Gita Daily Readings

18th January
Chapter
II: 8
I do not see that it would remove this sorrow that burns up my senses, even if I should attain prosperous and unrivalled dominion on earth or lordship over the gods (in heaven).

Commentary

Of course not! Nothing in this world, or in heaven (both of which are distasteful to Arjuna now) or in hell (which he decidedly wishes to avoid) contains the secret "alchemical" substance that can end sorrow. So, a wise man should renounce "the three worlds". Logic ends there. If it does not, it leads us astray. The next step might be "since I have renounced the three worlds, I should have nothing to do with them" or "since I have renounced the three worlds, why should I be afraid to fight or act in this world?"

We should know the right and wrong application of logic. It is true that the body is unreal. But, so long as it lasts, it has to be fed. Even the condemned prisoner has to be given his last meal. To neglect it is adharma.

Arjuna is grieved over the prospect of his having to kill his own kith and kin, though he knows that they are the worst sinners (atatayin). "Resist not evil" is a dictum that should be cautiously applied here. Society cannot run on utopian ideals. But that should not permit everyone to fight evil and thus generate evil in themselves. Hence, the caste system allocated this task to the kshatriya, (the ruler or administrator). The others shall not resist evil, but hand it over to the kshatriya whose duty it becomes. For him to shirk it is adharma! But if he does it as his duty, impartially and impersonally, he is not inwardly disturbed and he does not incur sin. Law and order are maintained without disordering anyone's mind! The duty has to be discharged not for the sake of heaven or of earth nor for the fear of hell, but because it is God's will. The lord says that he incarnates in order to subdue evil. (cf IV:8).

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