Chapter 01.Verse 37-38

Arjunā Visāda Yogā

  यद्यप्येते न पश्यन्ति लोभोपहतचेतसः ।
कुलक्षयकृतं दोषं मित्रद्रोहे च पातकम् ॥१.३७॥
कथं न ज्ञेयमस्माभिः पापादस्मान्निवर्तितुम् ।
कुलक्षयकृतं दोषं प्रपश्यद्भिर्जनार्दन ॥१.३८॥

yady apy ete na paśyanti lobhopahata-cetasaḥ
kula-kṣaya-kṛtaṁ doṣaṁ mitra-drohe ca pātakam ॥1.37॥
kathaṁ na jñeyam asmābhiḥ pāpād asmān nivartitum
kula-kṣaya-kṛtaṁ doṣaṁ prapaśyadbhir janārdana ॥1.38॥
SYNONYMS

yadi—if; api—certainly; ete—they; na—do not; paśyanti—see; lobha—greed; upahata—overpowered; cetasaḥ—the hearts; kula-kṣaya—in killing the family; kṛtam—done; doṣam—fault; mitra-drohe—quarreling with friends; ca—also; pātakam—sinful reactions; katham—why; na—shall not; jñeyam—know this; asmābhiḥ—by us; pāpāt—from sins; asmāt—ourselves; nivartitum—to cease; kula-kṣaya—the destruction of a dynasty; kṛtam—by so doing; doṣam—crime; prapaśyadbhiḥ—by those who can see; janārdana—O Kṛṣṇa.

TRANSLATION

O Janārdana, although these men, overtaken by greed, see no fault in killing one’s family or quarreling with friends, why should we, with knowledge of the sin, engage in these acts?

purport

A kṣatriya is not supposed to refuse to battle or gamble when he is so invited by some rival party. Under such obligation, Arjuna could not refuse to fight because he was challenged by the party of Duryodhana. In this connection, Arjuna considered that the other party might be blind to the effects of such a challenge. Arjuna, however, could see the evil consequences and could not accept the challenge. Obligation is actually binding when the effect is good, but when the effect is otherwise, then no one can be bound. Considering all these pros and cons, Arjuna decided not to fight.

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Chapter 01.Verse 36

Arjunā Visāda Yogā

 पापमेवाश्रयेदस्मान्हत्वैतानाततायिनः ।
तस्मान्नार्हा वयं हन्तुं धार्तराष्ट्रान्स्वबान्धवान् ।
स्वजनं हि कथं हत्वा सुखिनः स्याम माधव ॥१.३६॥

pāpam evāśrayed asmān hatvaitān ātatāyinaḥ
tasmān nārhā vayaṁ hantuṁ dhārtarāṣṭrān sa-bāndhavān
sva-janaṁ hi kathaṁ hatvā sukhinaḥ syāma mādhava ॥1.36॥
SYNONYMS

pāpam—vices; eva—certainly; āśrayet—must take upon; asmān—us; hatvā—by killing; etān—all these; ātatāyinaḥ—aggressors; tasmāt—therefore; na—never; arhāḥ—deserving; vayam—us; hantum—to kill; dhārtarāṣṭrān—the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra; svabāndhavān—along with friends; svajanam—kinsmen; hi—certainly; katham—how; hatvā—by killing; sukhinaḥ—happy; syāma—become; mādhava—O Kṛṣṇa, husband of the goddess of fortune.

TRANSLATION

Sin will overcome us if we slay such aggressors. Therefore it is not proper for us to kill the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra and our friends. What should we gain, O Kṛṣṇa, husband of the goddess of fortune, and how could we be happy by killing our own kinsmen?

purport

According to Vedic injunctions there are six kinds of aggressors: 1) a poison giver, 2) one who sets fire to the house, 3) one who attacks with deadly weapons, 4) one who plunders riches, 5) one who occupies another’s land, and 6) one who kidnaps a wife. Such aggressors are at once to be killed, and no sin is incurred by killing such aggressors. Such killing of aggressors is quite befitting for any ordinary man, but Arjuna was not an ordinary person. He was saintly by character, and therefore he wanted to deal with them in saintliness. This kind of saintliness, however, is not for a kṣatriya. Although a responsible man in the administration of a state is required to be saintly, he should not be cowardly. For example, Lord Rāma was so saintly that people were anxious to live in His kingdom, (Rāma-rājya), but Lord Rāma never showed any cowardice. Rāvaṇa was an aggressor against Rāma because he kidnapped Rāma’s wife, Sītā, but Lord Rāma gave him sufficient lessons, unparalleled in the history of the world. In Arjuna’s case, however, one should consider the special type of aggressors, namely his own grandfather, own teacher, friends, sons, grandsons, etc. Because of them, Arjuna thought that he should not take the severe steps necessary against ordinary aggressors. Besides that, saintly persons are advised to forgive. Such injunctions for saintly persons are more important than any political emergency. Arjuna considered that rather than kill his own kinsmen for political reasons, it would be better to forgive them on grounds of religion and saintly behavior. He did not, therefore, consider such killing profitable simply for the matter of temporary bodily happiness. After all, kingdoms and pleasures derived therefrom are not permanent, so why should he risk his life and eternal salvation by killing his own kinsmen? Arjuna’s addressing of Kṛṣṇa as “Mādhava,” or the husband of the goddess of fortune, is also significant in this connection. He wanted to point out to Kṛṣṇa that, as husband of the goddess of fortune, He should not have to induce Arjuna to take up a matter which would ultimately bring about misfortune. Kṛṣṇa, however, never brings misfortune to anyone, to say nothing of His devotees.

