Gita series – part 17. Bhagavad Gita Chapter II - Verses– 32-34:

After having pointed out to Arjuna that his decision of not fighting is not against the laid down principles, Krishna continues “Oh! Partha! Opportunity of fighting an unprovoked battle arises to those Kshatriyas who are fortunate; this is like open doors of the Heaven (verse 32). If you decline to fight in this righteous battle, you lose your self-dharma and glory and incur sin (verse 33). People will then talk about your ignominy that lost long. For a person of great honour, this disgrace is worse than death (verse 34)”. Krishna conveys His explicit message to Arjuna. Kshatriyas’ (the class of warriors), main duty is to fight for their country. However, this battle was not provoked by the Pandavas (includes Arjuna and his brothers). Opportunity of participating in such battles arises only to those warriors, who are blessed. Krishna goes to the extent of saying that partaking in such battles is the path to the unsolicited Heaven. We should not hesitate to fight against the evils of our mind as well. Evil thoughts should be driven away mercilessly is the subtle message of Krishna. When one gets rid off evil thoughts, the gates of the Heaven are always open to him. If the enemies (subtle meaning – sense organs) are not destroyed in the battle, then it amounts to shirking of one’s responsibilities (leading to ignorance).

The mean act of shirking one’s responsibility is against the principles of righteousness or dharma. If one chooses to pursue the path of adharma or act against the principles of righteousness, Krishna says that the he will be ridiculed by the humanity and his act would be considered as a sin. The simple concept is that what one sows that he reaps. If Arjuna continues to be afflicted by the evils of bondage, his karmic account swells with sins and he has to undergo consequent sufferings and miseries. Arjuna has built up his reputation over a period of time. He is not just a warrior; his spiritual advancement is significant. Krishna points out to him that those acts against the principles of dharma will make him a sullied man. For a person of Arjuna’s reputation and stature, any blemish to his personality is worse than death. Krishna says through these verses that we should not on our own, provoke a conflict. The conflict could be either internal or external. External conflict is fight against perpetrators.

The internal conflict is against the sense organs. Opportunity to fight against the evils is not available to all. Only the blessed ones get such opportunities, possibly based on one’s karmas. Secondly, attacking an enemy in self-defense is not against the principles of justice. If one succumbs to the onslaught of enemies without counter attacking them, it is considered as the worst thing that can ever happen to a warrior. He is then called as a coward and generations after generations treat him as disesteemed person. The nature of cowardice could be again external or internal. The internal courage is nothing but self confidence. One has to have self-confidence to drive away the evil effects maya or illusion, the root cause of bondage and desire. Basically either external or internal conflict, mind is the basic factor that could play both positive and negative roles. (to be continued)

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