Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1, Slokas 26 to 30

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath


Sloka 26 and 27


There, Arjuna saw father, grandfather, teachers, uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, companions, fathers-in-law and friends in both the armies.

Seeing all those relations, standing arrayed in the battle, Arjuna thus spoke sorrowfully, filled with deep pity.


We should remember that the great war was a consequence of acts of “adharma” by Duryodhana. Sri Krishna, the Divine Incarnate, sided the Pandavas. To avoid the bloodshed in the battle, He took personally the responsibility of reconciliation. When all the efforts at a peaceful negotiations failed, the war was declared by the Lord Himself.

Those were the days of rule by the royalty who kept a tight rein over their territory. War with the ruler over the adjoining territory to expand the kingdom was not considered wrong. Democracy as we know now with leaders elected by the public was not in vogue.

The kshatriya race were born warriors. They were geared to accept that taking part in a righteous war was considered as heroic. They believed that winning the war would give control over new territory and dying in the battle would confer entry into heaven.

Unfortunately, Arjuna who entered with a positive frame of mind to win back the territory (which belonged to his brother rightfully) is seen to be entering into a state of mental crisis. Change of attitude can be seen in the following verses. Instead of being a stout lion hearted Kshatriya, he becomes a soft hearted week individual. He entered the battle as a well acclaimed hero. His attitude is that of a kinsman looking at the arrayed army in terms of personal relationship.

It was not really an act of discrimination but an act of ignorance on his part. This unfortunately, is the downfall of an individual from spiritual heights achieved by gaining knowledge. It is the gateway to the fall and degradation.

He pitied all the relations who had entered the battlefield on either side.

The word to note is “Kripa”. It means “Pity.”

“Pity” as such is a noble quality in the spiritual path. Expressing pity and forgetting “Dharma” cannot be termed as “noble quality.” Arjuna was exactly in this frame of mind. It was “mental weakness” born out of “ignorance.”

Just like we go to the physician to get cured of the bodily illness, we need to go to the “Spiritual physician” to cleanse the mind of the “ignorance.”

After letting Arjuna express his sorrow, Sri Krishna gives the “Spiritual medicine” which is the sacred text “Srimad Bhagavadgita”, courtesy of Sage Poet Veda Vyasa..


Slokas 28, 29 and 30

Arjuna Uvacha


Arjuna said:

O Krishna, seeing these, my own kinsmen gathered, eager to fight, my limbs fail, my tongue is dried up, my body trembles, my skin is burning all over and my hair stands on end, and even my mind is whirling. My Gandiva is slipping from my hand. I cannot stand up.


Note that Arjuna has used the word “my” nine times in these three slokas.

From medical point of view, as a man of depression approaches his psychologist, the words used by Arjuna express his “weakness, despair and sorrowful state.” The psychoanalyst would say that the patient is showing symptoms of “Anxiety Neurosis.”

Arjuna is showing signs of “self pity.”

Arjuna’s weapon of action was “Gandeeva.” It was the magical bow presented to him by the Gandharvas. It had the power of a thousand bows and came with two inexhaustible quivers. No other weapon could damage it. (After the departure of Krishna from the physical world at the end of His Avatara, it is said that the bow lost its magical powers.)

Symbolically, “Gandiva slipping from the hand” means that Arjuna lost the power to hold the weapon. This was the result of “mental weakness”. Whatever the strength of the individual may be, during moments of mental weakness like depression, the body suddenly loses all the physical strength. We lose the strength to hold on to the tool of action in our life and fail to conduct the ordained duties.

Why did a great warrior like Arjuna suddenly develop this symptom, especially on the battlefield, the first day of the most important battle of his life?

One can say that Arjuna developed the symptoms of depression because he saw his “personal relationship” of the warriors assembled. This made him lose the “knowledge of right action.” As we have discussed before, he had given his full support to brother Yudhistira to fight the “war of righteousness”. As a Kshatriya warrior of repute, he had only one duty to perform and it was “to assist his brother in uprooting the evil.” Towards this he had the support and blessings of the Lord Himself.

What he said to Krishna shows his “Ignorance.”

The remedy for the ignorance is “Atma Jnana”. Arjuna had to realise the true identity of individuals including himself. The knowledge of the “Self” would clear the veil of “Maya” and the spiritual seeker can get the mental strength to fight the “ignorance”.

Sage poet, Bhagawan Veda Vyasa is referring to all the “Arjuna’s of the world” and helping them to clear the “spiritual ignorance.” What we are going to get in the chapters to come is the “Knowledge of the true Self” in each of us.

Let us offer our prayers to the Lord and request Him to lead us in the spiritual journey in search of the “Eternal Bliss”.

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, sloka 36

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

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Sloka 36


Even if you are the most sinful of all sinners you shall cross over all sins by the raft of knowledge.


The emphasis on this Sloka is on “Papa and Papebhyaha”. It means, “The sin and those who commit acts of sin.”

