avacya-vadams ca bahun
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?
Your sworn enemies, such as Duryodhana, and Kama etc., in spite of knowing your deeds of valour, will belittle your strength and will laugh at you and call you a coward and impotent. How will you bear those insolent jokes and irreparable ignominy?
hato va prapsyasi svargam
jitva va bhoksyase mahim
tasmad uttistha kaunteya
Slain in battle you will gain heaven, victorious you will enjoy the sovereignty of earth; therefore, arise, O son of Kunti, determined to fight.
If slain in battle while fighting bravely a Kshatriya will certainly attain the heavenly spheres. It is also stated in the Vedic scriptures that if a Kshatriya is victorious in battle what will be gained is dominion of the Earth and at the end of the life the heavenly spheres are guaranteed as well. Thus those who fight bravely in battle and are undefeated acquire more merit than those who are defeated.
“If you are killed by Karna etc., you will attain heaven and if you gain victory, you will gain the kingdom. Thus righteous warfare would result in good, both here and hereafter. So you should be prepared to wage war, otherwise you risk to lose both.” Krishna by addressing Arjuna as Kaunteya wants to remind him of the message to wage the war, sent by his mother when He went to the Kauravas, with a proposal for a treaty. Therefore, he should rise to the occasion with full determination.
Krishna’s call to war can be understood to be a general call to each and every one of us to shed our inhibitions, negative attitude and lethargy and go forward to work hard for any righteous cause including our duty as a good son/daughter, parent, citizen or employee. By discharging one’s duty, one makes advancement in this world and other world. It means that by discharging one’s duty and by abstaining from what ought not to be done; one attains perfection here as well as hereafter.
sukha-duhkhe same krtva
tato yuddhaya yujyasva
naivam papam avapsyasi
Treating alike victory and defeat, gain and loss, pleasure and pain and engage yourself in battle. Fighting thus you will incur no sin.
Now Lord Krishna refutes Arjuna previous worry about accruing sin by killing his heinous enemies with the words sukha and dukha meaning happiness and unhappiness. Although the pleasure of happiness and the pain of unhappiness in fighting this righteous war are inevitable; still this must be considered as pertaining to the body only and not to the soul which is distinctly different from the physical body. Profit and gain, victory and defeat even without considering the goal of heaven Arjuna should prepare to fight for the sole purpose of exclusively fulfilling his duty. Thus fixed in this determination with proper understanding if he slays anyone he will not incur sin. To the contrary Arjuna will be free from the sin incurred by refraining from the battle and not executing his duty.
Everyone should discharge his duty earnestly and efficiently, whether he has a desire or not for its fruit. By refusing to be affected by favourable and unfavourable circumstances, the mind becomes steady. So treating the two equally, one should discharge one’s duty. Moreover, one should not perform an action for the sake of pleasure, and refrain from another, for fear of its pain. But your aim is not to think of victory and defeat, gain and loss, and pleasure and pain, but your goal is to discharge your duty by treating the agreeable and the disagreeable, alike.
Major decisions in life should be taken only after evaluating the situation spiritually, mentally, intellectually and physically. Reasoning should be done intellectually, evaluate ethics and morality emotionally and customs and traditions physically. There are some who will do a thing only when they are guaranteed a profit, victory or pleasure even if it is their duty and moral responsibility to do it. Such persons are unfit to hold any responsible position in society including that of a manager in any organization.
esa te ‘bhihita sankhye
buddhir yoge tv imam srnu
buddhya yukto yaya partha
O Partha (Arjuna), this attitude of mind has been presented to you from the point of view of ‘Jnanayoga’ (Discipline of Knowledge); now hear of the same, from the point of view of ‘Karmayoga’ (the Discipline of Selfless-Action). Equipped with this state of mind, you will be able to completely shake off the shackles of Karma (Action).
Having instructed the true knowledge of the soul as being distinctly different from the physical body and seeing that this knowledge has still not been firmly embedded in Arjuna’s heart, Lord Krishna reiterates this truth again in order to illustrate that this knowledge never becomes firmly embedded without practice of the means which is yoga. To do this He introduces the yoga path of selfless actions as the means to this end. Thus the reality is to perform all actions under the direction of one’s mind well cultivated by the aid of spiritual knowledge from the Vedic scriptures exclusively. Although this spiritual knowledge is scientific Arjuna is still unsteady in its application due to lack of practice in assimilation. So Lord Krishna explains that by practice in the performance of actions by the renunciation of their rewards Arjuna will be completely freed from transmigration in the material existence.
Not to do what ought to be done is ‘non-discharge of duty’ and to do what ought not to be done is also ‘non-discharge of duty’. Duty is that in which a person having renounced his desire for pleasure, pleases others and which involves his own welfare as well as the welfare of others. By discharging one’s duty, ‘Yoga’ (equanimity) is naturally attained. Without discharging one’s duty a man can’t attain equanimity. Having attained equanimity, knowledge of Truth is naturally attained-which is the result of both-‘Karmayoga’ (the Discipline of Action) and ‘Jnanayoga’ (the Discipline of Knowledge).
pratyavayo na vidyate
svalpam apy asya dharmasya
trayate mahato bhayat
In this path (of selfless action), there is neither loss of effort, nor any adverse result. Even a little practice of this discipline (dharma) protects one from great danger (of birth and death),
In the normal course of events actions and merits have a finish at the end of one’s lifetime. The actions have a conclusion in this world and the merits have a conclusion in the next world. It is likened as to a farmer tilling his crops; by industrious action the merits of an abundant harvest are assured. But if he is to omit any of the steps such as watering or pruning within the process the harvest is put into jeopardy. Similarly the demerit of non-comittance by Arjuna is also possible if any action of his duty is not performed. But here Lord Krishna explains in bhakti-yoga which is His exclusive loving devotional service there is an exemption to the aforementioned rule and that there is never any loss or diminution to those who are fortunate enough to perform bhakti-yoga in this lifetime or any lifetime. Unlike the cultivation of farming which is always beset by problems of weather, drought, blight and numerous unexpected difficulties. In bhakti-yoga there is no chance of contrary results or fear of demerits when carrying out devotional service for the ultimate satisfaction of the Supreme Lord.
Actions which are performed with a desire for fruits, can give adverse result, if there is any error in the pronunciation of incantations, or in performing sacrifice, etc. Suppose, a man performs sacrifice, for the birth of a son, but if it is not performed according to scriptures, it might result in the death, of a member of the family, instead of blessing him with a son. Sometime, if the result is not quite contrary, it may be less harmful, as the son may be born crippled. But, one who performs actions, without having any desire for fruits, becomes equanimous and so there is no adverse result from his effort.