Pradyumna: (leads chanting, etc.) Translation: “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.”
atha cet tvam imaṁ dharmyaṁ
saṅgrāmaṁ na kariṣyasi
tataḥ sva-dharmaṁ kīrtiṁ ca
hitvā pāpam avāpsyasi
So imaṁ dharmyam, religious fight. Just like even nowadays also, if the soldier disobeys the order of the commander, that soldier is shot down by martial law. Because to disobey the order of the commander is sinful. So Kṛṣṇa says, atha cet tvam imaṁ dharmyaṁ saṅgrāmaṁ na kariṣyasi. This fight is not ordinary fight. It is not the politician’s fight. “For the sake of religion, you must fight. And if you do not, then sva-dharmam… You are a kṣatriya. Not only kṣatriya, you are a very well known fighter. You have been recognized by so many demigods.” Arjuna got the pāśupata-astra. To test Arjuna’s fighting capacity, sometimes Lord Śiva, when Arjuna was hunting in the forest, so Lord Śiva also, as a hunter, he appeared before him, and when a boar was killed by hunting, Lord Śiva claimed that “I have done this killing.” Arjuna said, “No, I have done this.” So there was controversy, who will claim that hunt, I mean to say, killed animal. So Arjuna was claiming, and Lord Śiva as a hunter, he was also claiming. Then there was fight between Lord Śiva and Arjuna. So Lord Śiva was defeated. So he then disclosed his identity that “I am very much pleased that you (are) such a nice fighter.” So he presented him one arrow which is called pāśupata-astra. Similarly, he sometimes fought with Indra. He gave him some astra, weapon. This was the system, that a kṣatriya is presented with a kind of weapon, a brāhmaṇa is presented with Vedas, and so far vaiśyas and śūdras are concerned, they are not very important.
So Arjuna was recognized by Lord Śiva, by King Indra, and many others also. So Kṛṣṇa says that “You have got recognition from big personalities. So if you don’t fight, then not only you shall be irreligious but also you’ll lose your reputation.” Tataḥ sva-dharmaṁ kīrtiṁ ca hitvā pāpam avāpsyasi. Pāpam means sin or sinful reaction. So it has to be judged, when… Sometimes fighting is pāpam, means sinful activity, and sometimes fighting is puṇyam, pious activities. It requires the time, circumstances, on what ground the fighting was going on, on whose order the fighting was going on. These are to be studied. So violence and nonviolence. Our great leader, Mahatma Gandhi, he wanted to prove from Bhagavad-gītā, nonviolence. He started the nonviolence movement, and he wanted to support… Everyone takes advantage of Bhagavad-gītā and tries to support his view on the strength of Bhagavad-gītā. Therefore you will find so many interpretations. Everyone wants to utilize. There are more than six hundred publication, commentaries, on Bhagavad-gītā. One Dr. Rele in Bombay, he has interpreted Bhagavad-gītā as talks between a physician and a patient.
So these things are going on, but that is not Bhagavad-gītā. That is nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa-buddhiḥ. Nāma-aparādha, ten kinds of offenses… This is offense. Just like nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa-buddhiḥ. We say, the śāstra says, that by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, you become cleansed of your sinful activities. That’s a fact. But if somebody thinks that “I shall go on committing sinful activity and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra so it will be adjusted, neutralized, this is the most sinful activity, nāmno balāt, by the strength of chanting, committing sin. So similarly on the strength of Bhagavad-gītā, if one wants to prove his foolish philosophy, that is a great offense. That’s a great offense. Therefore Bhagavad-gītā cannot be interpreted by foolish commentators. It must be studied through the paramparā system, ācārya upāsanam. One must worship the ācārya and learn from him what is Bhagavad-gītā. Ācāryavān puruṣo veda. This is the Vedic injunction. Who knows things as they are. Ācāryaṁ māṁ puruṣa, one who is under the guidance of ācārya. So you won’t find this foolish nonviolence theory from any ācārya. Many ācāryas have commented on Bhagavad-gītā. There is Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, even Śaṅkarācārya. But never said that Bhagavad-gītā is proof of nonviolence. Nonviolence is good but when there is dharma-yuddha, righteous fighting, there is no question of nonviolence. Violence is approved.
