हतो वा प्राप्स्यसि स्वर्गं जित्वा वा भोक्ष्यसे महीम् | तस्मादुत्तिष्ठ कौन्तेय युद्धाय कृतनिश्चय: || 37||

BG 2.37: If you fight, you will either be slain on the battlefield and go to the celestial abodes, or you will gain victory and enjoy the kingdom on earth. Therefore arise with determination, O son of Kunti, and be prepared to fight.

Arjuna is known to be brave - so it must be his kinship-feeling for his relatives and revered teachers that made him hesitate to fight them:

अर्जुन उवाच | कथं भीष्ममहं सङ्ख्ये द्रोणं च मधुसूदन | इषुभि: प्रतियोत्स्यामि पूजार्हावरिसूदन || 4||

BG 2.4: Arjun said: O Madhusudan, how can I shoot arrows in battle on men like Bheeshma and Dronacharya, who are worthy of my worship, O destroyer of enemies?

how did Krishna expect the "Either you enjoy Swarga or you enjoy the earth" argument to overcome Arjuna's hesitation to fight people dear to him?


  • 1
    I think there is some mis-understanding. In BG 2.4, Arjuna is not talking about Ahimsa, he was facing dilemma.
    – Pandya
    Commented May 11, 2022 at 17:58
  • 1
    he is saying if the only way to get our kingdom back is to kill relatives and revered teachers, then I don't want the kingdom back.
    – S K
    Commented May 11, 2022 at 18:02
  • 2
    swarga vs. bhu-rajya is a win-win situation for every kshatriya in any battle, not just arjuna in mahabharat. those who die in battle without turning back are welcomed by apsaras in svarga. it's the same reason why muslims say jihad gets you to 72 virgins. @Athrey
    – ram
    Commented May 12, 2022 at 0:55
  • Here ,the intent to fight the war is not to accrue any merit (though seemingly it's like that), but to be firm on doing the right action(uphold dharma) . As pointed out in the commentary, merits of doing a right action, stated by the lord is not to be taken as the primary intent, but in a secondary sense. (IMO)
    – Athrey
    Commented May 12, 2022 at 4:39

1 Answer 1


Non-retreat from battle for the protection of people ,and to uphold dharma , is the swadharma of Arjuna . Growing more melancholy over fighting with his revered teacher and grand sire, he opts for dereliction of his duty .This is not agreed to , as the right action by the Lord.

Portion of Commentary by Swami Madhusadhana Saraswati (English Translation by Gambirananda for shlokas 2.4 and 2.37)

BG 2.4 -

'Is it not that Bhişma and Drona are adorable just because they are respectable elders? This holds good even about others ike Krpa. But acceptance of them as venerable is now not proper, since a Smrti says, Rejection is enjoined even of an elder who is vain, who is not mindful of what should or should not be done, and who treads an evil path
(Mahabharata., UdyogaParva, 178.48).

BG 2 .37

"Either by being killed you will attain heaven, or by winning you will enjoy the earth' was in a secondary sense. Hence there is no fault.' So also Apastamba writes in his Smrithi, As when a mango tree is grown for fruits, shade and fragrance follow as a (natural) consequence, thus when righteousness is practised (other) desirable ends follow as a (natuaral) consequence. If they do not follow, that will cause no damage to righteousness
(Apasthamba Dharmasutra., 1.20.3).

  • not an answer. Krishna might be extolling kshatriya-dharma elsewhere - but in this verse he is presenting war with his kin and teachers as a "win-win" to Arjuna - win and enjoy earthly pleasures or die and go to heaven.
    – S K
    Commented May 11, 2022 at 17:00
  • 1
    But this shloka should be seen in context , Here Lord euoligizes upholding righteousness , by indicating that a right action(to uphold dharma) wouldn't result in undesirable consequence, as Arjuna is concerned over incurring sin etc.(in a secondary sense) as pointed out by Swami Madhusudhana Saraswati (anyway this is my understanding)
    – Athrey
    Commented May 11, 2022 at 17:52

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