Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1, Slokas 37 to 39

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath
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Sloka 37

TASMAN NARHA VAYAM HANTUM DHARTRA RASHTRAN SVABHANDAVAN
SWAJANAM HI KATHAM HATVA SUKHINAH SYAMA MADHAVA

O Madhava, therefore we should not kill the sons of Dhritarashtra who are our relations. How can we be happy by killing our own people?

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Arjuna on his part has so far expressed his distress. Here, he is giving his final opinion. “Therefore we should not kill the sons of Dhritarashtra”, he says.

Like a scholar he proceeds and puts forward the question: “How can we be happy killing our own people?”

It shows his ignorance about the Vedas and his duty to the society. He did not learn the Vedas completely and is passing judgement on the subject he is not qualified. He has not understood the principle of “Karma.”

Through the medium of Arjuna, we are going to be taught in the subsequent chapters the fine arts of conducting our actions.

If we conduct work as “duty” most of the misconceptions will disappear and the results will be beneficial for us and the society.

We have a duty to the “God outside” and to the “God inside.”

The “God outside” is the society and the various forms of life in the universe.
The “God inside” is the “Atman” within us.

We cannot live for a second without the presence of the Atman inside and without the society and the various forms of life. We live a life of co-operation for mutual benefit.

In the present context of the battle of righteousness, there is no question of “killing our own people” and experiencing “happiness”. Arjuna should be looking at what is beneficial to the subjects in their land. He is already confident of success in the battle but feels that the happiness of victory is not worth the sorrow in losing the kith and kin. These are the words of a confused man. He needs treatment that can clear the ignorance.

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Sloka 38 and 39

YADYAPYETE NA PASHYANTI LOBHOPA HATACHETASAHA
KULA KSHAYA KRITAM DOSHAM MITRADROHE’ CHA PATAKAM.
KATHAM NA JNEYAM ASMABHIHI PAPAD ASMAN NIVARTITUM
KULA KSHAYA KRITAM DOSHAM PRAPASHYADBHIR JANARDHANA.

O Krishna, though these men whose minds are overpowered by greed, see no evil in their destruction of families and the sin in hostility to friend, why do not we realise the evil of self-destruction and turn away from the path of sin?

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> Kula kshaya: destruction of family.

Arjuna is now talking about the “Destruction of the family”. What is the family?

In childhood, the parents are the family. The parents have a duty to look after their children and to see that the children become useful members of the society. In some instances it is not just useful member of the society but also a respected member of the society.

As the child grows into an adult, the roles gradually change and the child as an adult has a duty to look after the parents.

As one climbs up ladder, the responsibility also increases.

The responsibility as a teacher is to all the children in the class. For the head master it is for the entire school. Department of education is for all the children/students.

One can say that the family gets wider and bigger.

Arjuna held a higher position and he could not just look at his immediate family and cousins as his and his responsibility is only for them. Really speaking his responsibility is first to the subjects in his brother’s kingdom. Not fulfilling one’s responsibility to the subjects is a sin.

Arjuna has to change his idea of the family.

If he fails in his role, he will be causing destruction of the subjects in their territory.

> Sin in hostility to a friend:

In the war of righteousness the matter of friend does not arise. Arjuna had to be 100% hostile to the soldiers in the opposite camp.

Copyright for the texts on Bhagavad Gita by Dr. P.V. Nath, UK.
Questions concerning the text please direct to Dr. Nath at “snath@btinternet.com“.

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