4. Bhagavad Gita Online Course – Chapter 1, Verse 2-6 (Transforming Your Life)

Summary:

Verse 2: Sanjaya narrates that Duryodhana approaches his teacher Drona, despite Bhisma being the army head, because Bhisma's unwavering vow to support the king's side is unshakeable. Duryodhana doubts Drona's loyalty due to Drona's favoritism towards Arjuna, exemplified by Arjuna's exceptional focus in a bird-shooting exercise. Duryodhana secures Drona's allegiance by leveraging Drona's love for his son, Ashvathama, who is close friends with Duryodhana. This interaction illustrates how personal considerations can influence one's sense of right and wrong. Duryodhana's psychological preparation of Drona is likened to a coach motivating players before a game, emphasizing the importance of mental readiness for significant events.

Verse 3: Duryodhana reminds Drona of the strong opposition, led by Drupada and Dhṛṣṭadyumna, to boost Drona's morale. By highlighting the formidable warriors on the opposing side, including Arjuna and Bhima, Duryodhana aims to ensure Drona's commitment. The narrative underlines Draupadi's influential role in the conflict, showcasing her strength, assertiveness, and the psychological impact she had on her brother and the Pandavas.

Verses 4-6: Duryodhana continues to enumerate the difficult-to-defeat warriors on the opposing side, such as Arjuna, Bhima, and Draupadi's brother. He discusses Draupadi's significant role in the Mahabharata, noting her assertiveness and influence despite her moments of arrogance. Duryodhana also mentions Virāṭa, who protected the Pandavas during their incognito year and chose to fight alongside them out of gratitude, and Abhimanyu, Arjuna's young but brilliant son, highlighting that brilliance and worthiness transcend age. Duryodhana's detailed account of the opposition's strength reveals his underlying insecurities as he prepares to discuss the warriors on his side.


Revision from Last Session:

  • Right Before War is About to Begin:
    • Blind king Dhritarashtra asks his charioteer Sanjaya about the actions of the Kauravas and Pandavas on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.
    • Dhritarashtra did not attempt to stop the conflict, despite knowing his sons were on the side of unrighteousness.
  • Reasons for Dhritarashtra's Inaction:
    1. Psychological Biases
      • Confirmation bias, which causes selective listening; whatever confirms my existing views. Dismissing contrary information.
      • Example, one is carrying the idea that “My destiny is destined. It’s my karma!”. Thus they’ll look for anything that confirms that. Whereas Vedas does not say this. Vedas suggests:
        • Take responsibility for your life.
        • Ask for help (through prayer).
        • Re-evaluate your purpose and needs.
        • Change the way you interpret experiences.
        • Integrate rational and emotional mind. For example, if there is a hot emotion, ask, “Will my response produce peace or encourage further conflict?”
    2. Personal Ambitions
      • His unfulfilled desire to be king, lived through Duryodhana.
    3. Emotional Connections
      • His emotional connection to his relatives prevented him from seeing the interconnected nature of the world.
      • Contrast with Adi Shankara's debate example, where the opponent's wife remained impartial.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 1, Verse 2:

dṛṣṭvā tu pāṇḍava-anīkam vyūḍham duryodhanaḥ tadā ।
ācāryam upasaṅgamya rājā vacanam abravīt
Sañjaya said – Having seen the army of the Pāndavās arrayed, King Duryodhanā approached Droṇācārya and spoke (these) words at that time.

  • Sanjaya says, “Duryodahana goes to Drona teacher”. Bhisma was head of army, so why did Duryodhana go to Drona, rather then Bhisma? Because Bhisma taken a vow, “I will support whoever is on side of the king”. Duryodhana knew he won’t waiver from the vow. However Duryodhana wasn’t sure about Drona, as Drona’s favorite was Arjuna.
    • EG: He asked the Pandavas/Kauravas, “What do you see?”, while they were looking at a bird on the tree. They said “bird, sky, tree, etc”. Arjuna replied, “Only right eye and pupil of bird’s eye”. Shows he had superb concentration.
  • QUESTION: Question is, what brought Drona on side of Duryodhana when he had no vows like Bhisma. His son, Ashvathama was good friend of Duryodhana. Had love for his own son, for son’s sake, took side of Kauravas.
    • MORAL: Despite everyone having sense of right and wrong, people end up on different sides because of different personal considerations.
  • Thus Duryodhana wanted to capitalize on Drona’s love for Ashvathama, ensuring Drona stays on Kauravas side, fearing Drona may turn to Pandavas.
  • MORAL:
    • Every big event needs psychological preparation (as Duryodhana did to Drona), just like coach gives talk to players before game, to put them in right frame of mind.
    • EG: In the Ramayana, when they discovered Sita was in Lanka, even Hanuman initially doubted his ability to reach her until he was encouraged. Hanuman, known for being young, strong, talented, and mischievous, once mistook the sun for a ripe fruit and tried to grab it. As he crossed cosmic boundaries, he was struck by Indra's vajra (thunderbolt), causing him to forget his immense powers. Jambavan, the king of the bears, reminded Hanuman of his strength, abilities, and bravery. This encouragement abated Hanuman's self-doubt, enabling him to fly to Lanka.
  • NEXT VERSE: Duryodhana boosts Drona’s moral…

