The back story

The back story to the Bhagavad Gita is this: ‘After the death of King Pandu, in India, his brother Dhritarashtra succeeded to the throne. He educated the five sons of Pandu, along with his own one hundred sons. The Pandavas grew up to be kind, noble and accomplished. Dritarashtra’s eldest son became insanely jealous and planned to murder them.. Duryodhana was the name of this evil man, and he built a palace in a distant town and invited the Pandavas there. His servants were to set the palace alight and to burn all of his cousins. Fortunately, the Pandavas were warned and they escaped with their mother, Kunti. Duryodhana believed them to be dead.

The Pandavas lived in the forest, disguised as holy men, where they encountered many dangers and adventures. Through bravery and skill, Arjuna won the hand of a princess, who Duryodhana also endeavoured to secure. Now, of course, he knew that they were not only alive but connected to an important monarch. Despite Dritarashtra’s desire to see his nephews settled, Duryodhana continued to plot for their downfall. He tempted them to a fixed game of dice, on which they had pledged all their rights and their homes. Having lost this game, the Pandavas were once again reduced to wandering in the forest as exiles.

When the period of exile was over, the eldest of the Pandavas, Yudhisthira, asked for just one village for himself, and one for his brothers. Duryodhana, incensed with greed and jealousy, refused even this humble request and war became inevitable.

The Gita is the explanation of the spiritual journey of man. It features the conversations and relationship between Arjuna of the Pandavas, and Krishna. Krishna is an aspect of Brahman, the ultimate reality. He plays Arjuna’s charioteer in this epic tale.