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(Bhagavad Gita Chapter I)

(This where is the Bhagavad Gita proper starts. I have added the chapter headings to aid in comparison with other translations, they are not part of the original Ganguli text.--John Bruno Hare)

Dhritarashtra said,--"Assembled together on the sacred plain of

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[paragraph continues] Kurukshetra from desire of fighting what did my sons and the Pandavas do. O Sanjaya."

"Sanjaya said,--"Beholding the army of the Pandavas arrayed, king Duryodhana, approaching the preceptor (Drona) said these words: Behold, O preceptor, this vast army of the son of Pandu, arrayed by Drupada's son (Dhrishtadyumna), thy intelligent disciple. There (in that army) are many brave and mighty bowmen, who in battle are equal to Bhima and Arjuna. (They are) Yuyudhana, and Virata, and that mighty car-warrior Drupada, and Dhrishtaketu, and Chekitana, and the ruler of Kasi endued with great energy; and Purujit, and Kuntibhoja, and Saivya that bull among men; and Yudhamanyu of great prowess, and Uttamaujas of great energy; and Subhadra's son, and the sons of Draupadi, all of whom are mighty car-warriors. Hear, however, O best of regenerate ones, who are the distinguished ones among us, the leader of army. I will name them to thee for (thy) information. (They are) thyself, and Bhishma, and Karna, and Kripa who is ever victorious; and Aswatthaman and Vikarna, and Saumadatta, and Jayadratha. 1 Besides these, are many heroic warriors, prepared to lay down their lives for my sake, armed with diverse kinds of weapons, and all accomplished in battle. Our army, therefore, protected by Bhishma, is insufficient. This force, however, of these (the Pandavas), protected by Bhima, is sufficient. 2 Stationing yourselves then in the entrances of the divisions that have been assigned to you, all of you protect Bhishma alone.--(Just at this time) the valiant and venerable grandsire of the Kurus, affording great joy to him (Duryodhana) by loudly uttering a leonine roar, blew (his) conch. Then conches and drums and cymbals and horns were sounded at once and the noise (made) became a loud uproar. Then Madhava and Pandu's son (Arjuna), both stationed on a great car unto which were yoked white steeds, blew their celestial conches. And Hrishikesha blew (the conch called) Panchajanya and Dhananjaya (that called) Devadatta; and Vrikodara of terrible deeds blew the huge conch (called) Paundra. And Kunti's son king Yudhishthira blew (the conch called) Anantavijaya; while Nakula and Sahadeva, (those conches called respectively) Sughosa and Manipushpaka3 And that splendid bowman, the ruler of Kasi and that mighty car-warrior, Sikhandin, Dhrishtadyumna, Virata, and that unvanquished Satyaki, and Drupada, and the sons of Draupadi, and the

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mighty-armed son of Subhadra--all these, O lord of earth, severally blew their conches. And that blare, loudly reverberating through the welkin, and the earth, rent the hearts of the Dhartarashtras. Then beholding the Dhartarashtra troops drawn up, the ape-bannered son of Pandu, rising his bow, when, the throwing of missiles had just commenced, said these words, O lord of earth, to Hrishikesha. 1

"Arjuna said,--'O thou that knoweth no deterioration, place my car (once) between the two armies, so that I may observe these that stand here desirous of battle, and with whom I shall have to contend in the labours of this struggle. 2 I will observe those who are assembled here and who are prepared to fight for doing what is agreeable in battle to the evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra.'"

Sanjaya continued,---'Thus addressed by Gudakesa, O Bharata, Hrishikesa, placing that excellent car between the two armies, in view of Bhishma and Drona and all the kings of the earth, said,--'Behold, O Partha these assembled Kurus,--And there the son of Pritha beheld, standing (his) sires and grandsons, and friends, and father-in-law and well-wishers, in both the armies. Beholding all those kinsmen standing (there), the son of Kunti, possessed by excessive pity, despondingly said (these words).

