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Actually, Arjuna was not willing to fight, because he is a Vaisnava. He does not want to kill, even if he is. . . even if he was put into so many difficulties. That was his attitude

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"actually, Arjuna was not willing to fight, because he is a Vaiṣṇava. He does not want to kill, even if he is. . . even if he was put into so many difficulties. That was his attitude"

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

Actually, Arjuna was not willing to fight, because he is a Vaiṣṇava. He does not want to kill, even if he is. . . even if he was put into so many difficulties. That was his attitude. So his decision was that he would not fight, but for the sake of Kṛṣṇa, when he understood that Kṛṣṇa wants this fight. . . Kṛṣṇa said finally, nimitta-mātraṁ bhava savya-sācin (BG 11.33): "Don't think that these people who have come here will go back home. They will be killed here. That is My plan. You simply become an instrument, so that you may take the credit. I shall be happy. But they are already finished. This is My plan." So when he understood that "Kṛṣṇa wants me to fight," took the credit of becoming victorious.

Those who are believer in the śāstras, believer in the Supreme Lord, they believe in destiny also. Therefore śāstra says, tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ (SB 1.5.18). We should try for advancing our Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is our main business. Tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido. Kovidaḥ means very expert. He should try for advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, not for material advancement. This is civilization. That is, we have already discussed, nāyaṁ deho deha-bhājāṁ nṛloke kaṣṭān kāmān arhate viḍ-bhujāṁ ye (SB 5.5.1). If you think that "If I work very hard, then I shall improve my position," that is not possible. Your position is already fixed up. "Then shall I not try for my happiness?" Yes. That is replied in the śāstra: tal labhyate duḥkhavad anyataḥ sukham. You do not try for distress of life. Why does it come? You do not ask God, "Please give me distress." Nobody asks, but why distress comes? Similarly, if you do not pray for happiness, if you have got happiness in your destiny, it will come, as the distress comes. Tal labhyate duḥkhavad anyataḥ sukham. So don't be misled by so-called happiness and distress. It is already fixed up. Simply try for advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is real business. Tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido (SB 1.5.18).

That business can be done very perfectly well when, mahat-sevāṁ dvāram āhur vimuktes, when we associate with mahātmā. It doesn't matter whether he's a sannyāsī or gṛhastha, he must be mahātmā. Mahātmā means one who has got relationship with Kṛṣṇa. That is described in the Bhagavad. . . mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ, bhajanty ananya-manaso (BG 9.13). That is mahātmā. You cannot stamp anybody and become a mahātmā. No. Mahātmā's sign is, mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ, bhajanty ananya-manaso. He has no other business. Simply he has only one business: how to please Kṛṣṇa. That is mahātmā. Ānukūlyena kṛ. . . just like Arjuna did. Arjuna did not like to fight. He completely denied. He set aside his arrows and bows, became very morose, and then he asked Kṛṣṇa, "I am now puzzled. You can give me instruction, what is my duty, because kārpaṇya doṣa upahata svabhāvaḥ (BG 2.7). Actually my. . . it is duty, my duty, that, uh, I am kṣatriya, and there is fight, battlefield, I should take advantage of it, but still, kārpaṇya doṣa upahata svabhāvaḥ. I am going against my nature, so I do not know what to do. Please instruct." Śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam (BG 2.7).

So actually, Arjuna was not willing to fight, because he is a Vaiṣṇava. He does not want to kill, even if he is. . . even if he was put into so many difficulties. That was his attitude. So his decision was that he would not fight, but for the sake of Kṛṣṇa, when he understood that Kṛṣṇa wants this fight. . . Kṛṣṇa said finally, nimitta-mātraṁ bhava savya-sācin (BG 11.33): "Don't think that these people who have come here will go back home. They will be killed here. That is My plan. You simply become an instrument, so that you may take the credit. I shall be happy. But they are already finished. This is My plan." So when he understood that "Kṛṣṇa wants me to fight," took the credit of becoming victorious. So he doesn't care for credit, but he understood that "This is my duty, to please Kṛṣṇa." Then when Kṛṣṇa asked him, "What is your decision?" He said, "Yes, kariṣye vacanaṁ tava (BG 18.73), I shall fight," and he fought. This is called kṛta-sauhṛdārthā. For Kṛṣṇa's sake they can do anything.