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Some men are more equal than others PDF Print E-mail
Gita - Gita Articles

yadrcchaya copapannam
svarga-dvaram apavrtam
sukhinah ksatriyah partha
labhante yuddham idrsam


O Partha, happy are the ksatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought, opening for them the doors of the heavenly planets. ||2:32||

atha cet tvam imam dharmyam
sangramam na karisyasi
tatah sva-dharmam kirtim ca
hitva papam avapsyasi

If, however, you do not fight this religious war, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus lose your reputation as a fighter. ||2:33||

akirtim capi bhutani
kathayisyanti te 'vyayam
sambhavitasya cakirtir
maranad atiricyate

People will always speak of your infamy, and for one who has been honored, dishonor is worse than death. ||2:34||

bhayad ranad uparatam
mamsyante tvam maha-rathah
yesam ca tvam bahu-mato
bhutva yasyasi laghavam

The great generals who have highly esteemed your name and fame will think that you have left the battlefield out of fear only, and thus they will consider you a coward. ||2:35||

avacya-vadams ca bahun
vadisyanti tavahitah
nindantas tava samarthyam
tato duhkhataram nu kim

Your enemies will describe you in many unkind words and scorn your ability. What could be more painful for you? ||2:36||

hato va prapsyasi svargam
jitva va bhoksyase mahim
tasmad uttistha kaunteya
yuddhaya krta-niscayah

O son of Kunti, either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore get up and fight with determination. ||2:37||


There is a common saying that all men and women were created equal. But this is far from truth in real life situation. It costs nearly twenty million dollars to run a campaign for the Presidency of United States and how many equal men and women can really raise this amount of money. So, in real life all men and women may be equal, but some are more equal than others.

This is one of the important points that we discussed in our last column. Krishna's principle in these shlokas is to highlight this issue of inherent differences in people.and also the fact that each individual has his own innate possibilities. While broadly speaking there are four categories of people on this planet earth, the ultimate flowering depends on the innate properties of that individual (swadharma).

Krishna is talking some very practical points, things that people talk in motivational seminars. But, there is a difference. The difference is what Krishna has talked about before he comes to the practical points. He has discussed about the gyan yoga, about sum-bhava and he has mentioned how important knowing all this is. Now, he is ready to talk about the mundane regular stuff. He is making sure that Arjuna understands that this mayaspace is the only playing field. Knowing of Atma and Brahmaspace is important, but then it has to be played out in this regular world. Buddha goes on a long journey and finds out the truth of Brahmaspace. What does he do then? He walks around in this space of maya world for forty years and plays the game the same way as others. Krishna has been there but abides by all the rules of the mayaspace as well.

That again is an important point to understand. While Krishna, Rama, Buddha, Mahavira or Ramakrishna know the same truth, they interact totally differently in this world. Buddha and Mahavira were contemporary. They walked through the same villages in Bihar. They had different messages. But they never met each other. No attempt to change the other or debate on issues was made. What makes this difference? Why do they have different expressions, although they have come to the same realization? And Krishna would acknowledge that there is difference in expressions because of inherent individual differences. It may be easier to understand albeit on a different level as to what happens to medical students who go to say the Harvard Medical School. They all go to the same type of teaching and experience; yet have vast differences when they become doctors and start practicing. There is no need of carbon copies in this world. We would get bored if every enlightened person behaved like Buddha or any one else.

The other important point that Krishna is making here is to live with the rules of the world. Although Krishna does not need to do any karma, he continues to do what he has to do all the time. He is going to become a role model; his life is no more a private life. He is pointing this out to Arjuna as well. Arjuna no more has a private life. What he does is important and has long lasting implications.

Any karma that is done is a journey in itself. It is going to produce its repercussions. If Arjuna leaves the battlefield and does not fight, there will be appropriate and inappropriate reactions. Krishna is enumerating few of them here. What the supporters and fans are going to think about Arjuna? They may even ridicule him for his actions. This is not only true for Arjuna but is still true for today. When a President Clinton of the USA does karmas that are not expected of him, he is openly criticized and ridiculed. Arjuna is not a no body. He is a hero of his time and any action by him that is not the norm or expected of him is bound to produce criticism similar to what happens to any public figure today.

Moreover, this is an opportunity for Arjuna to shine. He is in the middle of a battle of his lifetime. His Guru is on the other side. Bhishma is fighting against him and so is Karna. This is the time for showdown. If he wins, which is not what was expected, he will be full of glory. And, opportunities like this do not come every day. It is so true for any successful strategy. Krishna is apprising Arjuna of this opportunity that Arjuna should recognize and go for it. We all have to grab opportunities and keep looking for them, for that gives us the opportunity to show us what we have got.

There are two paths that people of distinction can take. It is the path of the jungle or the path of power. Duryodhana is on the path of the power while Arjuna wants to take the path of the Jungle. Neither of them can live without doing karma. Krishna is laying the ground works for describing his working sanyas. He has talked about pure gyan yoga and now he is describing to Arjuna what he should be doing. There is an opportunity and if he grabs the opportunity he has nothing to loose. If on the other hand Arjuna lets this opportunity go and goes towards the Jungle, he has everything to loose.

This is sometimes the tragedy in our times as well. Many people in India believe that good people should not go into politics. It is bad to go for power, and this belief has led many capable people to stay away from politics. This happened when India got its independence in 1947. Gandhi stayed away from power and so did Vinoba Bhave and Jayaprakash Narayan and many others. They decided to service from outside. And that did not really work very well. Who then will walk into politics? And who will be able to replace such a person? Krishna knows that it is natural for Duryodhana to go for power, but he has to be stopped. And that is what has led to this beginning of the Mahabharata.

It does not matter if Arjuna goes to Jungle or not, but it does matter if people like Duryodhana are allowed to stay on in power. Someone has to be worse than him to be able to replace Duryodhana. And the cycle continues. What will then happen to the value system Dharma? Any value system is only maintained by the strong and powerful. Might is right, but then why not right will have the might. There is no reason not to and that is what Krishna is pointing out.

Krishna wants Arjuna to fight and fight with sum-bhava. Knowing about Atma and Parmatma is not against fighting if that is what is needed to maintain the value system of mayaspace, Dharma. Krishna talks about these mundane sounding yet important points and is laying the groundwork of his working sanyas. Soon Krishna will be talking about the details of Karma Yoga. But, before that he will once again remind Arjuna of the sum-bhava that he described before.

One of the best-kept secrets of spiritualism is that success in this world follows centering growth, be it from any kind of yoga. Clarity follows such centering and right decisions can be taken. The divine also assists such a person in achieving their goals, because these goals are generally for the benefit of all. The reason it is not described openly is simple. The moment the goal of success comes to mind, the centering stops. The centering only happens when there is no desire of success or failure. That is why Krishna talks to Arjuna bout the realization of Atma, Parmatma and sum-bhava before he asks him to arise and fight.

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