Gita Daily Readings

8th January
Chapter
I: 28-31
Arjuna spoke thus, sorrowfully, filled with deep pity: Seeing these, my kinsmen, Oh Krishna, arrayed and eager to fight, my limbs fail and my mouth is parched, my body quivers and my hairs stand on end, the bow slips from my hand and my skin burns all over. I am unable even to stand and my mind is reeling, as it were. And I see adverse omens, Oh Keshava, I do not see any good in killing my kinsmen in battle.

Commentary

The seed of all our miseries is beautifully exposed to our view. "Suffering" does not move us to pity. We are not at all "grieved" over death. We do not shed tears when we read of earthquakes and air crashes. Only identification of our own self with the persons involved gives rise to grief. "A boy drowned in the sea" is news; "My son was drowned" is a heart-breaking tragedy! Both boys were living beings, born of parents, but the latter was "my son," and that makes all the difference.

Delusion is a mental state, but it has a devastating effect on even our physical being. Psychosomatic medicine is discovering the truth that our health depends not so much on health foods and tonics, on strong muscles and sturdy limbs, but on the state of our mind which is ultimately dependent on a correct attitude to life. The Bhagavad Gita gives us this correct attitude.

The "adverse omens" - did Arjuna actually see any? We should not forget the Pandavas were victorious. The omens could have portended the destruction of their own children. Or perhaps the fear and the confusion which overwhelmed Arjuna made him "see things."

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