Arjuna a Miser: Gita Chapter 2 Verse 7


Arjuna calls Himself a Miser

Chapter-2 Verse-07

कार्पण्यदोषोपहतस्वभाव: पृच्छामि त्वां धर्मसम्मूढचेता: |
यच्छ्रेय: स्यान्निश्चितं ब्रूहि तन्मे शिष्यस्तेऽहं शाधि मां त्वां प्रपन्नम् || 7||

The Purport of the Verse:

In verse 7, Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita, the Song of Govinda, Arjuna expresses his faint-heartedness.  

He reveals that he is not able to do his duty, the duty prescribed to him by the Shastras.  

His enemies want to take away his rights.

But these enemies are his own blood relations, his kith, and kin.  

Arjuna looks up to Krishna as his Guru and benefactor and urges Him to instruct Arjuna.  

Arjuna proclaims that the Lord is his only refuge.

Explanation of the verse:  

The Verse begins with the word “Karpanya”.  

Karpanya is the abstract form of the root word Krpana.  

Arjuna says that in many ways he is a Krpana and hence he is attacked by the disease of Karpanya.

Krpana means a miser.

Who is a Miser?  

A miser is a person who has a lot of money but is extremely stingy.  

He has excess money but behaves as if he has none of it.  

He saves and saves.

This man does not even spend his money for his bare minimum needs.  

He worries about his wealth.

Such a person does not understand how to use money in the right way.

This is because he has not accepted the teachings of the Shastra and gives way to his own whims and fancies.  

Arjuna compares himself to being a miser himself.  

Although Arjuna’s so-called relatives torture him, he does not want to lose them or fight with them.  

Arjuna considers these so-called, selfish and greedy relatives, as his own and is in no frame of mind to slay them.  

In this manner, Arjuna is behaving like a miserly man, who is penny wise but pound foolish.

This is the faint-heartedness of Arjuna.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad on Krpana.

The prime objective of human life, according to Shastra or the Sanatani Scriptures is the Realization of God and obedience to His will.  

This is possible only through Knowledge on the subject of God, through reference to Shastra and Guru.  

He who forgets this objective is forgetful of the primary goal of existence.  

Such a person loses himself in wasteful enjoyment of sense objects and thereby emaciates the senses whose primary objective was to find the means to attain God.  

The Shastra says that even such a lost individual is also a “Krpana”, a miser.  

The Brhad Aranyaka Upanishad (Brihadaranyaka 3.8.10) makes a direct reference to this point.

There is a verse in this Upanishad which says “Gargi, Whoever departs from this earth without knowing God, the Imperishable is verily Krpana)

How can Arjuna be Krpana?

Arjuna did not suffer from miserliness born out of greed, nor out of attachments produced out of worldly enjoyments.

Arjuna was generous and charitable by all means.

He never coveted the kingdom, for his own sake.

The Pandava prince did not want to slay his kith and kin such as Duryodhana or Dushasana.

He had no intentions to rule the world or seek any important position.

A person who could sacrifice to the level to which Arjuna did was rarest of the rare.

Even the gods found it impossible to drive Arjuna’s sorrow at the time of entering the war scene because Arjuna sought nothing more than the welfare of all.

How could Arjuna then qualify as Krpana? 

Miserliness of a special kind

Lowliness of spirit mixed with faint-heartedness, misunderstood as compassion gripped Arjuna.

Sanjaya used the term “Overwhelmed with pity, Arjuna broke down”.

In Chapter 3, the Lord addresses Arjuna as “unmanly”.

Thus fear of loss gripped Arjuna and that was his miserliness.

Kshatriyas need to be fighters,

Since Arjuna showed signs of such weakness, it eclipsed the innate qualities of Kshatriyas such as fearlessness, fighting for what is right, firmness, valor, etc.

Arjuna even displayed changes in body color, parched mouth, shaking of the body, nervousness, burning sensation of the skin, puzzled mind, and reeling.

All this indicated the mannerisms of a vitiated personality.

Who could be more fearful than a miserly man?

Incapable of handling Situations

A confused person, overtaken by fear and faint-heartedness is completely incapable of ascertaining what is a virtue and what is a vice.

Such a person, completely mislead by his senses and mind, comes to wrong conclusions and takes his mind’s convolutions to be true.

A Kshatriya of a calm mind shall only see what his actions should be, as to what Dharma demands of him.

He is supposed to fight for what is legitimate and what is right rather than worrying about the results.

This is what Dharma expects out of the Kshatriya.

Unfortunately, Arjuna’s mind went the opposite way.

It focussed purely on the outcome or result of war, rather than considering what is Dharma or what is Adharma.

Why is Arjuna blamed so much?

Lord Krishna had already done whatever he could to avoid the war, as per the demands of Dharma.

Unfortunately, according to Dharma, when all roads towards righteous goals close, the only option left is to fight for Dharma without worrying about the results.

The entire Pandavas retinue as well as their opposers, the Kauravas agreed to go to war, because that was the only option open.

Now, once you are on the battlefield, there is no option but to fight,

This is perfect Dharma.

But, Arjuna tried to engage with something that marred the respect of the Kshatriya clan, that marred the path of Dharma.

After much planning and deliberation, when the fight was in the offing, Arjuna decided to pull out of the war, giving lame reasons.

Over and above that, Arjuna clothed his naked faint-heartedness with words like Pity, Compassion, and Renunciation which angered the Lord.

Hence the Lord imposed the worst epithet of “Being a miser”, on Arjuna.

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