants Dronacarya to realise that, although Dhrishtadyumna is Dronacarya.s enemy, he learned from Dronacarya personally how to kill him. Thus he is very intelligent. Just to arouse the anger of his teacher, Duryodhana diplomatically remarks, .Now see his great intelligence at the time of employing the fruits of his training.


Dhrishtadyumna: Drupada, The King of Pancala, performed a yajna with the desire to beget a son who would kill Dronacarya. From the fire of the yajna a boy appeared holding armour and weapons. At the same time a voice from the sky predicted that this son of Drupada would kill Drona. The brahmanas named this heroic looking boy Dhrishtadyumna. He learned the dhanur-veda from Dronacarya, who was extremely benevolent. Although he knew that one day Dhrishtadyumna would kill him, still, with great effort he trained him in astra- shastra. Thus Acarya Drona was killed by his own disciple in the Mahabharata war.

Ch 1 Verses 4-6

atra shura maheshvasa / bhimarjuna-sama yudhi
yuyudhano viratash ca / drupadash ca maha-rathah

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dhrishtaketush cekitanah / kashirajash ca viryavan
purujit kuntibhojash ca / shaibyash ca nara-pungavah

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yudhamanyush ca vikranta / uttamaujash ca viryavan
saubhadro draupadeyash ca / sarva eva maha-rathah

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atra---present (here); (are) shurah---mighty; maha-ishu-asah---great bowmen (lit. great arrow-throwers); samah---equal; yudhi---in battle; bhima-arjuna---to Bhima and Arjuna; yuyudhanah--- Satyaki; viratah---Virata; ca---and; maha-rathah---the great chariot fighter; drupadah---Drupada; ca---also; dhrishtaketuh--- Dhrishtaketu; cekitanah---Cekitana; kashirajah---Kashiraja, the King of Kashi (Varanasi); ca---and; virya-van---heroic; purujit---Purujit; kuntibhojah---Kuntibhoja; ca---and; shaibyah---Shaibhya; ca---and; nara-pungavah---the best of men; yudhamanyuh---Yudhamanyu; ca---and; vikrantah---achiever of victory; uttamaujah--- Uttamauja; ca---and; virya-van---heroic; saubhadrah--- Abhimanyu, son of Subhadra; draupadeyah---the sons of Draupadi; ca---and; sarve---all; eva---these; maha---rathah---great chariot fighters.

Present in this army are mighty bowmen, equal in combat to Arjuna and Bhima, such as Satyaki, King Virata and the great warrior Drupada. Also present are Dhrishtaketu and Cekitana, heroic Kashiraja, Purujit, Kuntibhoja, the most valiant Shaibya, and other noble men such as the victorious Yudhamanyu, the powerful Uttamauja, Abhimanyu, as well as Pratibindhya and the other sons of Draupadi. All of these are maharathis.


Here the word maheshvasah means that all these great warriors carry strong bows which cannot be broken by the enemy. The word yuyudhana refers to Satyaki. Saubhadrah refers to Abhimanyu, and Draupadeyah indicates the sons of the five Pandavas born from Draupadi, headed by Pratibindhya. The characteristics of a maharathi are now described here. Among a group of great warriors who are expert in astra-shastra, one who can fight against ten thousand warriors single-handedly is called a maharathi. One who can fight alone against unlimited warriors is known as an atirathi. One who can only fight with a single person is known as a yoddha, and one who requires assistance to defeat a single opponent is called an arddharathi.


Yuyudhana: Yuyudhana is another name for the heroic Satyaki. He was a very dear servant of Shri Krishna, extremely valiant and an atirathi among the commanders-in-chief of the Yadava army. He learned the secrets of astra-shastra from Arjuna. In the Mahabharata conflict he fought on the side of the Pandavas.

Virata: Virata was the pious king of the land of Matsya. The Pandavas spent one year incognito under his shelter. His daughter Uttara, later married Abhimanyu, the famous son of Arjuna. Virata was killed in the Mahabharata war along with his sons Uttara, Sveta and Shankha.

Drupada: Drupada was the son of Prishata, the king of Pancala. Since Maharaja Prishata and Maharshi Bharadvaja, the father of Dronacarya were friends, Drupada and Dronacarya were also friends in their childhood. Later, when Drupada became king, Dronacarya approached him for financial help, but Drupada insulted him. Dronacarya did not forget this disrespect. When Arjuna completed his education in astra-shastra, Dronacarya asked Arjuna to capture Drupada and offer him at Drona.s feet as guru-dakshina. Arjuna followed his order. Dronacarya took half of Drupada.s kingdom and then released him. To avenge this insult, Drupada performed a yajna in which Draupadi and Dhrishtadyumna appeared from the fire.

Cekitana: Cekitana was a Yadava in the dynasty of Vrishni. He was a very chivalrous maharathi and was one of the commanders- in-chief of the Pandava army. In the Mahabharata war, he met his death at the hands of Duryodhana.

Kashiraja: Kashiraja was the king of Kashi. He was born from a part of the asura Dirghajihva. A valiant and courageous hero, he fought on the side of the Pandavas.

Purujit and Kuntibhoja: Purujit and Kuntibhoja were brothers of Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas, and were thus the maternal uncles of the Pandavas. In the Mahabharata war they were killed by Dronacarya.

Shaibya: Shaibya was the father-in-law of Maharaja Yudhishthira. His daughter Devika was married to Yudhishthira Maharaja. He is known as nara-pungava, the best of men, and was recognised as a powerful, heroic warrior.

Yudhamanyu and Uttamauja: The valiant, powerful blood brothers Yudhamanyu and Uttamauja were princes of the Pancala kingdom. At the end of the Mahabharata war, they were killed by Ashvatthama.

