The Dejection of Arjuna – Chapter 1

Summary of Chapter 1 of Srimad Bhagavad Gita

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1: The first discourse of the Bhagavad Gita is presented in fourty seven verses starting with the question of King Dhritarashtra to Sanjaya, his Minister who was blessed with divine vision by sage Vyasa.

Sanjaya narrates the names of the prominent warriors standing on both Pandava and Kaurava sides and reports the situation of the battlefield of Kurukshetra (Verse 2-20). As requested by Arjuna, Sri Krishna places the Chariot in between the two armies and asks Arjuna to look around (Verse 21-25). Seeing only his friends and relatives on both sides, Arjuna falls in despondency. He even expressed the feeling of being killed by his opponents than to kill his kinsmen (Verses 24-46).

Eventually, Arjuna puts aside his Gandiva and slumps down in his chariot, with mind tormented by sorrow. (Verse 47)

  • Verse 1Dhritarashtra said: O Sanjaya, after my sons and the sons of Pandu, assembled in the place of pilgrimage (Dharma-kshetra) at Kurukshetra, desiring to fight, what did they do?
  • Verse 2Sanjaya said: On observing the Pandava army standing in military formation, Duryodhan approached his Guru Dronacharya, and said the following words, O King.
  • Verse 3 – O, Master! Behold the mighty army of the sons of Pandu, so expertly arrayed for battle by your own intelligent disciple, the son of Drupad. (Dhrishtadyumna, Brother of Draupadi)
  • Verse 4 – Here in this army are mighty archers equal in fighting to Bhīma and Arjuna: great fighters like Yuyudhana, Virata, and Drupada.
  • Verse 5 – There are also accomplished heroes like Dhrishtaketu, Chekitan, Kasiraja, Purujit, Kuntibhoj, and Shaibya—all the best of men.
  • Verse 6 – There are courageous warriors like Yudhamanyu, the very powerful Uttamauja, the son of Subhadra, and the son of Draupadi who are all great chariot fighters.
  • Verse 7 – But for your information, O best of the brāhmaṇas, let me tell you about the heroes who are especially standing on my side and qualified to lead my army.
  • Verse 8 – There are personalities like yourself, Bhishma, Karna, Kripa, Ashwatthama, Vikarn, and Bhurishrava, who are always victorious in battle.
  • Verse 9 – Also, there are many other heroes who are prepared to lay down their lives for my sake. They are well equipped with different kinds of weapons, and all skilled in the art of warfare.
  • Verse 10 – The strength of our army is immeasurable, and we are perfectly protected by grandsire Bhisma, whereas the strength of the Pandavas, carefully protected by Bhima is limited.
  • Verse 11 – All you must give full support to Grandfather Bhisma, even as you defend your strategic points.
  • Verse 12 – Then, the great valiant grandsire of the Kuru Dynasty, the glorious patriarch Bhisma blew his conch shell very loudly like a roaring lion, giving joy to Duryodhana.
  • Verse 13 – Thereafter, the conch shells, drums, bugles, trumpets, and horns were all suddenly sounded, and the combined sound was overwhelming.
  • Verse 14 – On the other side, both Lord Krishna and Arjuna, stationed on a great chariot drawn by white horses, sounded their divine conch shells.
  • Verse 15 – Hrishikesha blew His conch shell, called Panchajanya; Arjuna blew the Devadatta; and Bhima, the voracious eater, and performer of Herculean tasks blew his terrific conchshell, called Paundra.
  • Verse 16-18 – King Yudhishthir, blew the Anantavijay, while Nakul and Sahadev blew the Sughosh and Manipushpak. The excellent archer and king of Kashi, the great warrior Shikhandi, Dhrishtadyumna, Virat, and the invincible Satyaki, Drupad, the five sons of Draupadi, and the mighty-armed son of Subhadra, all blew their respective conch shells.
  • Verse 19 – The terrific sound of conch shells thundered across the sky and the earth and shattered the hearts of your sons, O Dhritarashtra.
  • Verse 20 – At that time, the son of Pandu, Arjuna, seated in the chariot bearing the flag marked with Hanuman, took up his bow. Seeing your sons arrayed against him, O King, Arjun then spoke the following words to Shri Krishna.
