Why did moha (disillusion) arise in Arjuna in the battle of Mahabharata, why didn't the same thing (disillusion) happen to him when Duryodhana & co. attacked King Virata during the agyatvasa of Pandavas?

On that occasion, Arjuna and other Pandavas fought with all and even won the battle. So what's the reason for not getting disillusioned during the agyatvasa war?

  • 4
    I don't understand your question. What is Moah? Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 7:54
  • 6
    @Keshav Srinivasan I think OP means.. Moha (attachment)..
    – Tezz
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 11:55
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    One reason could be that the war in Agyatavasa was only for defeating, not for killing them. But the Kurukshetra war was for killing all his relatives friends and elders. That's why the difference.
    – Surya
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 14:31
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    The agyatvasa war was fought between Duryodhana & allies vs Pandavas & allies. It did not involve Drona, Bhisma or Dhritrashtra whom Arjun regarded as pita-tulya (like father). Also Arjuna primarily fought to defend King Virata who gave them shelter and not for personal gain or loss. Arjuna's disillusionment in Mahabharata was born primarily from the thought of having to kill all the loved ones for material gains. These may be the reasons of Arjuna's different reactions in two different situations.
    – WeShall
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 1:52
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    @Surya, nice reasoning. However, Arjuna could have very well killed as well in VirAta war, as it was a war. The Kuru army came with an intention of fight. IMO, in case of VirAta, the PAndava-s were abide by duty/*Dharma* to protect a kingdom which sheltered them for the crucial year. In case of Kurukshetra, they were fighting for their own right of equal kingdom which was decided to be given. Basically a choice. During the battlefield, probably Arjuna felt that it's worth to forfeit the right to kingdom which will avoid the blood shedding of his respectful elders & other relatives.
    – iammilind
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 1:51

1 Answer 1


Moha arose in Arjuna because in the war of Kurukshetra, the opponents are his kinsfolk and kindred, plus, war is about to kill them.

Read following verses of Bhagavad Gita to understand why Arjuna didn't want to fight:

1.28 O Krsna, seeing these relatives and friends who have assembled here with the intention of fighting, my limbs become languid and my mouth becomes completely dry.

1.32-34 O Govinda! What need do we have of a kingdom, or what (need) of enjoyments and livelihood? Those for whom kingdom, enjoyments and pleasures ae desired by us, viz teachers, uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law as also relatives-those very ones stand arrayed for battle risking their lives and wealth.

1.37 Therefore, it is not proper for us to kill the sons of Dhrtarastra who are our own relatives. For, O Madhava, how can we be happy by killing our kinsmen?

[ Quoted from English translation by Swami Gambhirananda ]

So, in the Kurukshetra war, Arjuna feels that it is improper to kill his venerable relatives for the sake of kingdom.

  • But the real question OP asks is: Why didn't the same moha arise in Arjuna during the Virata war? I think your argument/answer is incomplete without it. In fact during Virata war, Arjuna was very courageous while Uttara was fearful of the outcome. Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 22:59
  • You can read Arjuna-Uttara dialogue here: sacred-texts.com/hin/m04/m04045.htm Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 23:01
  • @sv. Yes, I accept that this is partial answer because I don't know about previous fight but I think that the difference between earlier and this fight might be "who opponents are".
    – Pandya
    Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 1:43
  • @Pandya whenever a warrior goes to the battle he knows that there are chances to get killed. Then how come you say that Virata war was not about killing? Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 5:32
  • @RakeshJoshi, Virata war was defense (live). Kurukshetra war was offense (kill).
    – ram
    Commented Sep 27, 2020 at 19:01

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