We have dealt with sin several times already in the preceding chapters. “Sin” can be defined as act/acts or thoughts that generate in the mind that are contrary to the sastras and which are considered as “unrighteous.” Hatred, lust, greed, arrogance, enmity, anger etc make one commit acts of sin. The root cause for committing the sin is “Ego” which is man’s worst enemy in the spiritual progress towards “Liberation.”

In the Hindu philosophy, the emphasis is on achieving “Liberation”. Liberation is freedom from rebirth, uniting with the God principle and experiencing the “Eternal Bliss.” Attachment to the physical body, one’s family, friends, positions acquired in life prevents us progressing in the path to Liberation. Each one of us has gone through several births and deaths in the past and the probabilities are that we will continue to progress in the same path and end up having to be born again and again. The cycle of births and deaths is the “samsara”, the philosophy talks about and the samsara is compared to an ocean in this Sloka.

We need to have the knowledge that we are on an ocean and that there is a shore at the other end. We have knowingly or unknowingly out of ignorance committed a number of sins in the past that includes past births also. We have not paid for those mistakes yet. These have accumulated and it has become a big and mighty ocean. If it dawns on us that we have made ourselves drown into the ocean and we need to come out of the ocean then we have to look for means to reach the shore. The means given by Lord Krishna out of compassion to all is “Jnana”. The Jnana to dispel the ignorance will then act as the raft on our life’s boat and assists us towards having a smooth passage to the shore overcoming all obstacles in the way. The main message from the Lord to all spiritual seekers is “Nishkama karma and Karma Phala tyaga.” The sins referred to are the acts committed out of ignorance of one’s own true identity and the sinners are those who conduct such sins. The philosophy does not condemn one as sinner but points out to the sins in the actions. Swamy Vivekananda stresses on his commentary on Sloka 3, chapter 2, (Klaibyam Maa sma gamaha Partha) that any work which brings the latent divinity is punya (virtue) and that which makes the body and mind weak is verily, sin. Discrimination between “Truth and un-truth” and dispassion to worldly possessions are the keystone of spiritual knowledge which will assist in crossing over the ocean of samsara.

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, sloka 37

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

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Sloka 37


O Arjuna, just as the blazing fire reduces fuel to ashes, so does the fire of knowledge reduce all actions to ashes.


After having referred the Jnana to the raft in the last verse, Jnana is compared to “the fire.” What does the fire do?

Any item that is burnt by the fire is considered to be the fuel for the fire. Firewood, any material made of wood like the chair, table etc, paper and any flammable product can be the fuel. The fuel would have some form of identity before being burnt. After it is burnt, there is no more identity left of the fuel. What are left are only the ashes.

All the actions we conduct do normally end up with entry of new vasanas on our mind. This would result in further new actions and consequent accumulation of new vasanas. It is an ongoing chain of actions and reactions. The purpose of Jnana given by the Lord is to clear the vasanas without formation of new vasanas. This is known as “burning of the existing vasanas.” The vasanas are technically said to have burnt to ashes with no more identity left. Those actions conducted without “the Jnana” (out of ignorance) generally are considered as “sins” because they lead to rebirth into this world of samsara. Based on this explanation, Jnana is said to burn the sins.

This is the time to introduce three popular words in the literature concerning actions and reactions. These are:

In relation to actions, Sanchita  –  past
Prarabdha  –  present
Aagaami  –  future

Whatever actions we conducted in the past life that resulted in further vasanas and such vasanas have not materialised into actions remain in our mind at the time of physical death as unfulfilled desires/hatreds etc. These are the bundles of vasanas we carry to our next birth, next stage of life. This is known as “Sanchita karmas” .It is like the sack we carry on our back as our luggage. No one can carry the bag for us and it is solely on us to take responsibility for all the unfulfilled vasanas of the past.

In the new birth or the new stage in our life, we will get the fruition of some of these accumulated vasanas. It is like taking some items from the sack we carry.

For whatever good we may have done in the past, we might get good benefit/reward in some form or other. (Example- in an examination we might have probably entitled to get 80% of marks but we may end up by getting highest marks.) On the other hand, for whatever wrong actions we might have conducted in the past and not experienced the results thereof, we would experience some form of hardship or other. (Taking the example of the student sitting for an examination – the student might have been entitled to higher marks but will end up getting lower marks.)

We can use this explanation for happy and painful experiences in our lives. The sastras say this is the “Prarabdha” which is the fate. It is the fate decreed by the Supreme for our actions of the past. In other words, it is the result of our actions committed knowingly/unknowingly in the past.

We still may have a number of unfulfilled items in the sack that would need to be taken to the next birth or next stage in our life. In our present life, we would have added more vasanas into the sack with the innumerable thoughts that cross the mind. We would have added additional desires/hatreds into the sack and death may have proceeded before the fulfilment of those at the time of death. So, we would not know what the future holds for us for tomorrow to come in our life either as a new stage in life or a new birth. This is known as “Aagaami.” It simply means “not known”. We do not know tomorrow and hence it becomes “Aagaami.”

