dharmakṣetre kurukṣetre samavetā yuyutsavaḥ
māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāścaiva kimakurvata sañjaya (1. 01)
O Sanjaya, gathered together for war on the holy field of Kurukshetra, what did my partisans and those of the Pandavas do?
dṛṣṭvā tu pāṇḍavānīkaṁ vyūḍhaṁ duryodhanastadā
ācāryamupasaṁgamya rājā vacanamabravīt (1. 02)
Thereupon, King Duryodhana on seeing the Pandava army arranged in battle order approached the preceptor and said these words:
paśyaitāṁ pāṇḍuputrāṇāmācārya mahatīṁ camūm
vyūḍhāṁ drupadaputreṇa tava śiṣyeṇa dhīmatā (1. 03)
“Look, O Teacher, look at this huge Pandava army arranged in order of battle by your clever disciple Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Drupada.
atra śūrā maheṣvāsā bhīmārjunasamā yudhi
yuyudhāno virāṭaśca drupadaśca mahārathaḥ (1. 04)
dhṛṣṭaketuścekitanaḥ kāśirājaśca vīryavān
purujitkuntibhojaśca śaibyaśca narapuṁgavaḥ (1. 05)
yudhāmanyuśca vikrānta uttamaujāśca vīryavān
saubhadro draupadeyāśca sarva eva mahārathāḥ (1. 06)
In this enormous army there are courageous men and mighty wielders of bow like unto Bhima and Arjuna — Yuyudhana, Virata, and Drupada, the great chariot-warrior.
There are Dhrishtaketu, Chekitana and the man of great might, the king of Kashi, there are Purujit and Kuntibhoja and Shaibya, the best of men. The powerful Yudhamanyu is there and the mighty Uttamauja, Abhimanyu the son of Subhadra, and the sons of Draupadi, great warriors all.
asmākarh tu viśiṣṭā ye tānnibodha dvijottama
nāyakā mama sainyasya saṁjñārthaṁ tānbravīmi te (1. 07)
Those among us who are possessed of extraordinary strength, those who are the leaders of my troops, of them I recount the names that you may remember them, note:
bhavānbhīṣmaśca karṇaśca kṛpaśca samitiṁjayaḥ
aśvatthāmā vikarṇaśca saumadattir jayadrathaḥ (1. 08)
anye ca bahavaḥ śūrā madarthe tyaktajīvitāḥ
nānāśastrapraharaṇāḥ sarve yuddhaviśāradāḥ (1. 09)
Yourself and Bhishma, Karna and Kripa, the winner in battle, Aswatthama, Vikarna, Bhurisrava, the son of Somadatta, and Jayadratha, and many another man of courage have given up their attachment to life for my sake. All of them are skilled in warfare and are accoutred with many kinds of weapons.
aparyāptaṁ tadasmākaṁ balaṁ bhīṣmābhirakṣitam
paryāptaṁ tvidameteṣāṁ balaṁ bhīmābhirakṣitam (1. 10)
The strength of this army of ours is unlimited, on top of that Bhishma is our defender; the strength of that army of theirs is limited and Bhima alone is their hope and protection.
ayaneṣu ca sarveṣu yathābhāgamavasthitāḥ
bhīṣmamevābhirakṣantu bhavantaḥ sarva eva hi (1. 11)
Therefore all of you should protect Bhishma alone by remaining at your appointed stations among the troops at all the entries to the battle-field.”
tasya saṁjanayanharṣaṁ kuruvṛddhaḥ pitāmahaḥ
siṁhanādaṁ vinadyoccaiḥ śañkhaṁ dadhmau pratāpavān (1. 12)
Giving rise to joy in Duryodhana’s heart, grandfather Bhishma the oldest of the Kauravas uttered a loud battle-cry that resounded through the field and blew with great power into his conch.
tataḥ śañkhāśca bheryaśca paṇavānakagomukhāḥ
sahasaivābhyahanyanta sa śabdastumulo’bhavat (1. 13)
Then suddenly there arose the sounds of conches and horns and war-drums of all kinds, the battle-field was filled with loud noises.
tataḥ śvetairhayairyukte mahati syandane sthitau
mādhavaḥ pāṇḍavaścaiva divyau śañkhau pradaghmatuḥ (1. 14)
Thereupon, standing on their huge chariot drawn by white horses, Krishna and Pandu’s son Arjuna blew their divine conches.
pāñcajanyaṁ hṛṣīkeśo devadattaṁ dhanaṁjayaḥ
pauṇḍraṁ dadhmau mahāśañkhaṁ bhīmakarmā vṛkodaraḥ (1. 15)
Hrishikesha blew his Pancajanya, Arjuna his conch named Devadatta, and Bhima of terrifying deeds blew his mighty conch named Paundra.
