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Bhagavad Gita Chapter One: The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna

The Bhagavad Gita, the Song of God
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Dhritarashtra said:

Dhritarashtra said:

Assembled there on dharma’s field–Kurukshetra–desiring war, what did my sons and the Pandavas, O Sanjaya? (1:1)

Sanjaya said:

King Duryodhana, seeing the Pandava forces ranged ready for battle, approaching his teacher, Drona, spoke these words: (1:2)

Behold, O Teacher, this great army of Pandu’s sons, assembled by Arjuna your brilliant pupil. (1:3)

Here are heroes, mighty archers, Bhima and Arjuna’s equals, Yuyudhana and Virata, and Drupada the great car warrior, (1:4)

Drishtaketu, Chekitana, and the valiant King of Kashi, Purujit and Kuntibhoja, and Shaibya: the mightiest among men, (1:5)

And courageous Yudhamanyu, and valorous Uttamaujas; the son of Shubhadra and the sons of Draupadi: all great car warriors. (1:6)

Those of ours who are indeed distinguished now know. O highest of the twice-born, the leaders of my army I now I recount unto you by name. (1:7)

Your Lordship and Bhishma and Karna and Kripa, victorious in war, Ashwattama and Vikarna, and the son of Somadatta also. (1:8)

And many other heroes, whose lives are risked for my sake, ready to discharge various weapons, all very skilled in battle. (1:9)

Sufficient is that force of ours guarded by Bhishma; insufficient, though, is that force guarded by Bhima. (1:10)

Stationed in your proper places, whatever be your positions, certainly all of you: protect Bhishma. (1:11)

To make Duryodhana happy, the aged Kuru grandsire, Bhishma, bellowing with a tremendous sound of a lion’s roar, then blew his conch with great power, making a tremendous sound. (1:12)

Thereupon the Kurus’ conches and kettledrums and cymbals and trumpets were sounded all at once, producing a tumultuous uproar. (1:13)

Then Krishna and Arjuna, standing in the great chariot that was yoked with the white horses, sounded forth their divine conches. (1:14)

Krishna blew Panchajanya, Arjuna blew Devadatta, and Bhima of ferocious deeds blew the great conch, Paundra. (1:15)

King Yudhishthira, Kunti’s son, blew on Anantavijaya, Nakula and Sahadeva blew on Sughosha and Manipushpaka. (1:16)

And Kashi’s king, the supreme bowman, and the great warrior Shikhandi, and Dhristadyumna and Virata, and the invincible Satyaki, (1:17)

And Drupada and the sons of Draupadi, O Lord of the Earth, and Shubhadra’s son, the mighty-armed, each blew upon his conch. (1:18)

Throughout the sky and the earth resounded the terrific noise which rent asunder the hearts of those in Dhritarashtra’s ranks. (1:19)

Then seeing Dhritarashtra’s ranks drawn up in battle array for the forthcoming clash of weapons, Arjuna took up his bow, (1:20)

And said unto Krishna: O Lord of the earth, drive my chariot to stand in the midst between the two armies, (1:21)

Until I can behold these battle-hungry men arrayed here with whom I must fight in this conflict. (1:22)

I would behold those who are about to give battle, having assembled here wishing to do service in warfare for the evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra. (1:23)

Thus addressed by Arjuna, Krishna brought the chief chariot to stand in the midst of the two armies. (1:24)

Thus facing Bhishma, Drona, and all the rulers of the earth, Krishna said: Behold, Arjuna, these Kurus assembled here. (1:25)

Arjuna saw standing there fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons as well as friends, (1:26)

Fathers-in-law and companions in the two armies. In both of them he saw all who were relatives arrayed. (1:27)

Then filled with profound pity, desponding, he said: O Krishna, seeing my own people standing near, desiring to fight, (1:28)

My limbs sink down, my mouth dries up, my body trembles, and my hair stands on end. (1:29)

My bow drops from my hand, my skin is burning, I am unable to stand; my mind is reeling. (1:30)

Inauspicious omens I mark, and not good fortune do I foresee, if I should kill my own kinsmen in war. (1:31)

I do not desire victory, nor kingship and pleasures. What is kingship to us? What are enjoyments or even life? (1:32)

Those for whose sake we should desire kingship, enjoyments and pleasures, are arrayed in battle, abandoning their lives and riches: (1:33)

Teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law, and other kinsmen, too. (1:34)

I do not desire to kill them who are about to kill–not even for the sovereignty of the three worlds; how then for the earth? (1:35)

What pleasure could the striking down of Dhritarashtra’s sons be to us? Having killed these aggressors, evil would thus cling to us. (1:36)

Therefore we are not justified to kill the sons of Dhritarashtra, our own kinsmen. Indeed, having killed our own people, how could we be happy? (1:37)

Even if those whose thoughts are overpowered by greed do not see the wrong caused by the destruction of the family, and the crime of treachery to friends, (1:38)

Why should we not know to turn back from this evil through discernment of the evil caused by the destruction of the family? (1:39)

In the destruction of the family, the long-established family dharmas perish. When dharma perishes, adharma predominates in the entire family. (1:40)

From overpowering by adharma the women of the family are corrupted. When the women are corrupted, the intermixture of caste is born. (1:41)

Intermixture brings to hell the family destroyers and the family, too. Indeed their ancestors fall from heaven back to earthly rebirth, deprived of offerings of rice and water. (1:42)

By these wrongs of the family’s destroyers, producing intermixture of caste, caste dharmas and long-established family dharmas are obliterated. (1:43)

Those whose family dharmas have been obliterated dwell indefinitely in hell–thus have we heard repeatedly. (1:44)

Ah! Alas! we are resolved to do great evil with our greed for royal pleasures, intent on killing our own people. (1:45)

If the armed sons of Dhritarashtra should kill me in battle, unresisting and unarmed, this would be a greater happiness for me. (1:46)

Thus having spoken, Arjuna, in the battle which had already begun, sat down upon the chariot seat, throwing down both arrow and bow, with a heart overcome by sorrow. (1:47)

Om Tat Sat

Thus in the Upanishads of the glorious Bhagavad Gita, the science of the Eternal, the scripture of Yoga, the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, ends the first discourse entitled: The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna.

Read Chapter Two: Sankhya Yoga

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Chapters for The Bhagavad Gita–The Song of God

Introduction: The Bhagavad Gita–The Book of Life

  1. Bhagavad Gita Chapter One: The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna
  2. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Two: Sankhya Yoga
  3. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Three: The Yoga of Action
  4. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Four: The Yoga of Wisdom
  5. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Five: The Yoga of Renunciation of Action
  6. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Six: The Yoga of Meditation
  7. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Seven: The Yoga of Wisdom and Realization
  8. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eight: The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman
  9. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Nine: The Yoga of the Royal Science and Royal Secret
  10. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Ten: The Yoga of Divine Glories
  11. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eleven: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form
  12. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Twelve: The Yoga of Devotion
  13. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Thirteen: The Yoga of the Distinction Between the Field and the Knower of the Field
  14. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Fourteen: The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas
  15. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Fifteen: The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit
  16. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Sixteen: The Yoga of the Division between the Divine and the Demonic
  17. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Seventeen: The Yoga of the Division of Threefold Faith
  18. Bhagavad Gita Chapter Eighteen: The Yoga of Liberation by Renunciation

Also: The Bhagavad Gita Arranged for Singing

  1. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 1: The Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna
  2. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 2: Sankhya Yoga
  3. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 3: The Yoga of Action
  4. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 4: The Yoga of Wisdom
  5. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 5: The Yoga of Renunciation of Action
  6. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 6: The Yoga of Meditation
  7. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 7: The Yoga of Wisdom and Realization
  8. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 8: The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman
  9. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 9: The Yoga of the Kingly Science and Kingly Secret
  10. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 10: The Yoga of Divine Glories
  11. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 11: The Yoga of the Vision of the Cosmic Form
  12. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 12: The Yoga of Devotion
  13. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 13: The Yoga of the Distinction Between the Field and the Knower of the Field
  14. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 14: The Yoga of the Division of the Three Gunas
  15. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 15: The Yoga of the Supreme Spirit
  16. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 16: The Yoga of the Division between the Divine and the Demoniacal
  17. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 17: The Yoga of the Division of Threefold Faith
  18. The Bhagavad Gita—Chapter 18: The Yoga of Liberation by Renunciation

Read about the meanings of unfamiliar terms in A Brief Sanskrit Glossary

Read the Bhagavad Gita for Awakening, a full commentary on the Bhagavad Gita by Abbot George Burke (Swami Nirmalananda Giri).

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