Chapter 01.Verse 32-35

Arjunā Visāda Yogā

 किं नो राज्येन गोविन्द किं भोगैर्जीवितेन वा ।
येषामर्थे काङ्क्षितं नो राज्यं भोगाः सुखानि च ॥१.३२॥
त इमेऽवस्थिता युद्धे प्राणांस्त्यक्त्वा धनानि च ।
आचार्याः पितरः पुत्रास्तथैव च पितामहाः ॥१.३३॥
मातुलाः श्वशुराः पौत्राः श्यालाः सम्बन्धिनस्तथा ।
एतान्न हन्तुमिच्छामि घ्नतोऽपि मधुसूदन ॥१.३४॥
अपि त्रैलोक्यराज्यस्य हेतोः किं नु महीकृते ।
निहत्य धार्तराष्ट्रान्नः का प्रीतिः स्याज्जनार्दन ॥१.३५॥

kiṁ no rājyena govinda kiṁ bhogair jīvitena vā
yeṣām arthe kāṅkṣitaṁ no rājyaṁ bhogāḥ sukhāni ca ॥1.32॥
ta ime 'vasthitā yuddhe prāṇāṁs tyaktvā dhanāni ca
ācāryāḥ pitaraḥ putrās tathaiva ca pitāmahāḥ ॥1.33॥
mātulāḥ śvaśurāḥ pautrāḥ śyālāḥ sambandhinas tathā
etān na hantum icchāmi ghnato 'pi madhusūdana ॥1.34॥
api trailokya-rājyasya hetoḥ kiṁ nu mahī-kṛte
nihatya dhārtarāṣṭrān naḥ kā prītiḥ syāj janārdana ॥1.35॥
SYNONYMS

kim—what use; naḥ—to us; rājyena—is the kingdom; govinda—O Kṛṣṇa; kim—what; bhogaiḥ—enjoyment; jīvitena—by living; vā—either; yeṣām—for whom; arthe—for the matter of; kāṅkṣitam—desired; naḥ—our; rājyam—kingdom; bhogāḥ—material enjoyment; sukhāni—all happiness; ca—also; te—all of them; ime—these; avasthitāḥ—situated; yuddhe—in this battlefield; prāṇān—lives; tyaktvā—giving up; dhanāni—riches; ca—also; ācāryāḥ—teachers; pitaraḥ—fathers; putrāḥ—sons; tathā—as well as; eva—certainly; ca—also; pitāmahāḥ—grandfathers; mātulāḥ—maternal uncles; śvaśurāḥ—fathers-in-law; pautrāḥ—grandsons; śyālāḥ—brothers-in-law; sambandhinaḥ—relatives; tathā—as well as; etān—all these; na—never; hantum—for killing; icchāmi—do I wish; ghnataḥ—being killed; api—even; madhusūdana—O killer of the demon Madhu (Kṛṣṇa); api—even if; trailokya—of the three worlds; rājyasya—of the kingdoms; hetoḥ—in exchange; kim—what to speak of; nu—only; mahī-kṛte—for the sake of earth; nihatya—by killing; dhārtarāṣṭrān—the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra; naḥ—our; kā—what; prītiḥ—pleasure; syāt—will there be; janārdana—O maintainer of all living entities.—nor; ca—also; śreyaḥ—good; anupaśyāmi—do I foresee; hatvā—by killing; svajanam—own kinsmen; āhave—in the fight; na—nor; kānkṣe—do I desire; vijayam—victory; kṛṣṇa—O Kṛṣṇa; na—nor; ca—also; rājyam—kingdom; sukhāni—happiness thereof; ca—also.