  • Verse 21-22Arjuna said: O Infallible One, please draw my chariot to the middle of two armies, so that I may look at the warriors, whom I must fight in this great combat.
  • Verse 23 – I desire to see those who have come here to fight to please the evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra.
  • Verse 24Sanjaya said: O descendant of Bharata, having thus been addressed by Arjuna, Sri Krishna drew up the fine chariot in the midst of the armies of both parties.
  • Verse 25 – In the presence of Bhishma, Dronacharya, and all the other chieftains, Shree Krishna said: O Parth, behold these Kurus gathered here.
  • Verse 26 – There, Arjun could see stationed in both armies, his fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, cousins, sons, nephews, grandsons, friends, also his fathers-in-law, and well-wishers.
  • Verse 27 – Seeing all his relatives and friends present there, Arjun, the son of Kunti, was overwhelmed with compassion, and with deep sorrow, spoke the following words.
  • Verse 28-29Arjuna said: O Krishna, seeing my friends and relatives present here before me with such a fighting spirit, my limbs are giving away and my mouth is drying up. My whole body is trembling, my hair is standing on end.
  • Verse 30 – Gandiva is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning all over. I am now unable to stand here any longer.
  • Verse 31 – I see Upside Down, My mind is whirling in confusion; O, Kesava! (Killer of the Kesi). I do not see how good can happen to me after killing my own people in this battle.
  • Verse 32-33 – O Govinda, Of what avail to us are 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, and grandfathers staking their lives.
  • Verse 34 – Maternal uncle, fathers-in-law, sons-in-law, brothers-in-law, and other relatives are ready to give up their lives.
  • Verse 35 -Why should I wish to kill them, even though they might otherwise kill me? O, Madhusudana! I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth.
  • Verse 36 – What pleasure will we derive from killing the sons of Dhritarashtra? Even though they are aggressors, sin will certainly come upon us if we slay them.
  • Verse 37 – Therefore, it is not proper for us to kill our own cousins, the sons of Dhritarashtra, and friends. Shyama Madhava, how can we be happy by killing our own kinsmen?
  • Verse 38 – Although their thoughts are overtaken by greed, see no wrong in annihilating their family or quarreling with friends.
  • Verse 39 – Yet, O Janardana, why should we, who can see the crime in destroying a family, engage in these acts of sin?
  • Verse 40 – With the destruction of the dynasty, the eternal family tradition is vanquished, and thus the rest of the family becomes involved in irreligion.
  • Verse 41 – When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Krishna, the women of the family become immoral; and from the immorality of women, O descendant of Vrishni, the unwanted progeny is born.
  • Verse 42 – An increase in unwanted children results in hellish life both for the family and for those who destroy the family. The ancestors of such corrupt families fall down because the performances for offering them food and water are entirely stopped.
  • Verse 43 – By the evil deeds of those who destroy the family tradition and thus give rise to unwanted progeny, all kinds of social projects and family welfare activities are ruined.
  • Verse 44 – O Janardana, I have heard from the learned that those whose family traditions are destroyed dwell always in Naraka (hell) for an indefinite period of time.
  • Verse 45 – Alas, how strange it is that we are preparing to commit greatly sinful acts. Driven by the desire to enjoy royal happiness, we are intent on killing our own kinsmen.
  • Verse 46 – It will be better if, with weapons in hand, the sons of Dhritarashtra kill me unarmed and unresisting on the battlefield.
  • Verse 47Sanjay said: Arjuna, having thus spoken on the battlefield, and sank into the seat of his chariot, his mind in distress and overwhelmed with grief.