Truth Amid Chaos – Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1

Welcome to “Truth Amid Chaos” video series about the Bhagavad Gita. This is Part 2 in the series: “Arjuna’s Dilemma”. The Gita is an epic tale of challenge and ascension to freedom. The story is about a battle to the death between two related royal lineages in ancient times. This is highly relevant to our lives because it reveals ALL the misunderstandings a human can possibly have. God (Krishna) explains the Supreme Truth and outlines a clear path to ascension to spiritual freedom. The Gita is a sacred hymn and foundation of Hindu philosophy about events that took place roughly three thousand years ago. Today we present the Gita in the light of current events.

In Chapter 1 two great armies assemble for battle with thousands of men on each side. Arjuna is the greatest archer of the virtuous Pandava brothers, and Krishna, the blue god, will be his chariot driver. Arjuna surveys both sides of the battlefield, and sees only his beloved family. Dismayed, he refuses to fight. As the Gita unfolds in later chapters, God Krishna outlines the purpose of physical life, how to live in harmony in the 3D matrix, and how to achieve personal ascension.

Synopsis of the Gita is a war between the virtuous Pandavas and the evil Kauravas on the battlefield of Kurukshetra in NW India. After the failure of Lord Krishna’s peace mission, there was no other alternative for the Pandavas but to engage in war for their share of the kingdom.

All the warriors from both sides assembled on the battlefield. Armies, tents, wagons, weapons and machines of death, chariots, horses and elephants cover the vast plain. The enemy Kuru army is vast as the eye can see. The Pandava brothers’ army is small but skilled. Lord Krishna arrives in a magnificent chariot yoked by white horses to be driver for Arjuna, the great Pandava prince.

The deafening sound of a hundred Kaurava conches blares forth suddenly, signaling the battle. Arjuna and his brothers blow their sacred conches, and the air is filled with beauty and power. The Kuru army is petrified with fear.

As the two armies stand ready for battle, Arjuna asks Krishna to drive his chariot in between them so that he might survey the battlefield. He is horrified by the scene before him, his opponents are his beloved teacher, his grandfather, uncles, fathers-in-law, their grandsons, relatives and neighboring kings and childhood friends.

Confusion floods Arjuna’s mind. Should he participate in this terrible carnage? Is it right to destroy one’s relatives for the sake of a kingdom and ease? Would it be better for him to walk away from everything? Thoughts rush through his mind, and Arjuna feels a terrible foreboding. Killing his own clan would destroy the entire family structure. By refusing to act, perhaps he could avoid creating bad karma for himself. Yet he can’t tolerate perpetuation of evil in this life or in the next. Doing nothing would be irresponsible to his family, and his own destiny. He would rather die a wandering beggar. Letting his bow slip from his hands, Arjuna falls into despair and refuses to fight.

At every step in the Gita, we find symbolism and parallels to our lives.
The field of Kurukshetra represents the battlefield of the mind, a person seeking higher consciousness. We hold a pure wish to ascend, to finish the endless cycle of birth and death, but we find only paradox and confusion.

The evil Kuru warriors are itching a battle that is certain to annihilate one side, or the other, or both. This is the battlefield where Good and Evil meet. Truth vs. lies, wisdom vs. ignorance, We see many good people unwittingly line up to support the evil Kurus. Yet, to transmute evil and achieve a higher state of being, many of our good Pandava family may die. Even worse, endearing childhood friendships will be lost because of the requirements of adult duty.

Arjuna represents our lower, mortal self. Krishna represents our higher, immortal Self. Krishna and Arjuna thus represent both Man and God in dual nature. The dialogue of the Gita is God speaking to human beings. Krishna addresses our higher divine Self with the intention of lighting a spark of freedom of the spirit.

Here are the actual verses of Chapter 1.

Dhritarashtra the blind king said: O Sanjay the wise, after gathering on the holy field of Kurukshetra, and hungry for a fight, what are they doing, my sons and the sons of Pandu?

Sanjay the wise said: Observing the Pandava army standing in military formation, your son Duryodhana, dirty fighter approached his teacher Drona, and said the following words.

Respected teacher! Behold the mighty army of the sons of Pandu, so expertly arrayed for battle by your own gifted disciple, Arjuna, the son of your brother Pandu.

Behold in their ranks are many powerful warriors, wielding mighty bows and skilled in military prowess. There are also accomplished heroes, the gallant Kings and all their best men. In their ranks, they also have the courageous friends, all great warrior chiefs.

O best of Brahmins, blind king, hear too about the generals on OUR side, who are so qualified as leaders ever victorious in battle. Also, many other heroic warriors, prepared to lay down their lives for MY sake. They are all skilled in the arts of war and equipped with every kind of weapon.

The strength of our army is far superior, vast and  unlimited. We are safely led by Grandfather Bheeshma. But the strength of the Pandava army, is limited. Therefore, I call upon all the generals of the Kaurava army now to give full support to our Grandfather Bheeshma, to defend your strategic points.

Then, the grandfather of the Kuru dynasty, the glorious patriarch Bheeshma, roared like a lion, and blew his conch shell very loudly, giving joy to Duryodhana, dirty fighter.

Thereafter, Kaurava conches, kettledrums, bugles, trumpets, and horns suddenly blared forth, and together their sound was overwhelming.

Then, from amidst the Pandava army, seated on a glorious chariot drawn by white horses, Arjuna and his four brothers blew their Divine conch shells. All the great Pandava warriors blew their respective conch shells. The terrific sound thundered across the sky like a bolt of lightning, shattering the hearts of the sons, of Dhritarasthra, blind king, and they were filled with fear.

