Gita series – part 5. Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1. Verses – 44-47:
Arjuna continues to share his concerns with Krishna. “Oh! Janardana! We have heard that when the traditions of a lineage are destroyed, men are committed to the hell indefinitely. Alas! Driven by desire of owning kingdoms and associated comforts, we are prepared to eliminate our relatives. It is better for me if the sons of Dhritarashtra beholding weapons in their hands kill me when I am unarmed in this battle. In fact it is beneficial to me”. Thus, after emptying all his thoughts to Krishna, the charioteer, Arjuna, the great warrior threw away his bow and arrows and sat down in the seat of his chariot. The whole of the first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita consists of Arjuna’s concern for his relatives in the battle field. He somehow wanted to avoid this battle with his cousins and masters. His only aim was not to take on his relatives in the battle field. Arjuna knows his strength and was sure of eliminating his opponents in a war. That is why he expresses his concern for them, and also realizes sins accruing out of wiping out the entire dynasty of the opponents. He is willing to sacrifice his life to save the lives of his cousins.
The conflict in the Mind of Arjuna arises out of two things. One is the self-pity. Arjuna belongs to a class of warriors and he should not have felt for his cousins that too during the last minute in the battle field where the war is imminent. This war is being thrust on the Pandavas and they have never opted for this unholy war. The second reason for his mental conflict is his imagination and visualization. Visualization is good as long as it is used for realising the Brahman. Arjuna’s visualization is on the wrong side as it is associated with worldly things. Visualization is a progress achieved by mind during advanced stages of meditation. Imagination is another factor that is not a product of a seasoned mind. Imagination is like a dream. Arjuna is a very advanced person spiritually and in spite of his spiritual advancement, he has fallen from the height of spirituality associated with a higher level of consciousness, to the worldly attachments and desires. One may argue that Arjuna’s thoughts do not arise out of desires as he has not asked for any favours for himself. But desires and attachments are the products of mind when it is still associated with senses. Spiritual progression is possible only if the mind is not associated with the sensory organs. This leads the mind to a single pointed focus on the Brahman.
In the case of Arjuna, when he saw his relatives and masters through his eyes, and when he heard the sound of conches, trumpets, drums etc, through his ears, he could have lost his self-control. The sound of war could have sounded the death knell of his relatives which he could have perceived. The situation of Arjuna is a clear proof that one could fall steeply from the higher levels of consciousness to the lower level of associating with sensory organs. This is a case wherein there is no coordination between body and mind. Only in such a situation mental conflicts arise. The lower levels of our consciousness always function under the ambit of our ego. When ego is predominant, the mind is unable to take a decision leading to bodily fatigue. This is exactly what happened to Arjuna that made him to throw away his bow and arrows. With this, interpretation of Chapter I of the Bhagavad Gita is concluded. Next, Chapter II will be taken up for discussion wherein Krishna comes to Arjuna’s rescue. (to be continued)