Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 1, Verse 32-33

न काङ्क्षे विजयं कृष्ण न च राज्यं सुखानि च |
किं नो राज्येन गोविन्द किं भोगैर्जीवितेन वा || 32||
येषामर्थे काङ्क्षितं नो राज्यं भोगा: सुखानि च |
त इमेऽवस्थिता युद्धे प्राणांस्त्यक्त्वा धनानि च || 33||

na kāṅkṣhe vijayaṁ kṛiṣhṇa na cha rājyaṁ sukhāni cha
kiṁ no rājyena govinda kiṁ bhogair jīvitena vā
yeṣhām arthe kāṅkṣhitaṁ no rājyaṁ bhogāḥ sukhāni cha
ta ime ’vasthitā yuddhe prāṇāṁs tyaktvā dhanāni cha

nanor; kāṅkṣhedo I desire; vijayamvictory; kṛiṣhṇaKrishna; nanor; chaas well; rājyamkingdom; sukhānihappiness; chaalso; kimwhat; naḥto us; rājyenaby kingdom; govindaKrishna, he who gives pleasure to the senses, he who is fond of cows; kimwhat?; bhogaiḥpleasures; jīvitenalife; or; yeṣhāmfor whose; arthesake; kāṅkṣhitamcoveted for; naḥby us; rājyamkingdom; bhogāḥpleasures; sukhānihappiness; chaalso; tethey; imethese; avasthitāḥsituated; yuddhefor battle; prāṇānlives; tyaktvāgiving up; dhanāniwealth; chaalso


BG 1.32-33: O Krishna, I do not desire the victory, kingdom, or the happiness accruing it. Of what avail will be a kingdom, pleasures, or even life itself, when the very persons for whom we covet them, are standing before us for battle?


Arjun’s confusion arose from the fact that killing itself was considered a sinful act; then to kill one’s relatives seemed an even more grossly evil act. Even if he did engage in such a heartless act for the sake of the kingdom, Arjun felt that victory would not give him eventual happiness. He would be unable to share its glory with his friends and relatives, whom he would have to kill to achieve this victory.

Here, Arjun is displaying a lower set of sensibilities, and confusing them for noble ones. Indifference to worldly possessions and material prosperity is a praiseworthy spiritual virtue, but Arjun is not experiencing spiritual sentiments. Rather, his delusion is masquerading as words of compassion. Virtuous sentiments bring internal harmony, satisfaction, and the joy of the soul. If Arjun’s compassion was at the transcendental platform, he would have been elevated by the sentiment. But his experience is quite to the contrary—he is feeling discord in his mind and intellect, dissatisfaction with the task at hand, and deep unhappiness within. The effect of the sentiment upon him indicates that his compassion is stemming from delusion.