Arjuna Vishaada Yogah: Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna
CONFOUNDED AND DISTRESSED, ARJUNA COLLAPSES
evamuktwaa'rjunah sankhye rathopastha upaavishat
visrijya sasharam chaapam shokasamvignamaanasah // 1.47 //
Having spoken thus in the midst of the battlefield, Arjuna, throwing away his bow and arrows, sank into the seat of the chariot, with his mind afflicted by sorrow.
Arjuna finally decided not to fight. He threw away his arms and sank into his seat. This is really strange for a warrior of Arjuna's caliber. For all these outpourings, Krishna did not respond. The Lord allowed him to exhaust himself so that the message He was going to deliver shortly to Arjuna and through him to the entire humanity would be fully effective.
om tat sat iti srimad bhagavadgeetaasu upanishatsu brahma vidyaayaam yogashaastre sri krishnaarjuna samvaade arjuna vishaada yogo
naama prathamo'dyaayah ||
Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the first discourse entitled: The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna
CHAPTER 1 - OVERVIEW
While the text mentions the names of a number of characters about to play their roles on both the sides, we are concerned with only three of them for our critical evaluation. They are
1. King Dhritarashtra
2. The valiant Arjuna and
3. Bhagavan Sri Krishna, who assumed the role of a charioteer to Arjuna.
- already heard several reasons for the likely victory of the Pandavas.
- was afraid of the possibility of loss of kingdom for his own sons, the Kauravas.
- He therefore asks Sanjaya “what did my sons, Duryodhana and others, as well as Pandu’s sons, Yudhishthira and others, actually do on the battlefield at
- a significant aspect of his question is his making a distinction between his own
sons and the sons of Pandu.
- exhibits an absence of family homogeneity and harmony in his mind.
- he is not only physically blind but also is deprived of the vision of personal
- is intelligent and where there is intelligence there is doubt and where there is
doubt there is dilemma. Arjuna is rational and where there is rationality, there
lies the capacity to think from a totally different perspective. Where one has
these qualities, it is difficult to enter into a dangerous situation like war
with closed eyes.
- Remember that life does not end the same way as it begins; the end is always unknown and invisible.
- Once observation starts, analysis is not far too behind and analysis always leads to wavering of mind.
- Arjuna was overpowered by an emotional upheaval.
- Fever of Unknown or a Bhava-roga in Sanskrit
- In the verses 21 and 22 of the 1stchapter he roars like an impatient
lion waiting to pounce on its prey.
- Verses 28-46 of the 1stChapter, The key word here is svajana, people who are one’s very own. It may be noted that Arjuna uses the word ‘svajana’ four times in these verses
- remedy prescribed by Krishna is Self-Knowledge (atma jnana) which He starts
unfolding from the verse 11 of the 2nd chapter
- two ideas stand supreme in his message. The first is the harmony of different ideas and the second is non-attachment
- The relationship between Arjuna and Krishna in this scene is that of a car owner and his driver. The driver just drives the car to the place where its owner wants him to go.
- But here Krishna tells or directs Arjuna“Behold these Kurus”. There is no need for these remarks as Arjuna will see the assembled warriors anyway and Krishna could have placed the chariot without uttering any words. But he intentionally used the words ‘Kurun Pasya’ to arouse attachment in Arjuna.
Chapter 2 - Saankhya Yogah: Yoga of Self-Knowledge
KRISHNA REBUKES ARJUNA
tam tathaa kripayaavishtam ashrupoornaakulekshanam
visheedantam idam vaakyam uvaacha madhusoodanah // 2.1 //
To him who was thus overwhelmed with pity and sorrow and whose eyes were dimmed with tears, Madhusudana (Krishna) spoke these words.
sri bhagavaan uvaacha
kutastwaa kashmalam idam vishame samupasthitam
anaaryajushtam aswargyam akeertikaram arjuna // 2.2 //
Sri Bhagavan said
O Arjuna, at this moment of crisis, wherefrom have you got this weakness, un-Aryan like, disgraceful and which is not conducive to the attainment of heaven?
- The Lord is called Bhagavan because He possesses six ‘bhagas’ or divine
traits viz. wealth, virtue, glory, greatness, knowledge and dispassion
- Kirti or fame attends on the one given to laudable life on earth.
- The three words used by the Lord are ‘anaryajushtam’,‘asvargyam’ and
‘akirtikaram’. They mean respectively three types of persons.
1. Thoughtful whose aim is to Bliss.
2. Virtuous whose aim is to achieve heaven by performing honest actions and
3. Ordinary who want name and fame in this world.
Arjuna is indicted that he belongs to none of these because of his affliction.
klaibyam maa sma gamah paartha naitattwayyupapadyate
kshudram hridaya daurbalyam tyaktwottishtha parantapa // 2.3 //
O Partha (Son of Pritha, Kunti), yield not to unmanliness. It does not befit you. Cast off this petty faint-heartedness and arise, O Paranthapa (scorcherer of foes - Arjuna).
- ‘Partha’ and‘Kaunteya’ with reference to Arjuna is with a purpose. These words mean the son of Pritha, Kunti who is Krishna’s father’s sister.
ARJUNA'S DOUBTS ARE UNRESOLVED
katham bheeshmamaham sankhye dronam cha madhusoodana
ishubhih pratiyotsyaami poojaarhaav arisoodana //2.4 //
But O Madhusudana, how can I strike Bhishma and Drona with arrows in this battle, for they are worthy of worship, O Arisudana (Destroyer of enemies - Krishna)?
guroon ahatwaa hi mahaanubhaavaan
shreyo bhoktum bhaikshyam apeeha loke
hatwaarthakaamaamstu guroon ihaiva
bhunjeeya bhogaan rudhirapradigdhaan // 2.5 //
It is better to live in this world by begging than to slay these honored teachers. By slaying them I would enjoy in this world pleasures which are stained with blood.
na chaitad vidmah kataran no gareeyo
yad waa jayema yadi vaa no jayeyuh
yaan eva hatwaa na jijeevishaamas
te'vasthitaah pramukhe dhaartaraashtraah // 2.6 //
I can hardly tell which will be better - to fight or not to fight, that we should conquer them or they should conquer us .The very sons of Dhritarashtra after slaying whom we do not even wish to live stand facing us.
kaarpanya dosho pahata swabhaavah
pricchaami twaam dharma sammoodha chetaah
yacchreyah syaan nischitam broohi tanme
shishyaste'ham shaadhi maam twaam prapannam // 2.7 //
With my nature stricken with weakness of sentimental pity and my
mind bewildered about my duty, I request you to tell me for certain what is good
for me. I am your disciple. Please teach me.
I am seeking refuge in you
TO BE CONTINUED......
Discussion Question of the Week: (Post your views in the comments section)
At the end of Chapter 1 and beginning of Chapter 2, Sri Krishna talks to
Arjuna to fight the war. So does that mean the Gita is a scripture which