Bhagwatam – Duty

Further, looking at thine own duty thou oughtest not to waver, for there is nothing higher for a Kshatriya than a righteous war.
Happy indeed are the Kshatriyas, O Partha, who are called to fight in such a battle that comes of itself as an open door to heaven.
But if you will not fight this righteous war, then, having abandoned your own duty and fame, you shall incur sin.
People too will recount your everlasting dishonor; and to one who has been honored, dishonor is more than death.
The great battalion commanders will think that you have withdrawn from the battle through fear ; and you will be lightly held by them who have thought much of you and your heroism in the past.
And many unspeakable words will your enemies speak caviling your powers. What can there be more painful than this?
Slain, you will obtain heaven; victorious, you will enjoy the earth; therefore, stand up, O son of Kunti, resolved to fight.


svadharmam api caveksya na vikampitum arhasi
dharmyaddhi yuddhac chreyo’nyat ksatriyasya na vidyate
Chapter 2 XXXI

Further, looking at thine own duty thou oughtest not to waver, for there is nothing higher for a Kshatriya than a righteous war.

Explanation: It is the duty of a Hindu Prince (Kshatriya) to fight in the interest of his country, people and culture. Arjuna belonged to the group of Kshatriyas not only by an accident of birth but also by the quality of his inner mental constitution. He has the required physical enthusiasm, moral fire, intellectual alacrity and heroic daring that make it impossible for him to rest contented to quiet study and contemplation without getting himself agitated tremendously when he finds the unhappy lot of his country or people, or when he detects that the sacred Aryan culture has been threatened by imperceptible un-Aryan invasions. In short, all political leaders, social workers, enthusiastic upholders of our national purity and culture, all of them fall under the classification of Kshatriya according to the Sanatana culture of this ancient land. But in the slow decadence of our culture, we have come to accept by mistake that these caste classifications are the hereditary birthrights that come upon the children born of their respective fathers.

Thus, Arjuna’s personal call of character (swadharma) is that of a leader of his generation (Kshatriya) and, as such, when his generation is called upon to answer a challenger of an organized un-Aryan force (adharma), it is his duty not to wave but to fight on and defend his sacred national culture. To the leaders of the people, there can be nothing nobler than to get a glorious chance to fight for their noble cause. Here Arjuna has been called upon to fight a righteous war wherein his enemies are true aggressors. Therefore, it is said that such a chance comes indeed only to a lucky few. That a king must fight on such an occasion is vividly brought out in the Mahabharata (Udyoga Parva, Chapter 72, Verse 18) says: The sin that is committed, by killing one who does not deserve to be killed is as great as the sin of not killing one who deserves to be killed.)
Having made pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat, the same, you engage in battle for the sake of battle; thus you shall win and not incur sin.

SOurce: Chinmaya mission


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