anantavijayaṁ rājā kuntīputro yudhiṣṭhiraḥ
nakulaḥ sahadevaśca sughoṣamaṇipuṣpakau (1. 16)
King Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, blew his conch Anantavijaya, and Nakula and Sahadeva blew theirs named Sughosha and Manipushpaka.
kāśyaśca parameṣvāsaḥ śikhaṇḍī ca mahārathaḥ
dhṛṣṭadyumno virāṭaśca sātyakiścāparājitaḥ (1. 17)
drupado draupadeyāśca sarvaśaḥ prthivīpate
saubhadraśca mahābāhuḥ śañkhāndadhmuḥ pṛthakpṛthak (1. 18)
Kashi’s king, the supreme archer, the great chariot-fighter Shikhandi, Dhrishtadyumna and the unbeaten warrior Satyaki, Drupada and Draupadi’s sons, the long-armed son of Subhadra, all blew their respective conches from every direction.
sa ghoṣo dhārtarāṣṭrāṇāṁ hṛdayāni vyadārayat
nabhaśca pṛthivīṁ caiva tumulo vyanunādayan (1. 19)
That mighty report sent tumultuous echoes through earth and sky and rent asunder the hearts of Dhritarashtra’s sons.
atha vyavasthitāndṛṣṭvā dhārtarāṣṭrān kapidhvajaḥ
pravṛtte śastrasaṁpāte dhanurudyamya pāṇḍavaḥ
hṛṣīkeśaṁ tadā vākyamidamāha mahīpate (1. 20)
Then, after the missiles had begun to fly, Pandu’s son Arjuna raised his bow and said these words to Hrishikesha:
senayorubhayormadhye rathaṁ sthāpaya me’cyuta
yāvadetānnirīkṣe’haṁ yoddhukāmānavasthitān (1. 21)
kairmayā saha yoddhavyamasminraṇasamudyame (1. 22)
yotsyamananavekṣe’haṁ ya ete’tra samāgatāḥ
dhārtarāṣṭrasya durbuddheryuddhe priyacikīrṣavaḥ (1. 23)
“O sinless one, place my chariot at a mid-point between the two armies, that I may gaze for sometime at these adversaries seized with the desire for battle. Let me see who are they who want a fight, who have come together here with the object of performing in the battle-field acts dear to Duryodhana, the misguided son of Dhritarashtra.”
evamukto hṛṣīkeśo guḍākeśena bhārata
senayorubhayormadhye sthāpayitvā rathottamam (1. 24)
bhīṣmadroṇapramukhataḥ sarveṣāṁ ca mahīkṣitām
uvaca pārtha paśyaitānsamavetānkurūniti (1. 25)
On hearing these words of Arjuna, Hrishikesha placed that excellent chariot at a mid-point between the two armies, and arriving in front of Bhishma, Drona and all the other princes, said, “O Partha, watch all the Kurus gathered here.”
tatrāpasyatsthitānpārthaḥ pitṛnatha pitāmahān
śvaśurānsuhṛdaścaiva senayorubhayorapi (1. 26)
In that field of battle, Partha saw standing among the two opposing forces, fathers and grandfathers, teachers, uncles, brothers, sons and grandsons, friends, fathers-in-law and intimate companions, all his kith and kin.
tānsamīkṣya sa kaunteyaḥ sarvānbandhunavasthitān
kṛpayā parayāviṣṭo viṣīdannidamabravīt (1. 27)
On seeing all those friends and relations thus standing before him, Kunti’s son was overtaken by an acute sense of pity and said these words, his heart stricken with grief:
dṛṣṭvemaṁ svajanaṁ kṛṣrṇa yuyutsuṁ samupasthitam
sīdanti mama gātrāṇi mukhaṁ ca pariśuṣyati (1. 28)
vepathuśca śarīre me romaharṣaśca jāyate
gāṇḍīvaṁ sraṁsate hastāttvakcaiva paridahyate (1. 29)
“O Krishna, on seeing all these my own people ranged for battle, the limbs of my body are feeling weary, my mouth is getting parched, all over the body there is shivering and the hairs stand on edge, the Gandiva bow is slipping out of my hand without control, my skin is as if burning with fire.
na ca śaknomyavasthātuṁ bhramatīva ca me manaḥ
nimittāni ca paśyāmi viparītāni keśava (1. 30)
I can no longer keep standing, my mind is beginning as if to whirl, O Keshava, I am seeing evil omens.
na ca śreyo’nupaśyāmi hatvā svajanamāhave
na kānkṣe vijayaṁ kṛṣṇa na ca rājyaṁ sukhāni ca (1. 31)
I do not see any good from killing my own people in battle. O Krishna, I do not wish for victory, nor do I want a kingdom nor seek happiness either.
