Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 3

क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते ।
क्षुद्रं हृदयदौर्बल्यं त्यक्त्वोत्तिष्ठ परन्तप ॥२-३॥

Klaibyam ma sma gamah partha Naitat tvayy upapadyate
kshudram hridayadaurbalyam Tyaktvottistha paramtapa ॥ 2-3 ॥



In Bhagavad Gita chapter 2 verse 3 Krishna addressed Arjuna thus… O Partha (son of Pritha), O son of Kunti (sister of Krishna’s father Vasudeva)… thou must not express unmanliness of character. Woe to you for behaving in such an unbecoming manner. A warrior must never express such weakness of character when facing enemy head-on. Nonetheless, he must rise to the occasion and bring victory to his side!


Krishna further addressed Arjuna thus: O Parantapa, you must cast aside all your weaknesses of heart and prepare self to fight the enemy. The weakness of heart is indicative of our feelings of Moha (extreme emotional attachment) that bonded human beings with their loved ones. Seeing his maternal grandfather Bhishma Pitamah and Guru Dronacharya in the enemy camp… Arjuna was overcome with distress! He expressed agony, anguish of the highest order!


Lord Krishna advises Arjuna to fight the enemy irrespective of who they consist of. As it was a fight between dharma (righteousness) and adharma (evil forces of nature), where was the cause of any worry! As Arjuna always stood for Dharma (righteousness)… it was his duty to fight the enemy in the present. Krishna admonished Arjuna by addressing him Parantapa, one who subdued his enemy by his valor. Krishna stated it was not for Arjuna to forego the battle but for the enemy to fear his might. Those in the enemy camp considered Arjuna as chastiser, conqueror of enemies.


The Explanation

In Bhagavad Gita chapter 2 verse 3 Krishna specifically addresses Arjuna as son of Pritha (Kunti)… just to remind him of his glorious ancestral lineage. As Arjuna represented entire Pandava clan… he just could not escape behaving responsibly in the battlefield. Arjuna always sided with dharma (righteousness) in all affairs of life. When confronted with Kauravas in battlefield… we just could not express weakness in character (which actually was non-existent). When Dharmaraja (Krishna himself) was his charioteer… how could he shy away from battle of Dharma that had to be won at all costs!


Krishna behaving unmanly is indicative of his feelings of compassion towards his brethren in the enemy camp. He was an extremely efficient warrior yet, reflecting weaknesses in his character which were non-existent was just an excuse unacceptable to all in his army including Krishna. In front of all the warriors present in battlefield… he had to prepare self to fight the enemy, no matter what the consequences. In a fight between dharma (righteousness) and adharma (lawlessness)… ifs and buts did not exist. Either we stood for Dharma… or we did not! One feigning ignorance in times of war was clear act of cowardice!


Although Krishna all the time inherently knew that he would finally succeed in convincing Arjuna… still he admonished him for his unsavory attitude. How could a warrior trained by Guru Dronacharya behave cowardly in the battlefield! Arjuna was an archer only next to Eklavya in valor. None could defeat him in a war yet, he was ready to quit arms seeing his loved ones in the enemy camp. This weakness of heart in times of war was not acceptable to Krishna, acting as his charioteer! To uplift morale of Pandava army, Krishna addressed Arjuna as Parantapa, one who was competent to undergo rigorous forms of penances to achieve desired goal in life.


Parantapa in case of Arjuna has a very far-fetched meaning. Amongst all in Pandava camp, Lord Krishna knew well that it was only Arjuna who was competent to assimilate what all Krishna had to say. Other Pandava Princes were practically incompetent to decipher teachings of Bhagavad Gita by Lord Krishna. This stage of Parantapa was not achieved easily. It needs many years, decades of meditation yoga to become a perfect karma Yogi like Arjuna. Amongst all in Pandava camp… it was only Arjuna who finally succeeded in establishing absolute control over five senses and mind. This became possible as he had mastered the art of contemplation.


