Om Namo Bagavathe Vasudevaaya
1st Chapter – arjuna viṣāda yoga
कथं न ज्ञेयमस्माभिः पापादस्मान्निवर्तितुम्।
कुलक्षयकृतं दोषं प्रपश्यद्भिर्जनार्दन॥ ३९॥
कुलक्षये प्रणश्यन्ति कुलधर्माः सनातनाः।
धर्मे नष्टे कुलं कृत्स्नमधर्मोऽभिभवत्युत॥ ४०॥
अधर्माभिभवात्कृष्ण प्रदुष्यन्ति कुलस्त्रियः।
स्त्रीषु दुष्टासु वार्ष्णेय जायते वर्णसङ्करः॥ ४१॥
सङ्करो नरकायैव कुलघ्नानां कुलस्य च।
पतन्ति पितरो ह्येषां लुप्तपिण्डोदकक्रियाः॥ ४२॥
दोषैरेतैः कुलघ्नानां वर्णसङ्करकारकैः।
उत्साद्यन्ते जातिधर्माः कुलधर्माश्च शाश्वताः॥ ४३॥
उत्सन्नकुलधर्माणां मनुष्याणां जनार्दन।
नरके नियतं वासो भवतीत्यनुशुश्रुम॥ ४४॥
अहो बत महत्पापं कर्तुं व्यवसिता वयम्।
यद्राज्यसुखलोभेन हन्तुं स्वजनमुद्यताः॥ ४५॥
यदि मामप्रतीकारमशस्त्रं शस्त्रपाणयः।
धार्तराष्ट्रा रणे हन्युस्तन्मे क्षेमतरं भवेत्॥ ४६॥
एवमुक्त्वार्जुनः सङ्ख्ये रथोपस्थ उपाविशत्।
विसृज्य सशरं चापं शोकसंविग्नमानसः॥ ४७॥
kathaṁ na jñeyamasmābhiḥ pāpādasmānnivartitum |
kulakṣayakṛtaṁ doṣaṁ prapaśyadbhirjanārdana || 39 ||
kulakṣaye praṇaśyanti kuladharmāḥ sanātanāḥ |
dharme naṣṭe kulaṁ kṛtsnamadharmo’bhibhavatyuta || 40 ||
adharmābhibhavātkṛṣṇa praduṣyanti kulastriyaḥ |
strīṣu duṣṭāsu vārṣṇeya jāyate varṇasaṅkaraḥ || 41 ||
saṅkaro narakāyaiva kulaghnānāṁ kulasya ca |
patanti pitaro hyeṣāṁ luptapiṇḍodakakriyāḥ || 42 ||
doṣairetaiḥ kulaghnānāṁ varṇasaṅkarakārakaiḥ |
utsādyante jātidharmāḥ kuladharmāśca śāśvatāḥ || 43 ||
utsannakuladharmāṇāṁ manuṣyāṇāṁ janārdana |
narake niyataṁ vāso bhavatītyanuśuśruma || 44 ||
aho bata mahatpāpaṁ kartuṁ vyavasitā vayam |
yadrājyasukhalobhena hantuṁ svajanamudyatāḥ || 45 ||
yadi māmapratīkāramaśastraṁ śastrapāṇayaḥ |
dhārtarāṣṭrā raṇe hanyustanme kṣemataraṁ bhavet || 46 ||
sañjaya uvāca |
evamuktvārjunaḥ saṅkhye rathopastha upāviśat |
visṛjya saśaraṁ cāpaṁ śokasaṁvignamānasaḥ || 47 ||
Meaning: Why shouldn’t we, who clearly see evil in the destruction of the family, think about turning away from this sin, O Krishna? (39)
With the destruction of the family, the eternal family traditions are destroyed, and immorality prevails due to the destruction of family traditions. (40)
And when immorality prevails, O Krishna, the women of the family become corrupted; when women are corrupted, social problems arise. (41)
This brings the family and the slayers of the family to hell, because the spirits of their ancestors are degraded when deprived of ceremonial offerings of rice-ball and water. (42)
The everlasting qualities of Varna and family traditions of those who destroy their family are ruined by the sinful act of illegitimacy. (43)
We have been told, O Krishna, that people whose family traditions are destroyed necessarily dwell in hell for a long time. (44)
Alas! We are ready to commit a great sin by striving to slay our kinsmen because of greed for the pleasures of the kingdom. (45)
It would be far better for me if the sons of Dhritaraashtra should kill me with their weapons in battle while I am unarmed and unresisting. (46)
Sanjaya said: Having said this in the battle field and casting aside his bow and arrow, Arjuna sat down on the seat of the chariot with his mind overwhelmed with sorrow. (47)
Explanation: Sorrow (Soka) is on account of unwillingness to go through an unpleasant experience. As humans we all look for such experiences that give us happiness (expecting happiness in external objects is the error, which we will see elaborately in the later chapters). This looking provides us a classification of our experiences as “wanted experiences” and “unwanted experiences”. Pursuit of wanted experience even if it involves pain, is called as “Happiness”. Not pursuing an experience even if it involves pleasure is called as “Sorrow”.