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 1, Verse 3:

paśya etām pāṇḍu-putrāṇām ācārya mahatīm camūm ।
vyūḍhām drupada-putreṇa tava śiṣyeṇa dhīmatā
O Teacher! Please look at this great army of the sons of Pāṇḍu, formed and led by your brilliant disciple (Dhṛṣṭadyumna), the son of Drupada.

  • Duryodhana reminds Drona to look at the opposing army on the other side, led by Drupada (father of Draupadi), and Drupada-putra (Dhṛṣṭadyumna), who is Draupadi’s brother, is head of Pandava army.
  • Duryodhana wants to show Drona that both sides have strong warriors, to psychologically boost Drona’s moral to win the war.
  • NEXT VERSE: Duryodhana narrates who the great warriors are on other side…

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 1, Verse 4-6:

atra śūrāḥ mahā-iṣu-āsāḥ bhīma-arjuna-samāḥ yudhi ।
yuyudhānaḥ virāṭaḥ ca drupadaḥ ca mahārathaḥ ॥ 1-4॥

dhṛṣṭaketuḥ cekitānaḥ kāśirājaḥ ca vīryavān ।
purujit kuntibhojaḥ ca śaibyaḥ ca nara-puṅgavaḥ ॥ 1-5॥

yudhāmanyuḥ ca vikrāntaḥ uttamaujāḥ ca vīryavān ।
saubhadraḥ draupadeyāḥ ca sarve eva mahārathāḥ ॥ 1-6॥

Here are unrivalled experts, equal to Bhīma and Arjuna in battle, great archers (each one of them) — Sātyaki, the king of Virāṭa, and King Drupada, a man of great valour…

…Dhṛṣṭaketu, Cekitāna, the valiant king of Kāśī, Purujit, Kuntibhoja[8] and Śaibya, the most exalted among men…

…the powerful Yudhāmanyu, Uttamaujas, a warrior of great strength, the son of Subhadrā (Abhimanyu), and the sons of Draupadī, all valorous warriors.

  • Duryodhana highlights difficult-to-defeat people on other side. Including Arjuna & Bhima. And Draupadi’s brother.
    • Draupadi played big role in Mahabharata, as she was disrobed, but also holding Yudhisthir responsible for their exile. She made Yuddhistir guilty about what he did.  On one hand, it’s good, as she has standards and nobody can treat her badly. Scriptures don’t portray woman as weak, obedient woman. EG: Draupadi stood up for herself. She wasn’t afraid of speaking her mind. But her weakness was arrogance, which comes in 2 occasions. EG: Draupadi laughed at Duryodhana when he fell down into Indraprastha pool, saying “Son of a bling king is also blind”.  Second is when Krishna was speaking to Pandavas that war has to be avoided, and Draupadi was interjecting, “This war has to take place, so I can revenge for what happened to me!”Krishna responded to her, “This is a huge war. We’re fighting for something much bigger, then your insult. Though I empathize with you, don’t lose perspective!”. Draupadi also psychologically charged up her brother for what happened to her.
  • Virāṭa: King who protected Pandavas on 13th incognito year. He was so grateful to Pandavas for protecting his kingdom, that he decided to fight with them.
  • Son of Subhadrā: Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna (who had 2 wives: Draupadi and Subhdarā; Krishna’s sister). He was young, indicating brilliance and worthiness have nothing to do with age.
  • NEXT VERSE: Duryodhana now speaks of warriors on Kauravas side and reveals his insecurity…

Keywords:  

Course was based on Neema Majmudar's Bhagavad Gita & Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya) home study course.

Recorded 19 May, 2024

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