In spiritual parlance, Parantapa stands for one who achieved a particular status in life through extreme tapasya, penances! Cutting across shackles of karma was not easy even for Arjuna. Under the able guidance of Lord Krishna… he finally succeeds in extinguishing all traces of all dross impurities within his soul atman to become a favorite pupil of Lord Krishna. Human beings who wanted to succeed in spiritual life had to become a Parantapa… one of the likes of Swami Vivekananda in present times.


As Arjuna was amongst the best archers of his times… it was for the enemy camp to fear his might. And here, Krishna witnessed the reverse. Krishna knew well that whenever a Parantapa demonstrated cowardice, the reason for that lay in our heart. To bring Arjuna out of slumber, Krishna recounted achievements of Arjuna in the past. One born a Kshatriya (warrior clan) was not supposed to express cowardice when facing the enemy. It was a situation of to do or die. As the Kaurava camp sided with adharma (lawlessness)… Arjuna was duty-bound to attack and kill the enemy to re-establish Dharma (righteousness) at all costs.


To save lives of many, if few lives are extinguished… then Arjuna would not become a sinner in eyes of God. As Lord Krishna himself was an embodiment of God Almighty… what more could Arjuna expect of Krishna! Bhagwan Krishna repeatedly advises Arjuna to fight the enemy to win war of Dharma (righteousness). Krishna knew that Arjuna was overwhelmed by feelings of Moha (extreme emotional attachments). As Moha could only be cut across by exercising valor in the battlefield… Sri Krishna advises Arjuna to prepare self for fighting the battle. Our love for those who were dear to our heart had to be controlled at all costs. As they sided with adharma (lawlessness), they were sinners in eyes of God.


Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 3 carries special significance in whole of Bhagavad Gita. As entire story of Bhagavad Gita was an allegory and reflected entire life of a human being, in bhagavad gita chapter 2 verse 3 Lord Krishna simply says… for a serious seeker of spirituality, for a traveler of spiritual path… to reach God in present life… our establishing absolute control over feelings of Moha (extreme emotional attachments) were an absolute must. We could step into spiritual domain… only if we were prepared to cut across bondages of family life. For a serious seeker of spirituality… family relationships had to be cut across at all stages of life. Those we call our father, mother, brothers and sisters, elders… close relatives and friends… all would be left behind if we were to pursue God in present life.


There would come a stage in spiritual life when whole mankind becomes one large family… for a true seeker of spirituality!


Cutting across bondage or Moha was the most difficult task in the entire spiritual journey of life. One fears leaving ones parents, brothers and sisters, close relatives and friends forever to reach God. Prime reason why most human beings world over failed to pursue path of spirituality to reach God! Most human beings indulged in religion (path of rituals)… never realizing that it never leads to God Almighty in present times. When God Almighty existed in our heart in miniscule form as our soul atman, the spirit within… what use going to temples, churches and mosques to pray to God Almighty! In this shloka verse Lord Krishna further points out that path of spirituality primarily is undertaken by Kshatriya s, the warrior clan! Those indulging in daily routines of life never reached God in their lifetime.


Those who feared leaving their brethren failed to start their spiritual journey towards God Almighty in their lifetime. This is the biggest predicament faced by humanity on spiritual path… whether or not to leave the family to pursue God in present life. Most human beings settled for path of religion (path of rituals)… that was simpler to travel but never led anyone anywhere on path of pure spirituality. Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Maharishi Ramana and Swami Vivekananda realized early in life that all family ties had to be cut short in the early stages of life, if they were to start their journey towards God in present life. Does it mean that God was cruel in asking human beings to abandon their family ties in search of God! If we understood intricacies of spiritual life… we would never blame God! How?


As detailed in Bhagavad Gita by Lord Krishna… the journey of life truly belonged to our soul atman, the spirit within and never the manifest physical human form! Nothing in this cosmic world belonged to the physical manifest human form ever. This is why it has been said that human beings must offer fruits of karma performed to God Almighty all the time. When journey of life was undertaken by our soul atman, the spirit within… fruits of karma performed by human beings also belonged to true inner self… our soul atman, the spirit within! Human beings must indulge in karma as a true trustee of God Almighty. Only then a seeker can proceed towards God earnestly and seriously. We could never feign ignorance in matters spiritual. We could never deny existence of a soul atman, the spirit… within core of our heart.