In spite of imminent and inherent dangers in scaling high peaks, the mountaineer is very happy to climb a mountain. The reason is, climbing a mountain is a wanted experience leading to happiness, even if it involves pain all the way with risks of misstep, avalanches etc., However, support from an unwanted source to alleviate a present problem, is an unwanted experience leading to sorrow, even if the help from that source will make the current situation/problem to disappear.
As is evident, the reason for this behavior is on account of likes and dislikes which is wanted and unwanted experiences. This is on account of attachment (Raga), which is what the issue is for Arjuna. Thus the attachment to relatives has given rise to Sorrow, because Arjuna didn’t want an experience of not having his relatives post the war, even if he turns victorious post the war. This has become the second emotional imbalance “Sorrow (Soka)”. Losing relatives is an unwanted experience for Arjuna, and hence he asked Krishna, what is the use of all the pleasures at the cost of the life of my relatives, even the pleasures of three worlds won’t give me the needed happiness.
This conclusion based on one’s emotional imbalance, which confirms the lack of well articulated discriminative intellect. Lack of power in discrimination is due to the lack of correct knowledge. Thus lack of correct knowledge, in other words ignorance (avidya) is the fundamental problem. The emphasis is on the correct knowledge, because, being well read and having proficiency on many subjects which doesn’t take one towards solving one’s eternal quest of being permanently happy, is of no use. Even if someone has chanced upon the correct knowledge but has not added strength to that knowledge by imbibing it in conducting one’s life, even that correct knowledge also won’t be useful.
So, the formula for success in getting the permanent happiness is, having the correct knowledge aligned with one’s personality.
Downside of not aligning one’s thought, speech and action, will sustain and establish the emotional imbalances such as “attachment (raga)” and “sorrow (soka)”. And this will lead to confusion and delusion, where in, once thinking ability will be compromised and one will forget the right way to conduct his transactions with the world around. This is exactly what happened to Arjuna.
He was affected by the third emotional imbalance called “Delusion (Moha)”. Due to delusion, he forgets the value of “Doing what is right” and instead started defending his idea of not doing what is right. Such confusion has come out expression in these slokas and they will continue in the first few shlokas of the next chapter as well.
He picked up the topic of upholding family values and tradition. Upholding family values and tradition is very good but we need to ensure that it should not be at the cost of Universal Values (Dharma). Speaking the truth, Non injury (physically, mentally and verbally), Non stealing, non hoarding, being content with what one has, austere practices, cleanliness etc., are few of the examples of universal values. If I were to compromise on the universal value of speaking the truth in order to uphold the family’s practice or pride, then that is not appropriate.
Here Arjuna, is highlighting to Arjuna, that the war will leave many women as a widow and that will give raise to adulteration and a compromise will happen in doing the rituals for ancestors, which in turn will impact the morality of the society. Further he adds that there will be admixture of classes of society as the profession would get mixed, one will attract demerits which would entail one to be in hell either while living or in the hereafter.
He goes on to even say, considering the predicament of inability to uphold the family values, it would be better to get killed by Dhartharashtras while being unarmed, rather than fight the war and be the reason for the loss of relatives.
This confusion of, which should be prioritized, whether the priority should be for few families to live or the natural equilibrium to be undamaged for the entire creation to live peacefully, is the major confusion which has become the reason for the song celestial to be given to the humanity through Arjuna.
How many times we have faced such dilemma in all our internal conflicts, whether to choose the comfortable one or the correct one which is a difficult choice.
Thus entire first chapter is the establishment of the problem. Fundamental problem is ignorance and that is on account of delusion, that delusion was due to sorrow and that sorrow was due to attachment. This has made Arjuna to put his bow down and sit on the chariot without knowing what to do next.
Didn’t he represent all of us here? We will see the first few shlokas of 2nd chapter which will be the continuation of Arjuna’s predicament in the next discussion.
ॐ तत्सदिति श्रीमद्भगवद्गीतासूपनिषत्सु ब्रह्मविद्यायां योगशास्त्रे श्रीकृष्णार्जुनसंवादे अर्जुनविषादयोगो नाम प्रथमोऽध्यायः
om tatsaditi śrīmadbhagavadgītāsūpaniṣatsu brahmavidyāyāṁ yogaśāstre śrīkṛṣṇārjunasaṁvāde arjunaviṣādayogo nāma prathamo’dhyāyaḥ
Thus we have finished the first chapter of Srimad Bagavad Gita, which is nothing but the essence of Upanishads, which teaches the knowledge about the true nature of oneself, which also expands on yoga (tuning process to receive the knowledge), which happens as a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, and this chapter is titled as “arjuna viṣāda yoga”.