Bhagavad Gita 1.22 Explained: Arjuna’s Quest for Ethical Clarity

अर्जुन उवाच
यावदेतान्निरीक्षेऽहं योद्धुकामानवस्थितान्।
कैर्मया सह योद्धव्यमस्मिन्रणसमुद्यमे।।1.22।।

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता 1.22

Arjuna Uvacha
Yavadetannirikshe’ham Yoddhukamanavasthitan
Kairmaya Saha Yoddhavyam Asminranasamudyame

Shrimad Bhagavad Gita 1.22

So that I may observe those who must fight on my side, those who must fight against me;

English Translation of BG 1.22

This poignant verse marks a critical juncture in the Bhagavad Gita, capturing Arjuna’s quest for clarity before the commencement of the battle. As Arjuna stands on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, his request to Krishna reflects a deeper desire to understand the nature of his opponents and the ethical implications of the war.

Insights into BG 1.22: Reflecting on Swami Ramsukhdas Ji’s Divine Commentary

The Quest for Clarity

Arjuna’s request to examine the warriors gathered to fight symbolizes the human need for clarity in the face of moral dilemmas. It’s a moment of introspection, where the impending physical battle mirrors the internal struggle between duty and righteousness. Arjuna seeks to understand not just the physical adversaries but the ethical dimensions of his actions and their consequences.

The Nature of Conflict

This verse highlights the universality of conflict, both external and internal. Arjuna’s desire to see those “eager to fight” represents every individual’s encounter with challenges that test our values, principles, and commitments. It’s a reminder that life’s battles are not just fought on the physical plane but within the realms of our conscience.

Understanding the Opponent

Arjuna’s wish to know “with whom I must contend” goes beyond identifying his enemies. It’s an acknowledgment of the complexity of human relationships and the pain of confronting loved ones on opposing sides. This moment underscores the inevitability of facing difficult choices in life, where the lines between right and wrong are blurred by emotional bonds and loyalties.

The Prelude to Inner Transformation

Arjuna’s request sets the stage for the profound teachings of the Gita. It signifies the beginning of his spiritual journey from confusion and despondency to enlightenment and wisdom. This verse is a call to introspection and self-inquiry, urging us to seek deeper understanding and guidance when faced with life’s moral and ethical challenges.


Verse 1.22 of the Bhagavad Gita presents a critical moment of self-awareness and ethical inquiry. It reminds us of the importance of understanding the nature of our conflicts and the adversaries we face, not just externally but within our own selves. As Arjuna stands at the threshold of battle, his request to Krishna for clarity is a lesson for all of us to seek wisdom and guidance in navigating the complex ethical landscapes of our lives. This verse invites us to reflect on our own battles, encouraging us to approach them with a deep sense of introspection, understanding, and a quest for righteous action.