Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 – Samkya Yoga Or the Yoga of Knowledge-Part-3
As a counter to the Lord’s annotations Arjuna explains the indecency of fighting the elders, who were the objects of veneration to him and spells out his explicit resolution in the subject. He says “O slayer of the foes, O Madhusudhana how shall I fight Bhishma and Dhrona who are worthy of worship.” I am not retreating from battle out of weakness but because it is improper to attack my superiors. Arjuna means when even to argue against them is improper then what to think against attacking them with deadly arrows in earnest; this is the realistic meaning of these words expressed by Arjuna. Duryodhana by placing Bhishma and Drona directly in the forefront caused the ever righteous Paandavas discomfort at the thought of having to fight against them as it was opposed to the time honoured noble traditions of their family lineage. “It is better to live on alms in this world than to slay these honoured teachers; these noble elders; because by slaying them I would enjoy in this world pleasures in the form of wealth and sense enjoyments and these delights are smeared with blood”. Though it was considered ignominious for a Kshatriya to live on alms Arjuna considers such a livelihood on alms was indeed better than the enjoyment of the pleasures of sovereignty obtained through the mass murder of venerable elders worthy of worship. If we hear the woes of women, the cries of the children, the tales of calamity of oppression and of injustice in its myriad forms no one with any human feelings would delight in such blood stained conquests so torments Arjuna’s psyche.
Arjuna is overcome by doubts as regards the correctness of his attitude, again speaks as follows; even if we could choose the path of unrighteousness in this matter, we cannot determine whether the Paandavas should conquer the Kauravas or be conquered by them which of the two alternatives is better for us, victory or defeat. “We do not even know which is preferable to us; to fight or not to fight; nor do we know whether we shall win or whether they will conquer us. Those very sons of Dhritaraashtra stand in the enemy ranks; after killing them we do not wish to live.” In answer to this Arjuna is stating that he does not know which one is better; to be victorious or be vanquished as victory itself could seem like defeat for by being forced into the situation of having to slay his relatives in the Kaurava army he would not wish to live any longer. After explaining his failure to determine his obligation, Arjuna prays to the Lord to explain to him clearly and definitely
Expressing his helplessness to determine his obligation Arjuna now takes sanctuary in the Lord and prays that the Lord may make clear to him absolutely and positively as regards his duty. Arjuna is saying, “My very life is incapacitated through the aggravation of overemotional embarrassment; my mind is troubled as regards my duty; I am confused about what is right and wrong; I pester you to counsel me in certain terms that which is better. I am a novice; I am weighed down by misery tainted by the vice of faint-heartedness and am seeking refuge in you. I am now asking you, tell me that which is decidedly good; I am your disciple, pray instruct me.” Arjuna is driven not only by desolation, nervousness and foreboding but also by an ardent wish for assertion. To realize one’s absurdity one has to take the chain of command leading the progress to reason; so long as consciousness of imperfection is alive it indicates that the human being is led to a higher condition through the process of remorse. It is the general experience of seekers of clarity that they are assailed by misgivings and hitches when they are on the threshold of wisdom. Arjuna faces difficulties both within and without; such as the confrontation of relations and friends, qualms and suspicions; infatuations and wishes; his struggle with ignorance will continue till it is dispersed by splash of good judgment. When an individual’s world is in ruins, that individual can rely on the infinite compassion of the God, Arjuna here is not a seeker of knowledge but as a man of action he is only asking for the law of his actions/dharma The word Karpanya (an abstract noun derived from the adjective Krpana) used in this verse can be interpreted variously; in common dialect it is in use to refer a miser. Miser is the one who is extremely parsimonious with money, due to undue decadence and attachment to wealth. According to scriptures one is called a miser who is a destitute of knowledge of the nature and qualities of the immortal soul and dies in this world without him becoming self-realized. That individual in disregard to this principal goal of living wastes his life enjoying sensual pleasures and this individual of feeble intellect is called MISER. The individual with a wretched and miserable state of mind with regard to spiritual identity and integrity is also in a generic sense a Miser. Parsimoniousness here is the affliction of weakness with a despondent and shameful state of mind in a broad sense preferred as Krpana. The Karpanya, carped of by Arjuna was neither of the nature of miserliness produced by voracity, nor of regard to worldly delights. Arjuna is articulating that with his innate qualities of gallantry, proficiency, steadfastness, nimbleness, and audacity subdued by a feeling of helplessness in not having the yearning even to live he calls this as a vice of feeble mindedness. In the case of Arjuna, who was in doubt as to whether or not it was righteous or unrighteous for a Kshatriya to give up fighting and take to begging; therefore without hesitation he fully surrendered unto the Supreme Lord and beseeched Him to instruct what was in his best spiritual interests to engage in. Arjuna comprehended that counsel and proposition would not help at that juncture to get out of the psychological pothole; what he needed was a proper guide who would direct him to follow an assured course, dispelling all his anguish and obsession to achieve the ultimate good. To this query Arjuna has now determined in his mind that unconditional surrender to the Supreme Lord is the greatest panacea than any other means prescribed in scriptures.
In continuation of Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 – Samkya Yoga Or the Yoga of Knowledge-Part-2
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