Introducing Srimad Bhagavad Gita - A User's Manual for Every Day Living

Story  of the Mahabharata
In  the north of India,  there flourished a kingdom with its headquarters at Hastinapur.  King Pandu was ruling the kingdom after his  father's death, as his elder brother, Dhritarashtra, was born blind and  therefore not qualified for the rulership according to the tenets of that age.

King  Pandu had five sons who were known as Pandavas.   Dhritarashtra had one hundred sons who were called as Kauravas, the  eldest of whom was Duryodhana. Bhishma was the uncle of  Pandu and Dhritarashtra.

After  Pandu's death his children, Pandavas, were brought up and educated along with  Kauravas under the supervision of Bhishma and patronage of Dhritarashtra.  Drona was a skillful teacher who taught them  all the techniques of warfare.  Pandavas  were intelligent and brave. Within a short time they could master the art of  warfare.  Yudhishtira, the eldest of the  Pandavas, succeeded his father as the king.

Duryodhana  was jealous of the Pandavas. When Yudhishtira was proclaimed a king Duryodhana  could not keep quiet and watch.  He  employed all foul means to destroy Pandavas and every time he tried to kill  them he met with failure. On Bhishma's advice the kingdom was divided into two  parts - the better one with Hastinapur as capital was taken by the Kauravas  while the Pandavas took the other half and built a new beautiful capital called  Indraprastha for themselves.

Dhritarashtra  was equally affectionate towards his sons and Pandavas but had the weakness to  be sympathetic towards his eldest son's sorrows and disappointments.

Once  Duryodhana invited Yudhishtira for a game of dice wherein the former with the  help of his cunning and deceitful uncle, Sakuni, defeated Yudhishtira by using  all fraudulent means.  As a result,  Yudhishtira lost not only all his kingdom and possessions but also Draupadi,  the wife of all the Pandava brothers.   Draupadi was humiliated by the Kaurava brothers to such an extent that  an attempt was made to disrobe her in public.   Her honor was saved by Bhagavan Sri Krishna, a great family friend of  the Pandavas.

Finally  it was settled that Pandavas should live in the forest for twelve years in  exile and further one year incognito untraced by any one.  After successfully completing these thirteen  years of ordeal when the Pandavas claimed their kingdom Duryodhana refused to  part with even that much little land as could be covered by the point of a  needle.

The  good offices of Sri Krishna to bring sanity to Duryodhana who was intoxicated  with power and greed proved futile.  The  Pandavas were left with no alternative but to take up arms against Kauravas to  regain their kingdom lost through tricks, treachery and chicanery.

A  war between Pandavas and Kauravas became inevitable and the preparations for  the epic battle started.  Both the sides  mobilized their troops and took their respective positions in the battlefield  at Kurukshetra, near modern Delhi.

Bhagavan  Sri Krishna was the charioteer of Arjuna, the mightiest of the Pandava  brothers. Arjuna asked Sri Krishna to place their chariot between the two  armies to enable him to have a glimpse of all those with whom he had to fight.  Although till that time he was in full fighting spirit, when he saw his  teachers, elders, brothers, relatives and friends standing before him ready for  the fight, his determination gave way to weakness of head and heart.  He lost his enthusiasm to fight and told Sri  Krishna that he did not want to wage the battle against his seniors, relations  and friends for the sake of a paltry kingdom.

When  Arjuna refused to fight, Sri Krishna gave him a good peace of advice  enlightening him upon where his duty lay. This marvelous advice delivered by  The Bhagavan in the battlefield at Kurukshetra is the immortal poem, the song  divine, the glorious SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA which epitomizes the whole gamut of  knowledge contained in all the Scriptures.

Sage  Vyasa offered Dhritarashtra the power of sight which would enable him to see  the events of war.  Unwilling to see the  inevitable massacre of his sons, the blind king desired to know the full  details of the war. To fulfill Dhritarashtra's request Vyasa bestowed Sanjaya,  the trusted minister of Dhritarashtra, with the divine intuitive vision by  which he could know not only the incidents of the battlefield but also the  ideas in the minds of the warriors.

After  ten days of war, Bhishma, the commander of the Kaurava army was severely  wounded and thrown off his chariot. When Sanjaya informed Dhritarashtra about  this incident the blind king became very sad and asked him to tell him all the  details of the war. The reporting of Sanjaya about the events of war including  the dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna at the battlefield is contained in  the Bhishma Parva of Mahabharata wherein The Gita text finds place. The Gita  opens with the question of the blind king to Sanjaya asking him what happened  on the battlefield when the two armies faced each other in the battle formation.

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