Bhagavad Gita 1.21 Explained: Arjuna’s Request for Divine Guidance

अर्जुन उवाच
हृषीकेशं तदा वाक्यमिदमाह महीपते।
सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये रथं स्थापय मेऽच्युत।।1.21।।

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता 1.21

Arjuna Uvacha
Hrishikesam Tada Vakyamidam Aaha Maheepate
Senayor Ubhayor Madhye Ratham Sthapaya Me’chyuta

Shrimad Bhagavad Gita 1.21

Raising his bow, spoke this to the Lord Shri Krishna: O Infallible! Lord of the earth! Please draw up my chariot betwixt the two armies,

English Translation of BG 1.21

At this crucial juncture on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Arjuna turns to Lord Krishna, addressing Him as Hrishikesha, the Lord of the senses, and Achyuta, the infallible one, with a request that is as profound as it is symbolic. He asks Krishna to position their chariot right at the center of the two opposing forces. This simple yet pivotal request sets the stage for the unveiling of the eternal wisdom of the Gita.

Insights into BG 1.21: Reflecting on Swami Ramsukhdas Ji’s Divine Commentary

The Middle Ground

Arjuna’s request to have the chariot placed in the middle of the two armies signifies more than a tactical position for the impending physical battle. It symbolizes the inner conflict faced by every individual at the crossroads of moral and ethical dilemmas. By asking Krishna to position the chariot centrally, Arjuna is unknowingly seeking a perspective that balances righteousness with duty, the personal with the universal.

Krishna as the Charioteer

Addressing Krishna as Hrishikesha and Achyuta underscores Arjuna’s recognition of divine sovereignty over human senses and the unchanging, infallible nature of the divine. By entrusting Krishna with the guidance of the chariot, Arjuna symbolically surrenders his will to the divine, acknowledging that true guidance in life’s battles comes from a higher wisdom.

The Request for Clarity

Arjuna’s desire to see both armies clearly before engaging in battle reflects the human yearning for clarity amidst confusion and chaos. It is a metaphor for the seeker’s quest for understanding before making significant life decisions. Through this act, Arjuna teaches us the importance of seeking a clear understanding of our circumstances, our duties, and the consequences of our actions, guided by divine insight.

Preparation for a Deeper Battle

This moment is not merely the prelude to a physical war but a preparation for the inner battle Arjuna is about to face. It symbolizes the beginning of a spiritual journey, from confusion and doubt to enlightenment and understanding. Arjuna’s request marks the start of this transformation, guided by the teachings of Krishna, which transcend the immediate context of war to address the eternal struggles of the soul.


Verse 1.21 of the Bhagavad Gita encapsulates a moment of profound significance, where a simple request by Arjuna reveals layers of spiritual meaning. It reminds us that in the battles we face in life, seeking divine guidance, striving for clarity, and understanding the deeper moral and ethical dimensions of our actions are crucial. This verse sets the stage for the wisdom of the Gita to unfold, teaching us that the journey towards righteousness and understanding is often marked by moments of profound inquiry and surrender to the divine will. As we reflect on this verse, let us remember the importance of seeking a balanced perspective in our lives, guided by the divine, as we navigate our duties and responsibilities in the world.