Saubhadra: Bhagavan Shri Krishna.s sister, Subhadra, was married to Arjuna. The heroic Abhimanyu was born from the womb of Subhadra, and therefore he is also known as Saubhadra. He received training in astra-shastra from his father, Arjuna, and from Shri Balarama. He was an exceptionally chivalrous hero and a maharathi. At the time of the Mahabharata war he was sixteen years old. In the absence of Arjuna, Abhimanyu alone was able to penetrate the cakra-vyuha, a special military formation which had been arranged by Dronacarya. Trapped in the vyuha, he was unjustly killed by the combined efforts of seven maharathis, including Drona, Kripacarya and Karna.

Draupadeya: Draupadi gave birth to a son from each of the five Pandavas. Their names were Pratibindhya, Sutasoma, Shrutakarma, Shatanika and Shrutasena. Collectively, they were known as Draupadeya. Their fathers were Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva respectively. At the end of the Mahabharata war Ashvatthama, desiring to please his friend Duryodhana, murdered these five princes at night as they slept. In addition to the names of the warriors mentioned by Duryodhana, there were many other maharathis in the army of the Pandavas. Duryodhana has referred to all of them by using the words sarva eva.

Ch 1 Verse 7

asmakan tu vishishta ye / tan nibodha dvijottama
nayaka mama sainyasya / samjnartham tan bravimi te

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dvija-uttama-O best of the twice-born; samjna-artham-for your information; nibodha-be informed; bravimi-I am mentioning; te-to you; tan-the names; ye-who; (are) tu-indeed; vishishtah-outstanding warriors; nayakah-commanders; mama sainyasya-of the soldiers; asmakam-of our army-

O Dvija-uttama, best of the brahmanas, for your information I am also mentioning the names of those who are particularly talented in the art of military strategy.

Here, the word nibodha means 'please understand', and samjnartham means 'for your precise knowledge.'

Ch 1 Verses 8-9

bhavan bhishmash ca karnash ca / kripash ca samitinjayah
ashvatthama vikarnash ca / saumadattir jayadrathah

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anye ca bahavah shura / mad-arthe tyakta-jivitah
nana-shastra-praharanah / sarve yuddha-visharadah

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bhavan---your good self; bhishmah---Grandsire Bhishma; ca---and; karnah---Karna; ca---and; kripah---Kripacarya; (are) samitinjayah--- always victorious in battle; ca---and; ashvatthama---Ashvatthama; vikarnah---Vikarna; ca-also; saumadattih---Bhurishrava, the son of Somadatta; jayadrathah---the king of Sindhu, Jayadratha; anye---other than those mentioned before; (there are) ca---also; bahavah---many other; shurah---heroes; tyakta-jivitah---bound by a vow to give up their life; mat-arthe---for my sake; praharanah--- equipped with; nana---many; shastra-weapons; sarve---all of them; (are) yuddha---visharadah-expert in warfare.

In my army there are heroes like your good self (Dronacarya), Grandsire Bhishma, Karna, Kripacarya who is ever-victorious in battle, Ashvatthama, Vikarna, Bhurishrava, the son of Somadatta, and Jayadratha, the King of Sindhu. There are many other heroes who are prepared to give up their lives for my sake. All are equipped with varieties of astra-shastra and are expert in warfare.


Here the word somadattih refers to Bhurishrava. Tyaktaj ivitah denotes a person who is determined to do whatever is required of him, having properly realised that he will be greatly benefited whether he survives or not. In Gita (11.33) Bhagavan says,"O Arjuna! All these persons have already been killed by Me; you need only become an instrument". In accordance with this statement, Sarasvati-devi made the word tyakta-jivitah come from the mouth of Duryodhana, indicating that his army had already been destroyed.


Kripacarya: In the lineage of Gautama, there was a rishi by the name of Sharadvan. Once, after seeing the apsara Janapadi, his semen spontaneously fell on a clump of forest grass. This semen became divided in two parts, from which a boy and a girl were born. The girl was named Kripi and the boy, Kripa. Kripa later became renowned as a great warrior. Sharadvan Rishi personally endowed Kripa with expertise in dhanur-veda and other arts. Kripa was exceedingly valiant and pious. In the battle of Mahabharata he fought on the side of the Kauravas. After the battle, Maharaja Yudhishthira appointed him to train Prince Parikshit.

Ashvatthama: Kripi, the sister of Kripacarya, was married to Dronacarya. From her womb Ashvatthama was born, being a combination of the portions of Lord Shiva, Yama, kama (lust) and krodha (anger). He learned the shastras and astra-shastra (science of weaponry) from his father Dronacarya. He also accepted the responsibility of being the last commander-inchief of the Kauravas in the battle of Mahabharata. He murdered the five sons of Draupadi while they were in deep sleep, having mistaken them for the five Pandavas. In retaliation, the Pandavas insulted him severely and forcibly removed a jewel which was a part of his forehead. After this insult, he burnt with anger and attempted to kill the unborn Parikshit Maharaja, who was the sole heir to the Pandava dynasty, by targeting his brahmastra at the child in the womb of Uttara, the wife of Abhimanyu. However, Bhagavan Shri Krishna, who is bhakta-vatsala, affectionate to His bhaktas, invoked His sudarshana cakra to protect Maharaja Parikshit in the womb.

Vikarna: Vikarna was one of the one hundred sons of Dhritarashtra. He was killed by Bhimasena in the Mahabharata war.

Somadatta: Somadatta was the son of Bahlika and the grandson of King Pratika of the Kuru dynasty. In the battle of Mahabharata he was killed by Satyaki.

Bhurishrava: Bhurishrava was the son of King Somadatta in the Candra-vamsha (Moon-dynasty). He was a highly courageous and famous king. In the Mahabharata conflict he was killed by Satyaki.

Shastra: A weapon such as a sword or sabre that is used to kill others in hand-to-hand combat, is called a shastra.

Astra: A weapon such as an arrow that is thrown at the enemy is known as an astra.

Ch 1 Verse 10

aparyaptam tad asmakam / balam bhishmabhirakshitam
paryaptam tv idam etesham / balam bhimabhirakshitam

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asmakam---our; tat balam---military strength; abhirakshitam---well protected; bhishma---by Grandsire Bhishma; (is) aparyaptam--- incompetent; tu---but; idam---this; balam---strength; etesham--- of the Pandavas; abhirakshitam---well protected; bhima---by Bhima; (is) paryaptam---competent.

