Topics for today:
- Opening prayers and Gita Dhyanam
- Chapter 1 Verses 32-41
Highlights of today’s class:
Arjuna’s arguments and predicament:
- After seeing his near and dear ones on both sides of the battlefield, Arjuna was overcome with extreme compassion, para krupa which was caused by distress knowing that these near and dear ones were about to die. His physical body also showed signs of intense emotion and he could not carry on with the fight. From verse 31 up to the end of the chapter, Arjuna presents various arguments why waging the war was a bad idea.
- In verse 33 Arjuna says that those for whose sake he desired victory and kingdom were right there in the battle whom he had to defeat and kill. This shows that Arjuna thought that the purpose he was waging the war was for the sake of his people and not for dharma or to fulfil his duty.
- In verses 34 and 35 Arjuna says he was no longer interested in victory in such a war where he had to fight his own people. Action is meant to be done in such a way that it takes a person from Rajas to Sattva, whereas here lacking interest in such action, Arjuna was moving from Rajas to Tamas. Krishna teaches him in the next chapter the proper attitude one must have towards action. (Swami Viditatmanandaji’s commentary)
- In verse 36 Arjuna further claims he would incur papa by engaging in this war. In this verse the confused thinking of Arjuna becomes apparent where he says Duryodhana and people in his camp were aatatayis (who according to dharma shastra were fit to be given capital punishment) and at the same time says that killing them would result in papa. This was not correct thinking. His affection for his people caused this confusion between dharma and adharma in Arjuna.
- In verses 37 to 41 and even beyond, Arjuna presents seemingly logical reasons for why he must not engage in the war. Outside of the present context these reasons would seem valid. But the reason for Arjuna’s reasoning was his grief at the thought of killing his near and dear people and was not out of a wish to re-assess their decision to go to war.
- Arjuna’s grief was a psychological weakness which got revealed to him now. His weakness was his dependence on near and dear ones for his happiness. Hence the thought of losing them plunged him into grief.
- Krishna’s teaching in the Gita addresses this issue of psychological weakness which is universally applicable to all human beings. We will study this teaching from the 2nd chapter.
om tat sat