Bhagavad Gita: Understanding One Shloka at a time. (Chp. 1, Verse 20) — HBR Patel
Trying to understand Bhagavad Gita, one shloka at a time…
अथ व्यवस्थितान्दृष्ट्वा धार्तराष्ट्रान् कपिध्वज: |
प्रवृत्ते शस्त्रसम्पाते धनुरुद्यम्य पाण्डव: |
हृषीकेशं तदा वाक्यमिदमाह महीपते ||20||
O King of Earth, thereafter, seeing the arrangements of the sons of Dhritarashtra (Kauravas) and the weapons ready for action, the son of Pandu(Arjun) who had the insignia of Hanuman of his chariot-flag, picked up his bow and spoke this sentence to Sri Krishna.
The spirit and fearlessness of the Pandavas were quite evident from the previous shlokas as we saw that the thunderous sound of the conchs was enough to instill fear amidst the heart of the Kauravas.
In this shloka, the Arjuna is described as picking up his bow “Gandiva” and he is also described as the one with the insignia of Hanuman (Kapi-dhvajah) on his chariot-flag. The fact that Pavanputra Hanuman was on the side of Arjun indicates that Arjun will be graced with the blessings and strength of Hanuman. His mere presence on the chariot helped Arjun in many ways during the war. Arjun, at the end of the war, himself didn’t know how he was protected by this “Kapi-dhvajah” during the battle.
Shri Krishna is also addressed in this shloka by one of the many names that he has: Hrishikesh, the master of the senses.
The conversation between Shri Krishna and Arjuna is about to begin, indicating the beginning of the important teachings. The word “Atha” (Now) has a significance as such that it indicates the beginning of some essential teachings, as used in the ancient Indian Literature.
Like the first aphorism of Brahma Sutra: “अथातो ब्रह्म जिज्ञासा”, Meaning: “Now one should inquire about the Brahman.”