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Infatuation will Destroy your Courage and Will

Before the great war referred to in the Gita, Arjuna had participated in a number of battles, but never before had he been overcome by despondency and attachment. Now, the same Arjuna was overwhelmed with grief when he realized that the opponents he had to fight were his own grandfather, his kinsmen and his teacher. This possessive feeling made him feel dejected. He became a victim of infatuation; the feeling of my-ness had crept in. As this attitude grew, its consequence, which is sorrow, also grew along with it. Previously, when Krishna went on his peace mission to the opposing side, Arjuna discouraged it. He urged immediate war. He tried to convince Krishna that the mission would fail, that talk would prove futile and only a victorious war could restore to them the kingdom which had been stolen from Arjuna and his brothers.

At that time, Arjuna told Krishna, "This struggle for right cannot be settled by peaceful means. Our enemies will never agree to the terms of your peace mission. Their hatred and greed is unappeasable. Why waste your time and efforts on them? Good and evil cannot coexist; they are incompatible; they will never join together. Your mission is bound to fail." Then, Arjuna was full of courage and determination because he was not seeing his grandfather, his teacher, his relatives and many of his friends facing him on the opposing side. Before this possessive vision emerged on the eve of the war, it seemed that Arjuna had a very broad vision. But now, standing in the middle of the battlefield, Arjuna's vision was beclouded. His eyes became dim. His heart was heavy and his mind confused. When he saw his close relatives and some of his friends arrayed on the other side ready to fight him, he felt dizzy. He said, "Krishna, I will not fight!"

Remember that Arjuna was about to fight a war to protect righteousness, a war for which he had been preparing for many years. He was already on the battlefield and the war was about to commence. Was that the time to look upon his opponents as relatives? When Krishna heard Arjuna's words he got very angry. He told Arjuna, "This is faint-heartedness. It doesn't become you! A fearless person like you, who has always walked proudly with his head held high like a true hero, now seems to be suffering from timidity. A person who suffers from such faint-heartedness cannot be my disciple. The war is about to start. The final preparations for war have been going on for the past three months, and now the battle plans have been set.

"If you had shown this kind of hesitation in the beginning I would surely not have taken on this task of driving your chariot. At this late stage you are hesitating, after you have convinced friends and relatives of the rightness of your cause and have persuaded them to join your side. Now with them all assembled here, you are laying down your weapons and giving up ignominiously. Is that the way for a hero to act? You are destroying the true spirit of your royal line, whose sworn duty is to protect honor and righteousness. If you continue in this way as a timid, faint-hearted weakling, the coming generation will laugh at your cowardice. You have taken the name of Arjuna but you are not living up to that name!"