How does Bhagavat Gita begin ?

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The first chapter of Gita is broadly classified into two portions.
The first 27 verses give the context for the dialogue to take place. This portion is calledsangati-kathana.
The second portion is from verse 28 to verse 48. This is called samsara-varnana. Here we get a description of human bondage, which is in the form of human dependence. This is called samsara.

In the first portion, the context of Mahabharata battle is presented. The sprawling battle-field of Kurukshetra is a flash point of not only a savage war but a trial of strength between dharma & adharma.
From the story of Mahabharata we know that all the Kauravas were adharmic and took to similar actions. 
In Gita, they are called atyayain, which means the worst type of criminal.
Both the armies of Kauravas and Pandavas are arrayed against eachother and it is at this juncture, the Bhagavad Gita begins.

Duryodhana comes to Dronacharya and briefs him about the important warriors on both sides and when he enumerates, we learn that Kaurava army is much more powerful than Pandavas both in number and strength. 
Duryodhana, assessing the overall strength of the two armies, says

Aparyaaptham thadasmaakam balam bheeshmaabhirak****ham

Paryaaptham thvidamaethaeshaam balam bheemabhirak****ham 1.10

The strength of our army (being greater) well protected by Bhishma cannot be overwhelmed, whereas the strength of these people in front of us (their battalions being fewer in number), even though protected by Bhima can be overwhelmed.

This shows the confidence Duryodhana has that his army could easily overwhelm the Pandavas and that he would win the war. He purposely mentions to Dronacharya the names of his adversaries (who are disciples of Drona himself), to cure Drona’s possible sense of complacency and to provoke him to heights of war-frenzy !
He also mentions the names of the heroes and warriors on his side, perhaps implying that it is the duty of Drona to protect and save them.

Though he says this, he feels insecure because he knows that dharma is not on his side.

Pandavas had the support of dharma which is represented by Lord Krishna.

Yathra yogaeshvara: krishno ysthra paartho dhanudhara: 18.78

So, they never felt diffident or insecure, but were very enthusiastic.

Bhishma understood Duryodhana’s diffidence and just to produce some kind of joy in the hearts of the Kuru family, roared loudly like a lion. (Does not sound always allay fear?!) Then he sounded the beginning of the war by blowing his conch. At once all the other Kauravas also blew their conches.

Then Krishna sounded his conch called the Panchajanya and the Pandavas followed suit.

At that crucial time Arjuna felt like looking at the face of the people he was going to fight with. Infact Arjuna need not have done that, knowing they were his relatives.
But, if Arjuna ad not desired so, Gita could not have come to us !

Arjuna commands Krishna:

Saenayorubhayormadhyae ratham sthapaya mae(a)chyutha
Yaavadaethaan nireeksho(a)ham yodhdhukkhamaanavasthithaan
Kairmayaa saha yoddhavya-masmin raNasamudhyamae 1.21

Oh, Achyutha, keep my chariot between the two armies while I see those who are arrayed, seeking battle, and know with whom I shall have to fight in this preparation for combat.

Krishna complies with the command, because now he is Arjuna’s driver ! Well, Krishna could have placed the chariot in front of Duryodhana or Karna ; but he does not do so ! He places the chariot in front of Bhishma, Drona and others. When Arjuna faces them, his mind is poised to change gradually. The next half of this chapter deals with Samsara-varnana

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