Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1, Slokas 31 to 34

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

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Sloka 31

NIMITTANI CHA PASHYAMI VIPAREETANI KESHAVA
NA CHA SHREYON UPASHYAMI HATVA SVAJANAM AHAVE’

O Krishna, I see many ill omens. I do not understand what good could come in killing my kinsmen in the battle.

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In states of hysteria, instead of the reasoning capacity ruling over the thoughts arising in the mind, the mind neglects the advice given by the reasoning capacity (intellect). Arjuna’s mind, (because of his family relationship of the warriors assembled) was looking at each leader assembled in terms of personal relationship.

His intellect would be telling the mind that the leading warriors assembled on the opposite camp were siding with adharma.

But, Arjuna’s mind became stronger and intellect got weaker (the junior worker in an office, second in command decides to neglect his senior officer, first-in-command.)

Because of this mental state, Arjuna starts seeing ill omens. (It is interesting to note that even in those days, 5000yrs ago, people believed in ill omens.)

The junior (mind) who took charge neglected the senior’s (intellect) advice. He took a wrong decision and interpreted the dharma wrongly.

The feelings felt by Arjuna were subjective and not objective. His intellect got clouded. It is like the brilliant light of the sun hidden by the dark clouds. Because the mind got weaker the organs of action lost their strength and the Gandeeva slipped from his hands. He could not even remain standing. Mental weakness got reflected as physical weakness.

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Sloka 32, 33 and 34

NA KANKCHE VIJAYAM KRISHNA NA CHA RAJYAM SUKHANI CHA
KIM NO RAJYENA GOVINDA KIM BHOGAIRJEEVITENA VAA

YESHAMARTHE KANKSCHITAM NO RAJYAM BHOGAAHA SUKHANI CHA
TA IMEVASTHITA YUDDHE PRANAMS TYAKTVA DHANANI CHA

ACHARYAHA PITARAHA PUTRAS TATHAIVA CHA PITAMAHAHA
MATULAHA SHVASHURAHA POUTRAHA SHYALAHA SAMBANDHINAS TATHA

O Krishna, I do not desire victory or kingdom, or pleasures. Of what avail is this kingdom to us? Of what avail is the enjoyment or even life itself to us?

Those for whose sake we desire kingdom, enjoyment and pleasures stand here ready for the battle, having renounced their wealth and life.

Teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives.

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Note the words “desires, enjoyments, pleasures,” used by Arjuna. “For whose sake we desire kingdom and enjoyment” he says. Duryodhana, his cousin on the opposite side was definitely fighting to keep his kingdom, not share it with cousins and desirous of enjoying the bounties from the war.

It is common knowledge that most of us would like to share and enjoy the benefits of our action with our close family and friends. In the beginning, the royal family of king Dhritarashtra was beaming with sounds of merriment from the Pandavas and the Kauravas. As children they were playing together in and around the palace. Arjuna did come to the battlefield to win or die. The thought of losing so many family members in the war had not occurred to him so far. Suddenly, it dawned on him that the palace would be like “crematorium grounds” with no sounds of happiness shared by the family members.

Certainly Arjuna was on a higher pedestal. He wanted to enjoy the results with all the various members of the family and other relatives. The war was between the two cousins who lived together but fighting to get rid of the other side. Hence all those leaders assembled are all family members only.

The fault, as far as we can see at this juncture is “Arjuna’a desire for the fruits of actions.” The idea of sharing it with family is laudable. As we proceed with the rest of the Gita we will come to understand that we have to fight the battle of life as a sacred duty and not be looking for the results of the actions.

Arjuna is showing signs of renunciation. It is not enough. Single pointed concentration during discharge of duties is essential to get the best results. The aim of the Pandavas was to accept the guidance from the Lord Himself, fight the injustice and protect the citizens of the kingdom from those who ruled against the injunctions of the scriptures. Arjuna, the highly trained warrior should have showed signs of “cocentration” on the task ahead.

By using the words expressing renunciation of enjoying the pleasures to be accrued by winning the war, Arjuna can be seen actually ready to receive the most precious knowledge from Sri Krishna. The Lord is going to impart the “Atma Jnana”, the knowledge of ones’ true Self.

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

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