TEXT 33
atha cet tvam imaṁ dharmyaṁ
saṅgrāmaṁ na kariṣyasi
tataḥ sva-dharmaṁ kīrtiṁ ca
hitvā pāpam avāpsyasi
SYNONYMS
athatherefore; cetif; tvamyou; imamthis; dharmyamreligious duty; saṅgrāmamfighting; nado not; kariṣyasiperform; tataḥthen; svadharmamyour religious duty; kīrtim-—reputation; caalso; hitvālosing; pāpamsinful reaction; avāpsyasido gain.
TRANSLATION
If, however, you do not fight this religious war, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus lose your reputation as a fighter.
PURPORT
Arjuna was a famous fighter, and he attained fame by fighting many great demigods, including even Lord Śiva. After fighting and defeating Lord Śiva in the dress of a hunter, Arjuna pleased the Lord and received as a reward a weapon called pāśupata-astra. Everyone knew that he was a great warrior. Even Droṇācārya gave him benediction and awarded him the special weapon by which he could kill even his teacher. So he was credited with so many military certificates from many authorities, including his adopted father Indra, the heavenly king. But if he abandoned the battle, he would not only neglect his specific duty as a kṣatriya, but he would lose all his fame and good name and thus prepare his royal road to hell. In other words, he would go to hell, not by fighting, but by withdrawing from battle.

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