Setting the Stage

Five thousand years ago at an ancient battlefield near what is now New Delhi, India, armies representing kingdoms from all over the world assembled for the greatest trial-of-arms in history. A family dispute over the throne had developed into a world wide conflict between righteousness and tyranny. Here between opposing armies with friends and relatives on both sides, seeing brothers armed against brothers, the saintly Arjuna discloses his anguish to his intimate friend who has assumed the role of Arjuna’s chariot driver.

Arjuna: Oh Krishna, seeing my friends and relatives present on both sides and ready to lay down their lives my whole body is trembling. My mind is reeling. It would be better for the enemy to kill me unarmed and unresisting than for me to fight with them.

Krishna: Oh Arjuna, give up such petty weakness of heart and arise oh protector of the righteous.

Arjuna: How can I fight these men? I prefer to live by begging than at the cost if their lives. Even though they are avaricious I shall not fight! Now I have lost all composure because of weakness. Now I surrender unto you as your disciple. Please instruct me.

Krishna: While speaking saintly words you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are truly wise lament neither for the living or the dead. Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all of these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be. The soul is unborn, eternal, ever existing, undying and primeval. And thus Krishna begins to explain the first instruction of the Bhagavad-gita; that the perishable body and the eternal soul are not the same.

And now the Bhagavad-gita.