Gita series - Part 2. Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1. Verses 28-31:

A true disciple should always be transparent with his master. Only then the master-disciple relationship will be strengthened. Unless the master is sure that this disciple is not hiding anything from him, he will not take the disciple into his confidence. Arjuna is a true devotee of Krishna, apart from being good friends. Arjuna shares his pitiable condition with Krishna on seeing his close relatives and great masters on the other side of the battle field. ‘Oh! Krishna!’ begins Arjuna. Oh Krishna these two words alone conveyed everything to Krishna. When we call our father we use different voice modulations. It depends upon the state of mind you have at that time. Happiness, sorrow, fear etc make our voice change. Here, Arjuna’s voice genuinely expressed his sorrow mood. ‘On seeing these relatives, my limbs are failing, mouth drying, my body is shuddering, my hair become erect (goose berry pimples), Gandiva (the powerful and sacred bow of Arjuna) is slipping from my hands, my skin is irritating, my mind starts rambling, I am not able to stand steady, I see bad omens. Oh! Keshava’ Arjuna addresses Krishna by his another name Keshava.

Since Krishna killed a demon called Keshi, He is also known as Keshava. The important point is that Arjuna is losing his mental and physical balance on seeing his relatives. Arjuna is not scared of the enemies as he was the best known warrior of his times. More than his physical and mental condition, he had the God as his charioteer. As a true disciple of Krishna, he has already surrendered to Him. Secondly, both Krishna and Arjuna value their friendship. More than anything Arjuna has a tremendous self-confidence. He started losing his self confidence on the mere thought of destroying his close relatives. He opened his mind to Krishna only when he lost his self-confidence. In spiritual pursuit self-confidence is important and the lack of which will affect the level of consciousness. When he lost his self-confidence, its effect was felt by his body and mind. Arjuna having lost his self-confidence tries to reason out for his momentary bleakness. He speaks to Krishna again “Oh! Krishna! I do not see any reason in slaying our own relatives. I do not long for victory in this battle, nor the kingdom, nor the pleasures (associated with kingdom). Govinda! What is the use of having kingdoms or pleasures (arising out of owning such kingdoms) or even the very existence of this life?” Arjuna addresses Krishna as Govinda.

Govinda means the chief of herdsmen. During His younger days, Krishna tended cattle, hence this name. Arjuna’s mental condition filled with emotion takes him to the brim of ‘sanyas’. Renunciation dawns when one is in a negative state of the mind. That is why great importance is attached to mind and thought. These two are interdependent on each other. They cannot function independently. When such renunciations are achieved during normal mental conditions through proper meditation, it is an indication of spiritual progress. The mind and thought duo is so terrible, that they can rear their ugly heads at anytime, irrespective of the level of spiritual progress achieved. Therefore renunciation of evil thoughts and actions are more important than renouncing physical comforts. One can have comforts, but should not get attached to it. You can travel in a luxury car and at the same time you should be able to travel in a public transport. In fact the true renunciation should be reflected in your thoughts and not in actions. This statement of Arjuna can be analyzed from two different angles. When he speaks about slaying of his relatives, it reflects his attachment to the material world. When he says that he is not after the pleasures of a kingdom, it shows his detachment from the material world. Therefore, it is a clear indicator of the confused mental condition of Arjuna. (to be continued)

Related articles:

Introduction To Bhagavad Gita

The Battle Field

Arjuna's Renunciation