"Arjuna said,--'Beholding these kinsmen, O Krishna, assembled together and eager for the fight, my limbs, become languid, and my mouth becomes dry. My body trembles, and my hair stands on end. Gandiva slips from my hand, and my skin burns. I am unable to stand (any longer); my mind seems to wander. I behold adverse omens, too, O Kesava. I do not desire victory, O Krishna, not sovereignty, nor pleasures. Of what use would sovereignty be to us, O Govinda, or enjoyments, or even life, since they, for whose sake sovereignty, enjoyments, and pleasures are desired by us, are here arrayed for battle ready to give up life and wealth, viz., preceptors, sires, sons and grandsires, maternal uncles, father-in-laws, grandsons, brother-in-laws, and kinsmen. I wish not to slay these though they slay me, O slayer of Madhu, even for the sake of the sovereignty of the three worlds, what then for the sake of (this) earth? 3 What gratification can be ours, O Janardana, by slaying the Dhartarashtras? Even if they be regarded as foes, 4 sin will overtake us if we slay them. Therefore, it behoveth us not to slay the sons of Dhritarashtra who are our own kinsmen. 5 How,

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[paragraph continues] O Madhava can we be happy by killing our own kinsmen? Even if these, with judgments perverted by avarice, do not see the evil that ariseth from the extermination of a race, and the sin of internecine quarrels, why should not we, O Janarddana, who see the evils of the extermination of a race, learn to abstain from that sin? A race being destroyed, the eternal customs of that race are lost; and upon those customs being lost, sin overpowers the whole race. From the predominance of sin, O Krishna, the women of that race become corrupt. And the women becoming corrupt, an intermingling of castes happeneth, O descendant of Vrishni. This intermingling of castes leadeth to hell both the destroyer of the race and the race itself. The ancestors of those fall (from heaven), their rites of pinda and water ceasing. By these sins of destroyers of races, causing intermixture of castes, the rules of caste and the eternal rites of families become extinct. We have heard, O Janarddana, that men whose family rites become extinct, ever dwell in hell. Alas, we have resolved to perpetrate a great sin, for we are ready to slay our own kinsmen from lust of the sweets of sovereignty. Better would it be for me if the sons of Dhritarashtra, weapon in hand, should in battle slay me (myself) unavenging unarmed.--'"

Sanjaya continued,--"Having spoken thus on the field of battle, Arjuna, his mind troubled with grief, casting aside his bow and arrows, sat down on his car."

[Here ends the first lesson entitled "Survey of Forces" 1 in the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna of the Bhagavadgita, the essence of religion, the knowledge of Brahma, and the system of Yoga, comprised within the Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata of Vyasa containing one hundred thousand verses.]


51:1 The text of the Gita has come down to us without, it may be ventured to be stated, any interpolation. The difference of reading are few and far between. For Jayadratha some texts read tathaivacha.

51:2 The words Aparyaptam and Paryaptam have exercised all commentators. If paryaptam is sufficient (as it certainly is), aparyaptam may mean either more or less than sufficient. The context, however, would seem to show that Duryodhana addressed his preceptor in alarm and not with confidence of success, I, therefore, take aparyaptam to be less than sufficient.

51:3 It has been observed before that Schlegel renders the names of these conches as Gigantea, Theodotes, Arundinca, Triumpphatrix, Dulcisona, and Gemmiflora, and that Professor Wilson approves of them.

52:1 It seems a fashion to doubt the etymology of this word, as if commentators of the learning of Sreedhara and Sankara, Anandagiri and Nilakantha even upon a question of derivation and grammar can really be set aside in favour of anything that may occur in the Petersburgh lexicon. Hrishikesa means the lord of the senses.

52:2 Ranasamudyame may also mean "at the outset of battle."

52:3 The meaning is that even for the sake of such a rich reward in prospect I would not kill persons so dear and near to me. I would much rather suffer them strike me, myself not returning their blows.

52:4 The word is atatayinas.

52:5 Most editions read savandhavam "with (their) kinsmen or friends," I think, however, that swa (own) for (with) is the correct reading. K. T. Telang adopts it in his translation published ill Vol. VIII of the Sacred Books of the East.

53:1 In some editions this lesson is stated to be "Arjuna's grief." The description of the lesson again is given in fewer words.

Next: Section XXVI (Bhagavad Gita Chapter II)