Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda

Song of God (Bhagavad Gita) Chapter 1: 45-47

January 14, 2020

™aho bata mahat pᾱpaṁ kartuṁ vyavasitᾱ vayaṁ
yad rᾱjyasukhalobhena hantuṁ svajanam udyatᾱḥ (I-45)

™yadi mᾱm apratīkᾱram aśastraṁ śastrapᾱṇayaḥ
™evam uktvᾱ ’rjunaḥ saṁkhye rathopastha upᾱviśat
visṛjya saśaraṁ cᾱpaṁ śokasaṁvignamᾱnasaḥ  (I-46)

™I/45. Alas! We are involved in a great sin in that we are prepared to kill
our kinsmen through greed for the pleasures of a kingdom.

™I/46. If the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra with weapons in hand should slay me in
battle,unresisting and unarmed, that would be better for me.

 Saṅjaya said: Having thus spoken in the midst of the battlefield,
Arjuna,casting away his bow and arrow, sat down on the seat of the
chariot,  his mind overwhelmed with sorrow.

Swamiji's Commentary

     If the motive of the war was ‘greed for the pleasures of a kingdom’ that war was undoubtedly unrighteous, but here the noble heart of Arjuna was merely reflecting the wrong attitude of the Kauravā! ‘They are greedy and they are ready to fight; we are ready to fight and so we are also greedy’ – is the simple equation in his mind. Krishna will point out that his attitude, the divine will, was different and hence Arjuna had to fight.

     ‘Resist not evil’ should never be misconstrued to mean ‘encourage evil’. There is an orderly (democratic, if you like) way of dealing with evil which does not involve the disturbance of the mental equilibrium of anyone. ‘Great sin’ is not this action or that action, but according to Krishna, kāma (desire) and krodha (hatred) are the fountains of the greatest sins. Selfish motive is the greatest sin. Lust, anger and greed disturb one’s inner equilibrium and hence they are the ‘gates to hell’, according to The Bhagavad Gītā. They are ‘of insatiable hunger’, says Krishna: they consume our peace of mind, our happiness, our vitality and the tranquillity of our inner being, which is one of the fundamental characteristics of yoga.

     Thus are we led to the threshold of this yoga.


Thus in the upanishad of the glorious Bhagavad Gita,
the science of the eternal, the scripture of yoga,
the dialogue beween Sri Krishna & Arjuna,
ends the first discourse entitled:

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