THE BHAGAVAD GITAis the most beloved scripture of India, a scripture of scriptures. It is the Hindu's Holy Testament. Bhagavad Gita means "Song of the Spirit," the divine communion of truth-realization between man and his Creator, the teachings of Spirit through the soul, that should be sung unceasingly. The pantheistic doctrine of the Gita is that God is everything The Bhagvad Gita is the part of Mahabharata. With 18 chapters Vyasa's Jaya constitute the Bhagavad Gita.The context of the Gita is a conversation between Lord Krishna and the Pandava prince Arjuna taking place in the middle of the battlefield before the start of the Kurukshetra War with armies on both sides ready to battle. Responding to Arjuna's confusion and moral dilemma about fighting his own cousins who command a tyranny imposed on a disputed empire, Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and prince, and elaborates on different Yogic and Vedantic philosophies, and explains different ways in which the soul can reach the Supreme Being with examples and analogies. Before decoding the Gita let us recapitulate theMahabharata. The Mahabharata story begins three generations before the time of Krishna and Arjuna, at the time of King Shantanu. Shantanu's first queen was Ganga (personification of the holy river Ganges); she gave birth to eight sons, but the first seven were withdrawn by her, immersed in the sacred Ganges waters. The eighth son was Bhishma. At the pleading of Shantanu, Bhishma was allowed to remain in the world; but in consequence, Ganga then immersed herself in the holy stream from which she had been personified. In time, Shantanu married his second queen SatyavJti and through her begat two sons Chitrangada and Vichitravirya; both of whom died without producing offspring. Chitrangada as a mere boy, and Vichitravirya leaving two widowed queens, Ambika and Ambalika. Before her marriage to Shantanu, Satyavati had been raised as the daughter of a fisherman; she was cursed to smell so foully of fish that no one could come near her, let alone consider her a prospect for marriage. Taking pity on her for her plight, Sage Parasara blessed her not only with a son who was none other than Vyasa but also that thereafter she was radiant with beauty and the fragrance of lotuses. Therefore, Vyasa was half-brother to Vichitravirya. That the succession to the throne not be terminated because there was no successor to Vichitravirya, the law of the land was invoked whereby a brother could produce progeny on behalf of a childless brother. Vyasa was persuaded to fulfill this role: from Ambika, Dhritarashtra was born, blind at birth; and from Ambalika, Pandu was born. Dhritarashtra married Gandhari who, out of respect for her blind husband, blind folded her own eyes and thus shared his darkness throughout their life together. They had one hundred sons; Duryodhana, the eldest, in time became king regent on behalf of his blind father. From his second wife, Vaishya, Dhritarashtra had another son. Pandu had two wives, Kunti (sister of Vasudeva, Krishna's father) and Madri. For the accidental killing of a sage during a hunting expedition, Pandu had been cursed that if he engages in a sexual act, he would die. It thus seemed that Pandava brothers he and his two queens must remain childless. But Kunti then revealed that before her marriage to Pandu she had received the blessing of a miraculous power: Impressed by her piety and devotional service, a sage had granted her five mantras with which she could receive offspring from any god she chose to invoke. When Kunti told Pandu of her mantras, he entreated her to use them. She bore three sons for Pandu: Yudhisthira, Bhima, and Arjuna from invoking respectively the devas Dharma, Vayu, and Indra. As Pandu wished Madri also to have a child, he asked Kunti to give the remaining sacred mantra to her. [The fifth mantra had already been used by Kunti prior to her marriage to test her power, she invoked Surva, the sun deva, and Karna was born to her yet she remained a virgin. Nevertheless, fearing rebuke that she had mothered an illegitimate child, she sealed him in a box and set it afloat on the river, where he was found and raised by an aged charioteer. Karna later played a major role in the Mahabharata story.]. Having obtained the mantra, Madri invoked the twin devas the Ashvins, and thereby received twin sons, Nakula and Sahadeva. The five Pandava princes and the one hundred Kaurava offspring were raised and educated together, receiving the tutelage of their preceptor Dronacharya. Arjuna excelled all of them in prowess; none could match him. Jealousy and enmity grew among the Kauravas against the Pandus. Duryodhana resented Yudhisthira's position as the rightful heir to the throne, so he conspired repeatedly but unsuccessfully to destroy the Pandus In an elaborate ceremony called svayamvara, held by King Drupada to choose a husband for his daughter Draupadi, Drupada made the condition that the hand of his daughter would be given only to the prince who could bend a gigantic bow provided for the occasion, and with it hit the eye of a cleverly concealed and suspended target. Princes from far and near tried and failed even to lift the bow. Arjuna succeeded easily. When the five Pandus returned home, their mother Kunti, hearing their approach from a distance and presuming they had won some wealth, called out to them that they must equally share their winnings. As the mother's word must be honored, Draupadi becarne the wife of all five brothers. She bore one son by each. In time, the dispute between the Kurus and Pandus over the ruler-ship of the kingdom reached a climax. Duryodhana, consumed by jealous desire for supremacy, concocted a cunning scheme: a fraudulent game of dice. Through a clever plot hatched by Duryodhana and his wicked Pandavas' kingdom uncle Shakuni, who was an adept in trickery and deceit, Yudhisthira was defeated in throw after throw, finally losing his kingdom, then himself and his brothers, and then their wife Draupadi. Thus Duryodhana filched from the Pandus their kingdom and sent them into exile in the forest for twelve years, and to live a thirteenth year in disguise, unrecognized. Thereafter, if they survived, they could return and lay claim to their lost kingdom. At the allotted time, the good Pandus, having met all the conditions of their exile, returned and demanded their kingdom; but the Kurus refused to part with a piece of land even as long and as broad as a needle. When war became inevitable, Arjuna for the Pandus and Duryodhana for the Kurus sought I(rishna's aid in their eause. Duryodhana arrived first at Krishna's palace and seated himself boldly at the head of the couch upon which Krishna was resting, feigning sleep. Arjuna arrived and stood humbly with folded hands at Krishna's feet. When the avatar opened his eyes, it was, therefore, Arjuna whom he saw first. Both requested Krishna to side with them in the war. Krishna stated that one party could have his massive army, and the other side could have himself as a personal counselor—though he would not Cake up arms in the combat. Arjuna was given first choice. Without hesitation he wisely chose Krishna himself; the greedy Duryodhana rejoiced to be awarded the army. Before the war, Krishna served as mediator to try to settle the dispute amicably, journeying from Dwarka to the Kuru capital city at Hastinapura to persuade Dhritarashtra, Duryodhana, and the other Kurus to restore to the Pandavas their rightful kingdom. But even he could not move the power-mad Duryodhana and his followers to accept a fair resolution, and war was declared; the field of conflict was Kurukshetra.The first verse of the Bhagavad Gita begins in the eve of this battle.In the end it was a victory for the Pandus. The five brothers reigned nobly under the kingship of the eldest, Yudhisthira, until at the end of their lives they retired to the Himalayas and there entered the heavenly realm Contd..