The dust of Kurukshetra settles, the drums of war muted by a deeper silence. In verses 31 to 35 of Gita Chapter 1, the grand chessboard of war recedes, replaced by a more intimate arena – the battlefield of the mind. Arjuna, having shed his warrior’s mantle, stands before his own doubts and fears.
These verses are not merely an extension of the physical battle; they are the descent into the labyrinth of the human condition. They paint a picture of a soul grappling with the shadows of its own limitations, the existential anguish of choice, and the yearning for a path beyond the mortal coil.
So, let us shift our gaze from the glittering spectacle of war to the introspective twilight of Arjuna’s mind. Let us decode the cryptic whispers of self-doubt, the parries of divine wisdom, and the stumbles on the path to self-realization.
In the echoing canyons of the heart, where desires whisper like sirens and anxieties claw at the soul’s edge, a silent war unfolds. Here, the ego, a gilded cage of ambition, clashes with the spirit’s yearning for boundless flight. This epic, intimate struggle, on the canvas of each fleeting breath, is the human symphony.
Step into the hushed chambers of Arjuna’s heart, for the discourse that awaits us, promises to illuminate the path to self-conquest, a battle far more profound than any clash of steel on the plains of Kurukshetra.
Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1 – Shloka 31 to 35
Now without further ado, let’s dive into the next shlokas 31 to 35 of the Bhagawad Gita Chapter 1.
If you haven’t read the previous ones, find them here:
Gita Chapter 1 – Shloka 31:
निमित्तानि च पश्यामि विपरीतानि केशव|
न च श्रेयोऽनुपश्यामि हत्वा स्वजनमाहवे || 1.31||
nimittani cha pashyami vipareetani keshava
na cha shreyo nupashyami hatva svajanamahave
O Keshava, I see signs that are contrary to dharma. I also do not see any good in killing my own kin.
Shloka 31 Meaning and Context:
Arjuna is expressing his doubts and misgivings about the impending war. He sees that the Kauravas are his own kin, and he does not believe that killing them is right. He also sees that the war will lead to widespread death and destruction.
Shloka 31 Teachings and Insights:
The nature of conflict: Conflict is often seen as a clash between opposites, with no clear resolution. This can lead to feelings of confusion, uncertainty, and despair.
The importance of morality: Arjuna is reluctant to kill his own kinsmen because he believes it is wrong. This shows the importance of morality, even in the face of conflict.
The need for courage: Arjuna must overcome his doubts and fears in order to fulfill his duty. This shows the importance of courage, even in the face of difficult challenges.
Gita Chapter 1 – Shloka 32:
न काङ्क्षे विजयं कृष्ण न च राज्यं सुखानि च|
किं नो राज्येन गोविन्द किं भोगैर्जीवितेन वा || 1.32||
na kankshe vijayam krishna na cha rajyam sukhani cha
kin no rajyena govinda kim bhogair jivitena va
Gita Chapter 1 – Shloka 33:
येषामर्थे काङ्क्षितं नो राज्यं भोगा: सुखानि च|
त इमेऽवस्थिता युद्धे प्राणांस्त्यक्त्वा धनानि च ||1. 33||
yesham arthe kankshitan no rajyam bhogas sukhani cha
ta ime vasthita yuddhe pranam styaktva dhanani cha
Shloka 32, 33 Translation:
O Krishna, I do not desire victory, nor a kingdom, nor pleasures. If those for whom we covet kingdom, pleasures, and happiness, are standing before us in battle, having abandoned their lives and wealth, how shall we kill them? What is the purpose of doing anything that is not in accordance with the dharma of a Kshatriya?
Shloka 32, 33 Meaning and Context:
In this shloka, Arjuna expresses his complete detachment from the material world. He says that he does not desire victory, kingdom, or the pleasures that come with them.
He is concerned that even if he wins the war, he will not be able to enjoy the fruits of his victory. This is because the very people he is fighting for, his kinsmen, will be dead.
Arjuna also expresses his belief that the only way to achieve true happiness is to attain moksha, or liberation from the cycle of birth and death. He believes that he can only attain moksha by fulfilling his dharma, or duty.
Shloka 32, 33 Teachings and Insights:
The importance of detachment: Arjuna’s detachment from the material world is a sign of his spiritual maturity. He has realized that the material world is impermanent and ultimately unsatisfying.