TRANSLATION

O Govinda, of what avail to us are kingdoms, happiness or even life itself when all those for whom we may desire them are now arrayed in this battlefield? O Madhusūdana, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and all relatives are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, then why should I wish to kill them, though I may survive? O maintainer of all creatures, I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth.

purport

Arjuna has addressed Lord Kṛṣṇa as Govinda because Kṛṣṇa is the object of all pleasures for cows and the senses. By using this significant word, Arjuna indicates what will satisfy his senses. Although Govinda is not meant for satisfying our senses, if we try to satisfy the senses of Govinda then automatically our own senses are satisfied. Materially, everyone wants to satisfy his senses, and he wants God to be the order supplier for such satisfaction. The Lord will satisfy the senses of the living entities as much as they deserve, but not to the extent that they may covet. But when one takes the opposite way—namely, when one tries to satisfy the senses of Govinda without desiring to satisfy one’s own senses—then by the grace of Govinda all desires of the living entity are satisfied. Arjuna’s deep affection for community and family members is exhibited here partly due to his natural compassion for them. He is therefore not prepared to fight. Everyone wants to show his opulence to friends and relatives, but Arjuna fears that all his relatives and friends will be killed in the battlefield, and he will be unable to share his opulence after victory. This is a typical calculation of material life. The transcendental life is, however, different. Since a devotee wants to satisfy the desires of the Lord, he can, Lord willing, accept all kinds of opulence for the service of the Lord, and if the Lord is not willing, he should not accept a farthing. Arjuna did not want to kill his relatives, and if there were any need to kill them, he desired that Kṛṣṇa kill them personally. At this point he did not know that Kṛṣṇa had already killed them before their coming into the battlefield and that he was only to become an instrument for Kṛṣṇa. This fact is disclosed in following chapters. As a natural devotee of the Lord, Arjuna did not like to retaliate against his miscreant cousins and brothers, but it was the Lord’s plan that they should all be killed. The devotee of the Lord does not retaliate against the wrongdoer, but the Lord does not tolerate any mischief done to the devotee by the miscreants. The Lord can excuse a person on His own account, but He excuses no one who has done harm to His devotees. Therefore the Lord was determined to kill the miscreants, although Arjuna wanted to excuse them.

Chapter 01.Verse 31

Arjunā Visāda Yogā

 न च श्रेयोऽनुपश्यामि हत्वा स्वजनमाहवे ।
न काङ्क्षे विजयं कृष्ण न च राज्यं सुखानि च ॥१.३१॥
na ca śreyo 'nupaśyāmi hatvā sva-janam āhave
na kāṅkṣe vijayaṁ kṛṣṇa na ca rājyaṁ sukhāni ca ॥1.31॥
SYNONYMS

na—nor; ca—also; śreyaḥ—good; anupaśyāmi—do I foresee; hatvā—by killing; svajanam—own kinsmen; āhave—in the fight; na—nor; kānkṣe—do I desire; vijayam—victory; kṛṣṇa—O Kṛṣṇa; na—nor; ca—also; rājyam—kingdom; sukhāni—happiness thereof; ca—also.

TRANSLATION

I do not see how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle, nor can I, my dear Kṛṣṇa, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom, or happiness.

purport

Without knowing that one’s self-interest is in Viṣṇu (or Kṛṣṇa), conditioned souls are attracted by bodily relationships, hoping to be happy in such situations. Under delusion, they forget that Kṛṣṇa is also the cause of material happiness. Arjuna appears to have even forgotten the moral codes for a kṣatriya. It is said that two kinds of men, namely the kṣatriya who dies directly in front of the battlefield under Kṛṣṇa’s personal orders and the person in the renounced order of life who is absolutely devoted to spiritual culture, are eligible to enter into the sun-globe, which is so powerful and dazzling. Arjuna is reluctant even to kill his enemies, let alone his relatives. He thought that by killing his kinsmen there would be no happiness in his life, and therefore he was not willing to fight, just as a person who does not feel hunger is not inclined to cook. He has now decided to go into the forest and live a secluded life in frustration. But as a kṣatriya, he requires a kingdom for his subsistence, because the kṣatriyas cannot engage themselves in any other occupation. But Arjuna has had no kingdom. Arjuna’s sole opportunity for gaining a kingdom lay in fighting with his cousins and brothers and reclaiming the kingdom inherited from his father, which he does not like to do. Therefore he considers himself fit to go to the forest to live a secluded life of frustration.

Chapter 01.Verse 30

Arjunā Visāda Yogā

 न च शक्नोम्यवस्थातुं भ्रमतीव च मे मनः ।
निमित्तानि च पश्यामि विपरीतानि केशव ॥१.३०॥
na ca śaknomy avasthātuṁ bhramatīva ca me manaḥ
nimittāni ca paśyāmi viparītāni keśava ॥1.30॥
SYNONYMS

na—nor; ca—also; śaknomi—am I able; avasthātum—to stay; bhramati—forgetting; iva—as; ca—and; me—my; manaḥ—mind; nimittāni—causes; ca—also; paśyāmi—I foresee; viparītāni—just the opposite; keśava—O killer of the demon Keśī (Kṛṣṇa).

