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Srimad Bhagavad Gita

An Original Translation from the Sanskrit by Shlomo Phillips (© 1993)

Arjuna Vishada Yoga:

The Yoga of Arjuna's Sorrow

1:1: Dhritarastra asked: My people and the people of Pandu assembled on the field of righteousness known as Kuruksetra desiring to fight. What did they do, O Sanjaya?

1:2: Sanjaya replied: Having seen the Pandava army drawn into battle array, King Duryodhana then approached his preceptor [Drona] and spoke the following words:

1:3: O master, behold this great military of the people of Pandu arrayed by your skillful disciple, the son of Drupada.

1:4: Here are heroes in battle, mighty archers equal to Bhima and Arjuna: Yuyudhana, Virata and Drupada, each a maha-rathah [or great chariot fighter proficient in war and able to defeat ten thousand archers single-handedly].

1:5, 6: The greatest mortals of all, including Dhristaketu, Cekitana and the fearless Kasiraja, Purujit, also Kuntibhoja and Shaibya,

Yudhamanyu and the mighty Uttamauja, [Abhimanyu] the courageous son of Subhadra [and Arjuna] and the sons of Draupadi; all of whom are certainly great chariot fighters.

1:7: O best of the bramanas, all of my warriors are most powerful, but for your information I will tell you only of the military leaders.

1:8: Your honored self, Bhishma, Karna and Kripa are victorious in battle even as Ashvatthama, Vikarna and [Bhurishrava] the son of Somadatta are.

1:9: There are many other heroes as well who are prepared to sacrifice their very lives for my sake. They are armed with many weapons and missiles and all are well equipped for battle. 1:10: [Behold] our unlimited forces, commanded by [venerable Grandfather] Bhishma and their limited army, commanded by Bhima.

1:11: "Everyone in this panoply of troops, divided by divisions and stations, defend [Grandfather] Bhishma!"

1:12: [Bhishma], the grand sire and elder of the Kuru dynasty, encouraged him [Duryodhana] by roaring like a lion and loudly sounding his mighty conch.

1:13: Then the conchs, kettledrums, tabors, small drums and cow-horns in unison quickly blared forth their tumultuous sounds.

1:14-19: Thereafter, seated on a great chariot drawn by white horses, Madava [Shri Krishna] and Pandava [Arjuna] likewise blew their celestial conchs.

Hrishikesha [Shri Krishna] blew Panchajanya, Dhananjaya [Arjuna] blew Devadatta and Bhima, 'whose actions inspire fear,' sounded the great conch named Paundra. King Yudhisthira, the son of Kunti, blew his conch, named Anantavijaya. Nakula and Sahadeva sounded Sughosa and Manipuspaka.

That expert archer the king of Kashi, Shikhandhi, the great chariot fighter, Dhristadyumna and Virata, as well as Satyaki the unconquerable -

O lord of the Earth [Dhritarastra] - and Drupada, the sons of Draupadi and the well armed son of Subhadra [Abhimanyu] all sounded their respective conchs.

That tumultuous uproar shattered the hearts of the sons of Dhritarastra and even oscillated the sky and earth.

1:20: Then, in battle array with the banner of Hanuman, the son of Pandu [Arjuna] prepared to engage. Beholding the sons of Dhritarastra, he took up arrows and spoke these words unto Hrishikesha [Shri Krishna], O lord of the earth.

1:21-23: Arjuna said, O Unlapsing Vishnu, please place my chariot in the midst of both armies so that I may behold all those desiring to fight, both those with me and those with whom I must enter into this strife of war.

I wish to look upon those assembled here by the evil minded son of Dhritarastra who are intent upon fighting to please him.

1:24: Sanjaya said: Thus addressed by Gudakesha [Arjuna], Hrishikesha [Shri Krishna], O descendant of Bharata, placed that best of chariots in the midst of the armies.

1:25: In the presence of [Grandfather] Bhishma and Drona, as well as all the rulers of the earth, [the Lord] spoke these words: O child of Partha, behold all these Kurus who are thus gathered.

1:26: There the son of Partha [Arjuna] saw stationed before him fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, friends and fathers-in-law; indeed well-wishers were in both armies.

1:27: Having seen all these relatives so situated, the son of Kunti [Arjuna] was filled with compassion and with deepest lamentation spoke thus:

1:28, 29: Arjuna said: O Krishna, seeing all these relatives standing ready and eager to fight, my limbs falter and my mouth is parched.

My body is trembling and my hairs are standing erect. Gandiva [my bow] is slipping from my hand and indeed, my skin is burning.

1:30-35: I am unable to stand; my mind seems to reel and I see adverse omens O Keshava [Krishna].

I see no benefit in killing my own relatives in battle, nor do I desire victory or the kingdom nor [the subsequent] happiness, O Krishna.

O Govinda, what use to us is the kingdom? Where is the enjoyment in life? For whose sake do we desire the kingdom, material enjoyment and happiness?

Those for whom we desire these things - our teachers, fathers, sons, indeed, even our grandfathers - are standing ready to battle and give up their lives and wealth.

Other relations as well, including our maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons and brothers-in-law; all these I do not wish to kill, even if I am killed by them, O Madhusudana [Krishna].

O Janardana [Krishna], what pleasure would there be, even if the three worlds were given in exchange for a kingdom; how then for the sake of this earth shall I kill the sons of Dhritarastra?

1:36: Only guilt will cleave to us by killing these aggressors, therefore we are not justified in slaying the sons of Dhritarastra. Indeed, how can we attain happiness by murdering our relations and relatives, O Madhava [Krishna]?

1:37, 38: Although these [Kauravas] do not see their fault - their minds being overpowered by greed - the destruction of families and the oppression of friends is a crime.

Why should we, who know the sin of destroying a dynasty, not cease from this crime, O Janardana [Krishna]?

1:39-42: With the destruction of a family its noble traditions perish. When its eternal rites and religious principles are destroyed, the whole dynasty is overtaken by irreligion.

O Krishna, irreligion having become prevalent the women of the family become adulterated. When the women become corrupt, O descendant of Vrishni, caste confusion is generated.

Such confusion brings to hell the slayers of the family and the family itself. Then the ancestors are deprived of their sacrificial offerings of rice cakes and water and hence they also fall.

By such faults on the part of the destroyers of the family, caste confusion leads to the devastation of caste religious traditions as well as the eternal family traditions.

1:43-45: We have heard, O Janardana [Krishna], that those who spoil family traditions have hell as their eternal abode.

Alas, due to greed for royal pleasures we have determined to commit a great sin and are prepared to kill our own relatives.

Even if the sons of Dhritarastra, weapons in hand, should kill me unarmed and without resistance in battle, for me, that would be better.

1:46: Sanjaya said: Having thus spoken, his mind overwhelmed with grief on the battlefield, Arjuna sat down in his chariot and dropped his bow and arrows.

Here Ends Chapter One

Go to: Chapter Two.

Go to: Notes and References.

Go to: Cover Page.

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