Bhagavad-gita 1.1
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
London, July 7, 1973

Pradyumna (leads chanting, etc.):

dhrtarastra uvaca dharma-ksetre kuru-ksetre samaveta yuyutsavah mamakah pandavas caiva kim akurvata sanjaya [Bg. 1.1]

Prabhupada: (during chanting of sloka) Now, in your leisure hour you will try to repeat and get by heart some of the slokas. That will be very nice. Go on.

Pradyumna: (after synonyms) “Translation: Dhrtarastra said: O Sanjaya, after assembling in the place of pilgrimage at Kuruksetra, what did my sons and the sons of Pandu do, being desirous to fight?”

Prabhupada: So the history is that same family, there was dispute who would occupy the throne. Dhrtarastra and, actually he was the eldest son of the king, and next was Pandu. So every country the law of primogeniture, what is called? The eldest child… In your country even the eldest child is a girl, she also occupies the throne. Just like present Queen Elizabeth. Formerly there was Queen Victoria; before that, another Elizabeth. But in India woman has no such right. Woman is never given any responsible post. That is the opinion of the greatest politician in the history of the world, Canakya Pandita. According to his opinion, visvaso naiva kartavyah strisu raja-kulesu ca. He has given his explicit opinion that “You cannot trust with any responsible post or any responsibility with a woman and politician.” Those who are diplomat, politician, you cannot trust them.

So the general regulation is that woman should remain under the protection of husband, er, father, husband and children. Just like these Pandus, their mother, Kunti, she was very, very qualified lady. But still, after the death of her husband, she always remained with the sons. The sons are going to the forest; the mother is also going. Also the wife is also going, Draupadi. This was the… So two parties… Dhrtarastra was the eldest son, but he was blind, bodily defect. Therefore he was not awarded the throne. His next brother, Pandu, he was offered the throne, but he died very early age, a young man. When these Pandus, the five sons, Yudhisthira Maharaja, at at that time not Maharaja, Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva, they were very small children, so they were taken care of by Dhrtarastra and other elderly family… Bhismadeva. He was the grandfather of the Pandavas. He was the elder uncle of Dhrtarastra. Bhisma was elder brother of Dhrtarastra’s father. He was so old. But he was… Actually, the kingdom belonged to Bhisma, but he remained a brahmacari, he did not marry. There was no issue of Bhismadeva. Therefore his nephews, Dhrtarastra and Pandu, they were inheritor.

Now, after the death of Pandu, there was conspiracy. Dhrtarastra wanted that “Actually, this is my kingdom. Now, somehow or other, I could not get it. Now my brother is dead. So if I do not inherit, why not my sons.?” This was the politics. Politics are always there, and enviousness, jealousy. This is the nature of this material world. You cannot avoid it. Spiritual world means just the opposite. There is no politics. There is no jealousy. There is no enviousness. That is spiritual world. And material world means politics, jealousy, diplomacy, enviousness, so many things. This is material world. So even in the heavenly planets, these things are there, politics. Even in animal kingdom, these politics are there. This is the nature. Matsarata. Matsarata means enviousness. One man is envious of another man. It doesn’t matter, even they are brothers or family members. Here the family members, Dhrtarastra and Pandu, two brothers, their sons, they were family members, but the enviousness…

So the Krsna consciousness movement is not for the persons who are envious. Envious. It is a movement to train people how to become not envious. It is very first-class scientific movement, yes. Not to become envious. Therefore Srimad-Bhagavatam in the beginning introduces, dharmah projjhita-kaitavo atra. In this Srimad-Bhagavatam, dharma, religious principles, cheating type of religious principle is completely eradicated, thrown away, projjhita. They are kicked out, projjhita. Just like you collect all the dirty things from the room, sweeping and then kick out, don’t keep it within the room. Similarly, cheating type of religious system—kicked out. It is not such religion, “this religion,” “that religion.” Any religion system, if there is jealousy, that is not religion. Jealousy means… We should understand jealousy, what is jealousy. Jealousy means that you are rightful owner of something; I won’t allow you to take it. This is jealousy. This is jealousy. Jealousy, try to understand. Suppose you are rightful owner of something, and I am trying that “You don’t own it. I shall own it. Or somebody own it. I shall not allow it.” This is jealousy.

