Chapter 2, Verse 5



गुरूनहत्वा हि महानुभावान् श्रेयो भोक्तुं भैक्ष्यमपीह लोके । हत्वार्थकामांस्तु गुरूनिहैव भुञ्जीय भोगान् रुधिरप्रदिग्धान् ॥५॥

Transliteration

gurūn ahatvā hi mahānubhāvān śreyo bhoktuḿ bhaikṣyam apīha loke hatvārtha-kāmāḿs tu gurūn ihaiva bhuñjīya bhogān rudhira-pradigdhān

Word Meanings

gurūn — the superiors; ahatvā — not killing; hi — certainly; mahā-anubhāvān — great souls; śreyaḥ — it is better; bhoktum — to enjoy life; bhaikṣyam — by begging; api — even; iha — in this life; loke — in this world; hatvā — killing; artha — gain; kāmān — desiring; tu — but; gurūn — superiors; iha — in this world; eva — certainly; bhuñjīya — one has to enjoy; bhogān — enjoyable things; rudhira — blood; pradigdhān — tainted with.

Translation

It would be better to live in this world by begging, than to enjoy life by killing these noble elders, who are my teachers. If we kill them, the wealth and pleasures we enjoy will be tainted with blood.

Purport

According to scriptural codes, a teacher who engages in an abominable action and has lost his sense of discrimination is fit to be abandoned. Bhīṣma and Droṇa were obliged to take the side of Duryodhana because of his financial assistance, although they should not have accepted such a position simply on financial considerations. Under the circumstances, they have lost the respectability of teachers. But Arjuna thinks that nevertheless they remain his superiors, and therefore to enjoy material profits after killing them would mean to enjoy spoils tainted with blood.