Bhagavad Gita 1.27 Explained: The Emotional Conflict of Arjuna

श्वशुरान्सुहृदश्चैव सेनयोरुभयोरपि।
तान्समीक्ष्य स कौन्तेयः सर्वान्बन्धूनवस्थितान्।।

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता 1.27

Shvashuransuhridashchaiva Senayorubhayorapi
Tansamikshya sa Kaunteyah Sarvanbandhunavasthitan

Shrimad Bhagavad Gita 1.27

Fathers-in-law and benefactors, arrayed on both sides. Arjuna then gazed at all those kinsmen before him.

English Translation of BG 1.27

At this juncture in the Bhagavad Gita, we encounter a pivotal moment that encapsulates the human essence of the epic’s protagonist, Arjuna. Standing between the two armies, Arjuna sees not just warriors ready for battle but his own family members—fathers-in-law, friends, and kinsmen—poised to fight each other. This sight triggers in him a profound emotional turmoil, setting the stage for the philosophical discourse that follows.

Insights into BG 1.27: Reflecting on Swami Ramsukhdas Ji’s Divine Commentary

The Weight of Relationships

As Arjuna gazes upon the faces of those he loves on both sides of the battlefield, he is confronted with the unbearable weight of impending loss. The sight of his relatives, ready to spill each other’s blood, brings to the fore the complex web of relationships that bind us all. This verse illuminates the fact that our actions are deeply influenced by our connections to others, often complicating our duties and decisions.

The Compassion of a Warrior

Arjuna’s compassion, as highlighted in this verse, underscores a crucial aspect of his character: his inherent empathy and reluctance to cause suffering, even to his detriment. This compassion, while laudable, places him at a crossroads, challenging the very essence of his identity as a warrior. It reflects the inner conflict many face when their professional duties clash with their personal morals and affections.

The Paralysis of Despondence

Upon seeing his kinsmen arrayed for battle, Arjuna is filled with despair, illustrating how deeply held values and attachments can lead to a state of indecision and inaction. This paralysis is not just a crisis of duty but a profound existential dilemma, questioning the morality of actions that lead to suffering and loss, even in the pursuit of justice or righteousness.

The Universality of Arjuna’s Dilemma

Arjuna’s predicament is universal, transcending the context of an ancient battlefield to resonate with the moral and ethical dilemmas faced by individuals across ages. It prompts us to consider the cost of our actions, the importance of compassion, and the difficult balance between duty and personal ethics.


Verse 1.27 of the Bhagavad Gita reveals the depth of Arjuna’s character and sets the stage for the profound philosophical teachings to come. It teaches us about the importance of empathy, the challenges of navigating complex ethical landscapes, and the necessity of seeking guidance when faced with seemingly insurmountable moral dilemmas. Through Arjuna’s internal struggle, we are reminded that the path to wisdom often begins with recognizing the depth of our connections to others and the impact of our actions on the world around us.