Our forces, though protected by Bhishma, are not sufficient. On the other hand the army of the Pandavas, under the careful protection of Bhima, is fully competent.


Here, the word aparyaptam means incompetent or insufficient. That is, the Kauravas are not competent and are of insufficient strength to fight with the Pandavas. Bhishmabhirakshitam means,'Although our army is well-protected by Grandsire Bhishma, who is endowed with extremely fine intelligence and expertise both in shastra (weaponry) and shastra (knowledge), the strength of this force is still insufficient because Bhishma is favouring both sides.' Paryaptam bhima-bhirakshitam means, 'But the army of the Pandavas, though protected by Bhima, who is less expert in shastra and shastra, is competent to fight with us.' It is indicated by these statements that Duryodhana is feeling deeply apprehensive.


Grandsire Bhishma is an unparalleled hero. He received a boon from his father that he could die at the time of his own choosing. He is unconquerable. Although he is fighting on the side of Duryodhana, he is fully affectionate toward the Pandavas and does not want them to be destroyed. Because he is concerned for the welfare of both sides, the army led by him will not be able to fight with expertise in the battle. Moreover, Bhishma cannot use his full ability to fight against the Pandavas. Therefore, the army headed by him is described as aparyapta, incompetent or insufficient. On the other side, Bhima, who is not as great a hero as Bhishma, will use his full ability to gain victory for his side. Thus the army under his leadership has been described as paryapta, competent or sufficient.

Ch 1 Verse 11

ayaneshu ca sarveshu / yatha-bhagam avasthitah
bhishmam evabhirakshantu / bhavantah sarva eva hi

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eva---surely; bhavantah---you; sarve-all; (being) avasthitah--- situated; yatha-bhagam---in the assigned positions; ayaneshu---at the entry points; ca---and; bhishmam---unto Grandsire Bhishma; eva hi--- certainly; sarveshu---all; abhirakshantu---protect in every respect.

Therefore, you must all remain in your strategically assigned positions at the entry points and give protection to Grandsire Bhishma in every respect.


Duryodhana is saying, "Therefore all of you (Drona and others) have to be careful." For this purpose only he tells them, "Divide yourselves among all the phalanx entrances and do not leave your assigned areas in the battle. In this way, Bhishma will not be killed from behind while fighting the enemy. Right now, Bhishma.s strength is our very life."

Ch 1 Verse 12

tasya sanjanayan harsham / kuru-vriddhah pitamahah
simha-nadam vinadyoccaih / shankham dadhmau pratapavan

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pitamahah---the Grandsire (Bhishma); pratapa-van---the valiant; kuru-vriddhah---elder Kuru; dadhmau---blew; tasya---his; shankham---conch-shell; vinadya---vibrating; uccaih---very loudly; simha-nadam---with a sound like a lion's roar; sanjanayan---giving (Duryodhana); harsham---joy.

Then Grandsire Bhishma, the valiant elder of the Kuru dynasty, loudly blew his conch-shell making a sound like the roar of a lion and thus delighted the heart of Duryodhana.


Grandsire Bhishma became very pleased to hear Duryodhana.s glorification of him in front of Dronacarya. Producing a sound like the roar of a lion, the elderly Kuru Bhishma blew his conch-shell to remove Duryodhana.s fear and make him cheerful.

Ch 1 Verse 13

tatah shankhash ca bheryash ca / panavanaka-gomukhah
sahasaivabhyahanyanta / sa shabdas tumulo'bhavat

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tatah---thereafter; shankhah---conch-shells; ca---and; bheryah--- kettledrums; ca---and; panava-anaka---small drums and mridangas; gomukhah---horns and trumpets; sahasa---suddenly; abhyah-anyanta---were sounded; eva---indeed; sah---that; shabdah---sound; abhavat---was; tumulah---tumultuous.

Thereafter, conch-shells, kettledrums, small drums, mridangas, horns, trumpets and various other instruments were suddenly sounded, creating a tumultuous, fearsome sound.


The purpose of this shloka beginning with the word tatah, is simply to express that both sides displayed their enthusiasm for war immediately thereafter. Here, panavah, anakah and gomukhah refer to the small drum, mridanga, and various horns and trumpets respectively.

Ch 1 Verse 14

tatah shvetair hayair yukte / mahati syandane sthitau
madhavah pandavash caiva / divyau shankhau pradadhmatuh

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tatah---thereafter; madhavah---Shri Krishna; ca---and; eva-- certainly; pandavah---Arjuna; sthitau---situated; mahati--on a great; syandane---chariot; yukte---being yoked; shvetaih---with white; hayaih---horses; pradadhmatuh---blew; divyau---divine; shankhau---conch-shells.

Then Shri Krishna and Arjuna, stationed on a great chariot drawn by white horses, blew their divine conch-shells.

Ch 1 Verse 15

pancajanyam hrishikesho / devadattam dhananjayah
paundriam dadhmau maha-shankham / bhima-karma vrikodarah

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hrishika-ishah---Hrishikesha (Shri Krishna, the master of the senses); dadhmau---.blew; pancajanyam---the conch-shell named Pancajanya; dhananjayah---Arjuna; (blew) devadattam---the conch-shell named Devadatta; vrika-udarah---Bhimasena; bhima- karma.the performer of Herculean tasks; maha-shankham--- (blew) the great conch-shell; paundriam---named Paundra.

Hrishikesha Shri Krishna blew His conch-shell known as Pancajanya; Dhananjaya blew his conch known as Devadatta; and Bhima, the performer of Herculean tasks, blew his great conch known as Paundra.


