Gita series – part 4. Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1. Verses – 38-43:
Arjuna continues to address Krishna “Since their greed is predominant, they are not able to realize the sins accruing due to the killings of relatives and committing crimes against friends. Oh! Janardana! Since we know the gravity of such crimes, why we should not perceive the evils arising out of such actions? With the destruction of the dynasty, the traditions of the lineage also get destroyed. In such a situation, sins over power the virtues of the whole dynasty”. Arjuna appears to be genuinely interested in the welfare of his dynasty. The intention of Arjuna is not to go ahead with the battle. He does not want to slay his masters and relatives, thereby causing a major destruction in his dynasty. Already Arjuna’s mind is confused and he has gone to the extent of renouncing his life. But the argument put forth by Arjuna appears to be reasonable. The statement of Arjuna also points out that the evil minds do not think in the right direction nor perceive the consequences of committing heinous crimes. Though Arjuna is suffering mental conflict, his thoughts arise out of deeper thinking as opposed to the thoughts of Kurus.
The sole idea of the latter is to behold the kingdom and material prosperity. When one seeks material prosperity by fighting against truth and dharma, the end will always be disastrous. On the other hand, if one develops concern for others, he realizes the Brahman with ease. Evil thoughts are formed out of bad habits and bad associations. The desire for material gains did not make the Kurus to think in the right direction. The consequence arising out of performing evil actions override the desires that ultimately lead to disaster. What is the use of acquiring something when one’s own life is at peril during the act of acquiring that something? That why, it is said, that ill formed desires are the cause for destruction. This is the situation with Kurus. As far as Arjuna is concerned, he continues to suffer from mental conflict. He has not understood that good will always prevail over the bad. This is because of his mental conflict. The stage of Arjuna shows that it is possible to slip down from the higher levels of consciousness to the mundane level of consciousness. Arjuna is genuinely concerned about his dynasty. His further thoughts arise from this concern.
Arjuna continues to address Krishna. “Oh! Krishna! When evil rears its head, the women become bad. Oh! Varshneya! When women become immoral, the dynasty becomes polluted. Causing affliction to one’s lineage and destructing one’s dynasty will consign them to hell. Their ancestors are denied the oblations of food and water. By such crimes, the traditions of the clan are destroyed and along with it the virtues of the dynasty is also lost”. Arjuna addresses Krishna by different names, which is reciprocated by Krishna while calling Arjuna. Here Varshneya means strong and powerful. When evil prevails everywhere, everybody tend to become bad. We have seen earlier that one’s association is important in nurturing one’s thoughts. One person alone cannot be virtuous when every other person around him is bad. One drop of water alone, in an ocean cannot be without the taste of salt. By mentioning women Arjuna points out that the entire progeny of a dynasty will become polluted by evil thoughts and actions. In such a situation, there will be no seasoned elders in a dynasty to guide the youngsters through the righteous path. The discreet meaning of using women by Arjuna indicates our sensory organs. Only through sensory organs, one is able to gather information on good and bad. When a man wants to pursue the path of spirituality, there are certain guidelines that he has to follow and these guidelines are laid down by the ancestors. The genuine concern of Arjuna was that these guidelines may not be followed if the minds of progeny become corrupt with evil thoughts.
Again, these thoughts of Arjuna arise out of his confused mind. His mind gets confused because his external sensory organs misguide him causing attachment and desires. His attachment to his relatives and friends and his desire to protect his dynasty are the main reasons for his mental conflict. When Arjuna pours out his mind to Krishna, the causes of his mental confusion are exposed one after another. Providing food and water to ancestors through oblations is a ritual followed by many, on the death day of one’s relatives. Arjuna feels that such oblations will not reach the ancestors, since they will not accept the oblations offered by their criminal progenies. It is quite often said in such a situation, the ancestors curse their progeny which leads to the sufferings and miseries in their present life. Performing such ceremonies on the death days of our ancestors is a thanks giving function to our ancestors and to remember them on these days. We will not remember them without such ceremonies. Whether such ceremonies are needed or not, is entirely a different subject and a discussion at this point will be out of context. (to be continued)