[Advaita-l] GITA - prathamo'dhyAyaH - part 1 (1.1 - 1.)

Amuthan Arunkumar R aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Fri Nov 11 03:49:47 CST 2005

namo nArAyaNAya!

setting the scene

the pANDava-s, after completing twelve years of
vanavAsa and one year of aj~nAtavAsa, were denied
their due share of the kingdom by duryodhana and
others, on the flimsy grounds that their aj~nAtavAsa
was incomplete by one day. on the pANDava-s' behalf,
kR^iShNa went as an ambassador to settle the issue.
after the sAma, dAna and bheda nIti-s failed to
produce any appreciable results [1], kR^iShNa decided
that daNDa nIti, i.e. war, was the only option left.
so, both sides started preparing themselves for the
great battle. the fateful [2] day arrived and the two
armies stood facing each other, ready for the war.

prathamo'dhyAyaH (arjuna viShAda yoga)

dhR^itarAShTra, who was blind in every way [3], eager
to know the developments of the battle, enquired
sa~njaya as follows, [4]

dhR^itarAShTra uvAcha -
dharmakShetre kurukShetre samvetA yuyutsvaH.
mAmakAH pANDavAshchaiva kimakurvata sa~njaya..1.1

by the word 'dharmakShetre', dhR^itarAShTra expresses
his anxiety for the kaurava-s' welfare since
kurukShetra was well known as a place where dharma
flourishes [5] and since he clearly knew that there
was only adharma on the kaurava-s' part. his use of
the terms 'mAmakAH' (mine) and pANDavAH ('them')
clearly show his partiality to the kaurava-s [6]. as
if to crush any hope that dhR^itarAShTra had for the
victory of his sons, sa~njaya begins to describe the
tense situation at kurukShetra,

sa~njaya uvAcha -
dR^iShTvA tu pANDavAnIkaM vyUDhaM duryodhanastadA.
AchAryamupasa~ngamya rAjA vachanamabravIt..1.2 

pashyaitAM pANDuputrANAmAchArya mahatIM chamUm.
vyUDhAM drupadaputreNa tava shiShyena dhImatA..1.3

here, duryodhana mentions that the pANDava army is led
by dR^iShTadyumna, the son of drupada. he mentions the
name drupadaputra instead of dR^iShTadyumna in order
to arouse anger in droNa's mind by reminding droNa of
his enmity with drupada. in fact, dR^iShTadyumna was
born for the sole purpose of killing droNa. here,
'pashya', 'see' is also used to arouse anger in droNa
by reminding him that his very own students (the
pANDava-s) have arrayed in battle to fight against
him. or, the construction may be
'pANDuputrANAmAchArya', 'the teacher of the
pANDava-s'. the meaning is: 'alas, my army is headed
by you, who was foolish enough to teach the science of
warfare to dR^iShTadyumna knowing fully well that he
was born to kill you. their army is led by the
intelligent son of drupada, who learnt everything from
you with a view of killing you. so 'pashya', 'see'
this army of the pANDava-s, for you alone would
delight in that and not we.' thus, duryodhana
indirectly shows his suspicion and hatred for his
teacher [7]. 

next, duryodhana proceeds to mention the main warriors
in the pANDava army, 

atra shUrA maheShvAsA bhImArjunasamA yudhi.
yuyudhAno virATashcha drupadashcha mahArathaH..1.4

dhR^iShTaketushchekitAnaH kAshirAjashcha vIryavAn.
purujitkuntibhojashcha shaibyashcha narapu~NgavaH..1.5

yudhAmanyushcha vikrAnta uttamaujAshcha vIryavAn. 
saubhadro draupadeyAshcha sarva eva mahArathAH..1.6   

anticipating droNa's reply that the kaurava army was
also strong and to show the greatness of his own army,
duryodhana briefly mentions the main warriors in his

asmAkaM tu vishiShTA ye tannibodha dvijottama.
nAyakA mama sainyasya saMj~nArthaM tAn bravImi te..1.6

here, by calling droNa as dvijottama (best of
brAhmaNa-s), duryodhana indirectly means that droNa,
being a brAhmaNa, is not fit for battle :-) 

bhavAn bhIShmashcha karNashcha 
kR^ipashcha samiti~njayaH.
ashvattAmA vikarNashcha saumadattirjayadrathaH..1.8

anye cha bahavaH shUrA madarthe tyaktajIvitAH.
nAnAshastrapraharaNAH sarve yuddhavishAradAH..1.9

compare this (the number of kaurava-s mentioned) with
the number of pANDava-s he mentioned (1.4-6). one
funny way to interpret this is that the other members
of the kaurava army are not even worthy of smaraNam

aparyAptaM tadasmAkaM balaM bhIShmAbhirakShitam.
paryAptaM tvidameteShaM balaM bhImAbhirakShitam..1.10

duryodhana says this to impart confidence to his army.
noting that droNa did not reply anything to him, he
turned his attention to bhIShma, the
commander-in-chief of the kaurava army and issued an
order to the kaurava army,
ayaneShu tu sarveShu yathAbhAgamavasthitAH.
bhIShmamevAbhirakShantu bhavantaH sarva eva hi..1.11

(to be contd.)

references and footnotes

[1] as per the shAstra-s, sAma (peaceful settlement),
dAna (settlement by gift), bheda (averting war by
causing a division in the enemy side) and daNDa (war)
are the four stages (in that order) to be followed in
matters of dispute or when war seems imminent.
kR^iShNa at first reasoned with the kaurava-s that the
pANDava-s were fit to receive their share of the
kingdom (sAma nIti). when this failed, he requested
duryodhana to give at least five cities (or even less)
for the pANDava-s (dAna nIti), but this too failed.
finally, just before leaving, kR^iShNa tried bheda
nIti by requesting karNa to withdraw his support for
duryodhana. when karNa replied in the negative,
kR^iShNa finally decided that war (daNDa nIti) was the
only option left. 

[2] fateful both to the kaurava-s and more importantly
to our avidyA :-)

[3] ...kR^ipAlokavyavahArAnetrAbhyAmapi hInatayA
mahato'ndhasya...dhR^itarAShTrasya... (G.D. 1.1). shrI
rAmAnuja also says something similar, "...sarvAtmano
andho dhR^itarAShTraH..." (rAmAnuja's gItA bhAShyam).

[4] it is interesting to see that the gItA starts off
showing two persons in sharp contrast with each other.
on the one hand, dhR^itarAShTra was totally blind and
on the other, sa~njaya, because of vyAsa's anugraha,
was able to see all the details of the bhArata yuddha
from where he was!  

[5] MS provides two references for this,
'...kurukShetraM devanAM devayajanaM sarveShAM
bhUtAnAM brahmasadanam.' (jAblA. Up.) and
'..kurukShetraM vai devayajanam' (shatapatha
brAhamaNam). (G.D. 1.1)

[6] 'mAmakAH....pANdavAshcheti pR^itha~Nnirdishan
pANDaveShu mamakArAbhAva pradarshanena taddroham
abhivyanakti.' (G.D. 1.1) 

[7] see G.D. 1.3 for a more graphic description :-).
for the rest of this mail, the interpretation is taken
mainly from the G.D., but the explicit references are
not given. 

vAsudevaH sarvaM,

Amuthan Arunkumar R,
Final year, B.Tech/M.Tech Dual Degree,
Dept. of Aerospace Engg., IIT Madras.

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