Storm's Journal

--| The Distress of Arjuna |--- 

ARJUNA'S HEART melted with pity,
while he uttered this: 

Krishna! as I behold, come here to shed 
Their common blood, yon concourse of our kin, 
My members fail, my tongue dries in my mouth, 
A shudder thrills my body, and my hair 
Bristles with horror; from my weak hand slips 
Gandiv, the goodly bow; a fever burns 
My skin to parching; hardly may I stand; 
The life within me seems to swim and faint; 
Nothing do I foresee save woe and wail! 

It is not good, O Keshav! nought of good 
Can spring from mutual slaughter! Lo, I hate 
Triumph and domination, wealth and ease, 
Thus sadly won! Aho! what victory 
Can bring delight, Govinda! what rich spoils 
Could profit; what rule recompense; what span 
Of life itself seem sweet, bought with such blood? 

Seeing that these stand here, ready to die, 
For whose sake life was fair, and pleasure pleased, 
And power grew precious:- grandsires, sires, and sons, 
Brothers, and fathers-in-law, and sons-in-law, 
Elders and friends! Shall I deal death on these 
Even though they seek to slay us? Not one blow, 
O Madhusudan! will I strike to gain 
The rule of all Three Worlds; then, how much less 
To seize an earthly kingdom! Killing these 
Must breed but anguish, Krishna! If they be 
Guilty, we shall grow guilty by their deaths; 
Their sins will light on us, if we shall slay 
Those sons of Dhritirashtra, and our kin; 

What peace could come of that, O Madhava? 
For if indeed, blinded by lust and wrath, 
These cannot see, or will not see, the sin 
Of kingly lines o'erthrown and kinsmen slain, 
How should not we, who see, shun such a crime- 
We who perceive the guilt and feel the shame- 
O thou Delight of Men, Janardana?

By overthrow of houses perisheth 
Their sweet continuous household piety, 
And- rites neglected, piety extinct- 
Enters impiety upon that home; 
Its women grow unwomaned, whence there spring 
Mad passions, and the mingling-up of castes, 
Sending a Hell-ward road that family, 
And whoso wrought its doom by wicked wrath. 

Nay, and the souls of honoured ancestors 
Fall from their place of peace, being bereft 
Of funeral-cakes and the wan death-water. 
So teach our holy hymns. Thus, if we slay 
Kinsfolk and friends for love of earthly power, 
Ahovat! what an evil fault it were! 
Better I deem it, if my kinsmen strike, 
To face them weaponless, and bare my breast 
To shaft and spear, than answer blow with blow. 

(The BHAGAVAD-GITA, translated by Sir Edwin Arnold,
  Chapter 1 - Of the Distress of Arjuna)


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