Bhagavad Geeta: Chapter 1, Verses 1-11

The Bhagavad Geeta starts with Dhritarashtra (the blind King) asking his charioteer and advisor Sanjaya, to narrate what was occurring on the battlefield at Kurukshetra. Sanjaya had been granted the divine vision by Sage Vyasa to see what was going on at Kurukshetra. Sanjaya plays the role of a journalist to Dhritarashtra. Since the King was blind by birth, Sanjaya had to be explicit and descriptive in his narration, to allow the King to understand and feel the exact happenings on the battlefield.

Chapter 1, Verse 1

Dhritarashtra asks Sanjaya what his sons and the Pandavas who have assembled with the desire to wage a war, did in Kurukshetra?

Dhritarashtra is not only physically blind but also blinded by his attachment to his sons, which paved for the war, so to say. Dhritarashtra himself allowed all the atrocities and injustices that his son Duryodhana committed against the Pandavas. Because of his blind love for his son, he did not utter a word against Duryodhana, while his son was cruel towards his own brother's sons, the Pandavas.

Chapter 1, Verse 2

Sanjaya starts narrating from this verse onwards.

Duryodhana seeing the Pandavas army arranged in a battle formation approached his teacher (Drona) and started speaking to him.

Duryodhana, the eldest son of Dhritarashtra, is constantly thinking about how he wants to rule the entire Kingdom, with his desire for power and lust for wealth. He was unwilling to give even an inch of land to Pandavas. And that is what led to the war. Even though his army (with 11 regiments) is much larger than Pandavas army (with 7 regiments), Duryodhana feels fear in his mind because there will be no confidence when one is on the wrong side.

Chapter 1,  Verse 3

Duryodhana asks his teacher to see the large, mighty army of the Pandavas arranged in battle formation by his intelligent disciple Dhrishtadyumna (Son of Drupada).

Duryodhana uses harsh words towards his teacher by pointing out that his disciple is leading the other army. Duryodhana is absorbed with his desire to destroy the Pandavas and rule the entire Kingdom.  In this pursuit, he lost all his discriminatory sense and started uttering these words. Drona is a great warrior and is well aware of the status. Duryodhana didn't have to say all these things.

Chapter 1,  Verses 4, 5 and 6

Duryodhana seems to be getting nervous as he announces the names of all the warriors in the Pandavas army. He continues speaking to Dronacharya. “There are great warriors who are equal to the strength of Bheema and the skill of Arjuna. There are warriors who can single-handedly match the strength of thousands of warriors like Yuyudhana, Virata, Drishtaketu, Chekitan, Kashiraj, Purujit, Kuntibhoj, Shaibya, powerful Yudhamanyu, courageous Uttamauja, son of Subhadra and sons of Draupadi.”

Chapter 1,  Verse 7

The nervous Duryodhana continues to speak as though trying to give himself confidence. He says, “Be informed, my army is far better (special) and I will recount to you.” While speaking, he refers to Drona as the best of Brahmins, which is considered an insult discrediting him on the battlefield.

Chapter 1,  Verse 8

Duryodhana realized his error in judgment by referring to Drona as Brahmin in the previous verse. In this verse, he lists out all the warriors in his army starting with Drona. He mentions the names of Bheeshma, Karna, Kripa, Ashwathama, Vikarna, and Saumadatti, all well experienced in warfare.

Chapter 1,  Verse 9

Having named all those people, he says that many courageous warriors came to fight for his sake. Every one of them is well-educated in the Art of warfare and well-equipped. He is so self-absorbed and egoistic, that he thinks all the warriors in his army came for his sake. In truth, they are there because of the respect and reverence they have for Bheeshma.

Chapter 1,  Verse 10

Duryodhana says, “Our strength is unlimited, defended by Bheeshma, and their strength is limited defended by Bheema.”

Duryodhana is either overconfident or afraid that his army is not sufficient. In his mind, he doubts the loyalty of the elders fighting for him. He is fearful of the strength and skill of Bheema and Arjuna.

Chapter 1,  Verse 11

Duryodhana gives instructions to his army that everyone, even as they are in their respective strategic positions, needs to protect Bheeshma. 

With a confused mind, an individual always says the wrong things. He insulted Drona by calling him a Brahmin first. Then he tries to pacify him by mentioning him as a warrior. And now he seems to look down on him again, by mentioning to guard Bheeshma at all costs as though Drona is indispensable.


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