“The Geeta: as a Chaitanyite reads it” by Tridandi Swami B.H. Bon, "Chapter One : Arjuna Inspects the Army"

"SAID Dhritarastra, "O Sanjaya!
What did Duryodhana
And my other sons and the Pandavas,
Led by Yudhisthira, do
When, intent on giving battle they assembled
On the sacred field of Kurukshetra?"
Sanjaya answered, "Majesty!
When this king Duryodhana saw
The troops of the Pandavas
Marshalled in military array,
Approached he Dronacharya saying,

"MASTER ! See the force great
Of the Pandavas,
Who are massed in close formation
By your talented disciple,
Dhristadyumna the son of Drupada.
In that army are matchless archers,
Bhima and Arjuna, and
other heroes of equal prowess
as the warrior Satyaki and Virata,
Drupada the mighty charioteer,
Dhristaketu and Purujit,
Famous Savya, the mighty Yudhamanyu,
The great king of Benares, and Kuntibhoja,
Abhimanyu son of great Subhadra,
And Draupadi's five sons -
All are expert charioteers.

"PRECEPTOR ! now I name
All the commanders of our forces.
Besides the conquerors invincible like you,
Bhisma, Karna, Kripa, Aswatthama,
Vikarna and Bhurishrava, son of Somadatta,
Jayadratha and countless other heroes
Who are adroit in fighting and well equipped
With various offensive and defensive weapons
Are ready to sacrifice their lives for me.
Our forces marshalled by
Great Bhisma are enormous
While the forces of the Pandavas
Led by Bhima are but limited.*
(* In the sense of encouraging Drona: Our force though small
will yet come out victorious under the skilful and exceptional
command of Bhisma, and therefore seem enormous, against the
huge army of the Pandavas under the command of the less
intelligent an inefficient charioteer Bhima, which thereby
becomes limited.)


Our forces marshalled by great Bhisma
Are not sufficient to cope
With the Pandavas' huge, strong force
Under the command of Bhima.+
(+ In the sense of the power of foresight of Duryodhana:
though our forces under the command of Bhisma are far greater
than the limited troops of Pandavas under the lead of Bhima
and though Bhisma far excels Bhima in keen intelligence,
experience and knowledge of warfare, yet our huge army is
not sufficiently competent to fight against the limited force of
the Pandavas owing to the fact that Bhisma is favorably
disposed to the Pandavas, and therefore our force is limited
while the Pandavas have a stronger army.)
Now it behoves you, Bhisma, to defend
From your respective phalanxes."

"THEN the mighty, venerable Bhisma,
Aged grand-sire of the Kurus,
Sounded the war-cry on his conch-shell
To encourage Duryodhana.
Simultaneously with loud blasts on the conch-shell,
Trumpets, tabors and the beating of the drums,
Came the vigorous martial music.
On the other side, Sree Krishna, the Lord of the senses,
And Arjuna riding in a splendid chariot
Drawn by a pair of horses white,
Placed the lordly bugles to Their lips
And sounded a noble fan-fare.

THE bugle-calls of Krishna and Arjuna then
Were played respectively on "Panchajanya"
and on "Devadatta";
Loud was the clarion-call from Bhisma's "Paundra".
The clarions of the son of Kunti,
Yudhisthira, Nakula and Sahadeva
Respectively were "Ananta-Vijaya", "Sugosha" and
The dexterous archer King of Benares,
The great charioteer Sikhandi,
Dhristadyumna, Virata and invincible Satyaki,
And "Ruler of the Earth, O Dhritarastra!" said Sanjaya,
"Drupada, the five sons of Draupadi,
And Abhimanyu Subhadra's mighty son -
All these sent out their clarion-calls.
The mighty trumpets sounded o'er the earth
Echoing across the far horizon,
Cleaving the hearts of Dhristarastra's sons
With terror of heart-breaking.
"Your Majesty!" said Sanjaya to Dhritarastra,
"Seated in his monkey-crested chariot,
Beholding the soldiers of your offspring's
Faction ready to give battle,
Setting his arrow to his bow,
Thus said Arjuna to Sree Krishna:

"O Indestructable!
Place Thou my chariot between the army
That I may see the army that I am to fight,
And discern those who have espoused the cause,
And assembled here as partisans
Of the evil-minded Duryodhana."
Sanjaya said, "Bharata!
When thus besought by Gudakesha* Arjuna,
Sree Krishna Who knew well the heart of him,
Placed the majestic chariot amidst the army, saying
"O Partha! behold thou Bhisma,
Drona and other Kauravas
Assembled here to fight."
(* The word "Gudakesha"means: One who has conquered
sleep owing to his constant remembrance of the friendly affection
and divine fascinating beauties of the Supreme Personality of
Sree Krishna. Or, One being beloved of Sree Krishna is loved
by Brahma, Vishnu and Siva.)
Arjuna beheld amidst the armies of both factions,
His paternal uncle, brothers, grand-sire and preceptor,
Maternal uncle, father-in-law, and many other friends.
Thus seeing his friends and kinsmen
Ready to give battle in the field,
Arjuna, son of Kunti, was greatly moved to pity,
And cried out in grief:

"OH Krishna! Seeing these my friends and
near kinsmen
Awaiting the signal to begin the fight,
My limbs droop and my lips are parched,
My body trembles, my hair doth stand on end,
My hand relaxes upon Gandiva, my bow,
And my skin is scorched.
I am failing in strength,
My mind is utterly bewildered;
Keshava! I discern signs ominous which auger ill.
I find no good resulting from the killing
Of friends and relatives in battle.
O Krishna! I no longer crave for victory
Nor have I any more ambition to enjoy kingdom.