Pancajanya: After completing His education in the ashrama of His guru, Shri Krishna requested His guru and his wife to accept some guru-dakshina. As their guru-dakshina, they asked that their son, who had drowned in the ocean, be returned to them alive and well. Inquiring from Varuna, the presiding deity of the ocean, Shri Krishna discovered that His guru's son had been swallowed by an ocean-dwelling asura named Pancajanya. However, after killing Pancajanya, Shri Krishna did not find the boy inside his belly. From there Shri Krishna went to Mahakalapuri, brought back His guru's son and presented the boy to His guru as dakshina. Since Shri Krishna accepted the external limb (the shell) from the body of the asura Pancajanya as His conch, it is known as Pancajanya.

Ch 1 Verse 16

anantavijayam raja / kunti-putro yudhishthirah
nakulah sahadevash ca / sughosha-manipushpakau

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raja---the king; yudhishthirah---Yudhishthira; kunti-putrah---the son of Kunti; (blew) ananta-vijayam---.the conch named Anantavijaya (meaning limitless victory); nakulah---Nakula; ca---and; sahadevah---Sahadeva; (blew) sughosha-manipushpakau--- the conches named Sughosha and Manipushpaka

Maharaja Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, blew the conch named Anantavijaya; Nakula blew the Sughosha conch and Sahadeva blew the conch known as Manipushpaka.

Ch 1 Verses 17-18

kashyash ca parameshvasah / shikhandi ca maha-rathah
dhrishtadyumno viratash ca / satyakish caparajitah

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drupado draupadeyash ca / sarvashah prithivi-pate
saubhadrash ca maha-bahuh / shankhan dadhmuh prithak prithak

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prithivi-pate---O lord of the earth; parama-ishu-asah---the excellent wielder of arrows; kashyah---the king of Kashi; ca---and; shikhandi---Shikandhi; maha-rathah---the great chariot fighter; ca---also; dhrishtadyumnah---Dhrishtadyumna; viratah---Virata; ca---and; aparajitah---the unconquerable; satyakih---Satyaki; ca---and; drupadah---Drupada; ca---and; draupadeyah---the sons of Draupadi; ca---also; maha-bahuh---mighty-armed; saubhadrah---Abhimanyu, the son of Subhadra; dadhmuh---blew; prithak prithak---respective; shankhan---conch-shells; sarvashah---on all sides

O King of the earth, Dhritarashtra! That great archer the King of Kashi, the maharathi Sikhandi, Dhrishtadyumna, Virata-raja, the unconquerable Satyaki, King Drupada, the sons of Draupadi, and Abhimanyu the son of Subhadra, then loudly resounded their respective conch-shells on all sides


Pancajanya and others are the names of conches belonging to Shri Krishna and various warriors on the battlefield. Aparajitah means one who cannot be defeated by anyone, or one who is adorned with a bow.

Ch 1 Verse 19

sa ghosho dhartarashtranam / hridayani vyadarayat
nabhash ca prithivin caiva / tumulo .bhyanunadayan

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abhi-anunadayan---reverberating; prithivim---on the earth; ca;--- and also; nabhah---in the sky; sah---that; tumulah---tumultuous; ghoshah---sound; eva---indeed; vyadarayat---shattered; hridayani---the hearts; dhartarashtranam---of Dhritarashtra's sons

Reverberating between the earth and sky, the tumultuous sound of those conches shattered the hearts of the sons of Dhritarashtra .

Ch 1 Verse 20

atha vyavasthitan drishtva / dhartarashtran kapi-dhvajah
pravritte shastra-sampate / dhanur udyamya pandavah
hrishikesham tada vakyam / idam aha mahi-pate

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mahi-pate---O lord of the earth; atha---thereupon; drishtva---seeing; dhartarashtran---the sons of Dhritarashtra; vyavasthitan---situated; kapi-dhvajah---(Arjuna) whose flag was marked with Kapi (Hanuman); pandavah---Arjuna, the son of Pandu; udyamya--- taking up; (his) dhanuh---bow; pravritte---while about to embark; shastra-sampate---in releasing his arrows; tada---then; aha--- spoke; idam---these; vakyam---words; hrishikesham---unto Shri Krishna, the master of the senses.

O King, after seeing your sons in military array, Kapi-dhvaja Arjuna raised his bow and prepared to shoot his arrows. He then spoke the following words to Shri Hrishikesha.


Kapi-dhvaja : Kapi-dhvaja is a name for Arjuna that denotes the presence of the mighty Hanuman on the flag of his chariot. Arjuna was very proud of his skill in archery. Once, he was strolling on the bank of a river carrying his Gandiva bow. There he saw an old monkey. Paying obeisances to him, Arjuna asked, "Who are you?"

 The monkey politely replied, "I am Hanuman, servant of Shri Rama."

Arjuna then asked, "Are you the servant of the same Rama, who, unable to make a bridge of arrows over the ocean, employed monkeys to build a bridge of stones? It was only then that His army could cross the ocean. If I had been there at that time, I would have built such a strong bridge of arrows that the entire army could have easily crossed over."

Hanuman replied very politely, "But your bridge would not have endured the weight of even the weakest monkey in Shri Rama's army".

Arjuna said, "I am going to make a bridge of arrows over this river and you may cross it with as heavy a load as you can carry".

 Hanuman then expanded himself into a huge form and jumped towards the Himalayan mountains. He returned with heavy stones tied to every hair on his body. As soon as he placed one foot on the bridge, it started to quiver but, surprisingly enough, did not break. Arjuna trembled in fear. Remembering his worshipable Deity, Shri Krishna, he prayed, "O Lord! The honour of the Pandavas is in Your hands."

 When Hanuman put the full weight of both his feet on the bridge, he was astonished to find that it did not break. If the bridge did not break, it would be a matter of great shame for him. Within his heart, Hanuman remembered his worshipable Lord, Shri Ramacandra. Meanwhile, his glance fell upon the water below the bridge, where he saw streams of blood flowing. Hanuman immediately jumped off and peered below the bridge. "Oh! What is this? My worshipable Lord, Shri Ramacandra, is personally supporting the bridge of sharp arrows on His back!" He at once fell at the lotus feet of Shri Ramacandra.

