Summary of First Discourse
The great Mahabharata war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas took place on the holy plain of Kurukshetra. After the failure of Lord Krishna’s peace mission, when He Himself went to Hastinapura as the emissary of the Pandavas, there was no other alternative for the Pandavas but to engage in war for their rightful share of the kingdom.All the famous warriors from both sides had assembled on the battlefield. Tents and wagons, weapons and machines, chariots and animals covered the vast plain.
Lord Krishna arrived on the scene in a magnificent chariot yoked by white horses. He was to act as the charioteer of Arjuna, one of the Pandava princes.
The din of hundreds of conches, blaring forth suddenly, announced the commencement of the battle. Arjuna blew his conch “Devadatta”, while Bhima, his brother, sounded the “Paundra”. All the other great warriors blew their respective conches.As the two armies were arrayed, ready for battle, Arjuna requested Krishna to place his chariot between them so that he might survey his opponents. He was bewildered by the scene before him, for he beheld on both sides, fathers and grandfathers, teachers and uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, relatives and comrades.
Confusion reigned in Arjuna’s mind. Should he participate in this terrible carnage? Was it proper to destroy one’s relatives for the sake of a kingdom and some pleasures? Would it not be much better for him to surrender everything in favour of his enemies and retire in peace? As these thoughts rushed into his mind, a feeling of despondency overtook Arjuna. He had no enthusiasm to engage in this battle. Letting his bow slip from his hands, Arjuna could do nothing but turn to Lord Krishna for guidance and enlightenment.
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Dharmakshetre kurukshetre samavetaa yuyutsavah;
Maamakaah paandavaashchaiva kimakurvata sanjaya.
1. What did the sons of Pandu and also my people do when they had assembled together, eager for battle on the holy plain of Kurukshetra, O Sanjaya?
Drishtwaa tu paandavaaneekam vyudham duryodhanastadaa;
Aachaaryam upasamgamya raajaa vachanam abraveet.
2. Having seen the army of the Pandavas drawn up in battle array, King Duryodhana then approached his teacher (Drona) and spoke these words:
Pashyaitaam paanduputraanaam aachaarya mahateem chamoom;
Vyoodhaam drupadaputrena tava shishyena dheemataa.
3. “Behold, O Teacher, this mighty army of the sons of Pandu, arrayed by the son of Drupada, thy wise disciple!
Atra shooraa maheshwaasaa bheemaarjunasamaa yudhi;
Yuyudhaano viraatashcha drupadashcha mahaarathah.
4. “Here are heroes, mighty archers, equal in battle to Bhima and Arjuna, Yuyudhana, Virata and Drupada, of the great car (mighty warriors),
Dhrishtaketush chekitaanah kaashiraajashcha veeryavaan;
Purujit kuntibhojashcha shaibyashcha narapungavah.
5. “Drishtaketu, Chekitana and the valiant king of Kasi, Purujit, and Kuntibhoja and Saibya, the best of men,
Yudhaamanyushcha vikraanta uttamaujaashcha veeryavaan;
Saubhadro draupadeyaashcha sarva eva mahaarathaah.
6. “The strong Yudhamanyu and the brave Uttamaujas, the son of Subhadra (Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna), and the sons of Draupadi, all of great chariots (great heroes).
Asmaakam tu vishishtaa ye taan nibodha dwijottama;
Naayakaah mama sainyasya samjnaartham taan braveemi te.
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.
Bhavaan bheeshmashcha karnashcha kripashcha samitinjayah;
Ashwatthaamaa vikarnashcha saumadattis tathaiva cha.
8. “Thyself and Bhishma, and Karna and Kripa, the victorious in war; Asvatthama, Vikarna, and Jayadratha, the son of Somadatta.
Anye cha bahavah shooraa madarthe tyaktajeevitaah;
Naanaashastrapraharanaah sarve yuddhavishaaradaah.
9. “And also many other heroes who have given up their lives for my sake, armed with various weapons and missiles, all well skilled in battle.
Aparyaaptam tad asmaakam balam bheeshmaabhirakshitam;
Paryaaptam twidam eteshaam balam bheemaabhirakshitam.
10. “This army of ours marshalled by Bhishma is insufficient, whereas their army, marshalled by Bhima, is sufficient.Ayaneshu cha sarveshu yathaabhaagam avasthitaah;
Bheeshmam evaabhirakshantu bhavantah sarva eva hi.
11. “Therefore, do ye all, stationed in your respective positions in the several divisions of the army, protect Bhishma alone”.
Tasya sanjanayan harsham kuruvriddhah pitaamahah;
Simhanaadam vinadyocchaih shankham dadhmau prataapavaan.
12. His glorious grandsire (Bhishma), the eldest of the Kauravas, in order to cheer Duryodhana, now roared like a lion and blew his conch.
Tatah shankhaashcha bheryashcha panavaanakagomukhaah;
Sahasaivaabhyahanyanta sa shabdastumulo’bhavat.