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Before the battle of Mahabharat, Arjuna felt dejected at the sight of his relatives standing

against him and he refused to fight. His mind became weak and the very thought of fighting
with his own brothers broke his heart. He wanted to run away from the battle-field. So he
went on to share his dilemma with his friend and guide Krishna. This conversation is
described in 18 parts. I can briefly describe it by quoting few parts of their conversation. For
more details you can read Bhagavat Gita. The conversation goes like.

Arjun:

“na yotsya iti govindam,

na yotsya iti govindam”

Hey Govind, the very thought of war itself gives me grief and I feel dejected, therefore, I will
not fight.

Krishna:

“ashochann vashochatsvam pragyaaddanshch bhaashase,

gataasoon gtaasoonshch naanushochanti panditaah”

Hey Arjun, you grieve for those who should not be grieved for and yet seemingly speak like a
wise man; but the wise men do not grieve for the living or the dead.

Arjun:

“nimittaani ch pashyaami vipritaani Keshav”

Hey Keshav! Wherever I look, I see nothing but evil and unpleasant omens in the upcoming
battle.

Krishna:

“yah sarvatraanbhistrehast-tattpraapya shubhashubham”

A karma-yogi does not care for omens. He is unattached to everything because he neither
rejoices when meeting pleasant circumstances nor does he ever feel dejected if he
encounters any unpleasant events.

“shubhaashubh parityaagi bhaktimaanyah sa me priyah”

My devotee always renounces good and evil premonitions and circumstances, and he, while
fixing his mind on me, by my grace, overcomes all difficulties.

Arjun: “In this battle, I do not foresee any good resulting from the slaughter of my friends
and relatives.”

Krishna:

“sarva-dharmamapi chaavekshya na vikampitum-arhasi”


There is nothing more welcome to a warrior than a righteous war, Arjun. One’s own duty
though devoid of merit is preferable to the duty of another well performed, because even
death in the performance of one’s duty brings happiness.

Arjun:

“na kaankshe vijayam krishna na ch raajayam sukhaani ch”

But I do not covet victory, kingdom or even luxuries. And of what use will this kingdom,
luxuries or even life be to us, hey Keshav, if we kill all the friends of our childhood days.

Krishna: “A Karma-yogi should fight while treating victory and defeat alike, gain and loss
alike, pain and pleasure alike and fighting thus, he does not incur sin.”

Arjun:

“ye shaamarthe kaankshitam

no raajayam bhogaah sukhaani ch”

Those for whose sake we seek kingdom and pleasure- teachers, uncles, sons, nephews,
grand uncles and other relatives, they all stand here today on the battlefield staking their
lives, property and wealth.

Krishna:

“niraashi nirmamo bhootva yudhyasva vigatjvarah”

Dedicating all actions to Me and with your mind fixed on Me, freed from the feelings of hope
and sadness and cured of mental fever, Hey Arjun, you must fight. Because he who has
given up all desires and has become free from the feelings of “I” and “Mine” eventually
attains peace.

Arjun:

“nihatya dhaartraashtraanah

kaa preetih syaaj janaardan”

Hey Govind, I have yet to understand, what delight can we derive by slaying the relatives of
Dhritraashtra.

Krishna:

“raagdvesh viyukttaistu vishayaanindriyaishchran”

Delight is not derived either by fighting or by not fighting. On the contrary, it is derived by
being free from likes and dislikes and that too, only after controlling one's senses.

Arjun: “Will I not incur sin by slaying my friends, relatives and my teachers?”
Krishna: “Hey Arjun, if you refuse to fight this righteous war and shy away from your
innate duty, you will lose your reputation as a warrior and thus you will definitely incur sin.”

Arjun: “How can we be happy by slaying our own friends, relatives or even the noble elders.
Because even after killing them, we will only enjoy the blood stained pleasures in the form of
wealth and sense-enjoyments.”

Krishna: “Happy are the warriors who obtain such an unsolicited opportunity for war
which opens the door to heaven. Stand up and perform your duty and, therefore, fight with
peace in thy soul.”

Arjun: “In this war, don’t you think that we should restrain ourselves and withdraw from
the sin of the destruction of the family?”

Krishna:

“kalaibyam maasm gamah paarth naittalavaya_padyate”

Don’t yield to this unmanliness and shake off this faint heartedness also, Arjun. Stand up
and perform your duty and, therefore, fight.”

Arjun: “If we fight, will it not result in the destruction of Dharma, that is, virtue, duty and
moral action.”

Krishna: “At first, you are not even ready to fight this righteous war and yet, you ask what
would happen to Dharma. In my judgment, Dharma will be lost any way.”