At the same time, Arjuna saw the Lord not as Shri Rama but as Shri Krishna. Both Hanuman and Arjuna lowered their heads in shame before their worshipable Lord, who said, "There is no difference between these two forms of Mine. I, Krishna, in the form of Shri Rama, come to establish the bounds of morality and proper dharmika conduct (maryada) and, in this very form of lila-purushottama Krishna, I am akhila rasamrita murti, the personification of the nectar of all rasas. From today onwards, you, who are both My servants, should become friends. In a battle in the near future, the mighty Hanuman, situated on the flag of Arjuna.s chariot, will give him protection in all respects."

 For this reason, Hanuman graced the flag of Arjuna's chariot in the battle of Mahabharata. Arjuna thus received the name Kapi-dhvaja, or one who has a monkey on his flag.

Ch 1 Verses 21-23

arjuna uvaca
senayor ubhayor madhye / ratham sthapaya me 'cyuta

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yavad etan nirikshe .ham / yoddhu-kaman avasthitan
kair maya saha yoddhavyam / asmin rana-samudyame

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yotsyamanan avekshe 'ham / ya ete 'tra samagatah
dhartarashtrasya durbuddher / yuddhe priya-cikirshavah

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arjunah uvaca---Arjuna said; acyuta---O infallible one; sthapaya--- please place; me---my; ratham---chariot; madhye---in the midst; ubhayoh---of the two; senayoh---armies; aham---I; nirikshe---wish to examine; yavat---as many as (they are); etan---all these; avasthitan---arrayed on the battlefield; yoddhu-kaman---desiring battle; kaih---with which fighters; saha---together; maya---with me; yoddhavyam---there should be a fight; asmin---in this; samudyame---strenuous; rana---battle; aham avekshe---I wish to see; yotsyamanan---those who wish to fight; ete---those; ye---who; cikirshavah---desire; priya---well being; yuddhe---in the fight; durbuddheh---for the evil-minded; dhartarashtrasya---son of Dhritarashtra; samagatah---assembled; atra---here

Arjuna said: O Acyuta! Please place my chariot between the two armies so that I may observe all who desire to fight in this great battle. I want to see all those warriors, the well-wishers of the evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra, who have assembled here.

Ch 1 Verses 24-25

sanjaya uvaca
evam ukto hrishikesho / gudakeshena bharata
senayor ubhayor madhye / sthapayitva rathottamam

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bhishma-drona-pramukhatah / sarvesham ca mahikshitam
uvaca partha pashyaitan / samavetan kurun iti

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sanjayah uvaca---Sanjaya said; bharata---O descendent of Bharata; hrishikeshah---Shri Krishna; evam---thus; uktah---addressed; gudakeshena---by the conqueror of sleep (Arjuna); sthapayitva--- situating; ratha-uttamam---celestial chariot; madhye---in the midst; ubhayoh---of the two; senayoh---armies; ca---also; pramukhatah---in the presence; sarvesham---of all; mahi-kshitam---the kings of the earth; (headed by) bhishma---Grandsire Bhishma; drona---Dronacarya; uvaca---He said; partha---O son of Pritha (Arjuna); pashya---behold; etan---these; samavetan---assembled; kurun---Kurus; iti---thus.

Sanjaya said: O Bharata, having thus been addressed by Gudakesha (Arjuna), Hrishikesha drew the excellent chariot into the midst of both armies in the presence of all the kings and prominent personalities like Bhishma, Drona and others. He then said: O Partha, just behold this assembly of Kurus.


Hrishikeshah means the controller of all senses. Although Krishna is Hrishikesha, when He received orders from Arjuna, He became controlled by Arjuna.s sense of speech alone. Aho! Bhagavan is controlled only by prema. Gudakesha consists of two words, guda and akesha. Guda refers to gud, very sweet, unrefined sugar. Just as guda exhibits all sweetness, similarly akeshah exhibits the sweet taste of the rasa of their affection. Akesha refers to the guna-avataras; Vishnu, Brahma and Mahesha. 'A' indicates Vishnu, 'ka' Brahma, and 'isha' indicates Mahadeva (Shiva). How can these parts, or guna-avataras, manifest their aishvarya (superiority of opulence) before a person whose order was followed, out of prema, by Svayam Bhagavan Shri Krishna, the crest-jewel of all avataras? Instead, they consider their lives to be successful by manifesting the sweet mellow of their affection towards Arjuna, who is therefore known as Gudakesha (one who receives sweet affection from the three guna-avataras). Indeed, Bhagavan Mahavishnu, Paravyoma-natha (Lord of the transcendental sky), once admitted to Arjuna,"I only brought the sons of the brahmana here with a desire to see both you and Krishna."
 (Shrimad- Bhagavatam 10.89.58)

Gudaka also means sleep, and one who has control over sleep is called Gudakesha. It is not surprising that the same Arjuna by whose prema even Shri Krishna, the controller of maya, becomes controlled, conquered just one ordinary function of maya called sleep. This is its hidden meaning.

 Bhishma-drona-pramukhatah means 'in front of Bhishma and Drona', and sarvesham mahikshitam means 'in front of all the other kings also.'

Ch 1 Verse 26

tatrapashyat sthitan parthah / pitrin atha pitamahan
acaryan matulan bhratrin / putran pautran sakhims tatha
shvashuran suhridash caiva / senayor ubhayor api

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atha---thereafter; tatra---there; api---even; ubhayoh---between the two; senayoh---armies; parthah---Arjuna, son of Pritha (Kunti); apashyat---saw; sthitan---situated; pitrin---the parental uncles; pitamahan---grandfathers; acaryan---teachers; matulan--- maternal uncles; bhratrin---cousins; putran---sons; pautran--- grandsons; sakhin---friends; tatha---also; shvashuran---fathers-inlaw; ca---and; eva---certainly; suhridah---well-wishers.

There, in the midst of both armies, Arjuna saw his paternal uncles, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, cousins, nephews, grandsons, friends, fathersin- law, sons and well-wishers.


Arjuna saw the sons and grandsons of Duryodhana and many others.

