kula-ghnānāḿ kulasya ca
patanti pitaro hy eṣāḿ
Translation of Bhagavad Gita 1.41
An increase of unwanted population certainly causes hellish life both for the family and for those who destroy the family tradition. The ancestors of such corrupt families fall down, because the performances for offering them food and water are entirely stopped.
Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:
According to the rules and regulations of fruitive activities, there is a need to offer periodical food and water to the forefathers of the family. This offering is performed by worship of Vishnu, because eating the remnants of food offered to Vishnu can deliver one from all kinds of sinful actions. Sometimes the forefathers may be suffering from various types of sinful reactions, and sometimes some of them cannot even acquire a gross material body and are forced to remain in subtle bodies as ghosts. Thus, when remnants of prasadam food are offered to forefathers by descendants, the forefathers are released from ghostly or other kinds of miserable life. Such help rendered to forefathers is a family tradition, and those who are not in devotional life are required to perform such rituals. One who is engaged in the devotional life is not required to perform such actions. Simply by performing devotional service, one can deliver hundreds and thousands of forefathers from all kinds of misery. It is stated in the Bhagavatam (11.5.41):
na kinkaro nayam rni ca rajan
sarvatmana yah saranam saranyam
gato mukundam parihrtya kartam
“Anyone who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, the giver of liberation, giving up all kinds of obligation, and has taken to the path in all seriousness, owes neither duties nor obligations to the demigods, sages, general living entities, family members, humankind or forefathers.” Such obligations are automatically fulfilled by performance of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
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:
When this happens there is an intermingling of castes and the ancestors of these destroyers of the family fall from heaven as they are deprived of their periodic ritual offerings of food and water.
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:
1.41 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:
kula-ghnanam kulasya ca
patanti pitaro hy esam
Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:
sańkaraḥ — such unwanted children; narakāya — make for hellish life; eva — certainly; kula-ghnānām — for those who are killers of the family; kulasya — for the family; ca — also; patanti — fall down; pitaraḥ — forefathers; hi — certainly; eṣām — of them; lupta — stopped; piṇḍa — of offerings of food; udaka — and water; kriyāḥ — performances.