Therefore Kṛṣṇa says that tataḥ sva-dharmaṁ kīrtiṁ ca: “You will, by neglecting your sva-dharma, your professional or occupational duty, and minimizing the importance of your recognition, kīrti…” Kīrtir yasya sa jīvati: “Anyone who is reputed for his good activities, he lives forever.” Kīrtir yasya sa jīvati. Bhaja sādhu-samāgamam. Tyaja durjana-saṁsargaṁ bhaja sādhu-samāgamam. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita also says kīrtiḥ sa… Who lives forever? One who has got reputation for his, one who is famous for his good activities. “So don’t try to lose your reputation. You are a great fighter, recognized by so many authorities, and if you don’t fight, then people will say, ‘Now Arjuna is finished. He cannot anymore fight.’ So don’t lose this reputation. Don’t be deviated from your occupational duty as a kṣatriya. If you do all these things, then pāpam avāpsyasi. You don’t think that it will be pious. You will, on the other hand you will become impious.” Pāpam avāpsyasi. Next verse.
Pradyumna: (leads chanting, etc.)
Translation: “People will always speak of your infamy, and for one who has been honored, dishonor is worse than death.”
akīrtiṁ cāpi bhūtāni
kathayiṣyanti te ‘vyayām
Sambhāvitasya, one who is very reputed, famous man, if he does something wrong, then it was better to die before such infamy is grown. This is advised. Arjuna is famous as a great fighter. Not only that, he is personal friend of Kṛṣṇa, so much so that Kṛṣṇa has agreed to become his chariot driver. Just try to understand what is his position. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, who is worshiped by Lord Brahmā, govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi **, He has agreed to drive the chariot of Arjuna on account of friendship. Now, we have to imagine how much famous he is. “Everyone will say, ‘Oh, Kṛṣṇa is his so intimate friend that He has agreed to drive his chariot!’ This is your reputation all over the world.” So sambhāvitasya cākīrtiḥ. “And if you don’t fight now, what people will say? Better you die.” Kṛṣṇa is advising that “Instead of becoming a very good man, nonviolent, you lay down your life. That is My advice. You die. I shall see that you have died. I will be very much pleased.” This is Kṛṣṇa’s advice. How much He has become, I mean to say, dissatisfied with the decision of Arjuna, “Kṛṣṇa, I am not going to fight this battle.” So Kṛṣṇa’s last advice is that if you don’t fight, better you die before him. I shall be very much pleased.” Then?
Pradyumna: (leads chanting, etc.)
Translation: “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.”
bhayād raṇād uparataṁ
maṁsyante tvāṁ mahā-rathāḥ
yeṣāṁ ca tvaṁ bahu-mato
bhūtvā yāsyasi lāghavam
This spirit of kṣatriya was prevalent even, say, three hundred years ago in India. There was a king, Yasomanta Sena. He was the commander-in-chief of Emperor Aurangzeb. So in one fight, he was defeated and came back to his home. So his wife heard that “My husband has been defeated. He’s coming back home.” So she asked the caretaker to close the door of the palace. So when Yasomanta Sena came there, he saw that his palace door is closed. Then he sent message to the queen that “Why you have closed the door? I have come home.” So messenger came and informed that “The king has come. So he is asking to open the door.” The queen replied, “Who is king? Yasomanta Sena. No, no. Yasomanta Sena cannot come being defeated. Yasomanta Sena either he conquers the battle or he lays down his body there dead. So the man who has come, he must be somebody pretender. He is not King Yasomanta Sena.” So she refused to open the door. This is the spirit of kṣatriya spirit.
So here also the same thing, five thousand years also ago, that Kṛṣṇa says that “You are so reputed a fighter, and if you stop fighting, people will not consider… Especially other commander-in-chiefs like Droṇācārya, Bhīṣma, Karṇa… They are mahā-rathas.” Mahā-ratha means one fighter who can combat with thousands of men alone. He is called mahā-ratha. As nowadays the titles are “captain,” “commander,” “commander-in-chief,” similarly, formerly “mahā-ratha,” “ati-ratha” were the titles given to the soldiers, fighters. So mahā-ratha, the greatest commanders… So Kṛṣṇa said that “You are recognized, one of the mahā-rathas. So what the other mahā-rathas will think of you? They will not consider that out of compassion you did not fight. They will think that out of fear you have left the battlefield. They will take the opposite.” Bhayād raṇād uparatam. “Out of fear you have stopped fighting.” Maṁsyante tvaṁ mahā-rathāḥ. “So now you are recognized as one of the mahā-rathāḥ. Yeṣāṁ ca tvaṁ bahu-mataḥ. “Oh, you are known by various, I mean to say, commander-in-chiefs.” Bhūtvā yāsyasi lāghavam: “In their eyes you will be considered as degraded.” Bhūtvā yāsyasi lāghavam. “Why should you accept? Better fight and die.” That’s all right. Thank you. (end)