[Advaita-l] Re: Arjuna's paramArtha jnAna

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 3 12:06:41 CDT 2003

>I have a serious (you may call it mischievous) doubt here. My question is,
>in gIta,  even after krishna's valiant effort to enlighten arjuna through
>17 chapters (krishna's upadEsha starts from II chapter) & from 650 & odd
>shlokas (leave sanjaya uvAcha, arjuna uvAcha etc.), arjuna again deluded by
>the influence of kAla & dEsha & succumbed to ahankAra mamakAra when he
>fought with babruvAhana (arjuna-chitrAngada's son) & tAmradhvaja &
>hamsadhvaja during ashvamEdha digvijaya yAtra (post kurukshEtra era).  Is

The issue is one of adhikAra. At the beginning, arjuna wanted to run away 
from the battle and said he would renounce everything. It was Krishna's duty 
to point out to him that this was the wrong course for Arjuna at that 
juncture. Why? True renunciation needs a prerequisite - vairAgya : a deep 
sense of detachment from everything in this world. Arjuna did not want to 
renounce out of detachment. Instead he was extremely attached to his 
relatives who were fighting on the opposite side, and he did not want to 
continue with the battle. Because of this attachment on his part, 
renunciation was the wrong course for him. Krishna points out this flaw on 
his side and encourages him to turn back to action and to develop detachment 
towards the fruits of action. Krishna also points out the correct path of 
detachment and renunciation, which is meant for those who have transcended 
the need for action. Arjuna did not fall into this latter category, or else 
Krishna could have said, at the very outset, "fine, renounce everything and 
become a saMnyAsin rightaway."

We have to understand that saMnyAsa is completely different from nishkAmya 
karma, and that Arjuna was only encouraged to do the latter, not the former. 
It is still necessary to retain a notion of ahaM and mama, in order to 
perform actions, even it if is without expectation or attachment towards 
their fruits. It is only total renunciation of ALL action that goes hand in 
hand with complete removal of the notions of ahaM and mama.


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