kiṁ no rājyena govinda kiṁ bhogairjīvitena vā
yeṣāmarthe kāñkṣitaṁ no rājyaṁ bhogāḥ sukhāni ca (1. 32)
ta ime’vasthitā yuddhe prāṇāṁstyaktvā dhanāni ca
ācāryāḥ pitaraḥ putrāstathaiva ca pitāmahāḥ (1. 33)
Tell me, O Govinda, what do we gain from kingdom? what profit is there in enjoyment? of what use is life itself? Those for whom kingdom and enjoyment and life become desirable are themselves present in this battlefield after renouncing their life and wealth — they who are teachers and fathers, sons and grandfathers,
mātulāḥ śvaśurāḥ pautrāḥ śyālāḥ sambandhinastathā
etānna hantumicchāmi ghnato’pi madhusūdana (1. 34)
api trailokyarājyasya hetoḥ kiṁ nu mahīkṛte
nihatya dhārtarāṣṭrānnaḥ kā prītiḥ syājjanārdana (1. 35)
uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives. O Madhusudana, if they kill me, even then I do not wish to kill them, not even for the sake of dominion over the three worlds, what to say of the lordship of earth. What, O Janardana, can be our happiness of mind by killing the sons of Dhritarashtra?
tasmānnārhā vayaṁ hantuṁ dhārtarāṣṭrānsvabāndhavān
svajanaṁ hi kathaṁ hatvā sukhinaḥ syāma mādhava (1. 36)
They are out to kill, nevertheless, to kill them would be to give shelter in our mind to sin. Therefore, since the sons of Dhritarashtra are our kin, we are not the persons fit to destroy them. In what way, O Madhava, shall we be happy by killing our own people?
yadyapyete na paśyanti lobhopahatacetasaḥ
kulakṣayakṛtaṁ doṣaṁ mitradrohe ca pātakam (1. 37)
Under the influence of greed they have lost their understanding, and they do not appreciate the evils arising from a deterioration of the clans and the heinous sin of doing harm to one’s friends.
kathaṁ na jñeyamasmābhiḥ pāpādasmannivartitum
kulakṣayakṛtaṁ doṣaṁ prapaśyadbhirjanārdana (1. 38)
But we, O Janardana, realise the harm caused by the deterioration of clans. Why should we not wake to the knowledge, why should we not desist from this sin?
kulakṣaye praṇaśyanti kuladharmāḥ sanātanāḥ
dharme naṣṭe kulaṁ kṛtsnam adharmo’bhibhavatyuta (1. 39)
With a deterioration of the clan, all the established laws of right living come to an end, and with that, unrighteousness overtakes the entire clan.
adharmābhibhavātkṛṣṇa praduṣyanti kulastriyaḥ
strīṣu duṣṭāsu vārṣṇeya jāyate varṇasaṁkaraḥ (1. 40)
Under the influence of unrighteousness, O Krishna, the women of the clan lose their virtue; when the women lose their virtue, there is admixture of castes.
saṁkaro narakāyaiva kulaghnānāṁ kulasya ca
patanti pitaro hyeṣāṁ luptapiṇḍodakakriyāḥ (1. 41)
The admixture of castes is the cause of the clansmen and the destroyers of clans going to hell, because the ancestors are thereby deprived of the food and water given them as offerings and they fall from the world of the fathers.
doṣairetaiḥ kulaghnānāṁ varṇasaṁkarakārakaiḥ
utsādyante jātidharmāḥ kuladharmāśca śāśvatāḥ (1. 42)
As a result of all these evils caused by the destroyers of clans and leading to the admixture of castes, the old established laws of the nation and the clan come to naught.
utsannakuladharmāṇāṁ manuṣyāṇāṁ janārdana
narake niyataṁ vāso bhavatītyanuśuśruma (1. 43)
In hell is assigned the abode of those the laws of whose clans have come to naught; this is what we have heard from of old.
aho bata mahat pāpaṁ kartuṁ vyavasitā vayam
yad rājyasukhalobhena hantuṁ svajanam udyatāḥ (1. 44)
Lo! the extremely heinous sin we had determined to commit, that we were making efforts to kill our own people out of greed for the pleasure of dominion.
yadi māmapratīkāramaśastraṁ śastrapāṇayaḥ
dhārtarāṣṭrā raṇe hanyustanme kṣemataraṁ bhavet (1. 45)
It were better for me if the sons of Dhritarashtra accoutred in arms should kill me when I am without arms and make no effort to resist.”
evamuktvārjunaḥ saṅkhye rathopastha upāviśat
visṛjya saśaraṁ cāpaṁ śokasaṁvignamānasaḥ (1. 46)
With these words, his mind stained by the upsurge of grief, Arjuna threw away his bow with the arrow fixed on it and sat down in his chariot.
(Dharma, No. 10, 1909)