Chapter 62 - Krishna Teaches
ALL was ready for the battle. The warriors on both sides gathered together and solemnly bound themselves to honor the traditional rules of war.
The code of conduct in war and methods of warfare vary from time to time. It is only if what was in vogue at the time of the Mahabharata war is kept in mind that we can understand the epic. Otherwise, the story would be puzzling in places.
From what follows, the reader may have some idea of the rules of warfare followed in the Kurukshetra battle. Each day, the battle was over at sunset, and the hostiles mixed freely like friends.
Single combats might only be between equals and one could not use methods not in accordance with dharma. Thus those who left the field or retired would not be attacked. A horseman could attack only a horseman, not one on foot.
Likewise, charioteers, elephant troops and infantrymen could engage themselves in battle only with their opposite numbers in the enemy ranks.
Those who sought quarter or surrendered were safe from slaughter. Nor might one, for the moment disengaged, direct his weapons against another who was engaged in combat.
It was wrong to slay one who had been disarmed or whose attention was directed elsewhere or who was retreating or who had lost his armor. And no shafts were to be directed against non-combatant attendants or those engaged in blowing conchs or beating drums.
These were the rules that the Kauravas and the Pandavas solemnly declared they would follow.
The passage of time has witnessed many changes in men's ideas of right and wrong. Nothing is exempt from attack in modern warfare.
Not only are munitions made the target of attack, but dumb animals such as horses, camels, mules and medical stores, nay, non-combatants of all ages, are destroyed without compunction.
Sometimes the established conventions went overboard even in the Mahabharata war.
We see clearly in the story that occasional transgressions took place for one reason or another. But, on the whole, the accepted rules of honorable and humane war were observed by both sides in the Kurukshetra battle. And the occasional violations were looked upon as wrong and shameful.
Addressing the princes under his command, Bhishma said: "Heroes, yours is a glorious opportunity. Before you, are the gates of heaven wide open. The joy of living with Indra and Brahma awaits you. Pursue the path of your ancestors and follow the kshatriya dharma. Fight with joy and attain fame and greatness. A kshatriya does not wish to die of disease or old age in his bed but prefers to die on the battlefield," and the princes responded by ordering their trumpets to be sounded and shouted victory to the Kauravas.
On Bhishma's flag shone brightly the palm tree and five stars. On Aswatthama's the lion tail fluttered in the air.
In Drona's golden-hued standard, the ascetic's bowl and the bow glistened, and the cobra of Duryodhana's famed banner danced proudly with outspread hood.
On Kripa's flag was depicted a bull, while Jayadratha's carried a wild boar. Likewise others and the battlefield thus presented a pageant of flags.
Seeing the Kaurava forces ranged in battle array, Yudhishthira gave orders to Arjuna:
"The enemy force is very large. Our army being smaller, our tactics should be concentration rather than deployment that will only weaken us. Array our forces, therefore, in needle formation."
Now, when Arjuna saw men arrayed on both sides for mutual slaughter, he was deeply agitated and Krishna spoke to him in order to quell his agitation and remove his doubts.
Krishna's exhortation to Arjuna at this juncture is the Bhagavad Gita, which is enshrined in millions of hearts as the Word of God. The Bhagavad Gita is acknowledged by all as one of the supreme treasures of human literature.
Its gospel of devotion to duty, without attachment or desire of reward, has shown the way of life for all men, rich or poor, learned or ignorant, who have sought for light in the dark problems of life.
