Bhagavad Gita 1.12 Explained: The Lion’s Roar of Leadership

तस्य संजनयन्हर्षं कुरुवृद्धः पितामहः।
सिंहनादं विनद्योच्चैः शङ्खं दध्मौ प्रतापवान्।

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता 1.12

Tasya Sanjanayanharsham Kuruvriddhah Pitamahah
Simhanadam Vinadyocchaih Shankham Dadhmau Pratapavan

Shrimad Bhagavad Gita 1.12

Then to enliven his spirits, the brave Grandfather Bheeshma, eldest of the Kuru-clan, blew his conch, till it sounded like a lion’s roar.

English Translation of BG 1.12

In this verse, we witness the venerable Bheeshma, the eldest of the Kuru clan, invigorating Duryodhana’s spirits by blowing his conch with a roar akin to a lion. This act of Bheeshma, besides being a call to arms, encapsulates deeper spiritual and psychological layers, shedding light on the profound virtues of leadership, devotion, and the indomitable spirit.

Insights into BG 1.12: Reflecting on Swami Ramsukhdas Ji’s Divine Commentary

The Resonance of Leadership

Bheeshma’s conch blast is not merely a physical act; it symbolizes the embodiment of unwavering leadership and the capacity to inspire courage and confidence in the face of adversity. In the context of Duryodhana’s doubts and insecurities, Bheeshma stands as a pillar of strength, demonstrating that true leadership lies in uplifting others, guiding them towards their inner strength, and preparing them for the challenges ahead.

Devotion Beyond Duty

The act of Bheeshma blowing the conch, especially when viewed through the lens of Swami Ramsukhdas Ji’s wisdom, transcends the boundaries of mere duty. It reflects a higher form of devotion — a devotion to righteousness and to the welfare of the community. Bheeshma’s loyalty to the throne, despite its flaws, and his willingness to engage in battle, underscore a profound commitment to dharma (righteousness). His life teaches us the essence of performing one’s duty with a heart full of devotion, highlighting that true service is rendered when actions are motivated by love and dedication to a higher cause.

The Invincible Spirit

Bheeshma’s conch sound, likened to a lion’s roar, also serves as a metaphor for the indomitable spirit that each individual possesses. It is a call to awaken the lion within, to face life’s battles with courage, and to stand firm in the face of obstacles. The resonance of the conch echoes the Vedic principle of awakening one’s inner strength and realizing the potential for greatness that lies within. It reminds us that the spirit, when aligned with dharma, is invincible and capable of overcoming any challenge.

The Role of the Elder

In calling Bheeshma “Kuruvriddhah” (the eldest of the Kuru clan) and “Pitamahah” (the grandfather), the verse not only acknowledges his age and wisdom but also his role as a guiding light for the Kuru dynasty. His actions demonstrate the importance of elders in shaping the course of society through wisdom, experience, and moral integrity. They hold the responsibility of guiding the younger generations, not through coercion, but through the power of example and righteous conduct.


This verse, through the symbolic act of Bheeshma blowing his conch, unfolds layers of meaning that extend beyond the battlefield of Kurukshetra. It speaks to the power of leadership, the sanctity of duty performed with devotion, the strength of the human spirit, and the guiding role of elders. As we reflect on Bheeshma’s actions, we are reminded of the timeless virtues that can guide us in our daily lives — courage, devotion, righteousness, and the importance of mentorship and leadership for the greater good. Through the din of the conch, we are called to awaken our own spirits, to stand firm in our convictions, and to lead lives of purpose and dharma.