|Chapter 1||Lamenting the Consequence of War||Verse 1|
Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:
In this very first verse of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita beginning with dharma- ksetra-kuru-ksetra, avatar Krsna Dwaipayana Vyasadeva has used this narrative form: assembled in the place of righteousness Kuruksetra etc.; to properly introduce the location, the action and the theme. Thereafter when King Dhritarastra in Hastinapura asks his minister, Sanjaya who had received clairvoyance by the grace of Vyasadeva as to what happened on the battlefield, Sanjaya related all the events exactly as they happened by having the clairvoyant ability to witness them directly within his mind as if he was there present. Srila Vyasadeva to properly introduce their dialogue begins with the narrative form with: having seen the army of the sons of Pandu etc. After this until the end of the chapter the subtle intricacies of duty are delineated.
As has been stated in the ancient Vedic scriptures concerning the greatness of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita and that is the words that emanate from the transcendental mouth of the Supreme Lord Krishna when well assimilated precludes the necessity of various other scriptures.
Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Madhvacarya has no commentary so we present Baladeva Vidyabhusana's.
To properly illustrate the consistency in the conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield, Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa has quoted the first 27 verses in chapter one beginning dharma-ksetra kuru- ksetra refering to Kuruksetra as the land of righteousness.
Now when King Dhritarastra learned that Lord Krishna had accepted the position of chariot driver for Arjuna, he immediately was suspicious and became doubtful of his son, Duryodhana's chances for victory. At that time he asked his minister Sanjaya a redundant question as what did his sons and the son of his brother do in the first verse of chapter one.
It should be understood in the correct context that the revelatory instructions given by Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the 700 verses of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita that is revealed within Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa's monumental, historical epic, Mahabharata; as to what was being told by Sanjaya to Dhritarastra is actually a conversation described to Arjunas great, grandson, Emperor Janamejaya by Vaisampayana Muni and it is he who is expressing the words dhritarastra uvaca meaning Dhritarastra said.
Srimad Bhagavad-Gita begins with Dhritarastra asking Sanjaya: What did my sons and the sons of Pandu, assembled at the righteous land of Kuruksetra desirious of battle do? Now the question which arises, is what was the necessity of Dhritarastra asking Sanjaya what did they do; when he himself in the same verse says: they are assembled desirous of battle. The reason he is asking is because Kuruksetra is the land of righteousness.
Dhritarastra was thinking: Kuruksetra is famous as the land of sacrifice for the demigods and also the abode of brahma-jnana, knowledge of the Ultimate Truth for all living entities. He was worried that under the potent influence of Kuruksetra's righteous land, his sons would have decided to return half of the kingdom back unto the sons of Pandu now being free from all jealously? Or is it that the sons of Pandu fearing that the destruction of a dynasty is an unrighteous act in a holy place like Kuruksetra and have decided that it's best to retire to the forest and live as renunciates for the rest of their lives?
By addressing Sanjaya, Dhritarastra means that by the mercy of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa, Sanjaya has become free from attachment and aversion and thus he will certainly speak the truth. By using the word mamakah and pandavah in referring to his sons and the sons of Pandu indicates disparity and shows that Dhritarastra did not accept the sons of his deceased brother Pandu as he did his own sons and this reveals his enmity towards them.
Ksetra also means field of cultivation. Just as in a rice field there are unwanted grasses looking exactly like the rice paddy which must be uprooted. Similarly the use of the word dharma-ksetra is indicative that the unrighteous sons of Dhritarastra will also be uprooted.
Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:
The Supreme Lord Krishna in order to mitigate Arjuna's lamentation tells him that he grieves for that which is not worthy of sorrow in answer to the cause of Arjuna woes as has been described in the first chapter which began by the blind Dhrtarastra inquiring about his hoped for sons victory; yet internally in doubt due to Arjunas unsurpassable valour revealed in his aquisition of divine weapons by satisfying Shiva, also this was proved when Arjuna defeated the Gandharvas and released Duryodhana even though the latter had come to cause he and his brothers mischief, also by Arjunas removing of the Kauravas crowns and ornaments when he defeated them recapturing the cowherd of the king at the city of Virata. All these events flashed through Dhritarastra's mind and with a heavy heart he asked Sanjaya who had been bequeathed with clairvoyance byVedavyasa giving him the capacity to envision everything that was happenning on the battlefield of Kuruksetra between the army of his sons the Kauravas and the army of the Pandavas.
The Mahabharata records these events from a conversation between the holy sage Vaisampayana and Arjunas great-grandson Janamejaya and begins the Bhagavad-Gita with Dhritarastra spoke. In this very first verse the question is placed within the sentence thus: In the holy land of Kuruksetra what did my sons and the sons of Pandu desiring battle do? Kuruksetra is the place of the origin of dharma or righteousness. The Vedic scriptures declare that Kuruksetra is a place for performing sacrifice. Its signifigance is well known and recorded. All through the ages Kuruksetra has been a place for performing sacrifice, sacred and holy, resided at by the Brahma-rishis. Those who depart this world at Kuruksetra should not be grieved for under any circumstances. The suggested question that Dhritarastra is inwardly posing is whether or not his sons observing the powerful warriors in the enemy ranks such as the mighty Bhima and the intrepid Arjuna who is a perfect master in the use of celestial weapons, were still determined to fight or reconsidering did they give up all thoughts of warfare and instead call a truce and make a peace settlement.
The phrase dharma-ksetra kuru-ksetra used by Dhritarastra signifies two things. The first is that he is inwardly thinking that his sons who are not righteous might give back the kingdom to the Pandavas which they appropriated by fraudulent means, due to being influenced by the righteousness and holy acts of sanctity performed in sacred sacrifice for the satisfaction of Bhrigu Muni and as well as the potent act of atonement performed by avatar Parasurama which He offered on five altars as expiation for his fathers death. The second is that Dhritarastra was contemplating that Kuruksetra being the the place where dharma originated is inherently powerfully potent in virtue and righteousness. If the Pandavas who are virtuous by nature, increase in righteousness due to contact with the holiness of Kuruksetra and thereby lose all desire in regaining the kingdom after duly weighing the sinful consequences of slaying their kinsman and relatives then I would be very pleased with them.