Chapter 1. Despondency of Arjuna: Verse 36

Sanskrit Verse

निहत्य धार्तराष्ट्रान्न: का प्रीति: स्याज्जनार्दन |
पापमेवाश्रयेदस्मान्हत्वैतानाततायिन: ||


Nihatya dhaartaraashtraan-nah kaa preetih syaaj-janaardana

English Translation

What happiness will there be in killing these sons of Dhritarashtra, O Krishna?
killing these felons will only make us sinful.

Commentary & Explanation

Arjuna is right in saying there is no happiness in killing them or in the wealth that comes with their killing.

For our understanding let us differentiate well-being into three types:

  • Pleasure: That which primarily comes with senses, it is mostly electro-chemical-hormonal phenomenon within the body-mind. It is derived through the instrument of body. Pleasure is short-lived, and can be unwholesome.  Example: Enjoying eating delicious food.
  • Happiness: It is pleasure of higher kind, it is refined than mere pleasure, it sometimes is derived from body, but mostly through the instrument of mind. Happiness has long-time effect compared to pleasure and it is wholesome in worldly sense. Example: Enjoying sharing and eating food together with others.
  • Bliss: This is the highest kind of Happiness, this is neither derived from body nor mind, it is independent, it does not have external origin, it is the nature of self itself, one tastes this after self-realization.

Arjuna is talking of pleasures, happiness never exists without related attributes of duties, righteousness, honesty, love, rationality etc. 

A Lazy man derives his pleasure from just being lazy, a drug addict from taking drugs. They are definitely having pleasure no doubt, but that cannot be called happiness, as these practices are damaging to self in other ways, these are not wholesome practices, happiness doesn't exist where there is no sense of duty, righteousness, good of others and society.

Similarly Arjuna's idea of happiness is limited, it is limited to a small circle of family & friends.

There are six types of aggressors discussed in Vasistha Samhita 3.11:

  1. One who gives poison
  2. One who commits arson
  3. One who attacks with deadly weapons
  4. One who steals another's wealth
  5. One who usurps another's property
  6. One who kidnaps another's wife

Those who slay these aggressors are said to incur no sin.

As per Manu Samhita (8:350-351) if a person even if he is a teacher, Old aged or even a Brahmana with the knowledge of Vedas if he has committed above great sins, it is permissible to kill him.

Arjuna knows these as it customary for a king to know, the sins of Kauravas against Pandavas are numerous:

  • They tried to poison Pandavas
  • They tried to burn them in House of Lacquer.
  • They tried to steal their wealth.
  • They usurped wealth of Pandavas
  • They misbehaved with Draupadi- the wife of Pandavas, Jayadratha even tried to kidnap her.

Yet Arjuna is thinking it would be sinful to kill the Kauravas, whose sins are numerous, and the above listed ones are just samples.

Even a wise man acts is if he is a fool when emotions takeover.



NihatyaBy killing
DhaartaraashtraanThe sons of dhritarashtra
PreetihPleasure, hapiness
SyaatWill there be
JanaardanaTo whom people pray for success and liberation(Krishna)
PaapamVices, sins
AashrayetMust come upon
HatvaBy killing
EtaanAll these
AatatayinahFelons, aggressors