Chapter 1: Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra
vepathus ca sarire me
roma-harsas ca jayate
gandivam sramsate hastat
tvak caiva paridahyate
There are two kinds of trembling of the body, and two kinds of standings of the hair on end. Such phenomena occur either in great spiritual ecstasy or out of great fear under material conditions. There is no fear in transcendental realization. Arjuna’s symptoms in this situation are out of material fear—namely, loss of life. This is evident from other symptoms also; he became so impatient that his famous bow Gandiva was slipping from his hands, and, because his heart was burning within him, he was feeling a burning sensation of the skin. All these are due to a material conception of life.
na ca saknomy avasthatum
bhramativa ca me manah
nimittani ca pasyami
Due to his impatience, Arjuna was unable to stay on the battlefield, and he was forgetting himself on account of the weakness of his mind. Excessive attachment for material things puts a man in a bewildering condition of existence. Bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah: such fearfulness and loss of mental equilibrium take place in persons who are too affected by material conditions. Arjuna envisioned only unhappiness in the battlefield—he would not be happy even by gaining victory over the foe. The word nimitta is significant. When a man sees only frustration in his expectations, he thinks, “Why am I here?” Everyone is interested in himself and his own welfare. No one is interested in the Supreme Self. Arjuna is supposed to show disregard for self-interest by submission to the will of Krsna, who is everyone’s real self-interest. The conditioned soul forgets this, and therefore suffers material pains. Arjuna thought that his victory in the battle would only be a cause of lamentation for him.
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