Even though we have no control over the present from results of the past, we, the humans have the blessings of the intellect that will help us to correct the present actions and thoughts. By understanding the scriptures, knowing dharma and adharma, truth and un-truth, we can put new good vasanas in our sacks and will then be expected to have a better tomorrow. The Jnana which we are learning now will help in making for a better tomorrow not only for us but through our actions for the society.

To summarize: we can make our future blissful by our present actions conducted with the knowledge acquired (following the path of righteousness), learn to accept the hardships now as the results of our past (grin and bear and at the same time do not forget to continue to discharge the duty as far as possible.) Thus we can leave a better world for tomorrow not only for us but for our future generations to come.

Copyright for the texts on Bhagavad Gita by Dr. P.V. Nath, UK.
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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, sloka 38

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath 

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Sloka 38 


Certainly there is nothing as pure as knowledge in this world. He who is himself perfected in yoga finds it in the Self by himself in due season. 


Na hi jnanena sadrusham pavitram: there is nothing as pure as the knowledge.
Iha vidyate: certainly/indeed. 

This statement applies to all forms of knowledge, be it spiritual or be it material science, more so in relation to the spiritual knowledge. 

The root word for the Vedas is “vid”. It means “to know.” The knowledge of one’s own self, the knowledge of the eternal truth is emphasised as the real knowledge in the Vedas. Vedas are the authoritative books on Hindu philosophy. 

Opposite of the knowledge is “ignorance.” Ignorance of our true nature, ignorance of our origin has made us fall into this whirlpool called samsara. We are experiencing so much of suffering in our life and see suffering all round us. 

The Gita is to remind us of our true nature which is Tat-Tvam-Asi. “Thou Art That” says the Lord. What are we doing? What have we done?
We have forgotten this “Maha vakya” (famous statement from Chandogya Upanishad, Sama Veda.) We have covered ourselves with ignorance and the root cause for it is the development of “ego”. Finds it in the Self:
“The Self” referred to is the Atman/Soul. It is within us. The same Atman is also in all forms of life. There is no differentiation in the Self. It is “Nirakara, Nirguna”. The entire journey of every individual, taking one back to all the past births is all about the realising this statement. We start the spiritual quest with the question “Ko’ham?” – “Who am I?”
The end for the quest is finding the answer “So’ ham” – “I am That.” 

In due course:
The time taken for “Vasana kshaya and mano nasha” (destruction of all vasanas and destruction of the mind) is not in our hands. We fall prey to worldly pleasures and either fall down from the spiritual heights achieved or stay trapped in the present without upward progress. But, at the end, each one of us will realise the truth and attain Moksha. We are not told that it is possible for only selected few but only that it will happen in due course of time. 

The Lord has no favourites. In chapter 12 He enumerates 36 qualities of a true Bhakta and says that he who develops all the qualities of a Bhakta is inevitably “verily the Lord Himself” only and there is no differentiation between such a devotee and the Lord. What He is asking us is development of all divine qualities (chapter 16) / qualities of a true Bhakta (chapter 12) /qualities of a true Jnani (chapter 13) / features of Sthitaprajna (chapter 2) or features of a Gunatita (chapter 14). All of these have one thing in common and that is annihilation of “ego” and surrender to Him. 

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1, Slokas 23 to 25

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath


Sloka 23


I will see those warriors assembled here for the fight, wishing to please the evil minded Duryodhana.


Recollecting the story of the great epic, the Mahabharata, of which the Bhagavadgita is a part of, we should remember that the war was between the Pandavas and the Kauravas.

The Pandavas fought for the just cause to get the proper share of the kingdom.
Duryodhana with support from his maternal uncle Shakuni and friend Karna had persuaded his blind father, Emperor Dhritarashtra to declare the war against the Pandavas.

Those were the days, 5000yrs ago, when each kingdom had its allies and vassals. In case of war, the allies and the vassals pledged their army to their superior, the king. On that basis, the Pandavas had a total army that equalled seven battalions and the Kauravas, 11 battalions. The leaders of the various sections in the battalions would fight to die for their king.

Arjuna states that he wanted to see the warriors assembled to fight for the enemy Duryodhana. He uses the adjunctive “evil minded” in reference to Duryodhana. It was true that Duryodhana was evil minded. He devised so many evil plans to kill the Pandava brothers. When the attempts failed, he devised plans to snatch their kingdom by unjust means. He stooped down to the level of insulting Droupadi in the open assembly. Arjuna’s blood was boiling and he could not wait for the war to begin.

Those who were on the side of Kauravas could be divided into respected elders like the grandsire Bhishma, guru Dronacharya, family priest Kripacharya and others. Bhishma fought for the Kauravas because of the solemn promise he had given to his father (see explanation provided with Sloka 11). Dronacharya and Kripacharya were the employees of Dhritarashtra and had solemn duty to fight for their employer. The allies and vassals automatically had to fight for the Kauravas.

