Why Was Arjuna was Chosen For Bhagavadgita Discourse?

Krishna and Arjuna

by Jayaram V

Notes: I have translated the Bhagavadgita twice. The first one was a loose translation. The second one was a word to word translation with a detailed commentary. The commentary is however different from what you will find here. In this section I will share with you my thoughts about the knowledge, philosophy and wisdom of the Bhagavadgita as I understand it from my perspective. Jayaram V


Arjuna was one of the five Pandavas brothers who, participated in the war, besides the best of the warriors who lived in India at that time. In that war everything was put to test. A chapter in the history of human civilization was about to close and new chapter and a new era was about to begin, because as we understand from the Bhagavadgita, the war was meant to wipe out evil and restore Dharma, for which a great destruction was required. Hence, every warrior of some renown was destined to participate in the great war on the side of either the Pandavas or the Kauravas.

However, the knowledge of the Bhagavadgita was received by only Arjuna directly from Krishna. The rest of the people who were in that battlefield were witnessing the event but did not know what was going on. Apart from Arjuna, only Sanjaya and Dhritarashtra were able to receive the knowledge. There were warriors who had more spiritual and moral strength than Arjuna. There was Dharmaraja, the epitome of virtue and duty. Bhima was there, the one who actually killed all the 100 Kauravas, including Duryodhana.

The reason Arjuna was chosen because he was closest to Krishna and was receptive to the advice. Secondly, he was a warrior of great virtue and possessed the qualities of a sincere devotee. Thirdly, he was fighting the war for a right cause, not for himself but to help his brother regain the kingdom and his lost prestige. Fourthly, he was the personification of Indra himself, the lord of the heavens, who, as the lord of the senses, represents the mind in the human body. The mind is the most important aspect of the human personality. It is the mind that needs to be convinced about anything.

The Bhagavadgita knowledge is meant for the mind only for the eventual liberation of the Self. Fifthly, Arjuna was destined to face moral dilemmas as he would be killing some of the best warriors on the enemy side, towards whom he had great respect. He had to slay his own teacher, Drona, his grandfather, Bhishma, who was a great warrior, and Karna who was a person of great virtue and was renowned as a great warrior.

In all these slayings, he would be using some doubtful and deceptive means to accomplish his task, as each of the three was endowed with exceptional powers and divine boons. If he wavered or faltered in his duty, the course of the war would be different. Finally, it also appears that, unlike Dharmaraja, the eldest of the brothers, Arjuna was not endowed with the right knowledge of Dharma. Bhima was even less knowledgeable.

However, he was filled with feelings of revenge and with an unshakeable resolve to settle scores with each of the Kauravas who insulted his wife and brothers and later subjected them to innumerable sufferings and humiliations. Arjuna did not have the same kind of resolve and he had his own doubts about the war and its moral justification.

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