Arjuna's Argument at Kurukshetra and Sri Krishna's Answer

Primacy of Knowledge in the Synthesis


It is significant for the synthetic character of the teaching of the Gita that even though at the very outset when Arjuna declares, “I will not fight”, and even though Sri Krishna begins his answer by appealing to him to act and to fight, the very first note that is sounded by Sri Krishna in his refutation of the argument of Arjuna is a note concerning the supremacy of knowledge. Sri Krishna points out that although Arjuna’s argument had the appearance of a learned man and possessor of knowledge, the very first premise of knowledge was missing from his argument. Those who have knowledge, says Sri Krishna in effect, have at the root of their argument the knowledge of the self and of the immortality of the self, while in Arjuna’s argument there was a constant refrain of death and of the consequences of killing those who had assembled in the battlefield. The entire argument of Arjuna, both in its root and in its development, was flawed and that the argument would take a completely different turn if it was to be based on true knowledge, knowledge of immortality of the self, and the knowledge of the right place of death in the cycle of development of man and his society, as also the knowledge of the place of work and highest law of work that would follow from the first premise of the stability and permanence of the self and its relationship with the world and with work. The very first part of Sri Krishna’s answer consists of the

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