All these could not be called “evil minded”. The fact they fought for unrighteousness, they did not deserve any mercy from the Pandavas. The Pandava brothers and their allies were roaring to face the enemy and kill them.

Arjuna had entered the battle scene with this frame of mind and hence the request for placing the chariot at the most suitable spot so that he could see the assembled enemy forces and get the adrenaline flowing.



Sloka 24 and 25



Sanjaya said:

Thus addressed by Arjuna, Lord Krishna placed the noble chariot in the middle of the armies, and in front of Bhishma, Drona and all other prominent kings. He said, O Arjuna, behold the Kauravas gathered together.


Note that Sanjaya, the war reporter/correspondent uses the words “thus addressed” and not “thus commanded”. After all, the charioteer of Arjuna was not ordinary employee but the Lord himself. Arjuna could never command Krishna, his charioteer.

Lord Krishna, obeys the request by the warrior on His chariot. He is fulfilling the request by Arjuna and placed the chariot at a suitable spot which would provide Arjuna with a good view of all the senior warriors on the side of the Kauravas.

There are three words to note from these slokas: “Hrishikesha” , “Gudakesha.” and “Partha.” Let us look at the meaning of these words:

“Hrishikesha”: “Hrishika” means “senses” and “Esa means Lord.” “Lord over the senses” is “The Lord Himself”. In this context it refers to Lord Krishna.

“Gudakesha” means “Conqueror over sleep.” As we know sleep is a tamasic quality. Arjuna is receiving the “Great spiritual lesson”, his mind needs to be constantly awake and alert to every word spoken. Krishna imparted the Gita to Arjuna because he had this special quality while listening to the highest spiritual teaching.

“Partha”: it is another name for “Arjuna.” Arjuna was the son of “Pritha” and hence he got the name. “Pritha” is another name for his mother Kunti.

Sura was a Yadava king and he had a daughter by name Pritha. He had a cousin Kuntibhoja who was childless and requested to adopt Pritha. Sura obliged with the request and gave Pritha to Kuntibhoja. As she was adopted by Kuntibhoja, Pritha got the name “Kunti.” Kunti was given the job of looking after the guests who visited the country. One of the guests she looked after was the sage “Durvasa.” Pleased by her services, the sage gave her a special boon. He gave her six special mantras. Recitation of each of the mantra would bring the deity of the mantra to her and he would bless her with a child. The five Pandava brothers and Karna came to be considered as her children by the special deities of those mantras.

There is a Sanskrit word “Parthiva” which means “made of clay.” The word “Pritha” relates to this word “Parthiva.” Clay is perishable and our body made of the five gross elements is perishable. Our body is therefore “mortal” which means “perishable.”

The sacred text is from the “Imperishable Lord Krishna” to “Arjuna who is a mortal.” Arjuna is representative for all of us, the mortals.

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The 7th International Gita Conference | Haridwar, India | 2009

Na me’ bhaktaha pranshyati OM Jaya Guru Datta

The Seventh Global Gita Conference


SGS Bhadrakali Peetham, Haridwar

(Opposite: Kachchi ashram, Saptasarovar Maarg)


Saturday, Sunday, 24, 25 October, 2009

Organised by

The International Gita Foundation Trust ®

(Chief Patron, Hon’ble Sri T.N.Chaturvedi, Former Governor, Karnataka,)

In conjunction with

Sri Avadhoota Datta Peetham, Mysore.

The conference includes:

  • Gita Recitation on the banks of the river Ganga by revered Swamijis and delegates,
  • Blessings and discourses by:
    • Poojya Sri Sri Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji, Mysore,
    • Poojya Sri Datta Vijayananda Teertha Swamiji, Mysore,
    • Mahamandaleshwar Poojya Swami Shri Satyamitrananda Giri ji Maharaj, Bharat Mata Mandir, Haridwar, (to be confirmed)
    • Dharma Ratna Swami Shri Gopal Sharan Ji Devacharya, Shri Golak Dham Ashram, New Delhi,
    • Yog Rishi Poojya Swami Shri Ram Dev Ji Maharaj, Patanjali Yog Peeth, Haridwar.
    • Poojya Swami Shri Chidanand Saraswati Ji Maharaj, Paramarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh,
    • Sadhvi Bhagavati, Paramarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh,
    • Poojya Swami Shri Pranavananda Ji Maharaj, Omkara ashrama, Bellary,
    • Sri Raghavan, Duva Associates, Bangalore,
    • And few more saints and philosophers of repute,
  • Cultural programme by visually challenged artists, Bangalore.
  • Gita recitation by young children.

Further details will be released soon.

