Arjuna’s Ethical Dilemma in the Bhagavad Gita | Why does Arjuna not want to Fight?

Exclusivity In Surrender- The Light Of The Gita

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Right from the Vedas to the Gita and Ramayana, all scriptures proclaim that one should take to the exclusive surrender of God. The word “exclusive” is laid stress upon by the Vedic scriptures. What does the Gita say? Arjuna tells Lord Krishna “I am your surrendered disciple.” Having said that, he denies the war against the Kauravas on the battlefield. He tries to prove his point by applying reasoning. He says “If I kill these men of the warring enemy, the whole of the female clan on the opposing side shall be widowed. Many of the women, whose man are fighting on our side shall be also widowed. If there is no male support, the women shall slowly lose morality and there shall be a downfall of the social order. I will be responsible for this mayhem and I shall verily incur sin” The point was that, when Arjuna went to seek the help of the Lord in Dwaraka, was he not aware of the impending war? He had chosen the weaponless Sri Krishna as his charioteer and friend to fight against the Kauravas. Arjuna was so confident about the Lord that he even requested the Lord to hand over the Lord’s personal army to fight on behalf of the Kauravas in addition to the Kauravas’ own army strength. Pandava Army consisted of 7 akshauhinis (1,530,900 warriors), and Kaurava Army consisted of 11 akshauhinis (2,405,700 warriors). The very fact that Arjuna was ready to settle such a deal was because he knew for certain that Sri Krishna was the Supreme Lord Himself, unparalleled to any army in the world, hence victory will be with the Pandavas and Kauravas shall be defeated.

Arjuna was certain about the Pandava victory. Then what happened at the onset of the war, that Arjuna, seeing his blood-relatives on either sides was ready to flee from the battlefield, in a fit of emotion? The Lord then delivered the 18 Chapters and 700 verses, The Bhagavad Gita, The Song of Govinda, to Arjuna. Arjuna remained disturbed till the last verse, because he was agitated by the word “sin” that haunted him all the while, which the Vedic scriptures laid particular stress on. The Lord tried to convince him in many ways, but Arjuna was stuck on the single point of “sin”. He did not want to get infected with “sin” at any cost. This agitation of Arjuna existed because his acceptance of the Lord was inclusive. He considered the Lord to be Supreme and also opposed the Lord’s advice, because he also considered the concept of “sin”. It is to be understood that a person surrendered to the Lord, means just this; to satisfy the Lord at any cost without any other consideration. Thus Arjuna’s surrender to the Lord was inclusive with many if’s and but’s. Arjuna was surrendered to the Lord as well as surrendered to his own sullied intelligence.

The confusion of Arjuna was “Won’t the words of the Vedas be applicable? If one dared to do something contrary to its teachings, although at the behest of the Lord?” The answer to this is, if someone were to follow instructions of some kind, when one is not in a surrendered mode, the words of the Vedic scriptures shall directly apply and reign Supreme. However when one has developed exclusive surrender towards the Supreme Lord, only the words of the Lord’s shall stand Supreme, even if those instructions may appear wholly contrary to the teachings of the sacred Vedic scriptures. This is the verdict of the Lord. When one follows every single instruction of the Lord, however heinous they may appear to be, sin shall never apply to such an individual. The logic to this is that when the Lord is the final judge who dishes out the fruits of sin and goodness, how can the Lord punish anyone who has followed every instruction of the Lord, in the mood of exclusive surrender? When this point was cleared, Arjuna immediately was rid of all worries and readied himself for war against the Kauravas.

There have been a million occasions when humans, in earlier lifetimes, have met the Lord, in some of their earlier incarnations. Many of us have met sages in previous lifetimes and perhaps even in this lifetime. We have also prostrated and held the feet of great sages and the Lord and surrendered many times. But in all those earlier and current lifetimes, our surrender was inclusive, it was never exclusive or one-pointed and that is the irony. We have wasted many lifetimes loving near and dear ones and thus have developed a very crowded heart. In that crowd even the Lord is included. When one gets insulted by spouse, friends, parents etc, we turn to the Lord with our shallow minds saying “Only, the Lord is mine, everybody else is selfish”. When situations around us improve, we return to those who insulted us and forget the Lord. This is our hypocrisy. When the doctors have raised their hands and say that the patient cannot be saved, relatives then turn to the Lord. When the patient is cured, the Lord is conveniently forgotten. The Lord has just been turned into a wish fulfilling commodity. Lord is included in our life, but not exclusively and that is our misfortune.