Although widely studied and revered as an individual text, the 700 verses of the Gita are taken from the Mahabharata. The Mahābhārata is the longest epic poem known and has been described as “the longest poem ever written.” It is a narrative of the Kurukṣetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes.
The Pandava brothers, after incessant persecution from their cousins the Kauravas, seek to take back the kingdom that is rightfully theirs. After 13 years of exile and repeated calls for a peaceful resolution; the two parties meet on the Kurukshetra battlefield. This is the war to end all wars. The most valiant and powerful kings from all over the world have gathered to this one spot, ready to engage in battle.
Arjuna is reputed to be the greatest and most skilled warrior. He has a beautiful chariot, drawn by strong sturdy horses. He carries the famed Gandiva bow, and has the full array of celestial weapons capable of destroying any enemy. But above all, he has an enlightened being, Krishna, who has taken up the role of the humble charioteer.
After the conches are blown signalling the beginning of the war, Arjuna requests Krishna to draw his chariot between the two armies. There he sees, his grandfather, his revered teacher, friends and relatives. Suddenly this mighty warrior loses his resolve and is overwhelmed with compassion for his enemies. He collapses into a hopeless mess and asks Krishna for guidance. The conversation that takes place, marks a turning point, not just for Arjuna but for all of humanity. At this opportune moment the ancient wisdom of the Gita is revealed to the world.
To get a better understanding of the Bhagavad Gita, attend an upcoming Bhagavad Gita Introduction Course by Gita Yogi.