Local tours, Accommodation, booking:

Ripsan Travels Pvt Ltd, Dehradun. (Official travel agents)

Contact:, 0135 2642906, 3291528 9412058057

Chitra Jaikumar:; 080 25240082; 94486 72554

IGFT, 1473, 2nd cross, judicial layout, GKVK post, Bangalore 560065, mobile: 98452 87516,

Shri Ganapati Sachchidananda Ashrama, Mysore, 570025. 0821 2481482,

Des Raj Sapra, Bhadrakali Peetham, Opp Kachchi Ashram, Haridwar, 249410. 01334 261478

Chairperson: Dr.P.V.Nath MBE, Tapaswi, 21 Beamish View, Stanley, DH 9 0XB, UK, 077791 78430, 01207 290606,

Official website:

The 5th International Gita Conference | UK | 2007

“Faith and Global Peace”
August 18th and 19th, 2007, Durham, UK

 Jaya Guru Datta.
Due to the Lords grace I was able to attend this conference, and at the break between the discussion of chapter 2 and 3 of the Gita in the Newsletter, I hope I can convey some of the vibrant energy of those two days to you – and I´d like to strongly recommend you to make an extra effort to join the 6th Gita Conference next year.

So before this one the International Gita Foundation Trust under the auspices of Dr. Nath already organized four annual conferences, all held in India. Now for the first time a location on another continent was chosen, and most likely next year will see the conference being held in New York. In the UK the conference was organized jointly by the Gita Trust and Kalapremi, an arts development organization, and I congratulate them both on the fine organization which created an inspiring and spiritually refreshing and uplifting atmosphere for all the attendants. My sincere thanks go to all the women and men involved who made this a big success for more than 300 people.

Now I can´t do justice to all the speakers in a short report, so I beg the pardon of those not mentioned hereafter – they all were most valuable to create the overall outcome. However let me single out some personal highlights. Whenever in the following there is a quote from a speaker, then it is taken from the Souvenir book released at the conference.

So the motto as stated on the front page of the Souvenir was:

“In all beings separated into different categories, that knowledge which sees the One inseparable reality, know that to be the pure knowledge.”
(Gita, Chapter 18, Verse 20)

This topic of Oneness in all religions was the central theme especially of the second day, where it was displayed on stage by representatives of a variety of churches and religions – in the morning we had speakers of acclaimed reputation, in the afternoon we had teenagers talking about the role of the youth towards Global Peace. And two things really made me happy:

(1) To hear and to see that they all were as sincere on their own path as they had a loving understanding for the different roads taken by the others to achieve the same goal uniting them all.

(2) To experience that for the Youth Forum in the afternoon the conference hall was even more crowded than ever before at the conference (the different parts could be booked separately).
Let me quote from the paper by Miss Lalita Kameswari from India, 19 years old and winner of the Gita competition the year before, invited to the conference by the Trust:

“Youth of our nation is experiencing today the need for an ideal which consistently motivates them for a self-sacrificing and dynamic action. It is natural for the youth to have the daring to plan, an irresistible urge and energy to work, the enthusiasm to conceive, …., an avalanche of power and strength, energy and vitality … but then how to train our mind in the very midst of confusing situations, how to juggle explosive conditions, threatening challenges and suffocative situations? This is what is exhaustively explained in Gita.”

In my humble opinion the conference really succeeded in taking up this very important point of transferring the ancient knowledge of the Gita to the young people today. And as this is what the future of all of us will be based upon, therefore I started my report with it and congratulate the organizers on their achievement.

But as the youth as well as we all need guidance, for the conference it was but natural to start with messages and blessings by the dignitaries:
H.H. Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swamiji
H.H. Sri Jagadguru Taralabalu Swamy
H.H. Sri Sukhabodhananda Swamy
H.H. Sri Japananada Swamy.

From the talks please let me single out H.H. Sri Sukhabodhananda Swamy. He gave a scintillating speech on “Problems are inevitable – Suffering is optional” or put in another way: “Learn to have fun with a problem – that´s how to treat a problem wisely.” Thereby we may reach peace of mind and follow “the principal message of Bhagavad Gita being ‘Sama’ or ‘Equal’ to diverse emotions.” He demonstrated his approach very vividly throughout his talk by explaining the essence of the Gita on the fingers of just one hand: four fingers standing for the four ways of Yoga, then the forefinger bowing down to the thumb for the Mudra to represent life as whole and complete in every moment. Sri Sukhabodhananda was a great example himself that “to be spiritual” means “to heighten the spirit”.

Then in the evening we had another great example of this from Bhakti Bharati Pujya Shri Prema Pandurang and Party. She gave an equally scintillating “Musical Discourse” on Sri Krishna and the Gita – making all the audience forget that we had had a full day with about nine hours of talks already. It was as inspiring for the mind as it was a joy for the eyes, the ears and the heart. And it made us remember that the Gita is not a “text” but it is a beautiful poem and a “celestial song”.

So let me end with a quote from Dr. Nath:

“Wherever there is hatred let us sow the seed of love,
Wherever there is animosity, let us sow the seed of friendship,
Whenever we see ignorance, pain and sorrow, let us show compassion.”

