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Chapter 2: The Roots of Violence

Arjuna:
“I would like to see those who are assembled here,
ready to fight, and wanting
the evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra to flourish.”

Sanjay:
Thus addressed by Arjuna, Krishna placed
his supreme chariot between the two armies
deliberately in front of Bheeshma, Drona
and the other rulers, and said:
”Behold, Arjuna, these Kurus assembled here.”

Thereupon Arjuna beheld
the uncles, grandfathers and teachers,
maternal uncles, brothers, sons, and grandsons,
as well as comrades, assembled there.

Also fathers-in-law and friends in both the armies.
Seeing all his kinsmen thus arrayed, Arjuna,
overcome with mercy, uttered these words in great anguish.

Arjuna:
”O Krishna, seeing my own kinsmen
standing before me, eager to fight,
“My limbs give way, my mouth becomes dry,
my body trembles, and in the dreadful thrill of horror
the hairs on my body stand aloft.

“My bow, Gandiva, slips from my hand;
my skin is aflame,I cannot remain steady.
My mind appears confused.

“O Krishna, I see all the portents are opposing this,
and I do not foresee any virtue
in slaying my own people in this battle.

“I do not long for victory, O Krishna,
nor for the kingdom, nor for its pleasures.
Of what use, O Krishna, will this kingdom be to us,
or pleasures, or even life itself?’”

Arjuna:
“I would like to see those who are assembled here,
ready to fight, and wanting
the evil-minded son of Dhritarashtra to flourish.”

Sanjay:
Thus addressed by Arjuna, Krishna placed
his supreme chariot between the two armies
deliberately in front of Bheeshma, Drona
and the other rulers, and said:
”Behold, Arjuna, these Kurus assembled here.”

Thereupon Arjuna beheld
the uncles, grandfathers and teachers,
maternal uncles, brothers, sons, and grandsons,
as well as comrades, assembled there.

Also fathers-in-law and friends in both the armies.
Seeing all his kinsmen thus arrayed, Arjuna,
overcome with mercy, uttered these words in great anguish.

Arjuna:
”O Krishna, seeing my own kinsmen
standing before me, eager to fight,
“My limbs give way, my mouth becomes dry,
my body trembles, and in the dreadful thrill of horror
the hairs on my body stand aloft.

Arjuna is not obsessed with war, but he is not against war either. And he has no aversion to violence either. In fact, his whole life’s education and training, his lifelong conditioning, is all for violence and war.

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