Chapter1 - Ganapati
Chapter2 - Devavrata
Chapter3 - Bhishma's Vow
Chapter4 - Amba And Bhishma
Chapter5 - Devayani And Kacha
Chapter6 - The Marriage Of Devayani
Chapter7 - Yayati
Chapter8 - Vidura
Chapter9 - Kunti Devi
Chapter10 - Death Of Pandu
Chapter11 - Bhima
Chapter12 - Karna
Chapter13 - Drona
Chapter14 - The Wax Palace
Chapter15 - The Escape Of The Pandavas
Chapter16 - The Slaying Of Bakasura
Chapter17 - Draupadi's Swayamvaram
Chapter18 - Indraprastha
Chapter19 - The Saranga Birds
Chapter20 - Jarasandha
Chapter21 - The Slaying Of Jarasandha
Chapter22 - The First Honor
Chapter23 - Sakuni Comes In
Chapter24 - The Invitation
Chapter25 - The Wager
Chapter26 - Draupadi's Grief
Chapter27 - Dhritarashtra's Anxiety
Chapter28 - Krishna's Vow
Chapter29 - Pasupata
Chapter30 - Affliction Is Nothing New
Chapter31 - Agastya
Chapter32 - Rishyasringa
Chapter33 - Fruitless Penance
Chapter34 - Yavakrida's End
Chapter35 - Mere Learning Is Not Enough
Chapter36 - Ashtavakra
Chapter37 - Bhima And Hanuman
Chapter38 - I am No Crane
Chapter39 - Wicked Are Never Satisfied
Chapter40 - Duryodhana Disgraced
Chapter41 - Sri Krishna's Hunger
Chapter42 - The Enchanted Pool
Chapter43 - Domestic Service
Chapter44 - Virtue Vindicated
Chapter45 - Matsya Defended
Chapter46 - Prince Uttara
Chapter47 - Promise Fulfilled
Chapter48 - Virata's Delusion
Chapter49 - Taking Counsel
Chapter50 - Arjuna's Charioteer
Chapter51 - Salya Against His Nephews
Chapter52 - Vritra
Chapter53 - Nahusha
Chapter54 - Sanjaya's Mission
Chapter55 - Not a Needle-Point Of Territory
Chapter56 - Krishna's Mission
Chapter57 - Attachment and Duty
Chapter58 - The Pandava Generalissimo
Chapter59 - Balarama
Chapter60 - Rukmini
Chapter61 - Non-Cooperation
Chapter62 - Krishna Teaches
Chapter63 - Yudhishthira Seeks Benediction
Chapter64 - The First Day's Battle
Chapter65 - The Second Day
Chapter66 - The Third Day's Battle
Chapter67 - The Fourth Day
Chapter68 - The Fifth Day
Chapter69 - The Sixth Day
Chapter70 - The Seventh Day
Chapter71 - The Eighth Day
Chapter72 - The Ninth Day
Chapter73 - The Passing Of Bhishma
Chapter74 - Karna and the Grandsire
Chapter75 - Drona in Command
Chapter76 - To Seize Yudhishthira Alive
Chapter77 - The Twelfth Day
Chapter78 - Brave Bhagadatta
Chapter79 - Abhimanyu
Chapter80 - The Death Of Abhimanyu
Chapter81 - A Father's Grief
Chapter82 - The Sindhu King
Chapter83 - Borrowed Armor
Chapter84 - Yudhishthira's Misgivings
Chapter85 - Yudhishthira's Fond Hope
Chapter86 - Karna And Bhima
Chapter87 - Pledge Respected
Chapter88 - Somadatta's End
Chapter89 - Jayadratha Slain
Chapter90 - Drona Passes Away
Chapter91 - The Death Of Karna
Chapter92 - Duryodhana
Chapter93 - The Pandavas Reproached
Chapter94 - Aswatthama
Chapter95 - Avenged
Chapter96 - Who Can Give Solace?
Chapter97 - Yudhishthira's Anguish
Chapter98 - Yudhishthira Comforted
Chapter99 - Envy
Chapter100 - Utanga
Chapter101 - A Pound Of Flour
Chapter102 - Yudhishthira Rules
Chapter103 - Dhritarashtra
Chapter104 - The Passing Away Of The Three
Chapter105 - Krishna Passes Away
Chapter106 - Yudhishthira's Final Trial