kiḿ no rājyena govinda
kiḿ bhogair jīvitena vā
yeṣām arthe kāńkṣitaḿ no
rājyaḿ bhogāḥ sukhāni ca
ta ime ‘vasthitā yuddhe
prāṇāḿs tyaktvā dhanāni ca
ācāryāḥ pitaraḥ putrās
tathaiva ca pitāmahāḥ
mātulāḥ śvaśurāḥ pautrāḥ
śyālāḥ sambandhinas tathā
etān na hantum icchāmi
ghnato ‘pi madhusūdana
hetoḥ kiḿ nu mahī-kṛte
nihatya dhārtarāṣṭrān naḥ
kā prītiḥ syāj janārdana
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 1.32-35
O Govinda, of what avail to us are a kingdom, happiness or even life itself when all those for whom we may desire them are now arrayed on this battlefield? O Madhusudana, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, why should I wish to kill them, even though they might otherwise kill me? O maintainer of all living entities, I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth. What pleasure will we derive from killing the sons of Dhritarashtra?
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Arjuna has addressed Lord Krishna as Govinda because Krishna is the object of all pleasures for cows and the senses. By using this significant word, Arjuna indicates that Krishna should understand what will satisfy Arjuna’s senses. But Govinda is not meant for satisfying our senses. If we try to satisfy the senses of Govinda, however, then automatically our own senses are satisfied. Materially, everyone wants to satisfy his senses, and he wants God to be the order supplier for such satisfaction. The Lord will satisfy the senses of the living entities as much as they deserve, but not to the extent that they may covet. But when one takes the opposite way—namely, when one tries to satisfy the senses of Govinda without desiring to satisfy one’s own senses—then by the grace of Govinda all desires of the living entity are satisfied. Arjuna’s deep affection for community and family members is exhibited here partly due to his natural compassion for them. He is therefore not prepared to fight. Everyone wants to show his opulence to friends and relatives, but Arjuna fears that all his relatives and friends will be killed on the battlefield and he will be unable to share his opulence after victory. This is a typical calculation of material life. The transcendental life, however, is different. Since a devotee wants to satisfy the desires of the Lord, he can, Lord willing, accept all kinds of opulence for the service of the Lord, and if the Lord is not willing, he should not accept a farthing. Arjuna did not want to kill his relatives, and if there were any need to kill them, he desired that Krishna kill them personally. At this point he did not know that Krishna had already killed them before their coming into the battlefield and that he was only to become an instrument for Krishna. This fact is disclosed in following chapters. As a natural devotee of the Lord, Arjuna did not like to retaliate against his miscreant cousins and brothers, but it was the Lord’s plan that they should all be killed. The devotee of the Lord does not retaliate against the wrongdoer, but the Lord does not tolerate any mischief done to the devotee by the miscreants. The Lord can excuse a person on His own account, but He excuses no one who has done harm to His devotees. Therefore the Lord was determined to kill the miscreants, although Arjuna wanted to excuse them.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
No Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur
Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:
1.26 – 1.47 Arjuna said — Sanjaya said — Sanjaya continued: The high-minded Arjuna, extremely kind, deeply friendly, and supremely righteous, having brothers like himself, though repeatedly deceived by the treacherous attempts of your people like burning in the lac-house etc., and therefore fit to be killed by him with the help of the Supreme Person, nevertheless said, ‘I will not fight.’ He felt weak, overcome as he was by his love and extreme compassion for his relatives. He was also filled with fear, not knowing what was righteous and what unrighteous. His mind was tortured by grief, because of the thought of future separation from his relations. So he threw away his bow and arrow and sat on the chariot as if to fast to death.
The Supreme Lord Krishna, Hrsikesa, the master of the senses. The Supreme Controller, internally and externally of all living entities evolving and evolved. Who although the Supreme Lord of all, yet descended down to Earth out of His causeless mercy for the redemption of the faithful and even more, He condescended to be Arjuna’s chariot driver, carrying out his wish to station their chariot in such a commanding position as to be able to readily view the belligerent Kauravas and put within the range of his vision such heroes as Bhishmadeva, Dronacarya and Kripa and the Kings of royal dynasties. At that time the Supreme Lord Krishna said to Arjuna: see what chances there are for the Kauravas victory over thee.
Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:
Sri Sridhara Swami did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
It could be put forth that even if there is no reward in the heavenly planets there would still be royal luxuries and kingly enjoyments in this world for the slayer. To refute this supposition in this verse Arjuna declares what use are these? The explanation of Arjuna addressing Lord Krishna by the vocative Govinda indicates that since the Lord is the possessor of eternal existence, consciousness and bliss, Arjuna is imploring that the Lord should satiate him with this bliss. In the word Govinda, go stands for the senses and vinda stands for He who attracts and directs the senses. So Arjuna feeling great despair contemplating the prospect of immense slaughter as a consequence of war is requesting Lord Krishna to properly direct his senses for his ultimate benefit.
If it were to be submitted that even if Arjuna, being the son of Pandu and Kunti had no desire for royal luxuries and kingly enjoyments, for the sake of his relatives such desires are appropriate. This is neutralised by this verse which stating that all those relatives for whose sake these desires would be appropriate are on the battlefield ready for war. Therefore in this context Arjuna has no need to fight.
It may be argued that even if Arjuna thinks of them as relatives, if he does not slay them, they will certainly slay him. So Arjuna should slay them all and rule over the entire kingdom. To refute this Arjuna states that he never desires to slay them, even if they wish to slay him. Arjuna addressing Lord Krishna with the vocative Madhusudana is giving reference to Lord Krishna terminating the existence of a demon name Madhu in a previous time. The name is used to give credence to Arjuna’s position by illustrating as an example that demons are to be exterminated and not relatives.
Arjuna exclaims here that even for dominion of all the worlds he would not wish to slay the sons of Dhritarastra, let alone for a kingdom on the earth. By addressing Lord Krishna with the vocative Janardana meaning He who destroys the ignorance of His devotees, Arjuna is supplicating Lord Krishna to destroy his ignorance as well.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
1.32 Sri Sankaracharya did not comment on this sloka. The commentary starts from 2.10.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
1.30 – 1.34 Na ca sreyah, etc., upto mahikrte. Those who are wrongly conceived as object of slaying, with the individualizing idea that ‘these are my teachers etc.’8 would necessarily generate sin. Similarly, the act of slaying even of those deserving to be slain in the battle-if undertaken with the idea that ‘This battle is to be fought for the apparent results like pleasures, happiness etc.’- then it generates sin necessarily. This idea lurks in the objection [of Arjuna]. That is why a reply is going to be given [by Bhagavat] as ‘You must undertake actions simply as your own duty, and not with an individualizing idea.
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
kim no rajyena govinda
kim bhogair jivitena va
yesam arthe kanksitam no
rajyam bhogah sukhani ca
ta ime ‘vasthita yuddhe
pranams tyaktva dhanani ca
acaryah pitarah putras
tathaiva ca pitamahah
matulah svasurah pautrah
syalah sambandhinas tatha
etan na hantum icchami
ghnato ‘pi madhusudana
hetoh kim nu mahi-krte
nihatya dhartarastran nah
ka pritih syaj janardana
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
kim — what use; naḥ — to us; rājyena — is the kingdom; govinda — O Kṛṣṇa; kim — what; bhogaiḥ — enjoyment; jīvitena — living; vā — either; yeṣām — of whom; arthe — for the sake; kāńkṣitam — is desired; naḥ — by us; rājyam — kingdom; bhogāḥ — material enjoyment; sukhāni — all happiness; ca — also; te — all of them; ime — these; avasthitāḥ — situated; yuddhe — on this battlefield; prāṇān — lives; tyaktvā — giving up; dhanāni — riches; ca — also; ācāryāḥ — teachers; pitaraḥ — fathers; putrāḥ — sons; tathā — as well as; eva — certainly; ca — also; pitāmahāḥ — grandfathers; mātulāḥ — maternal uncles; śvaśurāḥ — fathers-in-law; pautrāḥ — grandsons; śyālāḥ — brothers-in-law; sambandhinaḥ — relatives; tathā — as well as; etān — all these; na — never; hantum — to kill; icchāmi — do I wish; ghnataḥ — being killed; api — even; madhusūdana — O killer of the demon Madhu (Kṛṣṇa); api — even if; trai-lokya — of the three worlds; rājyasya — for the kingdom; hetoḥ — in exchange; kim nu — what to speak of; mahī-kṛte — for the sake of the earth; nihatya — by killing; dhārtarāṣṭrān — the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra; naḥ — our; kā — what; prītiḥ — pleasure; syāt — will there be; janārdana — O maintainer of all living entities.