avacya-vadams ca bahun
vadisyanti tavahitah
nindantas tava samarthyam
tato duhkhataram nu kim

Translation of Bhagavad Gita 2.36

Your enemies will describe you in many unkind words and scorn your ability. What could be more painful for you?

Commentary by Sri A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

Lord Krishna was astonished in the beginning at Arjuna’s uncalled-for plea for compassion, and He described his compassion as befitting the non-Aryans. Now in so many words, He has proved His statements against Arjuna’s so-called compassion.

Commentary by Sri Vishvanatha Chakravarthi Thakur of Gaudiya Sampradaya:

They will speak of you in ill terms such as “coward”.

Commentary by Sri Ramanuja of Sri Sampradaya:

2.36 Moreover, your enemies, the sons of Dhrtarastra, will make many remarks unutterably slanderous and disparaging to heroes, saying, ‘How can this Partha stand in the presence of us, who are heroes, even for a moment? His prowess is elsewhere than in our presence.’ Can there be anything more painful to you than this? You yourself will understand that death is preferable to subjection to disparagement of this kind. Sri Krsna now says that for a hero, enemies being slain by oneself and oneself being slain by enemies are both conducive to supreme bliss.

Commentary by Sri Sridhara Swami of Rudra Sampradaya:

The condemnations from his enemies regarding Arjuna’s failure to execute his duty as a ksatriya are presented in this verse.

Commentary by Sri Madhvacharya of Brahma Sampradaya:

Sri Madhvacharya did not comment on this sloka.

Commentary by Sri Keshava Kashmiri of Kumara Sampradaya:

Not only would Arjunas estimation wane in the assembly of mighty warriors but here Lord Krishna uses the word nindantah meaning to vilify. Arjunas enemies such as Duryodhana would say many unbecoming things about him such as: Look at the impotent Arjuna fleeing the battlefield like a dog with its tail between its legs and Karna would smirkingly add that although Arjuna was very valiant in the past now fearing our might he has become feeble- hearted and so he expeditiously leaves the battlefield like a coward to save his own life. Lord Krishna asks Arjuna what can be more painful than this?

Commentary by Sri Adi Shankaracharya of Advaita Sampradaya:

2.36 Ca, and besieds; tava, your; ahitah, enemies; vadisyanti, will speak; bahun, many, various kinds of; avacya-vadan, indecent words, unutterable words; nindantah, while denigrating, scorning; tava, your; samarthyam, might earned from battles against Nivatakavaca and others. Therefore, kim nu, what can be; duhkhataram, more painful; tatah, than that, than the sorrow arising from being scorned? That is to say, there is no greater pain than it.

Commentary by Sri Abhinavagupta of Kaula Tantra Sampradaya:

2.36 See Comment under 2.37

Sanskrit Shloka Without Transliteration Marks:

avacya-vadams ca bahun
vadisyanti tavahitah
nindantas tava samarthyam
tato duhkhataram nu kim

Sanskrit to English Word for Word Meanings:

avācya — unkind; vādān — fabricated words; ca — also; bahūn — many; vadiṣyanti — will say; tava — your; ahitāḥ — enemies; nindantaḥ — while vilifying; tava — your; sāmarthyam — ability; tataḥ — than that; duḥkha-taram — more painful; nu — of course; kim — what is there.