We will be listening to the lecture [by sri Velukkudi U.Ve.Krishnan] from the Sri Vibheeshanan [Vibheeshanalwar as referred to in sampradayam] sannidhi in the Sri Sowriraja Perumal temple at Thirukkannapuram. What is the relation between Vibheeshana of Sri Rama’s time [Tretha Yuga], Bhagavat Gita [at the end of Dwapara Yuga] and the Temple [now in Kali Yuga]? Vibheeshana once prayed to Sri Ranganatha of Srirangam and requested that He should get up and grace him by walking. Sri Ranganatha seems to have replied that in this [Srirangam] temple He would grace all in the reclining posture but Vibheeshana could go east of Srirangam and visit Thirukkannapuram and there He will grace him with His strolling elegance. Thus every Amavasya [new moon day] He graces a few steps in front of Vibheeshanalwar sannidhi. The Lord’s idol is carried on the arms [it is called in Tamil kaithala sevai] by four devotees in front of the Vibheeshana sannidhi and then move on to Sri Rama sannidhi. Similarly during the Masi [Feb-March] festival daily this procession is performed at 4P.M. We will now see the 5th sloka of Chapter 2. In the last sloka Arjuna asked how he could afford to kill Bheeshma, Drona and others. The word ‘others’ include Kauravas viz Duryodana and his brothers. For this Sri Krishna is posing a question seemingly. If Arjuna runs away from the war, what will he do for food and shelter? Will he live in forests? The twelve-year exile itself was considered by the Pandavas as a shame. Then how are they going to take this forest life if he ran away from the war? Sri Krishna apparently asks this and so Arjuna’s reply is accordingly in sloka 5:
gurun ahatva hi mahanubhavan
sreyo bhoktum bhaiksyam apiha loke
hatvartha-kamams tu gurun ihaiva
bhunjiya bhogan rudhira-pradigdhan
“ It is better in this world to live begging [as a result of] by not killing these Dignified Teachers. They [Kauravas] are interested in the materialistic pleasure and so if I kill them the enjoyment will be with blood stains “ Arjuna is concerned with killing these great persons in the war and even if he is victorious it will be at the cost of the blood of all his relatives, who want to enjoy, and who will be deprived of that enjoyment by Arjuna. In a way Arjuna is concerned with the hell that awaits him if he were to kill his Teachers. He is also apprehensive that after killing all these people, living in this world with bloodstains will also be hell. So he fears hell before and after his death. Sri Krishna logically rebuts this. If Arjuna left the battle without fighting it will be a disgrace for a kshatriya [royal community] and he will have to lead life by resorting to begging, as he will be deprived of all property. Also, by abandoning his dharma of protection of his people and gifting the kingdom to wicked people will make him a great sinner and ensure hell after death. So Sri Krishna’s rebuttal was either way hell only if Arjuna refused to fight. By fighting and recapturing the kingdom he can lead a normal life in this world. He need not consider this as enjoyment with blood stains as he is expected to do his duty and be a trusty for good administration and not for pleasure. This way because he established the moral ethics of kshathriya in the war, he will be awarded heaven after death. So instead of Arjuna’s imagination as either way hell for him, Sri Krishna’s argument is that by fighting it will be either way heaven for Arjuna.
Arjuna preferred begging to killing those noble teachers. Perhaps he was reminding Sri Krishna that in one of His earlier Avatars or incarnations, He had also begged. As Sri Vamana, a young dwarf bachelor, He went to the Yagnashala or the sacred place, where Emperor Bali was performing Yagna and begged for a small piece of land to be measured by His tiny feet. Bali ridiculed the request as he thought he was a great emperor with vast wealth and a small measure of land was like asking the Kamadenu [The Heavenly Cow] or the Karpaga Vriksha [The Heavenly Tree], who could grant anything, to donate a small kerchief. But Sri Vamana was firm in His demand saying that a person not content with what he required can never be satisfied. So Arjuna feels that when Sri Krishna could go as a beggar why not he also?