Ch 1 Verse 27

tan samikshya sa kaunteyah / sarvan bandhun avasthitan
kripaya parayavishto / vishidann idam abravit

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samikshya---after seeing; sarvan---all; (of) tan---those; bandhun--- relatives and friends; avasthitan---standing near; sah---he; kaunteyah---Arjuna, the son of Kunti; vishidan---lamenting; avishtah---overcome; paraya---by great; kripaya---by compassion; abravit---spoke; idam---thus.

Seeing all his friends and relatives standing near him on the battlefield, Kaunteya, lamenting and overwhelmed with compassion for them, spoke thus.

Ch 1 Verse 28

arjuna uvaca
drishtvemam svajanan krishna / yuyutsun samavasthitan
sidanti mama gatrani / mukhan ca parishushyati

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arjunah uvaca---Arjuna said; krishna---O Krishna; drishtva---after seeing; imam---all these; sva-janan---kinsmen; samavasthitan--- assembled (here); yuyutsun---desiring battle; mama---my; gatrani---limbs; sidanti---are slackening; ca---and; (my) mukham---mouth; parishushyati---is drying up.

Arjuna said: O Krishna, seeing all my kinsmen assembled here with a desire to fight, I feel my limbs weakening and my mouth becoming dry.

Ch 1 Verse 29

vepathush ca sharire me / roma-harshash ca jayate
gandivam sramsate hastat / tvak caiva paridahyate

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jayate---there is; vepathuh--- trembling; me sharire---in my body; ca---and; roma-harshah---hairs standing on end; ca---and; gandivam---my bow called Gandiva; sramsate---is slipping; hastat---from the hand; ca---also; eva---certainly; (my) tvak--- skin; paridahyate---is burning.

My body is trembling and my hair is standing on end. My Gandiva bow is slipping from my hand and my skin is burning.

Ch 1 Verse 30

na ca shaknomy avasthatum / bhramativa ca me manah
nimittani ca pashyami / viparitani keshava

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keshava---O Keshava; na shaknomi---I am unable; avasthatum---to remain standing; ca---and; me---my; manah---mind; iva---appears; bhramati---to reel; ca---and; pashyami---I see; viparitani--- inauspicious; nimittani---portents; ca---also

O Keshava, I am unable to remain standing. My mind appears to be reeling and I detect only inauspicious omens.


'I am living here for the purpose (nimitta) of gaining wealth.' Just as in this statement, the word nimitta indicates purpose, similarly in this shloka, the word nimitta is also indicative of purpose. Arjuna is saying, 'Thereafter, in spite of winning the battle, attainment of the kingdom will not bring us happiness. Rather, it will be a cause of distress and sorrow.'


Keshava: Here the bhakta Arjuna is revealing the feelings within his heart by addressing Bhagavan as Keshava. 'Despite killing prominent asuras such as Keshi and others, You always maintain Your bhaktas. In the same way, please remove the lamentation and delusion from my heart and maintain me.'

Shrimad-Bhagavatam gives a further, confidential meaning of the word Keshava which is only for rasika-vaishnavas. Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has explained that the word Keshava means: keshan vayate samskarotiti. "Because He arranges the hair of His beloved, Krishna is called Keshava."

Ch 1 Verse 31

na ca shreyo 'nupashyami / hatva svajanam ahave
na kankshe vijayam krishna / na ca rajyam sukhani ca

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krishna---O Krishna; ca---also; na anupashyami---I do not see; shreyah---auspiciousness; hatva---by killing; (my) sva-janam---own relatives; ahave---in battle; na---nor; kankshe---do I desire; vijayam---victory; na---nor; ca---as well; rajyam---kingdom; ca--- also; sukhani---pleasures.

O Krishna, I do not see how anything auspicious can arise from killing my own kinsmen in battle. Nor do I desire victory, the resulting kingdom, or even happiness.

 Shreyo na pashyamiti means 'I do not see anything auspicious'. The sannyasis who have attained perfection in yoga, and the warriors who are killed in battle both attain the celestial sun planet. From this statement it appears that a person who is killed in battle attains auspiciousness, but one who kills receives no such sukriti (pious result). One may question this by saying that a person who kills and is victorious in battle will certainly receive both fame and the pleasure of sovereignty over a kingdom, therefore it is beneficial for Arjuna to fight. In answer to this, Arjuna says: na kankshe. 'I do not desire this' .

Ch 1 Verses 32-34

kim no rajyena govinda / kim bhogair jivitena va
yesham arthe kankshitam no / rajyam bhogah sukhani ca

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

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matulah shvashurah pautrah / shyalah sambandhinas tatha
etan na hantum icchami / ghnato 'pi madhusudana

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govinda---O Govinda; nah---for us; kim---what use; (is there) rajyena---by (having) a kingdom; kim---what use; (is there) bhogaih---by (experiencing) pleasures; va---or even; jivitena--- by having life; te---they; yesham---for whose; arthe---sake; rajyam---kingdom; bhogah---enjoyment; sukhani---all pleasures; kankshitam---are desired; nah---by us; ca---also; ime---they; acaryah---teachers; pitarah---fathers; putrah---sons; tatha---as well; eva---certainly; ca---also; pitamahah---grandfathers; matulah---maternal uncles; shvashurah---fathers-in-law; pautrah--- grandsons; shyalah---brothers-in-law; sambandhinah---relatives; avasthitah---present here; tyaktva---giving up; pranan---lives; ca---and; tatha---as well; dhanani---riches; yuddhe---in warfare; madhusudana---O slayer of the asura Madhu; api---even; (if I am) ghnatah---slain; na icchami---I do not wish; hantum---to kill; etan---these people

O Govinda! Of what use to us is a kingdom, enjoyment or even life itself, when those for whom we desire them; teachers, uncles, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives, are all standing before us in battle array, ready to give up their lives and wealth? Therefore, O Madhusudana, even if they kill me, I still do not wish to kill them.

