27-46 Arjuna’s lamentation (28 – 46) (some Acharya used the word Arjun Vishad Yoga)

36-38 fear of sinful reactions

Bg 1.37-38

yady apy ete na paśyanti
kula-kaya-kta doa
mitra-drohe ca pātakam

katha na jñeyam asmābhi
pāpād asmān nivartitum
kula-kaya-kta doa
prapaśyadbhir janārdana

Word for word: 

yadi — if; api — even; ete — they; na — do not; paśyanti — see; lobha — by greed; upahata — overpowered; cetasa — their hearts; kula-kaya — in killing the family; ktam — done; doam — fault; mitra-drohe — in quarreling with friends; ca — also; pātakam — sinful reactions; katham — why; na — should not; jñeyam — be known; asmābhi — by us; pāpāt — from sins; asmāt — these; nivartitum — to cease; kula-kaya — in the destruction of a dynasty; ktam — done; doam — crime; prapaśyadbhi — by those who can see; janārdana — O Kṛṣṇa.


O Janārdana, although these men, their hearts overtaken by greed, see no fault in killing one’s family or quarreling with friends, why should we, who can see the crime in destroying a family, engage in these acts of sin?

This is the only verse in BG where same line is repeated in successive verses so 37c and 38c are the same there are other places also in BG where lines are repeated e.g. in 9.34 (emphasis more on devotees staying in community and practicing devotional service) and 18.65(Krishna expressing affection for His devotees and give assurance that the devotee is surely protected).

Here Arjuna is contrasting two kinds of thought and their perception of the same event and the event is kula-kaya-kta doa, kula-kaya, the destruction of Kula the destruction of dynasty, kta, those who do it, doa, they are faulty, destroying once dynasty itself is a fault, now there are two different people Kauravas and Pandavas who are perceiving this differently, so Arjuna might be sensing there will be possible objection to his arguments we will get sin if we kill aggressors that if you don’t kill them they will kill you and that is what they were trying to do from so long, Arjuna is also acknowledging in previous verse, Atataina, they are aggressors but he is saying yady apy ete na paśyanti, they are actually blinded  yady apy, because, etc, these people, na paśyanti, blinded why they are not able to see? lobhopahata-cetasa, lobho, greed, apahata, abducted, cetasa, consciousness so Duryodhana is blinded by greed and not thinking about he transgressing Kula Dharma, he is meant to protect his relatives but he is out to destroy his relatives lobhopahata-cetasa, kula-kaya-kta doa, the fault of killing one’s relative. mitra-drohe ca pātakam, and what is the cause of all these? These are all resulted from the quarrel, friendly quarrel, mitra-drohe.

katha na jñeyam asmābhi,

pāpād asmān nivartitum

They are blinded but jñeya asmābhi, we know, so when we know, kula-kaya-kta doa, the fault of destroying our dynasty we are able to see prapaśyadbhir, so there is contrast between apahata-cetasa (37.b) and prapaśyadbhir,

So apahata-cetasa he is saying they are not able to see ete na paśyanti and here prapaśyadbhir so pasya seeing same word is there, they are not able to see but we can see so when we can see katha pāpād asmān nivartitum, how can we engage in the sinful activities, because we can see so we should not engage in sinful activities. So Arjuna is taking high moral ground here and he is saying that even if kaurava are blinded by greed and they do wrong we should not do wrong. So we should see  kula-kaya-kta doa and act accordingly. When he is thinking like this next thought comes in his mind now he is not only thinking about the sinful reaction which he may get but also starts thinking what will happen to the dynasty itself what will happen to the successive generations.

So his thoughts are four fold (1) compassion, why should my relatives die (2) if relatives die how will I enjoy (3) we will get the reactions, sin (4) what is the legacy that we will live, what will happen to our dynasty.

Which he talks about in the next verse.