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Arjun's Plea for Peace
Real or Hollow ?


At the begining of the Shri Maad Bhagvad Gits, Arjun's famous 'pacifist plea' is as fake and hollow as his remorse for killing others in the war.  Arjun is no novice to battlefield experience.  As a Maharathi, he had battled and killed millions of men mercilessly before the Kurushetra war.  Why suddenly turn soft ?  Even during the Kurushetra war, Arjun has no quams about killing salaried soldiers by the thousands per day without shedding a single tear.  But the moment his own son is killed, he berates the whole institution of war, kingship, government etc !  WHY ?  Just because it was his son who got killed ?  So is his son more precious than the millions of 'sons-of-other-mothers' he killed ?  Is the pain of one man more significant than another ?  Is the man wearing the crown, more of a 'man' than then the pauper wearing rags ?  Why is Arjun's loss more pertinent than the loss of millions of others ?  When Arjun perpetrated the genocide in Khandava forest, did he think of the pain and anguish he was causing to all those he killed and their countless relatives ?


Shri Krushna (note I am using the title Shri to indicate divinity) admonishes Arjun because he is not being a genuine pacifist or a genuine seeker of peace.  Arjun is simply upset because he can't bear to see his own family and friends being killed.  He even rues the possibility of Kaurava death simply because they are 'his cousins'.  It's a selfish pacifist attitude.  It's OK if others die, but let nothing happen to me or mine.  Arjun wants the 'Dharma Rajya' on his terms, without a single loss to himself.  He wants to return to the golden halls of Indraprashta without loosing a single friend.  He doesn't care much about the Kauravas, but he wants to keep alive the Kuru elders he loves so much.  He wants none of his brothers, sons or in-laws to die.  It is a personal pacifist plea.

Krushna shows him the Vishva Roop not to scare him, but to tell him that he cant have his cake and eat it too.  This is a battlefield.  It’s not a dance.  Everyone is here to die.  Everyone has said their last good-bye before coming here.  Everyone who is born IS destined to DIE.  That is an inevitable reality.  How you die is up to you.  Do you want to die as a nobody or as a somebody ?  Join hands with a great cause and die gloriously or win.  Or else, die as an old man in a bed, un-mourned and un-known in a home or an ashram in the Himalayas.


This battle did not suddenly dawn on the Pandavas.  It was planned for over a decade and Arjun had literally moved heaven and earth for it to happen.  He had asked Shiva, Yama, Indra, Vayu and Varun for their weapons.  He spent years doing taaps to get all this.  Was it just for a show ?  Arjun knew for certain that his uncles, gurus, cousins and sons will battle it out for either Ydhishthir or Duryodhan to become THE KING.  Only one of them could sit on the throne - not both.  


So knowing all this, having prepared for all this, having gathered so many warriors here, why suddenly turn pacifist ?  Arjun only became concerned for 'humanity' because he couldn't bear to think of his own loved ones dying.  It was a selfish pacifism, born out of selfish desire to inflict deadly damage on his enemies from a safe distance. 


Like most of us, Arjun too wonders -
Why doesn't God take care of all the messy things ? 
Why doesn't God create a Utopian world where 'I' can be happy and have everyone do my bidding at all times ?

Is that too much to ask ?  Afterall, I am right aren't I ?  Am I not the reasonable one in this argument ?  Isn't my request the most sensible ?

Why do people oppose me ?  Why would they want to oppose me ?  Don't they 'know' they are wrong to doubt my wisdom ?  

Why is there any dissent ?  Why don't people acknowledge that I AM RIGHT ?

If only God would let everyone see this simple truth, there would be PEACE on Earth for sure !!!


Shri Krushna laughs at Arjun's naivety.  
God has heard ALL this before.  

God hears this all the time.  

God knows that everyone thinks they are in the right and everyone else is wrong.  

How many times have people fought tooth and nail to establish PEACE !!!!  

How many times have people murdered in the name of GOD !!!! 


Krushna wanted to establish Dharma Rajya and for that Bhsihma, Drona and all the Kauravas HAD to die.  Arjun had the weapons to do it.  He had the training for it.  But he couldn't bring himself to do it.  You have to kill the humanity inside you before you can kill humans.  Arjun could not bear to kill Bhishma or Drona, because he had special relationship with them.  But he had no qualms about killing countless soldiers.  They were simply soldiers, nameless, faceless, minions by the million that could be killed with impunity.  They were not even significant enough in his eyes to warrent a mention.    


For this reason, Shri Krushna ignores Arjun's plea and advises him to fight for Dharma.


As a foot note, for all his pacifist plea for peace and regret at initiating the war, Arjun goes on yet another round of conquests after the Kurushetra war.  In light of his earlier lament, carnage he causes to celebrate the Ashwamedh yagna was totally pointless.  Considering the mass slaughter perpetrated during the Mahabharta war, was this even necessary ?  But Arjun has no sadness or upset or pacifist fit when killing children of other men.  His regret was temporary and his emotions were reserved for his own family and friends (at Sindhu, Gandhar and Kamarupa).  Shri Krushna knew this.  For this reason, Shri Krushna exposed Arjun's sham 'peace-conversion' at the start of the Kurushetra war and got Arjun to see that he was being selfish.  


Arjun wants to have his cake and eat it.  Shri Krushna tells him point blank, that is not possible.  War is war.  Death comes to all - one and all.  He can die fighting or fight and win.  But to sit out the war would be his loss, no one else's.  Sometime, you have to fight for what is right. 



© Bhagwat Shah
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