Bhagavad Gita: Understanding One Shloka at a time. (Chp. 1, Verse 40) — HBR Patel
Trying to understand Bhagavad Gita, one shloka at a time…
कुलक्षये प्रणश्यन्ति कुलधर्मा: सनातना: |
धर्मे नष्टे कुलं कृत्स्नमधर्मोऽभिभवत्युत || 40||
With the Destruction of Family, its timeless laws and traditions erode. When spiritual tradition is destroyed, unrighteousness dominates the entire society.
Arjuna continues to defend his inaction with whatever logical or illogical arguments that his mortal brain can put together. Bhagwan Shri Krishna is just listening to Arjuna emptying his word-bank to defend his intention.
The new argument put forward by the Arjuna in this Shloka is that due to this war, families will be destroyed. When a family is destroyed, its long-held righteous family traditions, customs, ideals, and noble values get destroyed with that family. This will lead to the surviving member of the family to act without the proper guidance of the elders and will draw them to immoral behavior and become victims of unrighteousness. To stop destroying the foundations of society, Arjuna justifies his inaction and intention. He wants to maintain righteousness in the society and thus, he refuses to fight.
‘Moh’ (Attachment) has deluded Arjuna’s vision and he is not able to see that it with the help of the war, the righteousness will be restored on this earth and not by the inaction of his.
One of the important things to take from this Shloka is that of the ‘Dharma’ (righteousness) and ‘Adharma’(unrighteousness). In this modern world, many try to maintain a distance from the Dharma citing their secular credential. They think there are three states: Dharma, Adharma on extreme ends with a Secular state is between.
But little they do know that Dharma and Adharma are like Light and Dark. Both can not exist simultaneously at a given point, either there is light or there is darkness. We can’t abstain from righteousness and be right at the same time.
Our conduct can either be right or wrong, same way if the righteousness erodes, unrighteousness will definitely take its place. As soon as the heat goes away, coldness creeps in because cold is the absence of heat. In the same way, unrighteousness is the absence of righteousness.
So, Arjuna highlights that to justify his inaction for the good of society.