At that time, Arjuna, the son of Pandu, had the lucky flag of Hanuman monkey on his chariot. He took up his powerful bow and arrow. Arjuna then spoke to Krishna.

Arjuna said: O Infallible One, please take my chariot to the point between the two armies, so that I may see the warriors arrayed for battle, whom I must fight in this great combat.

I desire to see those who have come here to fight on the side of Durydhanao, the evil-minded son of Dhritarasthra, blind king, brother of my father.

Shree Krishna then drew the magnificent chariot to between the two armies. In the presence of all Krishna said: “Master, behold the Kuru clan gathered here.”

There, Arjuna could see stationed in both armies, his fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, cousins, sons, nephews, grand-nephews, friends, fathers-in-law, neighboring kings, their kinsmen, and well-wishers. Seeing all his relatives present there, Arjuna was overwhelmed with compassion, and with deep sorrow, spoke the following words.

Arjuna said: O Krishna, seeing my own kinsmen arrayed for battle here and intent on killing each other, my limbs are giving way and my mouth is drying up.

My whole body shudders. My hair stands on end. My powerful bow, the great Gāṇḍīv, is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning all over. My mind is in a quandry whirling in confusion; I am unable to hold myself steady any longer. O Krishna, I see only bad omens of misfortune. I do not foresee how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle.

O Krishna, I do not desire the victory, kingdom, or any happiness accruing it. Of what avail will be a kingdom, pleasures, or even life itself, when the very persons for whom we covet them, are standing before us for battle?

Teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, uncles, grandsons, fathers-in-law, grand-nephews, brothers-in-law, and other kinsmen are present here, staking their lives and riches. O Krishna I do not wish to slay them, even if they attack me. If we kill the sons of Dhritarashtra, the blind king, what satisfaction will we derive even from the dominion over all three heavenly realms.

O Krishna, Maintainer of all living beings, what pleasure will we derive from killing the sons of Dhritarasthra the blind king? Even though they may be aggressors, sin will certainly come upon us if we slay them. Hence, it does not behoove us to kill our own cousins, the sons of Dhritarashtra, the blind king, and friends. O Krishna, how can we hope to be happy by killing our own kinsmen?

Arjuna continued: “The Kuru’s thoughts are overpowered by selfish greed. They see no wrong in annihilating their relatives or wreaking treachery upon friends. Yet, Krishna, why should we, who can clearly see the crime in killing family, not turn away from this sin?

If our dynasty is destroyed by me, its traditions are forever vanquished, and the rest of the family is lost in a world that is AGAINST GOD. With so much vice, Krishna, the family becomes immoral, resulting in hellish life both for the family and for those who destroy the family. Deprived of the holy sacrificial offerings, the long dead ancient ancestors of these corrupt families will also fall in their quest for higher awareness in the afterlife.

Through the evil deeds of those who destroy tradition, all social and family welfare is ruined. O Krishna, I have heard from the wise that those who destroy family traditions will dwell in hell forever.

Alas! How strange it is that we have chosen to commit this great sin. Driven by the desire for kingly pleasures, we are intent on killing our own kinsmen. It will be better if, the sons of Dhritarashtra, the blind king should kill me unarmed and unresisting on the battlefield right now.

Arjun cast aside his bow and arrows, and sank into the seat of his chariot, his mind in distress and overwhelmed with grief.

Then Krishna rose and said to Arjuna: “From whence comes this faintheartedness of yours in the time of danger?  These are dishonorable thoughts not leading toward heaven, but to disgrace? At no time should you entertain such cowardice–it is unsuitable to you. Abandon this low faintheartedness and stand up.”

Arjuna said: But how can I battle with arrows against my own grandfather Bhishma and teacher Drona, who are great friends worthy of reverence? Better that I should wander forever as a beggar in this world rather than slay these great and noble men. If I should kill them, desirous for gain, in truth here on earth I would enjoy only blood-stained pleasures.

Which is preferable: If we conquer them, or they conquer us? After slaying the hundred sons of blind Dhritarashtra we would not wish to live. Weakness and pity overcome my being. My mind confused as to my duty, I beg you: Beyond all doubt tell me which is preferable, if I should kill them, or let them kill me. I am your student. please direct me. Truly, I see nothing that can remove this sorrow that dries up my senses, even should I attain unrivalled and prosperous dominion of all of Earth, or the realms of the Gods.

Thus having addressed Krishna, Arjuna said, “I SHALL NOT FIGHT,” and became totally silent (2:1-9).

Thus ends Chapter 1.

Comments and Questions on Chapter 1
The earthly realm seems to trap us in duality. The Gita teaches how to pull yourself out of the matrix while still playing in it. At the same time, to be aware of other realms makes you free. When all is over, we want to be able to look into a child’s eyes and know we have done everything we can to assure them a good future in all dimensions. To shift into this level of awareness requires courage and effort. There’s no escape for Arjuna in this battle. And there’s no way we can run away from our responsibilities. These are some questions to ponder:

  1. What is Arjuna’s predicament?
  2. What are the conflicting thoughts that weigh on Arjuna?
  3. What are the 14 Realms of Heaven and Hell? Are they in Physical 3d, other dimensions, or states of consciousness?
  4. How is Arjuna’s 3D confusion reflected in your life? How do you feel about it?
  5. Do we exist in a 3D battlefield of thoughts? If so, where do you see thought confusion in current world events?
  6. What internal effort is required for me to move out of 3D thinking and win on the battlefield of my own mind?

Thanks to all the higher beings that offer these lessons. Thank YOU for joining me.

In the next video we’ll hear Chapter 2, Krishna’s response to Arjuna’s impossible dilemma.

In the meantime, please be well.  Bye bye!
Sri Jana

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