On a battlefield soaked in anticipation, the drums of Kurukshetra beat a rhythm of impending clash. In verses 21 to 25 of Gita Chapter 1, the grand chessboard of war is laid bare. Like pawns arrayed against pawns, mighty warriors take their positions under the watchful gaze of Bhishma and Duryodhana’s impenetrable shield. The air vibrates with the clarion call of conch shells, each echo a chilling prelude to the impending symphony of steel.
But amidst this, a chariot stands poised, not for battle, but for a dialogue that will transcend time and space. Aboard it, Krishna, the charioteer of divine wisdom, and Arjuna, the warrior grappling with doubt, prepare to embark on a journey unlike any other. These verses are not merely the stage setting for an epic saga; they are the gateway to a timeless exploration of duty, righteousness, and the very essence of existence.
So, let us draw back the curtain on this pivotal moment. Let us delve into the symbolism of the battlefield, the conch shells, and the celestial whispers. For within these opening verses lie the seeds of wisdom that will bloom into the magnificent Bhagavad Gita, a song that continues to resonate across cultures and centuries.
Step onto the hallowed grounds of Chapter 1, for the discourse that awaits us promises to reshape our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1 – Shloka 21 to 25
Now without further ado, let’s dive into the next shlokas of Bhagawad Gita Chapter 1.
If you haven’t read the previous ones, find them here:
हृषीकेशं तदा वाक्यमिदमाह महीपते |
अर्जुन उवाच |
सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये रथं स्थापय मेऽच्युत ||1.21||
hrishikesham tada vaakyam idamaaha mahipate
senayorubhayormadhye ratham sthapaya mechyuta
Shloka 21 Translation:
Then, Arjuna said to Krishna, the lord of the universe, these words: ‘Place the chariot between the two armies, so that I may see my relatives and friends.
Shloka 21 Meaning and Context:
In this verse of Gita chapter 1, Arjuna is overcome with grief and despair as he sees his own kinsmen, friends, and teachers arrayed against him on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. He asks Krishna, his charioteer, to place the chariot between the two armies so that he can see them clearly.
Shloka 21 Teachings and Insights:
The verse is significant for several reasons. First, it shows Arjuna’s humanity. He is not a heartless warrior who is eager to kill. He is a man who is deeply troubled by the violence that he is about to commit.
Second, the verse sets the stage for the Bhagavad Gita’s exploration of the themes of duty, righteousness, and the nature of reality. Krishna will use his dialogues with Arjuna to help him to understand these complex concepts.
Finally, the verse is a reminder of the importance of compassion. Arjuna is a compassionate man who is willing to sacrifice his own desires for the sake of others. This compassion is a central theme of the Bhagavad Gita.
यावदेतान्निरीक्षेऽहं योद्धुकामानवस्थितान् |
कैर्मया सह योद्धव्यमस्मिन् रणसमुद्यमे ||1.22||
kairmaya saha yoddhavyam asminranasamudyame
Shloka 22 Translation:
As long as I see these assembled warriors, eager to fight, how can I engage in battle with them, my own kinsmen?”
Shloka 22 Meaning and Context:
In this verse, Arjuna is overcome with grief and despair as he sees his own friends, and teachers arrayed against him on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. He asks Krishna, his charioteer, how he can fight against them.
He sees the armies arrayed against him, knowing that many people will die. He is overwhelmed by the weight of his duty and the consequences of his actions.
Shloka 22 Teachings and Insights:
This verse teaches us several important insights. First, it shows us the importance of compassion. This compassion is a central theme of the Bhagavad Gita.
Second, the verse shows us the difficulty of duty. Arjuna is a skilled warrior who has a duty to fight. However, he is also a compassionate man who does not want to kill his own kinsmen. This conflict between duty and compassion is a common theme in human experience.
Third, the verse shows us the importance of understanding the nature of reality. Krishna, the charioteer of Arjuna, will help Arjuna to understand that the world is an illusion. Once Arjuna understands this, he will be able to see the war in a new light.
This verse provides us with a glimpse of the Gita’s central themes of compassion, duty, and the nature of reality.
Shloka 23 :
योत्स्यमानानवेक्षेऽहं य एतेऽत्र समागता: |
धार्तराष्ट्रस्य दुर्बुद्धेर्युद्धे प्रियचिकीर्षव: || 1.23 ||
yotsyamananavekshe ham ya ete tra samagatah
dhartarashtrasya durbuddher yuddhe priyachikirshavah
Shloka 23 Translation:
I see these three have come to fight, The beloveds of Duryodhana, the wicked-minded.