So what is the rightful ownership of the living entity? That is to be understood. Birthright, what is called birthright. Just like everyone has got right to live under the protection of the government, everyone. That is good government. Government should give security of life and property. That is government. Not only for the human being, but even for the ant. This is government. Not that I give protection to my brother, and not to others. That is not… Just like Pariksit Maharaja, he was giving protection to the animals also. When he was on his tour, as soon as he saw that a black man was trying to kill one cow, oh, immediately he took his sword, “Who are you? You are trying to kill?”

So this is good government. Unless the government is equal to everyone… Just like God is equal to everyone. The king or the government must be representative of God. Therefore, according to Vedic civilization, king is offered as good respect as to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. King is called nara-deva, nara-deva. That means “God in human form.” King is given… Why? Because he acts as the representative of God. He cannot be jealous to any living entity, at least, born in his kingdom. That is called praja. Praja means one who has taken birth, or, in other words, national, national. So that was the duty.

So formerly, when there was fight between two kings, it is on the principle that who is giving good protection to the citizens, not for personal profit. Who is able to give good protection, life, security for life and property, he should become king. So these persons, this Dhrtarastra and his sons, they were jealous. How they could give protection to the citizens? They are themselves jealous. Just like nowadays, all these politicians, they are jealous. They cannot give any protection to the citizens. They are simply interested with their party politics. They have no time even to think how to give nice protection to the citizens so that they may feel happy always that “We have got good government. There is no cause of anxiety. We have got sufficient food, sufficient protection, sufficient opulence, everything sufficient.” That is good government.

So here, Dhrtarastra, he is jealous. He cannot give any good government. Krsna knew it. Krsna sent a messenger, Akrura. You have read in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Before this Battle of Kuruksetra from Dvaraka, He sent his uncle Akrura: “Just go to Hastinapura, New Delhi, and see what is the situation.” So Akrura understood that Dhrtarastra was planning something. So he talked with him that “Why you are implicated in such planning? Krsna does not want it.” Although Dhrtarastra knew that Krsna was the Supreme Personality of Godhead… So Dhrtarastra said that “I know that what I am planning, that is not good. I know Krsna—the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And He has requested me. But I tell you frankly, I cannot do without it. So when Krsna will be pleased upon me, I may be.”

So this is the position of the materialistic person. A materialistic person knows that he is sinful. A materialistic person knows that whatever he is doing is wrong, but he cannot check. Just like the thief. A thief knows that if he commits stealing, he will be arrested, he will be punished. He knows. Because he heard from lawbooks, from other sources, and he has also seen that a thief is arrested and he is taken by the police for being punished. So we have got two kinds of experiences: by hearing and by seeing directly. In Bengali it is called, dekha-suna. In India it is called. The two kinds of experience: one by seeing, practically experiencing, hand to hand; another by hearing. So one who is intelligent, he gets his experience simply by hearing from the right source. That is nice.

So our process is that we are getting experience about the perfect knowledge, the destination of life, simply by hearing from Krsna. So we are the most intelligent person. It is not possible to experience directly, but if one has got intelligence, then simply by hearing and considering and thinking over it, he gets the experience. So those who are very sinful, they get experience by hearing and by direct, directly seeing also; still, they cannot check from sinful activities. So Dhrtarastra, Dhrtarastra, by his sinful activities he became so much fallen that he did not hear anybody’s advice, Vidura’s advice, Bhisma’s advice, that “Don’t plan like this. They are rightful owners. The Pandavas, they are rightful owners. They are minor, but don’t try to cheat them.” But Dhrtarastra was…

So when the planning was complete and the warfield was set up at dharma-ksetre kuru-ksetre [Bg. 1.1] Dharma-ksetre means, kuru-ksetre, that place is a pilgrimage. People still go to observe religious ritualistic performances. And in the Vedas there is injunction, kuru-ksetre dharmam acaret: “If you want to perform some ritualistic ceremonies, religious, then go to Kuruksetra.” So Kuruksetra is a dharma-ksetra. It is a not fictitious thing, just like rascal commentators, so-called, they say, “Kuruksetra means this body.” It is not that. As it is. Try to understand Bhagavad-gita as it is. Kuruksetra, dharma-ksetra. It is a place of religion. And especially when Krsna was present there, it is already. Why this house? Before our occupation, why this house was an ordinary house? Now it is temple. It is dharma-ksetra, it is a religious place. Why? Because Krsna is there. Krsna is there. So either you take Kuruksetra, ordinary place. But because in the battlefield Krsna was there directing Arjuna. So it is already dharma-ksetra.

