Geeta

Geeta Shloka, one at a time.

श्रीभगवानुवाच

कुतस्त्वा कश्मलमिदं विषमे समुपस्थितम्‌ ।

अनार्यजुष्टमस्वर्ग्यमकीर्तिकरमर्जुन ॥

भावार्थ : 

श्री भगवान ने कहा - हे अर्जुन! इस विपरीत स्थिति पर तेरे मन में यह अज्ञान कैसे उत्पन्न हुआ? न तो इसका जीवन के मूल्यों को जानने वाले मनुष्यों द्वारा आचरण किया गया है, और न ही इससे स्वर्ग की और न ही यश की प्राप्ति होती है॥ २॥

Meaning:

Shri Bhagavaan said: From where has this weakness arisen, at this inconvenient time? It is not noble, nor will it get you to heaven, not will it earn you valour, O Arjuna.

Explanation:  So finally we get to hear Shri Krishna speak in the Gita. But what he said was not what Arjuna expected at all.

 Let's look at the kind of words Shri Krishna used.  They were not words of kindness. They were not words of sympathy or support. They were tought, provocative words meant to shake Arjuna out of his deluded state of mind. They were intended to inform Arjuna that his assessment of this situation, and his plan of exiting from the situation, were totally incorrect and invalid.

 Moreover, rule number one in communication skills training is "tailor the message to the audience". We see that here. Arjuna is a tough warrior, and tough talk is the only language he understands. An analogy would be a coach providing directions to a player in the middle of a football game. He would use tough talk, not sympathetic talk.

 Shri Krishna also highlights another point here, that the timing of Arjuna's fall into sorrow is not appropriate. If he did want to express any emotion towards his kinsmen, he had a lot of time to do so prior to the battle. Once in battle, this behaviour was unwarranted.

Footnotes

  1. In the rest of the Gita, Shri Krishna is addressed as "Bhagavaan". Bhagavaan means the one who is endowed with "bhagas" or divine attributes: wealth, virtue, glory, might, knowledge and dispassion.
  2. The second verse is one long word composed of several shorter words. In Sanskrit, words are joined together using a system of rules called "sandhi". It is not necessary to learn the sandhi rules since most commentaries dissect long words into their components. We are fortunate to leverage their efforts here.

 संजय उवाच

तं तथा कृपयाविष्टमश्रुपूर्णाकुलेक्षणम्‌ ।

विषीदन्तमिदं वाक्यमुवाच मधुसूदनः मधुसूदनः ॥

भावार्थ : 

संजय ने कहा - इस प्रकार करुणा से अभिभूत, आँसुओं से भरे हुए व्याकुल नेत्रों वाले, शोकग्रस्त अर्जुन को देखकर मधुसूदन श्रीकृष्ण ने यह शब्द कहे॥ २॥

Meaning:

To him who was possessed with grief and pity, and having tear-filled, confused eyes, Madhusoodana spoke these words.

Explanation:

Sanjaya opens this chapter painting a vivid portrait of Arjuna's state: the world's mightiest warrior struck by grief and actually crying. The poetic phrase "confused eyes" probably alludes to Arjuna not being able to see right from wrong i.e. his viveka was suppressed.

Moreover, this state has affected Arjuna's entire personality - physically because he had tears, emotionally because he was struck with grief and pity, and intellectually because he was confused about what to do and what not to do.

Shri Krishna is referred again here as Madhusoodana. This name can be interpreted a couple of ways. In the Puraanas, Lord Vishnu assumed the form of Hayagriva to kill the demon Madhu, hence he is known as Madhusoodana. This means that Sanjaya, through his divine vision, knew that Shri Krishna was connected to Lord Vishnu. Another interpretation of the name Madhusoodana is one who slays honey. Honey is a metaphor for the ego, which can be extremely sweet for someone who does not know all the nefarious things that it is capable of.

ॐ तत्सदिति श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतासूपनिषत्सु ब्रह्मविद्यायां योगशास्त्रे कृष्णार्जुनसंवादे धर्मकर्मयुद्धयोगो नाम प्रथमोऽध्यायः॥18॥

 

भावार्थ : 

इस प्रकार उपनिषद, ब्रह्मविद्या तथा योगशास्त्र रूप श्रीमद भगवदगीता के श्रीकृष्ण-अर्जुन संवाद में धर्मकर्मयुद्ध-योग नाम का पहला अध्याय संपूर्ण हुआ॥

 

॥ हरि: ॐ तत् सत् ॥

Summary of Bhagvad Gita Chapter 1:

The message of the first chapter of the Gita is this: The root cause of all sorrow and suffering in this world is our inability to deal with conflict. The sooner we recognize this universal truth, the sooner we can progress in our personal, professional, and ultimately, spiritual journeys. That is why the Gita is not taught to Arjuna in a remote ashram somewhere in the Himalayas amidst chirping birds and rolling meadows. It is taught in the middle of a gruesome battle with swords clanging, trumpets roaring and soldiers screaming.

 

We experience conflict at three levels - physical, mental and spiritual. At the physical level, conflict is everywhere. Atoms collide against atoms. Weeds take over carefully manicured flowers. Packs of wolves fight for control of territory. And we humans have disagreements with children, siblings, spouses, bosses, co-workers, states and countries. To deal with conflict, we need to learn how to act in this world, including, what to say in each of these situations.

 

How we conduct ourselves in physical conflict is largely dependent on the state of our minds. Our minds are also always in conflict, primarily between our rational side and our ego. Human beings have evolved to a point where they have the power to control and transcend the primitive urges and impulses that control most animals. These primal urges constitute the ego, the part of our mind that oversimplifies and exaggerates situations, and shuts off the rational part of our mind that can think logically and clearly.

Arjuna’s rational mind was clear – he was a warrior, and he entered the battlefield to fight a war against the enemy for a just cause. But, upon seeing his family on the other side, his ego – the primitive side of his mind – rose up and took control. It made him say, how can I ever kill my family? How can I ever kill my teacher? The inability to reconcile this conflict in his mind led to his mental breakdown in the middle of the battlefield. He literally did not know which side of the battle he was on, and being unable to decide, he wanted to quit. His mind immediately began to rationalize his decision to quit, as seen in the speech he gave to Shri Krishna about how unjust the war was.

So we have seen that conflict at the physical level, and at the mental level, is pervasive. It is an integral part of life. We cannot escape it. There's nothing new here. What's unique about the Gita is its perspective on how we should deal these two levels of conflict. The clue lies in verses 21 and 22, where Shri Krishna positions Arjuna literally in the middle of the two armies, a point from which Arjuna can see his dearest teachers and relatives stationed on t…More...