Arjuna speaks

Why do I have to do this? Why, why why? Why can't life be simpler? Why do I have to kill, maim and destroy? Why can't we just sit down and get this over with? Tell me, O Krishna, is that little piece of land called Indraprastha really worth all this?

Look at them, dear friend, look at them. That old man you see there, thats Bheeshma: I used to play in his lap as a child. He helped me stand on my feet as a kid, taught me how to hold a bow and an arrow. Today you want me to shoot at him? See those bunch of people my age yonder? They are the brothers of Duyodhana. We used to play in the orchards together. That small guy there, he used to run and hide behind me when he was afraid, I used to protect him from the bullies. And today you ask me to go and stab him in his face. How can I do it? I still see in his face the child I used to protect. Today you ask me to butcher a child?

I don't want it, I don't want any of this! How can I forget the love, how can I forget the feeling of safety and comfort I felt in their presence? It kills me from within to even raise the bow. At one time I would have gladly given my life for them, any of them! And look at me today: I am prepared to take their lives! Oh what shame, what shame! How will I be able to live? How can someone ever feel safe in my presence? They would know that even though I protect them today, tomorrow I'll just go there and murder them in cold blood. Nobody can trust me ever again. I'll lose face before even myself, I will never be able to trust myself.

And all this, to get hold of some useless piece of land whose thousandth part will be enough to cremate me. Isn't there enough land on this planet? Do I really need to kill them for that little one? Look at me, for all I have learned, with all the skills Dronacharya there has taught me, I am about to turn against him and shoot to kill. I am standing in a battle of which I want no part... I am here because of circumstances! I am not to blame, and yet I have to shoot. Why, why, Sir, must I fight? Against whom am I fighting? What will I gain? Is it really worth the loss? Tell me, O Lord, why shouldn't I just lay down my arms and let them kill me? At least then I would die happy that I kept my word, I loved them till my last breath.

Comments

  1. Hey,

    It was nice read .. Please conclude it with what Krishna has to say to Arjuna. Thats what essential part of Mahabharat ..

    Chintan

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  2. Yeah, Please conclude it with Krishna's response....

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  3. All's fair in love n war !!! Nice excerpt out of Holy Geeta...but like others say, it'd be definitely worthwhile if you end it with Lord Krishna's dialogue.

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  4. Galadriel, thank you.

    The Mangoman, I know what the reply to this was. The trouble is, I don't completely get it, and rather feel hollow as I try to see what he meant. I am not sure I can or am willing to write about it. P.S. - welcome!

    DS, I wish I could. But this post was born out of a sudden spasm where I too was searching for answers, and I have none. Have you been here before? If not, welcome.

    Lavender, that precisely is the problem... history does not remember who stabbed whom: it just records what the winner dictated to the historians. All of it qualifies as "fair".

    Sunshine, thank you.

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  5. My interpretation is that Arjuna was scared of action, facing stalwarts like Bheeshmaacharya and Dronaacharya and used a philosophical argument to convince himself that he was not really keen on fighting.

    Krishna gave him the courage to act. And that's what I think the message is about.

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  6. Nice :)Looks like something is gnawing you.-Ms NMA

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  7. True, Arjuna was not able to pick up the courage to kill his own kinsmen, but what about the kinsmen themselves? I don't think that Duryodhana, who used to play in the orchards with Arjuna wasn't facing any conflict or having any hesitation to kill Arjuna. Truth was that he would have butchered the Pandavas most happily.

    While most of us understand Arjuna's pain and volatile emotions at that point, we forget the essence of the Gita, which in this case is Krishna's teachings.

    When a man enrolls himself in the Army he is expected to know what lies ahead. The enemy soldier from the border might be a great man, the perfect husband and a loving father, but that doesn't mean he puts his gun down and says "Oh enemy soldier, you're an awesome guy, I couldn't possibly shoot you". Killing the enemy is his natural duty. As was Arjuna's, the duty of a Kshatriya.
    Arjuna lacked the courage that was required on the battlefield, and Krishna, his teacher tells him what was required of him.

    Nice place you have here! And I think I read something like this, incidentally, in some UT online journal. Nazar, methinks.

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  8. HELLO!!!! the buttons are waiting!!

    ( not to sound wierd and all!!)

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  9. Hari, I disagree. I know that we are all entitled to our own opinions, but Arjuna had only three different people who he knew he couldn't defeat in a bow-and-arrow contest: Bheeshma, Dronacharya and Lord Shiva. I rather believe that he did not want to fight against his kith and kin (and these two people he held in the highest respect), rather than fear.

    Miss NMA, yeah something was... no longer! Time heals everything the best!

    Coconut Chutney, first of all, thanks for the insightful comment. I know about the duty, and that too is how I interpret the reason Arjuna decides to fight. But the part that I don't understand in Krishna's answer is the part where he claims to have already killed them, and Arjuna being only an instrument. Anyway, your comment did answer some of the things I had in mind from my own life when I wrote this. Thanks a ton! And of course, since I believe this is the first time you're here, welcome onboard! :)

    Grafxgurl, ossum! Send them over.

    And yes, it did sound a little weird at first shot :D

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  10. Sudipta, my point is that he had both fear and respect. Sometimes it's impossible to distinguish between the two.

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  11. Why have you become interested in Gita, I hope you have not begun your search for salvation :)

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  12. Hari, in which case I agree with your viewpoint. And you raise a very important point: sometimes it is impossible to distinguish between the two.

    Anurag, long time no see! Oh no, the Gita in itself is a very interesting book to read!

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  13. sudipta,

    it all depends on the definition of 'kill' :-) i think krishna has some interesting thoughts on that.

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  14. P.S: you've been tagged. i know, it's kinda silly, after such a profound and thought provoking piece, but maybe it'll lighten things up a little? :)

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  15. Hawkeye, yeah I know. But do you remember the movie Aks? "Na koi marta hai na koi maarta hai; ye mai nahi kehta: tumhare Gita mein likkha hai"! You can take such a fatalistic attitude with Krishna's definition of kill there.

    Galadriel, Lady of the Woods, thou wish is my command! Will do sometime :)

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  16. it was kind of strange to see you label this as fiction...

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  17. Manas, I know, even I had my reservations. But the only other tag I could think of was personal, and this tag appeared closer.

    On a related note, though, I read this on bash.org: some guy got thrown out of Barnes and Noble because he moved all the bibles into the fiction section. :)

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  18. Religion/spirituality look closer to me. Anyways, this was just a minor observation. No big deal...

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