"O Govinda!* what further need have we now
of a kingdom ?
(* Govinda - One Who satisfies the functions of all senses
and therefore knows the feelings of the heart.)
What need for happiness and pleasure?
What good is there in saving life?
For, all those for whom kingdom and wealth are worth having
Are now all present here to fight.
If Thou dost argue that even at the cost of my own life,
I should fight to gain kingdom,
Wealth and happiness for my own friends,
In the present circumstance there is no certainty
If all these for whom I am to seek
Such happiness will but survive
As they are all assembled here to fight.

"IF Thou holdest, my Lord!
That I should exterminate all foes
For the safety and prosperity of the kingdom,
Even then I do decline
To adopt such jealous process of brutal slaughter.
If the argument be that I must kill
But sons of Dhritarastra and not others
Who put us to countless tribulations and afflictions,
What peace can the Pandavas hope to have hereafter
When the first rush of glorious victory be over,
And they writhe in torture at the recollection
That they had killed their brothers?
Should anyone be killed, that must be done
By Thee alone, O Lord!
For Thou art the Creator,
Preserver and Destroyer of this world -
Nor sin nor piety can touch Thee.
And therefore the taking
Of lives of all these here assembled to fight
Does not befit me at all.

"WHEN I see, Madhusudana !
That teacher, father, son, grand-sire,
Maternal uncle, father-in-law, and grand-son,
Brothers-in-law, friends and relatives -
All have resolved to sacrifice their lives and treasure
And are ready now to fight upon this field of battle,
I do not wish by any means to kill them
Even though they rob us of our lives.
O Janardana! what pleasure can we derive
From the slaying of the sons of Dhritarastra
Albeit that result
In the lordship of the triple world?

"THOUGH statutory law approves
The killing of those criminals
Who perpetrate the crime arson,
Poisoning and robbery,
Yet will it be a sin against the laws of Scripture
To take the life of the superiors and elders,
Though they do prove to be such kind of enemies.
I therefore feel myself not entitled
To kill the sons of Dhritarastra
With their friends and kith and kin.
Madhava, Lord of real knowledge!
What joy can ever come of killing kith and kin?
Duryodhana and his friends are stupified by grief
And disregard the faults accruing to families effete,
And sin by treachery to friends;
But Janardana!
Why should we not desist from sinful acts like these
When they are so apparent to us?
When once traditional religious rites
End with the passing of a family,
Degeneration and unrighteousness do speedily
corrupt the rest.

"O Krishna !-Jewel of the race of Brisni !
When irreligion thus prevails, even noble
maidens go astray,
An inter-marriage among the castes
Disturbs the purity of blood.
The origin of mixed blood leads
A family and its polluter into hell;
The forebears of such family
Are liable to sink to hell
When they are deprived of funeral cakes and water.
Age-old customs, rites, traditions
And duties of pure caste
Will be thus annulled by vices that promoted hybrid
I am told, O Janardana!
That the families thus ruined
Are perforce all doomed to hell.

ALAS ! What tragedy !
Intoxicated by the greed
Of lording o'er a kingdom,
We now resolve to sin outrageously
By dealing death to friends and relatives alike.
When I, unarmed, refrain from retribution,
If Dhritarastra's sons should kill me in the fray,
Then even that would I prefer as better far for me."
This said, Arjuna cast aside his bow and arrow
And sat on his chariot with a melancholy heart.

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Pranam to Swami Bon

"I make my obeisances with deep and loving devotion for ever and ever to my Gurudev, who is known by the name of Srimad Bhakti Hriday Bon, who being attracted by the lotus-feet of Radha-Madhab is for ever and ever immersed in the perennial stream of supramundane joy emanating therefrom.

I bow down again and again with loving devotion to my Gurudev who is a wandering Tridandi mendicant and erudite Vaishnava (who) is always following in the wake of Sri Rupa; I make my obeisances in all humility, at all times with sincere loving devotion to my Gurudev who resides happily in the
Kunja (bower) allotted to him by Shrimati Radhika, the dearest Divine Consort of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna who is Rasa epitomized, who has taken to the way of Bhakti in consonace with the teachings of Sri Chaitanya - nay, whose whole pattern of life is moulded on the teachings and precepts of Sri Chaitanya."