The importance of relationships: Arjuna’s love for his kinsmen is what ultimately motivates him to fight. He knows that victory is meaningless if it means losing those he loves.
The importance of duty: Arjuna ultimately decides to fight because he believes it is his duty. He knows that he must fulfill his responsibilities, even if it means going against his own desires.
The importance of moksha: Arjuna’s belief in moksha shows that he is not attached to the material world. He is seeking something more than pleasure and happiness.
Gita Chapter 1 – Shloka 34:
आचार्या: पितर: पुत्रास्तथैव च पितामहा:|
मातुला: श्वशुरा: पौत्रा: श्याला: सम्बन्धिनस्तथा || 1.34||
acharyaaf pitaraf putraas tathaiva cha pitamahaha
matula shvashuraf pautrash shyalas sambandhinas tatha
Shloka 34 Translation:
Teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, grandsons, fathers-in-law, grand-nephews, brothers-in-law, and other kinsmen are present here, staking their lives and riches. O Madhusudan, I do not wish to slay them, even if they attack me. If we kill the sons of Dhritarashtra, what satisfaction will we derive from the dominion over the three worlds, what to speak of this Earth?
Shloka 34 Meaning and Context:
Arjuna says that his teachers, friends, and kinsmen all are present on the battlefield against him, putting their lives and everything at stake. He does not want to kill them acknowledging the fact that it will give him no satisfaction or happiness in life.
Shloka 34 Teachings and Insights:
The Question of Purpose: The shloka raises a crucial question about the purpose of war. Arjuna doubts the satisfaction he would find in victory if it came at the cost of killing his own kin. This prompts reflection on the true value of earthly pursuits and the potential repercussions of violence.
Morality over Materialism: The lines “What satisfaction will we derive from the dominion over the three worlds, what to speak of this Earth?” reveal Arjuna’s prioritization of morality over material gain. He questions the worth of victory if it comes at the expense of his values and relationships.
Gita Chapter 1 – Shloka 35:
एतान्न हन्तुमिच्छामि घ्नतोऽपि मधुसूदन|
अपि त्रैलोक्यराज्यस्य हेतो: किं नु महीकृते || 1.35||
etan na hantu michchhami ghnato pi madhusudana
api trailokyarajyasya hetokh kin nu mahikrite
Shloka 35 Translation:
I do not wish to kill them, even if they are killing me. Even for the sake of the three worlds, I do not desire lordship.
Shloka 35 Meaning and Context:
In this shloka, Arjuna reiterates his reluctance to fight the war. He says that he does not want to kill his kinsmen, even if they attack him first. He also says that he does not care about the material rewards of victory, such as the three worlds or the kingdom of the earth.
Shloka 35 Teachings and Insights:
The importance of compassion: Arjuna’s compassion for his kinsmen shows that he is a caring and compassionate person. He values life, even the lives of those who are his enemies.
The importance of non-violence: Arjuna’s commitment to non-violence is a powerful statement of his moral values. He believes that it is wrong to kill, even in the name of war or self-defense
Verses 31 to 35 in Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1 continue to unfold the depth of Arjuna’s emotional turmoil on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. As the verses progress, we see that Arjuna articulates the profound impact of the impending war on his life. His inner conflict intensifies, grappling with the consequences of engaging in battle against his own relatives, friends, and revered teachers.
In these shlokas, Arjuna expresses his reluctance to enjoy a kingdom stained with the blood of his kinsmen. The weight of responsibility and the moral dilemma become increasingly unbearable. The verses reveal a growing sense of despair and the recognition that worldly success achieved through such a conflict would be meaningless in the face of the profound losses he would incur.
Concluding these shlokas, we can recognize that Arjuna’s internal conflict serves as a universal metaphor for the challenges each individual faces in navigating life’s ethical complexities.
The verses remind us that the choices we make, especially those that involve conflicting duties and moral quandaries, demand careful consideration and introspection. The need for spiritual guidance and wisdom, symbolized by Krishna in the narrative, remains ever-pertinent.
The journey toward self-realization and inner peace is portrayed as a formidable one, requiring not only courage and mindfulness but also a profound understanding of one’s purpose and the support of divine insight to navigate the intricate pathways of life.