tamuvaacha hrisheekeshaha prahasanniva bhaarata |
senayorubhayormadhye visheedantamidam vachaha || 10 ||

Hrishikeesha, as though smiling, spoke these words to the despondent Arjuna, in the middle of the two armies.

tam : to him
uvaacha : spoke
hrisheekeshaha : Hrisheekeshaha
prahasan iva : as though smiling
bhaarata : Arjuna
senayor-ubhayor-madhye : in the middle of the armies
visheedantam : despondent
idam : these
vachaha : spoke words

The most interesting aspect of this verse is the phrase “as though smiling”, and has been interpreted differently by several commentators. The commonly held notion is : Shri Krishna wanted to use Arjuna as a vehicle for delivering the sermon of the Gita, and he smiled because the time for delivering the sermon had come as soon as Arjuna requested him to become his disciple. Another interpretation is that on the one hand, Arjuna is surrendering to Shri Krishna and asking for guidance, but o the other hand he says that he will not fight. Therefore Shri Krishna is smiling on this qualified request from Arjuna.

Our journey so far was just the background of the Gita. Starting from the next verse, we are about to delve into the heart of the Gita. Like any good speaker, Shri Krishna has provided an overview of the Gita for us in Chapter 2. Later chapters will delve into these themes in significant detail.

We will try our best to understand some of the more abstract verses in this chapter, but let’s not worry if we don’t understand them completely in the first reading. These verses will reveal new nuances and facets in each reading.