|Chapter 1||Lamenting the Consequence of War||Verse 37, 38|
Rudra Vaisnava Sampradaya:
It may be argued to Arjuna that if he does not slay his enemies due to feeling compassion for them, then they out of greed for power they will surely slay him; therefore it would be better for him to slay them and enjoy sovereignty. This is answered in a verse and a half beginning with: I do not like etc. Even if they kill us I do not like to kill them even for attaining the sovereignty of all the three worlds much less for gaining only this earth.
The Vedic scriptures declare that those who commit the following six types of crimes being : arson, poisoning, assaulting with weapons, stealing ones wealth, usurping ones land or kidnapping one's wife are aggressors and Duryodhana and the Kauravas were definitely aggressors having committed all six offences against the Pandavas beginning with arson. The slaying of aggressors is justifiable and the Vedic scriptures state that one should slay an aggressor coming with the intention of committing a criminal act without hesitation and that the slayer of such an aggressor incurs no sin whatsoever. This is being answered by the verse and a half beginning with: sin alone etc. The text which states one should kill belongs to what is called an Artha Sastra which is a scripture dealing with the rules and laws regarding wealth. Artha Sastra is considered less authoritative than Dharma Sastra which are scriptures dealing with righteousness. Dharma Sastra is superior to Artha Sastra. As it is stated by the sage Yagnavalkya: when two scriptures differ the one whose conclusion is the most reasonable and most logical is to be considered superior. This is the understanding. Therefore by the slaying of preceptors etc. although they are aggressors, Arjuna is stating that sin shall be incurred because such slaying is unwarranted and unrighteous. There can be no happiness from this. This is being given by: How can we adopt this course of action?
Although Duryodhana and the Kauravas being deprived of all discrimination are determined to fight; why should we who are not deprived of discrimination become degraded as well by such sinfulness? We should resolve not to engage in this battle.
It may be argued that the action of slaying kinsman is common to both the Pandavas and the Kauravas; so even as the Kauravas adopting such a contingency are determined to fight; it is better for Arjuna to likewise engage himself in the battle, what is the value of despondency? This is being answered by these two verses.
Brahma Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Madhvacarya has no commentary so we present Baladeva Vidyabhusana's.
If the question arises that although it is advisable for the Pandavas to engage in battle being challenged by their enemies the Kauravas because it is well known that a ksatriya can never decline a challenge to fight or to gamble. To answer this Arjuna speaks the verse beginning: yadyapy ete na pasyanti and the verse beginning katham na jneyam asmabhih. The reason for the Kauravas to be engaged in war is out of greed. Whereas we not having this desire of greed therefore have no desire for battle. One is engaged in karmic activities to fulfil ones desires; but only if no negativity is created and the action results in total happiness can it be considered righteousness.
It is also described in the codes of warfare that a Syen Yaga is prescribed for killing of ones enemies. Although it is true because the result of it will not give happiness to the family members of the deceased, it is unreasonable for us to be engaged in this battle. On the other hand the tradition of accepting a challenge by ksatriyas is applicable when there is no probability of destruction of the dynasty. Arjuna again addresses Lord Krishna again as Janardana, He who always naturally protects His devotees, Arjuna is intimating that since Lord Krishna is the Supreme Lord and has appeared for the express purpose of removing all those opposed to righteousness on the Earth, He can just by His will destroy all the enemies effortlessly Himself.
Sri Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Kumara Vaisnava Sampradaya:
Why are they trying to kill the Pandavas in the first place might now be asked? In this verse Arjuna is stating that the Kauravas their hearts full of greed, devoid of piety see no fault and perceive no sinful reaction in the slaying of family members and hence they act in ignorance. Now in support of his reason for not fighting Arjuna states that the Pandavas are not like the Kauravas because of knowing fully the sinful reaction of slaying kinsman. So why should they engage in this abominable act. Being a devotee of the Supreme Lord Krishna who is the propounder of dharma or righteousness, Arjuna addresses him by the vocative Janardana meaning as the remover of his devotees ignorance; why should they not refrain themselves from such ignorance being cognizant of the implications of unrighteousness?