TRANSLATION

I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I foresee only evil, O killer of the Keśī demon.

purport

Due to his impatience, Arjuna was unable to stay on the battlefield, and he was forgetting himself on account of the weakness of his mind. Excessive attachment for material things puts a man in a bewildering condition of existence. Bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśataḥ: such fearfulness and loss of mental equilibrium take place in persons who are too affected by material conditions. Arjuna envisioned only unhappiness in the battlefield—he would not be happy even by gaining victory over the foe. The word nimitta is significant. When a man sees only frustration in his expectations, he thinks, “Why am I here?” Everyone is interested in himself and his own welfare. No one is interested in the Supreme Self. Arjuna is supposed to show disregard for self-interest by submission to the will of Kṛṣṇa, who is everyone’s real self-interest. The conditioned soul forgets this, and therefore suffers material pains. Arjuna thought that his victory in the battle would only be a cause of lamentation for him.

Chapter 01.Verse 29

Arjunā Visāda Yogā

 वेपथुश्च शरीरे मे रोमहर्षश्च जायते ।
गाण्डीवं स्रंसते हस्तात्त्वक्चैव परिदह्यते ॥१.२९॥
vepathuś ca śarīre me roma-harṣaś ca jāyate
gāṇḍīvaṁ sraṁsate hastāt tvak caiva paridahyate ॥1.29॥
SYNONYMS

vepathuḥ—trembling of the body; ca—also; śarīre—on the body; me—my; roma-harṣaḥ—standing of hair on end; ca—also; jāyate—is taking place; gāṇḍīvam—the bow of Arjuna; sraṁsate—is slipping; hastāt—from the hands; tvak—skin; ca—also; eva—certainly; paridahyate—burning.

TRANSLATION

My whole body is trembling, and my hair is standing on end. My bow Gāṇḍīva is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning.

purport

There are two kinds of trembling of the body, and two kinds of standings of the hair on end. Such phenomena occur either in great spiritual ecstasy or out of great fear under material conditions. There is no fear in transcendental realization. Arjuna’s symptoms in this situation are out of material fear—namely, loss of life. This is evident from other symptoms also; he became so impatient that his famous bow Gāṇḍīva was slipping from his hands, and, because his heart was burning within him, he was feeling a burning sensation of the skin. All these are due to a material conception of life.

Chapter 01.Verse 28

Arjunā Visāda Yogā

 अर्जुन उवाच ।
दृष्ट्वेमं स्वजनं कृष्ण युयुत्सुं समुपस्थितम् ।
सीदन्ति मम गात्राणि मुखं च परिशुष्यति ॥१.२८॥
arjuna uvāca
dṛṣṭvemaṁ sva-janaṁ kṛṣṇayuyutsuṁ samupasthitam
sīdanti mama gātrāṇimukhaṁ ca pariśuṣyati ॥1.28॥
SYNONYMS

arjunaḥ—Arjuna; uvāca—said; dṛṣṭvā—after seeing; imam—all these; svajanam—kinsmen; kṛṣṇa—O Kṛṣṇa; yuyutsum—all in fighting spirit; samupasthitam—all present; sīdanti—quivering; mama—my; gātrāṇi—limbs of the body; mukham—mouth; ca—also; pariśuṣyati—drying up.

TRANSLATION

Arjuna said: My dear Kṛṣṇa, seeing my friends and relatives present before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up.

purport

Any man who has genuine devotion to the Lord has all the good qualities which are found in godly persons or in the demigods, whereas the nondevotee, however advanced he may be in material qualifications by education and culture, lacks in godly qualities. As such, Arjuna, just after seeing his kinsmen, friends and relatives on the battlefield, was at once overwhelmed by compassion for them who had so decided to fight amongst themselves. As far as his soldiers were concerned, he was sympathetic from the beginning, but he felt compassion even for the soldiers of the opposite party, foreseeing their imminent death. And so thinking, the limbs of his body began to quiver, and his mouth became dry. He was more or less astonished to see their fighting spirit. Practically the whole community, all blood relatives of Arjuna, had come to fight with him. This overwhelmed a kind devotee like Arjuna. Although it is not mentioned here, still one can easily imagine that not only were Arjuna’s bodily limbs quivering and his mouth drying up, but that he was also crying out of compassion. Such symptoms in Arjuna were not due to weakness but to his softheartedness, a characteristic of a pure devotee of the Lord. It is said therefore:

yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā
sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ
harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇā
mano-rathenāsati dhāvato bahiḥ"

One who has unflinching devotion for the Personality of Godhead has all the good qualities of the demigods. But one who is not a devotee of the Lord has only material qualifications that are of little value. This is because he is hovering on the mental plane and is certain to be attracted by the glaring material energy.” (SB 5.18.12)