Ch 1 Verse 35

api trailokya-rajyasya / hetoh kin nu mahi-krite
nihatya dhartarashtran nah / ka pritih syaj janardana

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janardana---O Janardana; nihatya---by killing; dhartarashtran--- the sons of Dhritarashtra; api---even; hetoh---for the sake of; rajyasya---the kingdom; trai-lokya---of the three worlds; kim nu---what to speak of; mahi-krite---the earth; ka---what; pritih--- satisfaction; syat---will there be; nah---for us

O Janardana, if we kill the sons of Dhritarashtra, even for the sake of sovereignty over the three worlds, what to speak of this earth, what satisfaction will we derive?

Ch 1 Verse 36

papam evashrayed asman / hatvaitan atatayinah
tasman narha vayam hantum / dhartarashtran sa-bandhavan
svajanam hi katham hatva / sukhinah syama madhava

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madhava---O Madhava; papam---sin; eva---certainly; ashrayet--- will cling; asman---to us; hatva---by killing; etan---these; atatayinah---aggressors; tasmat---therefore; (it is) na---not; arhah---befitting; vayam---for us; hantum---to slay; dhartarashtran---the sons of Dhritarashtra; sa-bandhavan---along with relatives; hi---indeed; katham---how; syama---will we be; sukhinah---happy; hatva---by killing; sva-janam---our kinsmen.

O Madhava, we will only incur sin by killing all these aggressors. Therefore, it is improper to kill Duryodhana and our other relatives. How could we be happy by slaying our own kinsmen?


According to shruti, there are six types of aggressors (atatayi): those who set fire to the house, give poison, attack with deadly weapons, steal one's wealth, usurp one.s land or abduct one's wife. Arjuna argues. "If you say 'O Bharata, immediately upon seeing these six types of aggressors one should kill them without consideration because, according to the injunctions of shastra, such killing is proper and no sin is incurred ', then in reply I would say 'that by killing those assembled here, we will certainly incur sin.'"

 There is a reason behind Arjuna's logic. According to artha- shastra, the science of economics, to kill an aggressor is proper. The injunctions of artha-shastra, however, are less important than those of dharma-shastra. As Yajnavalkya Rishi has said, "Know dharma-shastra to be superior to artha-shastra."Hence, Arjuna said, "According to dharma-shastra, by killing acaryas and others we will certainly incur sin. Not only that, we will not even derive any mundane pleasure from it." For this reason, Arjuna uses phrases such as sva-janam.


According to smriti-shastra, no sin is incurred by killing six types of aggressors. But by the statement of shruti: mam himsat sarva bhutani, the injunction not to kill any living entity is established. Whenever there seems to be a contradiction between shruti and smriti, the statements of shruti are accepted as superior. This is the instruction of the shastras. Similarly, in comparison to artha-shastra, the path provided by dharma- shastra should be considered superior. Following this logic, Arjuna feels that although the sons of Dhritarashtra are the aggressors, sin will be incurred by killing them.

Here, we also see another speciality in the character of Arjuna. At the end of the battle of Mahabharata, Arjuna tied Ashvatthama as one would tie up an animal and brought him to the feet of Draupadi for the offence of killing the sons of the Pandavas. At that time Draupadi was crying. Being generous and liberal, she said that Ashvatthama, the son of their guru, should be forgiven. Bhima, on the other hand, said that he should be killed immediately. Arjuna, finding himself in a dilemma, looked towards Krishna, who said, "A brahmana is not deserving of the death sentence even if he has fallen from his status. On the other hand, a person who comes to make a lethal attack with weapons must certainly be killed." Understanding Shri Krishna's inner intention, Arjuna cut the hair of that unqualified brahmana Ashvatthama, forcibly removed the gem from his forehead and expelled him from the camp. The internal feeling of Arjuna is that whatever the situation may be, no one can be happy by engaging in sin. Such a person cannot even receive worldly happiness, what to speak of transcendental pleasure. Adherence to the Vedas, smriti, sadacara (the injunctions of saintly behaviour) and self-satisfaction are the four symptoms of dharma. Fighting against one'.s kinsmen is an activity which is contrary to both the Vedas and sadacara, and brings with it feelings of repentance.

Ch 1 Verses 37-38

yadyapy ete na pashyanti / lobhopahata-cetasah
kula-kshaya-kritam dosham / mitra-drohe ca patakam

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katham na jneyam asmabhih / papad asman nivarttitum
kula-kshaya-kritam dosham / prapashyadbhir janardana

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janardana---O Janardana; yady api---even though; ete---they; cetasah---whose hearts; upahata---are afflicted; lobha---by greed; na pashyanti---do not see; dosham---the fault; kritam---incurred; kula-kshaya---in the destruction of the dynasty; ca---and; patakam---the sin; mitra-drohe---in treachery to friends; katham---why; asmabhih---we; prapashyadbhih---who can see; dosham---the crime; kritam---in performing; kula-kshaya---the destruction of the dynasty; na jneyam---should not consider; nivarttitum---to desist; asmat papat---from this sin.

O Janardana, the intelligence of Duryodhana and others has been polluted by greed to attain the kingdom. Thus, they are unable to conceive of the lawlessness that arises from destroying the dynasty, or the sin incurred by betraying their friends. But why should we, who have such knowledge, engage in such improper acts as these?


Arjuna asks, "Aho! Why are we still engaged in this battle?" To answer his own question he speaks this shloka beginning with the words yady apy.


Arjuna considers that in this battle there are teachers such as Dronacarya and Kripacarya, maternal uncles such as Shalya and Shakuni, family elders such as Bhishma, the sons of Dhritarashtra, and relatives and kinsmen such as Jayadratha. Shastra forbids turning against such persons: ritvikpurohit acarya-matulatithi-samshriteh / bala-vriddhaturair vaidya-jnati-sambandhi-bandhavaih. "One should not quarrel with one who performs yajna, a family priest, a teacher, maternal uncle, a guest, those who are dependents, young children, elderly persons and relatives."