So formerly people were religiously trained up. So they could not speak lies in a dharma-ksetra. That is still the practice. Just like in the western world, the Christians go to the church, they admit, confession, “Yes, I have done it.” But that has become a formality. But actually, one should admit in religious place that “Yes, I have done this.” But that does not mean you admit and again do it. No. You admit once, then you are excused. But don’t do it again.

So here Dhrtarastra says, samaveta yuyutsavah [Bg. 1.1]. “All these people, my sons, mamakah…” Mamakah. That means “my sons,” and pandava, “my brother Pandu’s sons.” Samaveta, “they assembled.” What is the purpose? The purpose is yuyutsavah. This word yuyutsu is still used in Japan. Perhaps you know, yuyutsa, fighting. So yuyutsu, those who are desirous of fighting. Now, both the parties were desiring to fight, and they assembled. Why he is asking question, kim akurvata: “What did they do”? Because he was little doubtful that “These boys, after being assembled in dharma-ksetra kuru-kse…, they might have changed their ideas. They might have settled up.” Actually, the sons of Dhrtarastra might have admitted, “Yes, Pandavas, you are actually the owner. What is the use of unnecessarily fighting?” So he was very much anxious whether they had changed their decision. Therefore he is asking. Otherwise there was no question of asking, kim akurvata. He… Just like if you are given food, if I ask somebody that “Such and such gentleman was served with nice dishes. Then what did he do?” This is foolish question. He would eat. That’s all. (laughter) What is the question of “What did he do?” Similarly, when it is already settled up that they were to fight, there was no such question as kim akurvata, “What did they do?” But he asked this question because he was doubtful whether they had changed their opinion.

Kim akurvata sanjaya [Bg. 1.1]. He was asking his secretary. He was blind man. He was always conducted by his secretary Sanjaya, a very faithful secretary. And he is explaining the Bhagavad-gita by experiencing, by television within the heart. That art is not yet developed. You have got television through machine, but there is another television—you can see within your heart everything, what is going on outside. So that television was known to… That will be explained by Sanjaya, that by the grace of Vyasadeva, he learned this televisioning, and he was sitting with his master within the room and he was actually seeing how the fighting is going on. And he was explaining. This is the basic principle of Bhagavad-gita, I mean, the basic platform. So let us discuss gradually, one after an… Thank you very much. Hare Krsna. [break]

…leader to Bhagavad-gita and became a sadhu, mahatma, but when they found that a mahatma is leader and he is a great student of Bhagavad-gita, and by the way all people gathered round him. Although he was a politician, he has nothing to do with Bhagavad-gita or mahatma, no. (laughter) Because the definition of mahatma is given in the Bhagavad-gita. The definition of mahatma is there: mahatmanas tu mam partha daivim prakrtim asritah, bhajanty ananya manaso [Bg. 9.13]. This is mahatma. Mahatma means he has taken shelter of Krsna cent percent, and his only business is to worship and glorify Krsna. That is mahatma. So Gandhi never believed that there was Krsna, but he became mahatma by popular vote. That’s all. That kind of mahatma is not accepted by the sastra. Mahatma is, first symptom of mahatma is that he must be a great devotee of Krsna. That is mahatma. That is…. Mahatmanas tu mam partha daivim prakrtim asritah [Bg. 9.13]. And he is not under any material world. He is in the spiritual world. Daivim prakrtim asritah. And what is the symptom? Bhajanty ananya-manaso. Ananya-manaso, without any diversion, he’s simply devoted to Krsna. This is mahatma. Everything is there in the Bhagavad-gita, therefore I request you to study Bhagavad-gita thoroughly as it is. Then you become perfectly powerful, spiritual. Now chant Hare Krsna. (end)