0132-RG–Vishada Yoga 1.32 to 1.35

Verse 1.32 to Verse 1.35

kiṁ no rājyena govinda

kiṁ bhogair jīvitena vā

yeṣām arthe kāṅkṣitaṁ no

rājyaṁ bhogāḥ sukhāni ca

ta ime ’vasthitā yuddhe

prāṇāṁs tyaktvā dhanāni ca

ācāryāḥ pitaraḥ putrās

tathaiva ca pitāmahāḥ

mātulāḥ śvaśurāḥ pautrāḥ

śyālāḥ sambandhinas tathā

etān na hantum icchāmi

ghnato ’pi madhusūdana

api trailokya-rājyasya

hetoḥ kiṁ nu mahī-kṛte

nihatya dhārtarāṣṭrān naḥ

kā prītiḥ syāj janārdana


O Govinda, of what avail to us are a kingdom, happiness or even life itself

when all those for whom we may desire them are now arrayed on this

battlefield? O Madhusūdana, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers,

maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives

are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, why

should I wish to kill them, even though they might otherwise kill me? O

maintainer of all living entities, I am not prepared to fight with them even in

exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth. What pleasure will we derive

from killing the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra?

RG Purport:  Arjuna is a dear friend of Krishna and in the middle of the battlefield seems to display his so-called higher understanding of life. Being a warrior of the highest class, Arjuna seems to pose an intelligent question based on some “learnt” knowledge and some understanding based on his deep emotional self. Arjuna tries to pacify the Lord by saying that he is not ready to be the ruler of the three worlds which may be built on the bodies of his blood-relatives and friends even if the other side is ready to kill him on the basis of falsehood. Here Arjuna seems to display compassion on the opposite side (which is very difficult and commendable no doubt) even at the cost of his own life and is willing to accept the label of cowardice so that his dear ones who happened to be the cause of his banishment and ire survive. The one point where Arjuna’s argument seems to be weak is that he is willing to cast his life for the sake of mere bodily attachments in favor of truth. Another aspect where Arjuna’s option of quitting fails is in the aspect of his own nature. Arjuna is an ideal Kshatriya and having taken this position he tries to jump to the position of a “tyaagi” or renunciant although he was ill-qualified for the same. Santana Dharma is the natural law of the universe; the very law-construct of the “Purusa” (Sri Krishna) and “Prakriti” (Srimati Radhika) and no one is allowed to break this law. Arjuna’s statements of his assumed role above appear to be an outburst of momentary compassion growing out of the weakness of forgetfulness of the Self. It should be noted that compassion is not based on moments of emotional weakness but is a consummate result of knowledge of the self. Neither dispassion not compassion can emerge of the ordinary mind. It is only true surrender at the feet of the Lord can one become a natural expression of compassion and dispassion. Although Arjuna was an advanced being, he has taken up the role of an ordinary being who is enmeshed in the external energy, Maya of the Lord. Arjuna realizes that Krishna Himself is the maintainer of all those who appear on the battlefield. Arjuna is baffled at the fact that the maintainer of all living beings is in the midst of the battlefield eager to see the dead bodies of the enemies. This is Arjuna’s predicament.

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