Chapter 2. Yoga of Wisdom: Verse 5

Sanskrit Verse

गुरूनहत्वा हि महानुभावान्
श्रेयो भोक्तुं भैक्ष्यमपीह लोके |
हत्वार्थकामांस्तु गुरूनिहैव
भुञ्जीय भोगान् रुधिरप्रदिग्धान् ||


Guroonahatvaa hi mahaanubhaavaan
shreyo bhoktum bhaikshyamapeeha loke
hatvaartha-kaamaamstu guroonihaiva
bhunjeeya bhogaan rudhira-pradigdhaan

English Translation

Even a life lead by begging is better for me than enjoying life at the cost of my elders. If I kill these mentors of mine desirous of wealth, then certainly my life here & every enjoyment would be tainted with their blood.

Commentary & Explanation

Arjuna refers to Bhishma & Drona as Gurus twice in this verse.

Who is a Guru?

Guru is he who despels darknes (Gu= Light; Ru=dispeller), Guru is he who is completely liberated and is free from any attachments. Neither Bhishma, nor Drona deserves to be called a Guru, nor do they deserve the respect and surrender a Guru deserves traditionally. Arjuna in his state of emotional overflow is using words at will.

We learn many things from many people and all those do not deserve the high respect that only a true Guru deserves, only Krishna is a true Guru among those present in the battle field and he is not in the enemy side.

Arjuna says he will lead rest of his life by begging rather than killing his dear ones. Begging is only permissible for those who are disabled or are free from worldly desire and invested in self-enquiry. Is Arjuna free from desires? he was born a royalty and had depended on his strength for living all throughout, Is he ready for a life of beggary where he has to live at someone else's mercy? A healthy man begging would go through ridicule too.

Arjuna is perhaps thinking that he would beg and lead a spiritual life of meditation and self-enquiry. A Brahmana would neither have doubts in the times of conflict, nor would he ever think of abandoning what is natural to his character and move into another's life or profession. Arjuna he who is Rajasic by quality, can he become a Sattvic if he wishes? is he not wishing to be someone he is not, for the sake of avoiding the conflict?

Arjuna wants to "Have his cake and Eat it too". 

Spiritual View: If a spiritual aspirant has to stop indulging in pleasures of senses for the sake of spiritual attainments, he initially opposes it, justifies saying "What use is spirituality if it comes at the cost of sense pleasures". That mentality expects everything without giving up anything. [In actual spirituality doesn't need any giving up, but humans are too attached to pleasures to be able to find to that balance, at least in the beginning of their journey]



GuroonTeachers; superiors
AhatvaaNot killing
MahaanubhaavaanGreat souls; mahaan=great
ShreyahIs better
BhoktumLead life; enjoy
BhaikshyamBy begging
IhaThis (physical plane)
GuroonElders (teachers)
IhaThis (physical plane)
PradigdhaanTainted with