The first chapter

The first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita deals with Arjuna’s sorrow at finding himself at war with his kinsmen. He asks Krishna to pull up his chariot so that he can see the men in their battle-lines.

Arjuna says: ‘Krishna, Krishna, now I look on these my kinsmen arrayed for battle, my limbs are weakened, my mouth is parching, my body trembles, my hair stands upright, my skin seems burning, the bow Govinda slips from my hand, my brain is whirling round and round, I can stand no longer: Krishna I see such omens of evil! What can we hope from this killing of kinsmen?’

We are put in mind that AHIMSA, non-violence is the first rule of yoga. It is the first of the Eight Limbs of Yoga. Arjuna has no desire to fight and kill his family members. At the end of this chapter, he resolves to put down his weapons and to allow his evil cousin to kill him. This seems preferable. This chapter sets the scene for Krishna’s advice to his protege.