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Chapter 5: Beyond the Ego

Arjuna:
“Alas! In our greed for the kingdom and its pleasures
we have engaged ourselves in perpetrating the great sin
of being ready to kill our own kinsmen.

“Better for me ‘twould be if, armed with weapons,
the sons of Dhritarashtra were to kill me
unarmed and unresisting.”

Sanjay:
Having spoken thus,
the anguished Arjuna, overwhelmed with sorrow,
sat in the back of the chariot
and put away his bow and arrows.

Seeing Arjuna filled with pity, tears, and grief,
Krishna spoke thus.

Krishna:
“O Arjuna, how did such a misconception occur to you
at such a difficult time?
For it neither befits the way
the noble ones conduct themselves,
nor does it bring heaven or glory.

“O Arjuna, do not yield to impotence; it does not befit you.
Cast off this mean weakness of your heart and arise!”

Arjuna:
”Oh Krishna, destroyer of enemies
how can I fight with my arrows,
against Bheeshma and Drona, both of whom I revere?

“It is more honorable to live in this world begging for alms
than to slay one’s noble elders and teacher.
If I slay them for wealth and worldly desires,
then my every indulgence in them will be stained with blood.

“I know not which is the noblest course for us to take,
whether we will win or they will win.
As for those elders and Dhritarashtra’s sons
who stand before me
after slaying them I would not wish to live.

“My customary nature has been marred by cowardice,
my mind confused about the rightness of things.
I beseech you to tell me what is good and decisive.
As your disciple, I take refuge in you. Please, enlighten me.

“Even if I attain
the most prosperous and untroubled empire on this earth
or the whole kingdom of the gods,
I see no way in which this sorrow that is withering my senses
can be removed.”

Sanjay:
Having spoken thus to Krishna, Arjuna said to him:
“I will not fight the war,” and became very quiet.

O Dhritarashtra, descendent of Bharat,
Krishna, as though laughing, said the following words
to the sorrowing Arjuna in the midst of the two armies.

Krishna:
”O Arjuna, you grieve over what is not worth grieving over
and yet you speak words of wisdom.
But the wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead.”

Arjuna:
“Alas! In our greed for the kingdom and its pleasures
we have engaged ourselves in perpetrating the great sin
of being ready to kill our own kinsmen.

“Better for me ‘twould be if, armed with weapons,
the sons of Dhritarashtra were to kill me
unarmed and unresisting.”

Sanjay:
Having spoken thus,
the anguished Arjuna, overwhelmed with sorrow,
sat in the back of the chariot
and put away his bow and arrows.

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