taansameekshya sa kaunteyaha sarvaanbandhunavasthitaan |
kripayaa parayaavishto vishidannidamabraveet || 27 ||
Seeing his kinsmen standing near him, Arjuna, son of Kunti, became overwhelmed with pity, and struck by despair, spoke this.
taan : those
sameekshya sa : seeing
kaunteyaha : son of Kunti, Arjuna
sarvaanbandhuna : kinsmen
avasthitaan : standing
kripayaa : pity
parayaa :  extreme
avishto : filed with
vishidan : despair
idam : this
abraveet: spoke
Strong egos are mired in duality. Like bipolar person, a strong ego can go from one emotion to its exact opposite almost instantly. When Arjuna saw the caliber of warriors in the opposing army, his demeanour switched from courage to cowardice in a matter of seconds.
Why did this happen? When one is under the control of the ego rather than the rational intellect, one’s emotional balance is extremely vulnerable. All it took to destabilize his balance was for Shri Krishna to highlight Arjuna’s kinsmen in the army.
This verse also shows that no one is immune from the workings of the ego. Arjuna was a well-educated, committed warrior, in fact one of the best warriors on the planet. Even someone as tough as him lost his emotional balance so quickly.
1. An interesting simile is provided in the Jnyaneshwari for this verse. Just like a man forgets his old girlfriend after being infatuated with a new girl, Arjuna’s warrior instincts were replaced with pity for his kinsmen, and cowardice for the war.