Arjun:

“dharme nashte kulam

kritasnam- dharmo-abhibhavatyut”

This war will result in vitiation of women and in the admixture of castes by which the manes
and their races will fall; social virtues and family merits will also be ruined.

Krishna:

“utseedeyurime lokaa na kuryaam karma chedaham”

Have you ever considered what might happen if I don’t perform my duty conscientiously? I
shall be the cause of confusion of the social norms. The admixture of castes will be caused
even without waging the war and I will still be held responsible for it.

Arjun:

“narke aniyatam vaaso bhavateetya nushushrum”

I think that this war will definitely lead us to hell.

Krishna:
“sukhinah kshatriyaah paarth labhante yudh meedrisham”

On the other hand, Arjun, such warfare is always an open gateway to heaven and happy are
the warriors who easily find in war an open door to heaven.

Arjun:

“aho bat mahatpaapam kartu vyavasitaa vayam”

It is a shame that, though possessed of intelligence, and yet, motivated by greed, we are bent
upon perpetrating the great sin of killing our relatives and friends.

Krishna:

“kaam esh krodh esh rjoguna samudbhavah”

It is greed in the form of desires which is insatiable and grossly wicked. Its man’s enemy and
conduces him to commit sin. Therefore, in all circumstances, it is the greed that should be
renounced.

Arjun:

“katham bhishmaham sankhye dronam ch madhusudan”

Hey Madhusudan! How shall I fight; with arrows against my teachers, such as Bhishma and
Drona, who are also worthy of worship.

Krishna:

“kaalo asmi lok-kshaya krit pravridho”

Hey Arjun, do you fail to recognize that as much as everything else, I am death, the Inflamed
Kaal, the destroyer of the worlds. For your information, I am here to exterminate all these
people and even without you, all those warriors arrayed in the enemy’s camp must die.
Therefore, Hey Arjun, rise and win glory and enjoy the affluent kingdom. These warriors
that you see in the battlefield, they stand already slain by me.

“ maiyevaite nihitaah poorvamev nimittmaatram bhav savyasaachin”

Therefore, O ambidextrous one, in this war you be merely an instrument; rise above the
dualities that exist in this universe, and, therefore fight, with peace in thy soul.

Arjun:

“gurunhatvaa hi mahaanubhaavam,

shreyo bhoktum bhaikshyamapeeh loke”

Is it not better to live on alms than to slay these noble elders.

Krishna:
“shreyaan svadhrmo vigunah par dharmaatasvanshthitaat, svadharme nidhnam shreyah
pardharmo bhayavahah”

How many times should I remind you that it is better to do one’s duty though imperfect,
than the duty of another even well performed. Even death in the performance of one’s duty
brings happiness and salvation.

“shareer yaatraapi ch te na prasidhyed karmanah”

Perform your obligatory duty, for action is better than inaction. Since action is rooted in the
Imperishable, therefore, if you only do just that, you will surely conquer the enemies in the
war. It’s a fate accomplish that desisting from action, you cannot even maintain your body,
much less to think of your relatives or this kingdom.

Further, the study of Gita reveals that the Krishna, besides answering Arjun’s questions, like
any friend or teacher, added many explanations, of his own accord, and gently whispered
thus

Krishna :

“Free from the fetters of hope and fear, a karma-yogi engages himself with enthusiasm in
the great battle against evil and grief; the evil of his own nature and the grief of his fellow
man. Atman is for ever free in Its’ own being and for atman, good and evil are but empty
words and the fight against the later is in vain. And the knowledge that has just been
revealed to you, Hey Arjun, for it to be useful, it must be practiced and absorbed into your
heart by constant endeavor and let no man in the Age of Kali think that the battle at
Kurukshetra is won at the first triumphant blare of trumpets.

Secondly, this Secret Path of Wisdom is free for everyone to take. Each person has the right
to enter this Path but none should ever compel you to encroach the least upon your will.

“Iti te gyaan maakhyatam

guhyyaadguhytarm mayaa,

vimrishaiye tad sheshena

yathechchasi tathaa kuru”

This secret wisdom that has just been revealed to you is more secret than secrecy itself.
Therefore, reflect on it fully and do as you wish.

And before we conclude our discussion, I want to ask:

“kashchid gyaan samohah

pranashtaste dhananjaya”

O Dhanajaya, the winner of wealth, answer my two questions, and they are:
1) Did you hear this gospel of Mine with one pointed attention and

2) Has your delusion born out of ignorance melted away or not.

Arjun:

“nashto moha smritir labdhaa

tvat prsaadnmyaa achyut,

sthito asmi gat sandeha

karishye vachanam tav”

O Lord Sri Krishna, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by your grace. I
am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to your instructions.