Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 1, Slokas 43 to 47

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath

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Slokas 43-45

DOSHAIR ETAIHI KULAGHNANAAM VARNA SANKARA KARAKAIHI
UTSADYANTE JATI DHARMAHA KULADHARMAS CHA SHASHVATAHA

UTSANNA KULA DHARMANAAM MANUSHYANAAM JANARDHANA
NARAKE’ NIYATAM VASO BHAVATITI ANUSHUSHRUMA

AHO BATA MAHAT PAPAM KARTUM VYVASITA VAYAM
YAD RAJYA SUKHA LOBHENA HANTUM SVAJANAM UDYATAHA

O Krishna, by these evil deeds of the destroyers of the family who can cause caste pollution, the eternal laws of race and family perish.

Men whose sacred rites and rituals are destroyed are compelled to inherit hell for an unknown period. Thus have we heard, O Janardana.

Oh, see, we have engaged in committing a heinous sin, as we are ready to kill our own kinsmen just for the sake of the pleasures of the sovereignty.

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One can see that the caste system of “Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Shudra” was in vogue in those days. We can also imply that roles and duties were allotted to men of different castes. The society lived in harmony when each individual family unit carried on its duties.

As a consequence of war, (which we discussed in the previous slokas) several men, the bread-winners of family loose their lives. This causes havoc to the remaining family members of that unit. Arjuna refers to his cousins Kauravas who would have destroyed the family and cause caste pollution. By taking part in the war, the Pandavas would also be responsible for the problems the society would face “post-war.”

The routine religious rites in a number of families would come to a halt. With this the eternal laws of family perish. When a large number of families are destroyed, the race would soon perish.

To stop this catastrophe, the learned elders brought out the idea of “heaven and hell.” Those that caused destruction of family and thereby destroy the religion, they said, would end up in hell. They also said that it would be a very long period in hell. Hell is to be considered as a place of suffering.

Arjuna was taught this in his gurukula ashrama and by the elders in their family.

He expresses the fact to Krishna that by taking part in the war, the Pandavas would suffer the same fate as the Kauravas.

According to him, there is no difference between Pandavas and Kauravas in the aim of the war. Both were fighting to get sovereignty of the land. Whoever wins the war would still have to face life in hell for the sin committed.

“Family dharma” in this context means “code of conduct” as prescribed by the sastras and which is beneficial to the family and the society by the members of each family unit.

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Sloka 46

YADI MAM APRATIKARAM ASHASTRAM SHASTRAPANAYAHA
DHARTRA RASHTRA RANO’ HANYUS TAN ME’ KSHEMATARAM BHAVET.

If the sons of Dhritarashtra, weapons in hand, slay me in the battle, unresisting and unarmed, that would be better (beneficial) for me.

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Having decided not to fight, Arjuna is trying to justify the decision. He is looking at the end result of his decision not to fight. He is misreading the word “Kshema.” He is looking at the fruits of action.

By running away from the battle and not killing the respected elders and teachers he thought there would be merit points for him. It shows his ignorance of the sastras.

He is wrong also to think of the “fruits of action.” The rest of the Gita is about actions and the spirit of conducting the same.

Through the medium of Arjuna, the Lord is going to correct our mistakes in understanding of the sacred philosophy.

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Sloka 47

SANJAYA UVACHA

YEVAMUKTVARJUNAH SAMKHYE RATHOPASTHA UPAVISHAT
VISRUJYA SASHARAM CHAPAM SHOKA SAMVIGNHA MANASAHA

Having spoken in this manner, Arjuna, distressed with sorrow, dropped his bow and arrows and sat on the seat of his chariot.

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What has Arjuna done so far and why did he do what he did?

Arjuna expressed the symptoms of depression in greater detail. He was fortunate and blessed with the presence of the greatest teacher in the form of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna was the charioteer. It was not coincidence that Krishna was Arjuna’s charioteer. He was aware of this situation developing and he knew that for the welfare of humanity in general there was a dire need to make the philosophy of “Karma, Jnana, Bhakti and Dhyana” clear to those who were desirous to know. The war between the cousins was the most appropriate moment for lighting the knowledge of wisdom.

Arjuna as a patient who suddenly felt extremely depressed just before undertaking the major battle in his life, decided that he needed the help of a psychoanalyst. Sri Krishna, we can say is the world’s first “Psychoanalyst” we know of. True to the profession, He listened to all the symptoms the patient came up with and did not interrupt him in the middle with probing questions.

The dropping of the bow and arrows expresses his mental weakness. The body of the great warrior lost its physical strength due to “grief.” The grief was due to the ignorance of the sastras. Sastras are meant for the welfare of the mankind and the universe.

Each one of us has a god ordained duty to conduct in this world and has the presence of the God inside to guide us in the discharge of our duties to God and the society. We must not let the “ego” blind us to this reality.

The God is there constantly to bestow His grace and we must know how to approach Him and receive the grace.

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ITI SRIMAD BHAGAWADGITAS UPANISADTSU BRAHMA VIDYAYAM YOGA SASTRE SRI KIRISHNARJUNA SAMVADE ARJUNA VISHADA YOGO NAMA PRATHAMODHYAYAHA.

Thus is designated the first chapter “Arjuna Vishada Yoga”of the Bhagavadgita which is a Upanisad, Brahma Vidya (knowledge of the Brahman) and Yoga Sastra (science of Yoga) and which is in the form of a dialogue between Sri Krishna and Arjuna.

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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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