Chapter 1

Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra

TEXT 1

dhrtarastra uvaca

dharma-ksetre kuru-ksetre

samaveta yuyutsavah

mamakah pandavas caiva

kim akurvata sanjaya

SYNONYMS

dhrtarastrah–King Dhrtarastra; uvaca–said; dharma-ksetre–in the

place of pilgrimage; kuru-ksetre–in the place named Kuruksetra;

samavetah–assembled; yuyutsavah–desiring to fight; mamakah–my party

(sons); pandavah–the sons of Pandu; ca–and; eva–certainly; kim–

what; akurvata–did they do; sanjaya–O Sanjaya.

TRANSLATION

Dhrtarastra said: O Sanjaya, after assembling in the place of

pilgrimage at Kuruksetra, what did my sons and the sons of Pandu do,

being desirous to fight?

PURPORT

Bhagavad-gita is the widely read theistic science summarized in the

Gita-mahatmya (Glorification of the Gita). There it says that one

should read Bhagavad-gita very scrutinizingly with the help of a person

who is a devotee of Sri Krsna and try to understand it without

personally motivated interpretations. The example of clear

understanding is there in the Bhagavad-gita itself, in the way the

teaching is understood by Arjuna, who heard the Gita directly from the

Lord. If someone is fortunate enough to understand Bhagavad-gita in

that line of disciplic succession, without motivated interpretation,

then he surpasses all studies of Vedic wisdom, and all scriptures of

the world. One will find in the Bhagavad-gita all that is contained in

other scriptures, but the reader will also find things which are not to

be found elsewhere. That is the specific standard of the Gita. It is

the perfect theistic science because it is directly spoken by the

Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna.

The topics discussed by Dhrtarastra and Sanjaya, as described in the

Mahabharata, form the basic principle for this great philosophy. It is

understood that this philosophy evolved on the Battlefield of

Kuruksetra, which is a sacred place of pilgrimage from the immemorial

time of the Vedic age. It was spoken by the Lord when He was present

personally on this planet for the guidance of mankind.

The word dharma-ksetra (a place where religious rituals are performed)

is significant because, on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, the Supreme

Personality of Godhead was present on the side of Arjuna. Dhrtarastra,

the father of the Kurus, was highly doubtful about the possibility of

his sons’ ultimate victory. In his doubt, he inquired from his

secretary Sanjaya, “What did my sons and the sons of Pandu do?” He was

confident that both his sons and the sons of his younger brother Pandu

were assembled in that Field of Kuruksetra for a determined engagement

of war. Still, his inquiry is significant. He did not want a compromise

between the cousins and brothers, and he wanted to be sure of the fate

of his sons on the battlefield. Because the battle was arranged to be

fought at Kuruksetra, which is mentioned elsewhere in the Vedas as a

place of worship–even for the denizens of heaven–Dhrtarastra became

very fearful about the influence of the holy place on the outcome of

the battle. He knew very well that this would influence Arjuna and the

sons of Pandu favorably, because by nature they were all virtuous.

Sanjaya was a student of Vyasa, and therefore, by the mercy of Vyasa,

Sanjaya was able to envision the Battlefield of Kuruksetra even while

he was in the room of Dhrtarastra. And so, Dhrtarastra asked him about

the situation on the battlefield.

Both the Pandavas and the sons of Dhrtarastra belong to the same

family, but Dhrtarastra’s mind is disclosed herein. He deliberately

claimed only his sons as Kurus, and he separated the sons of Pandu from

the family heritage. One can thus understand the specific position of

Dhrtarastra in his relationship with his nephews, the sons of Pandu. As

in the paddy field the unnecessary plants are taken out, so it is

expected from the very beginning of these topics that in the religious

field of Kuruksetra where the father of religion, Sri Krsna, was

present, the unwanted plants like Dhrtarastra’s son Duryodhana and

others would be wiped out and the thoroughly religious persons, headed

by Yudhisthira, would be established by the Lord. This is the

significance of the words dharma-ksetre and kuru-ksetre, apart from

their historical and Vedic importance.

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