Tyaktvottiṣṭha Parantapa


Arjuna was distraught with pity and despair. His pity was for his opposition that consisted of his svajanam: kinsmen, elders, teachers, relatives and friends. He despaired at the thought of what would happen if he did have to kill them. He had collapsed in his chariot and his bow and arrow had slipped from his hands.

Krishna allowed Arjuna to exhaust himself, physically, emotionally and spiritually. He listened to him carefully, completely. Kṛṣṇa wanted to give Arjuna time to open his mind, heart and being to Him, Arjuna’s friend, guide and master, so that His answers would penetrate Arjuna’s very being.

Then He spoke for the first time, as if opening His being directly. Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa says, ‘My dear Arjuna, how have you acquired these impurities? They do not at all befit a man who knows the value of life. They lead not to higher planes but to infamy, akīrti karam arjuna.’

śrī bhagavān uvāca

kutas tvā kaśmalam idaṁ viṣame samupasthitam I

anāryajuṣṭamasvargyam akīrtikaramarjuna II 2.2

This verse is connected to the next one.

‘O Pārtha! Do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not befit you. Give up such petty powerlessness of heart and arise, O Parantapa, destroyer of enemy.

klaibyaṁ mā sma gamaḥ pārtha naitat tvayy upapadyate I

kṣudraṁ hṛdaya daurbalyaṁ tyaktvottiṣṭha parantapa II 2.3

Kṛṣṇa gives the direction to the whole Gītā with this one truth to awaken Arjuna from his delusory incompletions. Kṛṣṇa is the true Master and does not beat around the bush. Understand that Kṛṣṇa is not a philosopher; He addresses the dilemma of Arjuna straightaway.

Kṛṣṇa asks Arjuna directly, ‘How did such impurities, such incompletions come upon you? They are not for a man like you. They will not lead you to higher planes but only defame you.’ In the next verse He asks Arjuna to give up this powerlessness and asks him to arise, addressing him as ‘Parantapa, destroyer of the enemy.’

Kṛṣṇa knows Arjuna’s root thought pattern. Please understand that Arjuna is not depressed because of a spiritual search. It is just that he does not want a solution; he wants only support.

Understand, asking for solutions and asking for support are two different things. What Arjuna needs is support, not a solution. This is why Kṛṣṇa does not speak of spirituality in these two verses. Arjuna’s root thought pattern originates from fear and worry. His Manipuraka Chakra (navel center) and svādiṣṭhāna chakra (being center), energy centers that get locked due to worry and fear, are now completely locked! Because of his fear pattern, he has deep seated incompletions, stress and worry.

Kṛṣṇa addresses Arjuna’s deep fear and powerlessness straightaway without any philosophy, and asks him to give up his foolish weakness and get up and fight—tyaktvottiṣṭha parantapa. He does not offer any consolation, just a straightforward scolding, and a slap to awaken him!

If Arjuna had been in a mood of stotra, meaning devotional surrender that he reaches only later on, these two verses would have served as sūtra or techniques for him. Had he been without fear and expressed full faith and devotion in Kṛṣṇa, these two verses would have been enough to wake him up and stand powerfully.

At this point, Arjuna is in the state to be intellectually convinced and Kṛṣṇa employs śāstra as the right approach. Since he was not in the mood of stotra, not yet ready with devotion and faith, Kṛṣṇa had to create the śāstra or method, to bring him to the stotra state. The whole issue was due to his root pattern of fear plus worry and powerlessness because of this fear.

source: chapter 2, bhagavadgita decoded

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