Bhagawad Gita consists of eighteen chapters, every chapter bearing a title with yoga, as suffix, which means ‘union with God’ as well as ‘pathway to God’. Each chapter of the Gita is thus meant as a ‘Pathway to Perfection’, laid down for the benefit of man. Gita is a universal scripture, with a message for everyone, for every man, to whichever religion he may belong or at whatever stage of mental and spiritual development he may be. It caters to the moral, intellectual and spiritual needs of everyone: Taking the context of a historical war of the epic ages, (Mahabharata war), which impliedly signifies the duel that is constantly going on in our hearts between evil impulses and good impulses. Lord Sri Krishna, God Himself, exhorts us to always endeavour to abide by good, with-faith and spirit of surrender to Him and He asks each one of us to discharge our duties with discipline and dedication and without eye on the fruits of the action and strive to realize and recognize “one’s oneness with all beings, i.e., the unity of all life and existence.” In the Mahabharata war, Kauravas and Pandavas were arrayed against each other in combat, Kauravas signifying the evil forces and Pandavas signifying the righteous forces (the dual forces which are constantly in conflict in our bosoms too, each fighting to gain its own supremacy over the other).
Dhrutarashtra, the King and father of the Kauravas, the evil brood, was blind. He was blind not only physically but was blind morally and spiritually as well. He was blindly attached to his evil sons, blinded with Swajateeya and Vijateeya bhedas (distinctions of mine and not mine); this attachment made him blind to all sense of justice which develops on him to uphold and protect, as the duty of a King. He asks Sanjaya, “Mamakah Pandavachaiva..” as he wanted to know what was happening at the battle front in the war between his sons and the Pandavas. Then Sanjaya began to recount to him what had happened, beginning the Arjuna’s great dilemma and despondency at the time of the zero hour of the war.
Just when the war was about to commence, at the very crucial moment, seeing his own kith and kin and his revered elders only arrayed on the enemy side and thinking of the awful implications of the war, Arjuna was overtaken by grief. “For the mere earthly kingdom he was going to fight and perhaps kill even his own kith and kin. He would be fighting with the worshipful Bhishma, his great-grand-sire, who had nurtured him on his lap in his childhood after he lost his father, and brought him up and made him into a man; he would be fighting with the worshipful Drona, his preceptor, who loved him as his own son, or rather even more than his own son, and had taught him the use of bow and arrows and made him perfect and foremost in the art and the self-same skill which he learnt from the preceptor he would be now using against the preceptor himself and to slay him perhaps ! all these thoughts suddenly flooded his mind and overpowered him completely; the attachment to kith and kin and the preceptor and the friends blinded him to his duty as a Kshatriya, who was supposed to uphold justice even by laying down his own life. Being at a loss to know and decide for himself what is right and what is wrong, confused in mind and shattered in spirit, he sought the guidance of the Lord, Lord Sri Krishna, surrendering himself totally at His Feet. The Lord enlightens him with the knowledge regarding the supremacy of one’s duty and of doing it with a mind unattached and in the perspective of Truth. Listening to the teaching of the Lord, Arjuna recovers himself, enlivened in body and spirit, and takes up to his duty, in spirit of dedication and as a yoga i.e., means for attainment of Truth. This message, given by Lord to Arjuna is indeed a universal message, message for all times and for all men. And this message, is enshrined in Bhagawad Gita, by the great Sage Vyasa who wrote the great epic Mahabharata. The Gita comprises of eighteen chapters, with Seven hundred slokas. The Gita Teaching contains the essence of all the Upanishads.