धृतराष्ट्र उवाच |
धर्मक्षेत्रे कुरुक्षेत्रे समवेता युयुत्सवः |
मामकाः पाण्डवाश्चैव किमकुर्वत सञ्जय ||1||
dharma-kṣhetre kuru-kṣhetre samavetā yuyutsavaḥ
māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāśhchaiva kimakurvata sañjaya
dhṛitarāśhtraḥ uvācha—Dhritarashtra said; dharma-kṣhetre—the land of dharma; kuru-kṣhetre—at Kurukshetra; samavetāḥ—having gathered; yuyutsavaḥ—desiring to fight; māmakāḥ—my sons; pāṇḍavāḥ—the sons of Pandu; cha—and; eva—certainly; kim—what; akurvata—did they do; sañjaya—Sanjay
Dhritarashtra said: Having assembled on the holy plain in Kurukshetra desirous of fighting the battle, what did my people and the Pandavas do? O Sanjaya!
The Gita begins with the word Dharma. It is an auspicious word. By using it first Veda Vyasa gives an auspicious opening to his great work. The Lord is the embodiment of Dharma, Reverence for Dharma is worship of the Lord himself, by the utterence of his name. The aim of the Gita and its main teaching are determined by the very first word. It is Dharma. The lord incarnates himself from time to time to establish Dharma.
Dhritarashtra: The word means one who holds a kingdom. He who appropriates to himself a kingdom which is not his, is Dhritarashtra The word has an inner meaning. The real man has nothing to do with the kingdom of the body, senses and mind. These are all objects perceived by the real man who is the seer. The body and the world are objects seen. But the ignorant man considers the body to be himself, and develops attachment and egotism in relation to the world. Therefore every ignorant man is a Dhritarashtra. To remove the blindness of ignorance by the light of the Gita is the duty of every individual.
Kurukshetra: It is a holy plain which lies in Punjab, south of Ambala and north of Delhi. In the 87th Chapter of Vanaparva and the 56th Chapter of Salyaparva, the greatness of Kurukshetra is vividly described. Brahma, Indra, and Agni performed tapas in that sacred place in former yugas. Emperor Kuru, the ancestor of the Kauravas and the Pandavas, ploughed the holy plain, and so it is called Kurukshetra. Indra offered a boon to Kuru that anyone who performed tapas or left his mortal body there would ascend to higher realms of existence. Parasurama offered oblations to his ancestors there. Many great and holy men performed meritorious acts of Dharma in that place, and so it is called Dharma Kshetra.
It is quite possible that Dhritarashtra might have expected some change of heart and mental conversion on the part of his sons and the Pandavas, under the influence of that holy place, and both sides might desist from the fratricidal war. Hence Dhritarashtra might have put the question in that form.
My people: Dhritarashtra refers to his sons – “my people” – excluding the Pandavas, and so it is evident that the blind King is partial to his own children.
Sanjaya: Samyak Jaya – Sanjaya. One whose victory is perfect is Sanjaya. It means one who has conquered his body, senses and mind. Sanjaya is the official war-reporter of the Gita. It shows that only a man of self-control and purity of heart was qualified to hear, understand, and communicate the teaching of the Gita. Moreover, Sanjaya by his personal merit, purity, and the grace of Vyasa and other sages, rendered himself fit to hear Lord Krishna’s message directly, and see the Viswarupa of the Lord. Such good fortune befell Sanjaya. Caste, race, and colour are no bar to religious merit and spiritual advancement.
To the first question of Dhritarashtra, Sanjaya gives a direct answer in the last (78th) verse of the 18th discourse.
Wherever is Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, wherever is Partha, the wielder of the bow, there are prosperity victory, happiness, and righteousness, such is my conviction.