Scriptures of different religions of world confirm this. Every serious seeker of spirituality understands that the journey of life always belonged to our soul atman, the spirit within. When nothing belongs to us… abandoning family ties becomes easier. Rightly said… we were not abandoning the family, but only family ties! At this stage of life… the biggest problem arose when family members who knew nothing about spirituality failed to recognize our true intention. When one went in search of God, cutting across shackles of Moha (extreme emotional attachment)… most in family developed very strong feelings of disgust, animosity, loathe, contempt… hatred towards the seeker. This happened with Siddhartha Gautama… and can happen with all those seeking God in their lifetime.


Seeking God is a noble journey… a very noble path! Especially in human form, the highest manifest stage in cosmic life cycle… there was nothing more nobler than gaining enlightenment and reaching God in present life.


In the battle of Mahabharata, Bhishma Pitamah, the great maternal grandfather represents all from parents side… both mother and father. Guru Dronacharya represents the entire teaching fraternity, all our teachers in life who at one stage or another gave us basic principles of life. All close relatives and friends in enemy camp represent our close circle of relatives and friends in present life. If we were to seek God in present life, if we were to undertake spiritual journey to reach stage of enlightenment (kaivalya jnana) and finally salvation moksha forever… our foregoing family ties was an absolute must. Without doubt, we had to cut across shackles of Moha forever to gain absolute purity as a soul atman, the spirit within! On path of pure spirituality, question of ifs and buts ceased to exist. All was straight and clear all the time.


In the battle of Mahabharata… the biggest hurdle that Arjuna faced was feelings of Moha (extreme emotional attachments) towards his family members. Even though his maternal grandfather Bhishma Pitamah and revered guru Dronacharya were in enemy camp… this mattered little to Arjuna! Fearing that all would lose their lives against the best archer of his times Arjuna supported by Krishna… Arjuna felt subdued in the heart. He never wanted death of his maternal grandfather Bhishma Pitamah and guru Dronacharya at the hands of his army. Many in the enemy camp were his close cousins and friends. Similarly in life we develop same feelings as Arjuna on path of pure spirituality. This dissuades us from undertaking spiritual journey… prime reason why in last 150 years amongst 7 billion people existing world over… only Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Maharishi Ramana reached God in their lifetime.


The fear of leaving those very dear to us is the biggest obstacle of spiritual path. Yet, there was no other alternative… prime reason, why Krishna finally succeeds in convincing Arjuna to fight battle of Dharma (righteousness) against evil forces of adharma (lawlessness). If we were to succeed in spiritual life… we had to overcome all negative forces of nature… the five senses and mind forever! Apart from Moha (extreme emotional attachment) we had also to overpower five senses and mind to reach God in present life. Spiritual journey truly demands many sacrifices in life. Spiritual path was very difficult to travel… prime reason why God Almighty ordained a long journey of 1.1 million manifestations in human form to reach God. Only those who had willpower exhibited by Arjuna were competent to undertake spiritual journey and in present times Swami Vivekananda succeeded in that.


Through bhagavad gita chapter 2 verse 3 Lord Krishna also emphasizes the fact that our soul atman, the spirit within that exists in our heart was all the time prompting human form, the physical manifest self to undertake spiritual journey at the earliest. It was only then our soul atman, the spirit within could reach stage of absolute purity… cosmic end of life forever. Indulgence in Bhagavad Gita was never by chance. Only serious seekers of spirituality, those possessing willpower exhibited by Swami Vivekananda truly indulged in teachings contained in Bhagavad Gita. I know many who read Bhagavad Gita many times but to no avail. The teachings contained in Bhagavad Gita can only be assimilated through path of contemplation (chintan) as defined in different scriptures of Hinduism! Our indulgence in teachings of Bhagavad Gita must never be literary; we must learn to read in between the lines!


It has rightly been said… God helps those who helped themselves!


Commentary by: Vijay Kumar “Atma Jnani”… The Man who Realized God in 1993 – August 29, 2014


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