The first chapter of the
Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna Vishada Yoga, meaning “The Yoga of Arjuna’s
Dejection,” lays the foundation for the philosophical discourse that
It begins with the warrior prince Arjuna positioned on the
battlefield of Kurukshetra, ready to engage in the great war between the
Pandavas and the Kauravas.
As the conch shells are blown
and the war cries rise, Arjuna, accompanied by his charioteer Krishna, surveys
the opposing armies.
However, upon seeing his relatives, teachers, and friends standing
on both sides, he is overwhelmed by conflicting emotions.


Arjuna’s initial enthusiasm for
battle quickly turns into despondency and moral anguish.
He is seized by doubt and uncertainty, questioning the
righteousness of the impending conflict and the consequences it will entail.
He sees the faces of his loved ones and realizes the enormity of
the bloodshed and destruction that will ensue.
Unable to reconcile his duty as a warrior with his compassion for
those he holds dear, Arjuna is engulfed by a sense of helplessness and despair.

Arjuna’s distress reaches its
peak as he perceives the futility of victory and the futility of the material
gains that come with it.
He is torn between his duty as a warrior to fight for justice and his
reluctance to participate in a war that will result in the death of his own
His mind reels with conflicting thoughts, and his resolve wavers
as he contemplates the moral implications of his actions.
Turning to Krishna, his charioteer and guide, Arjuna seeks counsel
in this moment of crisis.
He lays down his bow and
arrows, symbolizing his inner turmoil and his reluctance to engage in battle.

Arjuna expresses his dilemma toKrishna, questioning the righteousness of fighting against his own family and
He articulates his concerns about the consequences of war and the
moral dilemmas it presents.
Krishna, in response, begins to
impart the timeless wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita.
He addresses Arjuna’s doubts and fears with compassion and
insight, guiding him towards a deeper understanding of his duty and purpose.

Krishna elucidates the eternal nature of the soul, explaining that
the body is but a temporary vessel for the immortal self.
He reminds Arjuna of his duty as a warrior and the importance of
fulfilling one’s obligations without attachment to the results.
Krishna emphasizes the concept of dharma, or righteousness, as the
guiding principle that should govern one’s actions.
He encourages Arjuna to rise above his personal attachments and desires,
and to perform his duty with dedication and detachment.

Krishna teaches Arjuna the path
of selfless action, urging him to surrender to the divine will and to act in
accordance with his true nature.
The first chapter of the
Bhagavad Gita thus sets the stage for the profound teachings that follow.
It depicts the inner conflict and moral dilemmas faced by Arjuna,
and serves as a prelude to the spiritual journey of self-discovery and
realization that unfolds in the subsequent chapters.
Through the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, the Gita offers
profound insights into the nature of duty, righteousness, and the path to
spiritual liberation.


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