When we want to give up our duties, responsibilities, or when we develop cold feet about something, what do we do?
We present philosophical arguments to prove why our decision is right. We try to convince ourselves and others by offering a philosophical spin.
That’s what Arjun also did when Shri Krishna scolded him.
अर्जुन उवाच |
कथं भीष्ममहं सङ्ख्ये द्रोणं च मधुसूदन |
इषुभि: प्रतियोत्स्यामि पूजार्हावरिसूदन ||2.4||
Arjun said, “O destroyer of daemon Madhu (Shri Krishna), How can I shoot arrows at Bhisma and Dronacharya? They are worthy of our worship”.
गुरूनहत्वा हि महानुभावान्श्रे यो भोक्तुं भैक्ष्यमपीह लोके |
हत्वार्थकामांस्तु गुरूनिहैव भुञ्जीय भोगान् रुधिरप्रदिग्धान् ||2.5||
It would be better to live in this world by begging than to enjoy life by killing these elders. They are our guides and teachers. If we kill them, the wealth and pleasures that we will get will be tainted with blood.
न चैतद्विद्म: कतरन्नो गरीयो यद्वा जयेम यदि वा नो जयेयु: |
यानेव हत्वा न जिजीविषाम स्तेऽवस्थिता: प्रमुखे धार्तराष्ट्रा: ||2.6||
We don’t even know if we will win or lose. But, even if we win after killing respected elders, we will have no desire to live. I am saying this even though they have taken the side of Dhritrashtra and want to fight with us.
This way, Arjun tries to defend his decision of not fighting by arguing that Bhishma and Drona are worthy of worship and by killing them even if they win the war they will lose the willpower to live.
By the way, he also realized that, while he is in turmoil over fighting Bhisma-Drona, they themselves seem to be ok with it and have joined Dhritarashtra, for whatever reason each of them had.
So far, Arjun is following an approach most of us would follow when faced with a difficult situation.
We will try to give up, run away, and put a philosophical spin on it to prove to ourselves and others that we did the right thing.
In those situations, no one comes and guides us using Bhagavad Gita. In the same way, Shri Krishna is also not touching that topic with Arjun so far.
But unlike us, Arjun does something which will “force” Shri Krishna to guide him using the ब्रह्मज्ञान.