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Convincing Arjun to Fight the Mahabharata War

Convincing Arjuna to Fight War

Shree Krishna provided three main explanations or reasons to Arjun to fight the war.  He started with the “Sankhya” explanation, telling Arjun that his true self is the soul, which is eternal and indestructible.  Death is only the end of the physical body – the soul goes on to another birth.  Thus, he should not fear that anyone is going to be killed in the imminent battle – he should do what is right regardless of the possibility of physical death.

He followed up with the “Karm” explanation, telling Arjun that it was his duty or dharm to fight the war.  He explained the consequences for both, performing one’s duties or not performing one’s duties.  He advised Arjun that fighting the battle would be considered good karm, for which he would be rewarded in the future, and not fighting the battle would be considered bad karm, for which he would be punished.

Both good karm and bad karm are binding for the soul.  Thus, Shree Krishna concluded with the “Karm Yog” explanation, telling Arjun that if he wants to be free from the bondage of all karmas, then he should perform his dharm while keeping his mind in God, and be unattached to the fruit of his actions. He should maintain equanimity of mind in both success and failure. Thus attaching his mind to God, he will attain ultimate peace and permanent Divine bliss.

Even after hearing this explanation from Shree Krishna, Arjun was still confused about fighting the war!  At the beginning of the third chapter, he questions why is it necessary to fight the war if the ultimate goal is to attain Divine bliss and go beyond this world.  In other words, Arjun is under the misconception that if one takes refuge in the knowledge of the Divinity of God and the soul, then one does not have to engage in physical action on this mundane plane. Read the next article to know, ‘Can physical inaction alone liberate one from the bonds of Maya?’

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