 "But I have to fight with these very persons." Thus, Arjuna expressed his unwillingness to fight with his own kinsmen, who now stood before him. .But why are they all determined to fight with us?. Contemplating this, Arjuna concludes that they have become overpowered by their petty, selfish interests and have thus lost their ability to discriminate between what is beneficial and what is not beneficial, between dharma and adharma. As a result, they have forgotten what sinful reactions are incurred by destroying one.s own dynasty. "We do not have any selfish motives, so why should we engage in such an abominable and sinful act?"

Thus ends the Sarartha-Varshini Prakashika-vritti, by Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, on the First Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita.

Ch 1 Verse 39

kula-kshaye pranashyanti / kula-dharmah sanatanah
dharme nashte kulam kritsnam / adharmo 'bhibhavaty uta

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kula-kshaye---when a dynasty is destroyed; sanatanah---the ancient; kula-dharmah---religious traditions of the family; pranashyanti---perish; (and when) dharme---virtue; (is) nashte--- lost; (that which is) adharmah---sin; abhibhavati---overpowers; kritsnam---the whole; kulam---the family; uta---also.

When a dynasty is destroyed, the ancient dharmika traditions of the family handed down through that dynasty are also destroyed. Upon the destruction of dharma, the entire dynasty becomes overpowered by adharma.


Sanatanah refers to those principles which have descended through the dynasty from a remote time.

Ch 1 Verse 40

adharmabhibhavat krishna / pradushyanti kula-striyah
strishu dushtasu varshneya / jayate varna-sankarah

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krishna---O Krishna; adharma---irreligion; abhibhavat---having become predominant; kula-striyah---ladies of the family; pradushyanti---are polluted; varshneya---O descendent of Vrishni; strishu---when the womanhood; dushtasu---is so corrupted; varnasa nkarah---mixed or impure progeny; jayate---are born.

O Krishna, when a dynasty is overpowered by adharma, the women of that dynasty become degraded. O descendant of Vrishni, when women become degraded and unchaste, varnasa nkarah (unwanted progeny) are born.


It is adharma which causes them to engage in unchaste activities.

Ch 1 Verse 41

sankaro narakayaiva / kula-ghnanam kulasya ca
patanti pitaro hy esham / lupta-pindodaka-kriyah

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sankarah---such unwanted children; narakaya---make for hellish life; kulasya---for the dynasty; eva---certainly; esham kulaghn anam---for those who are destroyers of the dynasty; ca---also; hi---indeed; pitarah---the ancestors; (since) pinda-udakakriy ah---their offerings of sanctified food and water; lupta---are given up; patanti---also fall down.

Such unwanted progeny certainly force hellish conditions upon both the family and the destroyers of the dynasty. Indeed, their forefathers, bereft of oblations of sanctified food and water, must also suffer the same fate.

Ch 1 Verse 42

doshair etaih kula-ghnanam / varna-sankara-karakaih
utsadyante jati-dharmah / kula-dharmash ca shashvatah

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etaih doshaih---by these faults; kula-ghnanam---of the destroyers of the family; karakaih---causing; varna-sankara---impure progeny; jati-dharmah---the dharmika occupation according to birth; ca---and; shashvatah---the eternal; kula-dharmah---family tradition; utsadyante---sink into oblivion.

Due to the evil deeds of these destroyers of the dynasty, the teachings of dharma in accordance with timeless family tradition, are sunk into oblivion.


Utsadyante means they become lost.

Ch 1 Verse 43

utsanna-kula-dharmanam / manushyanam janardana
narake niyatam vaso / bhavatity anushushruma

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utsanna---devoid of; kula-dharmanam---those who have the family traditions; manushyanam---of such men; janardana---O Janardana; narake---in hell; niyatam---always; vasah---residence; bhavati---becomes; iti---thus; anushushruma---I have heard from authorities.

O Janardana, I have heard that those who abolish their dynasty's dharma suffer in hell for an unlimited period of time.

Ch 1 Verse 44

aho bata mahat-papam / karttum vyavasita vayam
yad rajya-sukha-lobhena / hantum svajanam udyatah

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aho---alas; bata---how lamentable; vayam---we; vyavasitah---being determined; karttum---to do; mahat---great; papam---sin; yat rajya-sukha-lobhena---on account of greed for royal happiness; udyatah---are prepared; hantum---to slay; sva-janam---our own kinsmen.

Alas! How regretable it is that we are determined to engage in this great sin. Driven by greed for royal happiness, we are prepared to slay our own kinsmen.

Ch 1 Verse 45

yadi mam apratikaram / ashastram shastra-panayah
dhartarashtra rane hanyus / tan me kshemataram bhavet

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yadi---if; shastra-panayah---those with weapons in hand; dhartar- ashtrah---the sons of Dhritarashtra; hanyuh---may kill; mam---me; apratikaram---not countering, unresisting; ashastram---unarmed; rane---on the battlefield; tat---that; me---for me; bhavet---would be; kshemataram---more beneficial.

Even if the fully-armed sons of Dhritarashtra were to kill me unarmed and unresisting on the battlefield, that would be more auspicious for me.

Ch 1 Verse 46

sanjaya uvaca
evam uktvarjunah sankhye / rathopastha upavishat
visrijya sa-sharam capam / shoka-samvigna-manasah

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sanjayah uvaca---Sanjaya said; evam uktva---having thus spoken; sankhye---in the midst of the battlefield; arjunah---Arjuna; manasah---his mind; samvigna---distressed; shoka---by lamentation; ratha-upasthah---standing on the chariot; upavishat---sat down; visrijya---throwing aside; capam---his bow; sa-sharam---along with his quivers of arrows.

Sanjaya said: Having spoken these words in the midst of the battlefield, Arjuna, his mind distracted by lamentation cast aside his bow and arrows and sat down on the chariot.


Sankhye means in the battle and rathopasthe means on the chariot.

Thus ends the Bhavanuvada of the Sarartha-Varshini Tika, by Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, on the First Chapter of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita, which gives pleasure to the bhaktas and is accepted by all saintly persons.