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Shrimad Bhagwat Gita : : 1.1

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dhṛitarāśhtra uvācha
dharma-kṣhetre kuru-kṣhetre samavetā yuyutsavaḥ
māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāśhchaiva kimakurvata sañjaya

dhṛitarāśhtraḥ uvācha—Dhritarashtra said; dharma-kṣhetre—the land of dharma; 
kuru-kṣhetre—at Kurukshetra; samavetāḥ—having gathered; yuyutsavaḥ—desiring to fight; māmakāḥ—my sons; pāṇḍavāḥ—the sons of Pandu; cha—and; eva—certainly; kim—what; akurvata—did they do; sañjaya—Sanjay

1.1: Dhritarashtra said: O Sanjay, after gathering on the holy field of Kurukshetra, and desirous to fight, what did my sons and the sons of Pandu do?

The armies of Kaurvas and Pandavas  had gathered on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Both sides were in a state of readiness to fight as there was no hope of a settlement. Knowing all this fully well, King Dhritarashtra still asked Sanjay what his sons and his brother Pandu’s sons were doing on the battlefield. It was obvious that the battle was about to begin then why did he ask this question?

The blind king Dhrtarastra listens as the visionary narrator Sanjaya relates the events of the battle between the Kaurava and the Pandava clans

Seated on the throne and served by an attendant waving a whisk made of peacock feathers, the blind king Dhritarashtra listens as the narrator Sanjaya relates the events of the battle between the Kaurava and the Pandava clans.

Blinded by his love for his sons, one feels Dhritarashtra’s judgement was clouded and he failed to see the reality. Conscious in his heart of hearts, that injustice had been done towards his brother’s sons – by himself and his sons — he felt occasional pangs of guilt. Knowing that the Pandavas were able warriors he was apprehensive of the outcome of this battle.

In asking Sanjay, why the armies had gathered it appears he is almost in a hurry to hear that the battle has ensued and soon his sons would have won the war. In his eagerness for the battle to begin he seems to be hastening his own and his sons’ end. 

A critical commentary of how an error of judgement, blind love for one’s children and a subjective view of their character and capabilities can have disastrous, even fatal, consequences.

The Gita’s philosophy and teachings have helped me understand much of what otherwise lay in the realm of the unexplained. More importantly, it has helped me come to terms with the finite nature of life on this earth, and simultaneously draw solace from accepting the infinite existence of the soul. It is reassuring to understand the significance of following one’s dharma (duty), performing good karma (deeds), while being engaged in the quest for gyan (knowledge) as one walks on in the hope of attaining moksha (salvation).

Shared here is a brief documentation of what this shloka of the Gita says to me.

Vandana R Singh
New Delhi, June 2020

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