Bhagavad Gita - Chapter 1 (Part-1)- Yoga of the Despondency of Arjuna

Arjuna’s  Reaction

arjuna  uvaacha
drishtwe mam  swajanam krishna yuyutsum samupasthitam // 28 //

Arjuna said
O Krishna, seeing these relatives and friends gathered  here eager to fight,

seedanti mama  gaatraani mukham cha parishushyati
vepathushcha  shareere me romaharshashcha jaayate  //  29//

My limbs fail me and my mouth gets parched up, my  body trembles and my hairs stand on end.

gaandeevam  sramsate hastaat twak chaiva paridahyate
na cha  shaknomyavasthaatum bhramateeva cha me manah // 30 //

The Gandiva (bow) slips from my hand and my skin  burns all over; I am unable even to stand steady and my mind is reeling.

nimittaani  cha pashyaami vipareetaani keshava
na cha  shreyo'nupashyaami hatwaa swajanam aahave // 31 //

And I see evil omens, O Kesava (Krishna), I do not  see any good in killing my own people in this battle.

Arjuna's  attention to omens indicates that his mental strength had gone down.  It started showing its weakness and  instability. The world he was seeing till a short while ago, now presented him  with a different picture on account of his change of perception. Subjectivity  replaced objectivity on account of his mental confusion.  Losing self-control, he landed in the abyss  of ignorance. His words make us think of the loneliness of man oppressed by  doubts and emptiness from whom the comforts of human life are slipping away.  This sadness is the first experience of those who aspire for the vision of the  Reality.

Arjuna’s  Anguish

na kaangkshe  vijayam krishna na cha raajyam sukhaani cha
kim no  raajyena govinda kim bhogair jeevitena vaa // 32 //

For, I do not desire victory, O, Krishna, or pleasures  or kingdoms.  Of what avail is kingdom to  us O, Govinda (Krishna), or pleasures or even life?

Indifference  to acquisition of worldly pleasures is a sign of ethical and spiritual  progress.  However, Arjuna was far from  it.  It is only his delusion which is masquerading  as mental achievement. It is nothing but a momentary temptation to adopt the  method of renunciation in times of great sorrow and crisis bordering on escapism  from the reality.

yeshaam arthe  kaangkshitam no raajyam bhogaah sukhaani cha
ta  ime'vasthitaa yuddhe praanaams tyaktwaa dhanaani cha // 33 //

Those for whose sake we desire kingdoms, enjoyments  and pleasures, stand here in battle staking their life and wealth.

aachaaryah  pitarah putraastathaiva cha pitaamahaah
maatulaah  shwashuraah pautraah shyaalaah sambandhinas tathaa // 34 //

Teachers, fathers, sons and also grandfathers,  uncles and fathers-in-law, grandsons and brothers-in-law and other relatives

etaan  na hantum icchaami ghnato'pi madhusoodana
api trailokya  raajyasya hetoh kim nu maheekrite // 35 //

O, Madhusudana (Krishna), though these were to kill  me, I do not wish to kill them even for the sake of dominion over the three  worlds, leave alone killing them for the sake of the earth.

nihatya  dhaartaraashtraan nah kaa preetih syaaj janaardana
paapam  evaashrayed asmaan hatwaitaan aatataayinah // 36 //

By killing these sons of Dhritarashtra, what  pleasures can be ours O, Janardana (Krishna)?   Only sin will accrue by killing these felons.

The  term `felon' refers to the one who sets fire to the house of another, runs with  a sword to kill, poisons others, plunders the wealth and land of others or  usurps the wife of somebody else. Duryodhana committed all these crimes against  the Pandavas. According to Artha Sastra no sin is committed if such felons are  killed.  But Arjuna overwhelmed with a  sense of sentimental sympathy for his near and dear ones takes the help of the  general principle of Dharma Sastra which forbids the sin of killing one  another. He is talking in terms of enlightened selfishness.

tasmaan  naarhaa vayam hantum dhaartaraashtraan swabaandhavaan
swajanam hi  katham hatwaa sukhinah syaama maadhava // 37 //

Therefore, we should not kill the sons of  Dhritarashtra, our relatives; for, how can we be happy by killing our own  people, O, Madhava (Krishna)?

yadyapyete na  pashyanti lobhopahatachetasah
kulakshayakritam  dosham mitradrohe cha paatakam  // 38 //
katham na jneyam  asmaabhih paapaad asmaan nivartitum
kulakshayakritam  dosham prapashyadbhir janaardana // 39 //

O Janardana, though with their intelligence  overpowered by greed they do not see any evil or sin in the destruction of  families or hostility towards friends, why should not we who clearly see evil  in the destruction of a family, learn to turn away from this sin.

Arjuna  was reinforcing his arguments for saving the Kaurava desperadoes due to his  attachment for his relatives and friends by putting forward a philosophy of  non-resistance to evil.  Krishna in his  discourses that will follow proved the hollowness of these arguments and their  dangerous implications.

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