With deeply felt gratitude for the conference and for the blessings of being able to attend it.

Conference Program:
The International Gita Foundation Trust:
Sri Sukhabodhananda Swamy:
Bhakti Bharati Pujya Shri Prema Pandurang:

Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1, Slokas 19 to 22

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath


Sloka 19


The tumultuous sounds of the Pandava army filling all sides reverberated through the earth and sky and the sound from all the warrior instruments brought in a sense of fear in the heart of the Kaurava army.


The Pandavas has 7 massive battalions of soldiers. A number of great warriors starting from Lord Krishna sounded their instruments. This sound was too loud and frightening to hear. Apart from a handful, the Kaurava army, though fighting for Dhritarashtra, respected the Pandavas. They were aware of the powers of Krishna and the Pandava brothers. To hear the sound that signalled the beginning of the great war, brought a feeling of terror for them.


Sloka 20



Then, O ruler of the earth, seeing Dhritarashtra’s host being positioned and the fighting about to commence, Pandava, whose ensign badge is Hanuman, lifting his bow spoke the following words to Krishna.


In the present war, Dhritarashtra’s hosts should be taken as the grand sire Bhishma and the rest of the Kaurava army.
Bhishma had arranged a formation with his army and the warriors had taken up their respective positions.

Arjuna, the master warrior in the Pandava army was brought to the middle of the two opposing forces in the chariot driven by Krishna. He was eager to take up the final task of regaining the lost kingdom.

The ensign badge on the chariot had the picture of Hanuman. This has some significance and we should learn about the same.

1)  Hanuman represents the path of “Bhakti.” His bhakti or devotion is only to Lord Rama.

During the period of exile, Bhima had an occasion to fulfil Droupadi’s wish. She had accidentally come across an unusual flower in the forest and fell for it. She pleads with Bhima to get the flower for her.

Bhima went on a mission to find that flower. On the way, in the narrow path, there sat an old monkey which obstructed the path. Bhima arrogantly orders the monkey to move out of his way. The monkey replies that he is old and weak and has no physical strength to move an inch. He pleads Bhima to lift him physically and place him out of the path. Bhima finds that with the massive physical strength he had, he could not even lift the tail of the monkey an inch off the ground.

He then requests the monkey to pardon him for the arrogant behaviour. The monkey in turn reveals his true identity of Hanuman. Hanuman is considered to be the son of Lord Wind. Bhima is also considered to be the son of the Lord Wind. Thus, the two were really brothers.

Hanuman blesses Bhima and promises to help the Pandavas. He would represent himself on the flag of the Pandavas on the chariot driven by Lord Krishna.
Thus comes the situation when the flag on Arjuna’s chariot gets the picture of Hanuman.

2)  Hanuman is considered to be the eternal servant of Lord Rama. For him there exists only one God and he is no other than Lord Rama.

He knew the identity of Krishna as his beloved Lord Rama. We therefore have another episode that proves that Krishna is the “Avatara” of Vishnu. Lord Rama from Treta Yuga, had reincarnated as Krishna in Dwapara Yuga.

3)  Hanuman represents Bhakti. The Pandavas led by Arjuna, had the flag with Hanuman on the chariot. It signifies that the Pandavas engaged in war had followed the path of Bhakti.


Sloka 21and 22




Arjuna said:

Place my chariot, O Achyuta, between the two armies so that I may behold the war-minded that stand here, with whom I must wage this war.


Achyuta refers to Krishna. It is one of the 1008 names attributable to Him. The word “Achyuta” means, “The one who does not fall.”

The three states of spiritual evolution of humans is said to be:
Tamasic — lazy, indolence, ignorant state.
Rajasic — active, passionate, selfish state.
Satvic — pure state.

We are supposed to lift ourselves from the lower state of “Tamas to Rajas”. We should then rise from “Rajas to Satva.”
Having succeeded in climbing up the spiritual ladder, even though one reaches the higher state of “Satva”, there develops a sense of pride in having reached the state of “Satva.” It is like getting a higher degree like “Masters” in one’s studies.

Unfortunately, human mind being what it is, sense of “Pride” takes over. We start looking down upon the ones below us. This sense of pride eventually leads to the downfall again from the spiritual heights reached.

The only ones who can climb up even further than “Satva” are those who manage to drop the “Ego” and merge with the “Supreme.” This state is called “Suddha Satva.”
Having become one with the “Supreme”, there is no further drop from the spiritual heights reached. Such an individual looses his own identity and becomes the “Supreme” by becoming one with it.

This state is the state of “Achyuta”. – “He, who does not fall down.”
The Lord never falls down from the state of “Supreme Purusha”.

One can also see that from this sloka onwards, Arjuna uses the word “my”, “I” many number of times. This demonstrates the power of “Ego” in him.

