ACHARYAAN MATULAAN BHRATRAAN PUTRAAN POUTRAAN SAKHEEMS TATHA
SHVASURAAN SUHRUDAS CHAIVA SENAYOR UBHAYOR API
TAAN SAMEEKSHYA SA KOUNTEYA SARVAAN BANDHOON AVASTHITAAN
KRIPAYA PARAYA VISHTO VISHEEDANN IDAM ABRAVEET 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 DRISHTVEMAM SWAJANAM KRISHNA YUYUTSUM SAMUPASTITAM
SEEDANTI MAMA GATRANI MUKHAM CHA PARISHUSHYATI
VEPATUSCHA SARIRE’ ME’ ROMAHARSHASCHA JAYATE
GANDEEVAM SRAMSATE HASTAAT TVAK CHAIVA PARIDAHYATE
NA CHA SHAKNOMY AVASTHATUM BHRAMATEEVATA CHA ME’ MANAHA 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”. Copyright for the texts on Bhagavad Gita by Dr. P.V. Nath, UK.
Questions concerning the text please direct to Dr. Nath at “firstname.lastname@example.org“.