Shloka 23 Meaning and Context:
In this shloka, Yudhisthira is expressing his sadness and anger at the sight of the warriors who have gathered to fight.
He sees that they are all young and brave, and he knows that many of them will die in the war. He also sees that the war is being fought for the wrong reasons, as it is being driven by the evil Duryodhana’s desire for power.
Shloka 23 Teachings and Insights:
This shloka is still relevant today. It is a warning against the dangers of war, especially when it is fought for unjust reasons.
The shloka teaches us that we should always be careful before we go to war. We should make sure that the war is justified, and that we are fighting for the right reasons.
The shloka also teaches us that we should be aware of the dangers of pride and arrogance. These emotions can lead us to make bad decisions, and they can ultimately lead to disaster.
सञ्जय उवाच |
एवमुक्तो हृषीकेशो गुडाकेशेन भारत |
सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये स्थापयित्वा रथोत्तमम् || 1.24||
evamukto hhishikesho gudakeshena bharata
senayorubhayor madhye sthapayitva rathottamam
Shloka 24 Translation:
Thus addressed, Bhishma, the son of Ganga, by Gudakesha, the son of Bharata, placed the supreme chariot in the middle of the two armies.
Shloka 24 Meaning and Context:
In this shloka, Sanjaya, the narrator of the Mahabharata, tells us that Bhishma, after being addressed by Arjuna, placed his chariot in the middle of the two armies. This was a symbolic gesture, indicating that Bhishma was ready to fight.
The chariot that Bhishma placed in the middle of the armies was a supreme chariot. It was made of gold and silver, and it was adorned with jewels. The chariot was also equipped with the most powerful weapons of the time.
The placement of this chariot in the middle of the armies was a sign that the war was about to begin.
Shloka 24 Teachings and Insights:
This shloka has several implications for today. First, it shows that even in the midst of conflict, there is still room for compassion and understanding.
Second, the shloka shows that even the most powerful forces can be defeated if they are not prepared.
भीष्मद्रोणप्रमुखत: सर्वेषां च महीक्षिताम् |
उवाच पार्थ पश्यैतान्समवेतान्कुरूनिति || 1.25||
bhishmadronapramukhatas sarveshain cha mahikshitam
uvacha partha pashyaitan samavetan kuruniti
Shloka 25 Translation:
Bhisma and Drona, along with all the other warriors, said to Partha, See, these Kurus have gathered.
Shloka 25 Meaning and Context:
This shloka from the Mahabharata is spoken by Bhishma and Drona to Arjuna. It describes the scene of the Kurukshetra War.
The shloka begins by stating that Bhishma and Drona, the two most powerful warriors on the Kaurava side, are addressing Arjuna. They are telling him to look at the assembled Kurus.
The second line of the shloka states that the Kurus are a formidable force. They are led by Bhishma and Drona, and they include many other skilled warriors.
Shloka 25 Teachings and Insights:
This shloka has several implications for today. First, it shows that war is a serious matter. It is not something to be taken lightly.
Second, it shows that we should always be prepared for the worst. We should always be aware of the dangers that we face.
Finally, it shows that we should never give up hope. Even in the face of great odds, we can still achieve victory if we are determined and have the right support.
Shlokas 21to 25 in Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1 marks a shift from the grand spectacle of battlefield preparation to the internal turmoil within Arjuna. His gaze fixed upon the assembled armies, both Pandavas and Kauravas, he sees familiar faces—kin, teachers, friends—arrayed against each other. This poignant realization pierces his warrior spirit, and doubt and despair cloud his judgment.
These verses delve into the depths of Arjuna’s emotional conflict. His anguish at the prospect of fratricidal bloodshed, his questioning of the righteousness of war, and his fear of death are laid bare. The battlefield becomes a mirror reflecting the internal struggle between his moral compass and his warrior duty.
The shift from external grandeur to internal conflict in these shlokas serves as a powerful reminder that the Kurukshetra war is not just a physical battle, but also a symbolic representation of the internal clashes we face within ourselves. The diverse warriors on the battlefield become allegories for the various aspects of our own being—the righteous and the unrighteous, the brave and the fearful.
Ultimately, these verses serve as a prelude to the transformative journey that awaits Arjuna, and by extension, each of us. They paint a poignant picture of human weakness and the ever-present need for divine guidance. The internal battlefield, just like the external one, requires courage, clarity, and the unwavering support of a wise guide like Krishna. Only then can we overcome our self-doubts and navigate the path toward self-realization and lasting peace.