Copyright for the texts on Bhagavad Gita by Dr. P.V. Nath, UK.
Questions concerning the text please direct to Dr. Nath at ““.

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1, Slokas 13 to 18

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath


Sloka 13


(When Bhishma blew the conch) all the other warriors blew their conches, trumpets, drums and horns. The sound filled all sides and was tremendous.


As was the custom in those days, all the leaders of various sections in the vast army carried their conchs with them and blew them after Bhishma did the honours first.
There were others who carried the trumpets and horns instead of the conchs. The two armies together had 18 great divisions and the sound by the war drums, trumpets and conchs filled the air on all the sides. This, the poet describes as “tremendous.”


Sloka 14


Then, seated in the magnificent chariot, yoked with white horses, Krishna and Arjuna blew their divine conches.


One has to imagine the majesty of Lord Krishna, taking up the role of charioteer, bringing the chariot with Arjuna on to the centre of the battlefield. Any chariot with the Lord will be majestic to look at and be divine. In this instance, divinity was enhanced as the chariot belonged to the Lord of Fire and the horses were the property of Chitrangada, the king of Gandharvas (celestial divinities.). The chariot was a gift to Arjuna from the Lord of Fire. Arjuna, during the period of exile in the forest with his brothers, had assisted the Lord of Fire in destroying the Khandava forest and the gift was in return for the services rendered. The chariot and the horses were gifted with special magical powers. They could move from one position in the battlefield to another by flying over any obstacle and reach the selected spot within seconds. Arjuna could therefore be in any position within seconds.

The horses, the poet describes as “white horses.” One can interpret the colour white as representing “Dharma” symbolising “Purity.” As the Lord himself was the charioteer whatever that is under His control has to represent “Purity.”


One of the names given to Lord Krishna is Madhava. Each of the number of names given to the Hindu deities does carry a special meaning and represent a divine quality.
Madhava is one of the names of Lord Vishnu and Sri Krishna is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Madhava means “husband of wealth.” Goddess Lakshmi, symbolising the wealth is the consort of Lord Vishnu. Poet Vyasa, by using the word Madhava is letting us know that the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi had showered her grace on the Pandavas. There was no way the Pandavas could be defeated. By their victory over the Kauravas, they would rule over the kingdom. “Rajya” in Sanskrit means “Kingdom.” “Rajya Laksmi”, one of the eight names of Goddess Lakshmi is appropriate in this context.

The word “Vijaya” in Sanskrit means “Victory.” Another name given to Goddess Lakshmi is “Vijaya Lakshmi.” (the Goddess of victory.) By using the word “Madhava” the poet is assuring that the Pandavas will achieve victory and regain the kingdom.

Lord Krishna was given the honour to blow this conch first for the Pandavas. Arjuna was the next in line to blow his conch and others followed later.


Sloka 15 – 18





Hrishikesha blew the Panchajanya, and Dhananjaya blew Devadatta, and Vrikodhara the doer of terrible deeds, blew the great conch Paundra.
King Yudhistira, son of Kunti blew Ananatavijayam, Nakula and Sahadeva blew Sughosha and Manipushpaka;
The king of Kasi, an excellent archer; Sikhandi, the mighty commander Drishtadyumna, Virata and the unconquered Satyakai; Drupada, the sons of Droupadi, Abhimanyu, the mighty armed, all blew their respective conchs.


The main warriors from the Pandava army who were given the honour of blowing their respective conch are mentioned in the four verses.
Let us analyse few words in these slokas.

Hrishikesha: another name for Lord Krishna. It means “he who is the ruler over the mind and the senses.”
Sri Krishna did not conduct any actions on impulse.

Dhananjaya: it is another name for Arjuna. It means “conqueror of wealth.” Arjuna went round the country and won over many rulers and amassed a number of regions for his brother Yudhistira. By his battle skills, he expanded his brother’s kingdom.

Vrikodhara: this word refers to Bheema. It is said that he carried fire in his stomach and could consume anything. Duryodhana once drowned Bhima in the river and a number of snakes bit him. None of the poison from the bites affected him and he came back alive and strong. Duryodhana, at another time gave poison in disguise but it did not kill Bhima. Hence, he is called “Vrikodhara.”

Panchajanyam: it is the name of Krishna’s conch. Krishna was taught by the Guru “Sandipa.” The guru asked Krishna to get his son back. The story goes on to say that in this task, Krishna had to kill the demon Panchajanya. The conch was made by the bones of the demon.

Copyright for the texts on Bhagavad Gita by Dr. P.V. Nath, UK.
Questions concerning the text please direct to Dr. Nath at ““.

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Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1, Slokas 10 to 12

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath


Greetings from Dr. Nath and Dasha on the auspicious day of Deepavali.

The following sloka is significant because it applies specially to this day and the Gita:


Please lead me from untruth to truth
Lead me from darkness to light
Lead me from death to immortality
OM Peace Peace Peace

The sacred text is to remove the ignorance / ahamkara which is the worst enemy for each one of us.


