Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1: Summary of the 47 Verses

Summary of the Chapter 1: Arjuna’s Vishada Yoga

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.1

Dhritarashtra said: What did the sons of Pandu and also my people do when, desirous to fight, they assembled together on the holy plain of Kurukshetra, O Sanjaya?

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.2

Sanjaya said: Having seen the army of the Pandavas drawn up in battle array, King Duryodhana then approached his teacher (Drona) and spoke these words.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.3

Behold, O Teacher! this mighty army of the sons of Pandu, arrayed by the son of Drupada, thy wise disciple.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.4

Here are heroes, mighty archers, equal in battle to Bhima and Arjuna, Yuyudhana, Virata and Drupada, each commanding eleven-thousand archers.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.5

Dhrishtaketu, Chekitana, and the valiant king of Kashi, Purujit and Kuntibhoja and Saibya, the best of men.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.6

The strong Yudhamanyu and the brave Uttamaujas, the son of Subhadra and the sons of Draupadi, all of them, divisional commanders.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.7

Know also, O best among the twice-born, the names of those who are the most distinguished amongst ourselves, the leaders of my army; these I name to thee for thy information.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.8

Yourself and Bishma, and Karna and also Kripa, the victorious in war; Aswatthama, Vikarna and so also the son of Somadatta.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.9

And many other heroes also who are determined to give up their lives for my sake, armed with various weapons and missiles, all well-skilled in battle.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.10

This army of ours defended by Bhishma is insufficient, whereas that army of theirs defended by Bhima is sufficient. Or, This army of ours protected by Bhishma is unlimited, whereas that army of theirs protected by Bhima is limited.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.11

Therefore do you all, stationed in your respective positions in the several divisions of the army, protect Bhishma alone.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.12

His glorious grandsire (Bhishma) , the oldest of the Kauravas, in order to cheer Duryodhana, now sounded aloud a lion’s roar and blew his conch.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.13

Then (following Bhishma) , conches and kettle-drums, tabors, drums and cow-horns blared forth quite suddenly and the sound was tremendous.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.14

Then, also Madhava and the son of Pandu, seated in their magnificent chariot yoked with white horses, blew their divine conches.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.15

Hrishikesha blew the Panchajanya and Dhananjaya (Arjuna) blew the Devadatta and Vrikodara (Bhima) , the doer of terrible deeds, blew the great conch, named Paundra.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.16

King Yudhisthira, the son of Kunti, blew the Anantavijaya; Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughosha and the Manipushpaka.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.17

The king of Kashi, an excellent archer, Shikhandi, the mighty commander of eleven thousand archers, Dhristadyumna and Virata and Satyaki, the unconquered;

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.18

Drupada and the sons of Draupadi, O Lord of the Earth, and the son of Subhadra, the mighty armed, blew their respective conches.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.19

That tumultuous sound rent the hearts of (the people of) Dhritarashtra’s party and made both heaven and earth reverberate.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.20

Then, seeing the people of Dhritarashtra’s party standing arrayed and the discharge of weapons about to begin, Arjuna, the son of Pandu, whose ensign was a monkey, took up his bow and said these words to Krishna (Hrishikesha) , O Lord of the Earth!

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.21

Arjuna said: In the midst of the two armies, place my chariot, O Achyuta, that I may behold those who stand here desirous of fighting and, on the eve of this battle, let me know with whom I must fight.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.22

In the midst of the two armies, place my chariot, O Achyuta, that I may behold those who stand here desirous of fighting and, on the eve of this battle, let me know with whom I must fight.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.23

For I desire to observe those who are assembled here for the fight, wishing to please in battle, the evil-minded sons of Dhritarashtra.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.24

Sanjaya said: Thus addressed by Gudakesha, O Bharata, Hrishikesha, having stationed the best of chariots between the two armies;

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.25

In front of Bhishma and Drona, and all the rulers of the earth, he said, O Partha, behold these Kurus gathered together.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.26

Then Partha saw stationed there in both the armies, fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons and friends too.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.27

(He saw) Fathers-in-law and friends also in both the armies. Then the son of Kunti, seeing all these kinsmen thus standing arrayed, spoke thus sorrowfully, filled with deep pity.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.28

Arjuna said: Seeing these my kinsmen, O Krishna, arrayed, eager to fight,

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.29

My limbs fail and my mouth is parched, my body quivers and my hair stands on end.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.30

The Gandiva-bow slips from my hand, and my skin burns all over; I am also unable to stand and my mind is whirling round, as it were.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.31

And I see adverse omens, O Keshava. Nor do I see any good in killing my kinsmen in battle.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.32

For, I desire not victory, O Krishna, nor kingdom, nor pleasures. Of what avail is dominion to us, O Govinda? Of what avail are pleasures or even life itself?

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.33

They for whose sake we desire kingdom, enjoyment and pleasures stand here in battle, having renounced life and wealth.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.34

Teachers, fathers, sons and also grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.35

These I do not wish to kill, though they kill me, O Madhusudana, even for the sake of dominion over the three worlds; how much less for the sake of the earth.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.36

Killing these sons of Dhritarashtra, what pleasure can be ours, O Janardana? Sin alone will be our gain by killing these felons.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.37

Therefore we shall not kill the sons of Dhritarashtra, our relatives; for how can we be happy by killing our own people, O Madhava?

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.38

Though these, with their intelligence clouded by greed, see no evil in the destruction of the families in the society, and no sin in their cruelty to friends; . . .

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.39

Why should not we, who clearly see evil in the destruction of the family-units, learn to turn away from this sin, O Janardana?

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.40

In the destruction of a family, the immemorial religious rites of that family perish; on the destruction of spirituality, impiety overcomes the whole family.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.41

By the prevalence of impiety, O Krishna, the women of the family become corrupt; and women being corrupted, O descendent of the Vrishni-clan, there arises intermingling of castes (VARNA-SAMKARA) .

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.42

Confusion of castes leads the slayer of the family to hell; for their forefathers fall, deprived of the offerings of PINDA (rice-ball) and water (libations) .

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.43

By these evil deeds of the destroyers of the family, which cause confusion of castes, the eternal religious rites of the caste and the family are destroyed.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.44

We have heard, O Janardana, that it is inevitable for those men, in whose families the religious practices have been destroyed, to dwell in hell for an unknown period of time.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.45

Alas! We are involved in a great sin, in that we are prepared to kill our kinsmen, from greed for the pleasures of the kingdom.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.46

If the sons of Dhritarashtra, weapons-in-hand, slay me in battle, unresisting and unarmed, that would be better for me.

Bhagavad Gita: Verse 1.47

Sanjaya said : Having thus spoken in the midst of the battle-field, Arjuna sat down on the seat of the chariot, casting away his bow and arrow, with a mind distressed with sorrow.