Summary of Ch. 2
We have done first four chapters and I thought it is time that we, once again revise these four chapters because these four chapters are very important. And you can enter into the Bhagavad Gita when you have proper grounding in these first four chapters. Even there is some repetition, it is good to have some kind of repetition but to be sure on the ground.
The first chapter is more or less a description of the Kurukshetra, which has its own significance, and it describes the two armies setting themselves against each other, and the preparations of the war by the sounding of the conch shells from different parts, and then the entry of Arjuna, and he is asking Sri Krishna to put him in a position from where he can view the armies. And then suddenly, he gets sensational emotional attack.
And the important part of the first chapter is, the argument he puts forward for withdrawing, sitting down in his chariot, throwing down his gāṇḍīva. We have sufficiently discussed the argument, which he advances. In brief, just to repeat once again, the argument is: “How can I kill?” This was not the question, when all the time there has been a preparation, and the preparation was for killing, because war meant killing. But this argument comes up in a very sharp way. Separately, we shall discuss this question of killing, and there we shall make a distinction between the principle of destruction in the world, and our human being in the act of killing: the place of killing in human life, its justification if at all, and this question has become very important in the present age.
In the age in which the Mahabharata war was planned, whether human being should kill each other was not such a great issue as it is now, how we read today, the question assumes different proportions. But even in the time of Arjuna, when he raises the question, it means that this question was sufficiently prominent, and that a theory of inaction was also quite prominent, because the offshoot of the argument of Arjuna was: “I shall not fight!” The implication was that renunciation is far more justified than action, and that too, action of this kind in which massacre had to take place. That he should kill, as a matter of duty for setting injustice to its destructive end, was known to him. He had come to fight because of that Dharma.
But suddenly, the question of massacre becomes prominent. And then, apart from the question of Dharma of killing and Adharma of killing, there was already this conflict, and this is further reinforced (this conflict), by the argument that even if killing is undertaken, the result will be the kṣaya, the destruction of kuladharma. There will be vast massacre and thousands of young soldiers will be killed, and the women will therefore go astray, and the entire fabric of Dharma will vanish.
‘if I fight for the sake of Dharma, even if I incur Adharma of killing, the result will be a vast scale of the destruction of Dharma’. This is a ‘triangular’ argument. Therefore, suddenly, there is recourse to the theory that inaction, renunciation is far superior, and therefore he sits down: this is the basic point in the first chapter.