Daily Dose of Bhagavad Gita

Chapter 1: Observing the Armies on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra

TEXTS 37-38

yady apy ete na pasyanti
lobhopahata-cetasah
kula-ksaya-krtam dosam
mitra-drohe ca patakam
katham na jneyam asmabhih
papad asman nivartitum
kula-ksaya-krtam dosam
prapasyadbhir janardana

Chapter 1 Verse 37-39

TRANSLATION

O Janardana, 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

ksatriya 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.

TEXT 39

kula-ksaye pranasyanti
kula-dharmah sanatanah
dharme naste kulam krtsnam
adharmo ‘bhibhavaty uta

TRANSLATION

With the destruction of dynasty, the eternal family tradition is vanquished, and thus the rest of the family becomes involved in irreligious practice.

PURPORT

In the system of the varnasrama institution there are many principles of religious traditions to help members of the family grow properly and attain spiritual values. The elder members are responsible for such purifying processes in the family, beginning from birth to death. But on the death of the elder members, such family traditions of purification may stop, and the remaining younger family members may develop irreligious habits and thereby lose their chance for spiritual salvation. Therefore, for no purpose should the elder members of the family be slain.

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