Sloka 10


This army of ours defended by Bhishma, is inadequate. Whereas that army of our enemies defended by Bhima is quite adequate.


The two words “Aparyptam and Paryaptam” have been given contradictory meanings by the dictionarians. Therefore, there are two versions of explanations for this verse.

The first meaning is:
Aparyaptam: unlimited
Paryaptam: limited
Accordingly, the verse reads as follows:
This army of ours defended by Bhishma is unlimited and the army of theirs defended by Bhima is limited.

The Kaurava army had 11 battallions and the Pandava army had 7 batallions. It is therefore natural to gloat about the large size of the army and Duryodhana is doing the same.

Second meaning:
Aparyaptam: incomplete, inefficient, insufficient
Paryaptam: complete, efficient, sufficient
This army of ours defended by Bhishma is inefficient and the army of theirs defended by Bhima is efficient.

Mahatma Gandhi has given this second explanation to this sloka.

It is interesting to note that Duryodhana says “Army defended by Bhima.” Drishtadyumna was the commander-in-chief for the Pandavas but still Duryodhana considers that Bhima is in charge. Why?
The most important person Duryodhana was frightened was Bhima. Bhima was his sworn enemy.

During the game of dice that was played which decided the fate of the Pandavas, Duryodhana with the help of cunning Shakuni cheats Dharmaraya (Yudhistira). He makes him gamble one after another of his possessions, then his own brothers and finally his wife Droupadi. Like adding salt to the open wound, he lets his own brother Dushasana derobe Droupadi in the open assembly.

Bhima who was bound by the laws of the game to be subservient to Duryodhana could not bear the insult any longer. In front of the large assembly, he takes a solemn oath to kill all the brothers of Duryodhana and drink the blood of Dushasana.
This oath had made Duryodhana frightened of Bhima.
Hence the importance Duryodhana attaches to the presence of Bhima in the opposite camp.


Sloka 11


Therefore, do you all, standing firmly in your respective positions, in the divisions, guard Bhishma alone.


One can see the tone of a command from Duryodhana to his guru. True, Duryodhana, the heir apparent to the throne had everybody at his command including his own guru. During the battle, he has the highest authority.

Having said that, there is what is called as “humility.” The fact that Drona was fighting for the Kauravas should have been sufficient for him. He did not show “humility and reverence” to his elder statesman and guru.

Why is he asking everyone to guard Bhishma alone?
We should recollect the life of Bhishma in his younger days.
Bhishma’s father Shantanu had fallen madly in love with Satyavati, the fisher woman. Satyavati’s father, a clever person, had realised that Bhishma would be the heir to the throne after Shantanu. The children born out of wedlock of Satyavati to Shantanu would not inherit the throne. He therefore objects to his daughter marrying the king.
Shantanu was torn between the duty to Bhishma, the son of his first wife Ganga and his infatuation towards the fisher woman. He showed signs of depression for a long time.

Bhishma came to know of the dilemma his father was facing. He therefore brings Satyavati to his father and takes a solemn oath that he would not demand the throne. Instead, he would let the child born from Satyavati to ascend the throne and protect the kingdom at any cost. He swears to be a bachelor for life and be subservient to the throne.

For the sacrifice he made, father Shantanu blesses his son and bestows on him a rare boon. The boon was that death will not approach Bhishma, but Bhishma can decide where and when he wanted to leave his mortal body.
The war of righteousness was to be fought to the bitter end. It was victory or death to either armies. By cleverly making Bhishma, the commander-in-chief Duryodhana had already won the tactical battle. Bhishma would not die in the war and so Pandavas could not win.

Even though Bhishma could not be killed, it was possible that he could be mortally wounded and may have to retire from the war. As long as Bhishma was holding the fort, the Pandavas had no chance to win.
It was therefore imperative that Bhishma was not going to be injured. Hence the command, not a request by Duryodhana to Dronacharya to guard “Bhishma alone.”


Sloka 12


In order to embolden Duryodhana, Bhishma, the mighty grandsire, the oldest of the Kurus, now raised a lions’ roar and blew his conche.


It was the policy in ancient times to blow the conche during the war at the beginning of each day. It was the signal to start fighting. The honour of blowing the conche usually went to the eldest statesman on either side. No soldier dared to use his weapon before this ritual.

Bhishma being the eldest of the race of Kurus was therefore given the honour to blow his conche.

It is interesting to note that Dornacharya did not give any reply to Duryodhana. He just went on his duty to fight for the Kauravas. Why did he do so?

He knew that Duryodhana was a spoilt prince and so did not merit a reply.
Drona was on the side of Kauravas not by choice but because of sense of duty to the employer.
He took the option of not replying to the prince.

Copyright for the texts on Bhagavad Gita by Dr. P.V. Nath, UK.
Questions concerning the text please direct to Dr. Nath at ““.

Find out more at

Posted via email from International Gita Foundation Trust