strīṣu duṣṭāsu vārṣṇeya
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 1.40
When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Krishna, the women of the family become polluted, and from the degradation of womanhood, O descendant of Vrishni, comes unwanted progeny.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
Good population in human society is the basic principle for peace, prosperity and spiritual progress in life. The varnashrama religion’s principles were so designed that the good population would prevail in society for the general spiritual progress of state and community. Such population depends on the chastity and faithfulness of its womanhood. As children are very prone to be misled, women are similarly very prone to degradation. Therefore, both children and women require protection by the elder members of the family. By being engaged in various religious practices, women will not be misled into adultery. According to Canakya Pandita, women are generally not very intelligent and therefore not trustworthy. So the different family traditions of religious activities should always engage them, and thus their chastity and devotion will give birth to a good population eligible for participating in the varnashrama system. On the failure of such varnashrama-dharma, naturally the women become free to act and mix with men, and thus adultery is indulged in at the risk of unwanted population. Irresponsible men also provoke adultery in society, and thus unwanted children flood the human race at the risk of war and pestilence.
Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
When adharma is prevalent, the women of the family will become spoiled (pradusyanti), by becoming adulterous.
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:
The sinfulness alluded to in the previous verse leads to the degradation of the females in the family is being described here.
Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:
Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.
Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:
Deliberating further Arjuna determines that when unrighteousness becomes predominant in the family due to the loss of the father who insures the continuation of the family customs and the propagation of the Vedic tradition, the females of the family become easily accessible and are placed in conditions of compromise. From this polluted and degraded position arises undesirable progeny. The purpose of Arjuna addressing Lord Krishna by the vocative Varsneya is to remind Him that He took birth in the exalted royal Vrsni dynasty and as such should be fully aware of all these things.
Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:
1.40 Sri Sankaracharya did not comment on this sloka. The commentary starts from 2.10.
Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:
1.35 1.44 Nihatya etc. upto anususruma. Sin alone is the agent in the act of slaying these desperadoes. Therefore here the idea is this : These ememies of ours have been slain, i.e., have been take possession of, by sin. Sin would come to us also after slaying them. Sin in this context is the disregard, on account of greed etc., to the injurious consequences like the ruination of the family and the like. That is why Arjuna makes a specific mention of the [ruin of the] family etc., and of its duties in the passage ‘How by slaying my own kinsmen etc’. The act of slaying, undertaken with an individualizing idea about its result, and with a particularizing idea about the person to be slain, is a great sin. To say this very thing precisely and to indicate the intensity of his own agony, Arjuna says only to himself [see next sloka]:
Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:
strisu dustasu varsneya
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
adharma — irreligion; abhibhavāt — having become predominant; kṛṣṇa — O Kṛṣṇa; praduṣyanti — become polluted; kula-striyaḥ — family ladies; strīṣu — by the womanhood; duṣṭāsu — being so polluted; vārṣṇeya — O descendant of Vṛṣṇi; jāyate — comes into being; varṇa-sańkaraḥ — unwanted progeny.