कथं न ज्ञेयमस्माभिः पापादस्मान्निवर्तितुम्।
कुलक्षयकृतं दोषं प्रपश्यद्भिर्जनार्दन।।1.39।।
1.38 1.39 O Janardana, although these people, whose hearts have become perverted by greed, do not see the evil arising from destroying the family and sin in hostility towards, friends, yet how can we who clearly see the evil arising from destroying the family remain unaware of (the need of) abstaining from this sin?
1.39. Why should not we who clearly see evil in the destruction of families, learn to turn away from this sin, O Janardana (Krishna)?
1.39. But, perceiving clearly the evil conseences ensuing from the ruin of the family, should we not have a sense to refrain from this sinful act [of fighting the war], O Janardana ?
1.39 कथम् why? न not? ज्ञेयम् should be learnt? अस्माभिः by us? पापात् from sin? अस्मात् this? निवर्तितुम् to turn away? कुलक्षयकृतम् in the destruction of families? दोषम् evil? प्रपश्यद्भिः clearly seeing? जनार्दन O Janardana.Commentary Ignorance of law is no excuse but wanton sinful conduct is a grave crime? unworthy of us? who are wiser.
1.39 Sri Sankaracharya did not comment on this sloka. The commentary starts from 2.10.
1.35 1.44 Nihatya etc. upto anususruma. Sin alone is the agent in the act of slaying these desperadoes. Therefore here the idea is this : These ememies of ours have been slain, i.e., have been take possession of, by sin. Sin would come to us also after slaying them. Sin in this context is the disregard, on account of greed etc., to the injurious conseences like the ruination of the family and the like. That is why Arjuna makes a specific mention of the [ruin of the] family etc., and of its duties in the passage How by slaying my own kinsmen etc. The act of slaying, undertaken with an individualizing idea about its result, and with a particularizing idea about the person to be slain, is a great sin. To say this very thing precisely and to indicate the intensity of his own agony, Arjuna says only to himself [see next sloka]:
1.26 - 1.47 Arjuna said - Sanjaya said Sanjaya continued: The high-minded Arjuna, extremely kind, deeply friendly, and supremely righteous, having brothers like himself, though repeatedly deceived by the treacherous attempts of your people like burning in the lac-house etc., and therefore fit to be killed by him with the help of the Supreme Person, nevertheless said, I will not fight. He felt weak, overcome as he was by his love and extreme compassion for his relatives. He was also filled with fear, not knowing what was righteous and what unrighteous. His mind was tortured by grief, because of the thought of future separation from his relations. So he threw away his bow and arrow and sat on the chariot as if to fast to death.
When the spiritual traditions and spiritual values are destroyed in society, unrighteousness predominates and the surviving family members become degraded.
Madhvacarya has no commentary so we present Baladeva Vidyabhusanas. Now the evil consequences of war are described in detail with this verse beginning kula-ksaye pranasyanti. The compound word kula-dharmah meaning the righteous family traditions prescribed in Vedic rites such as the fire ceremony agnihotra and others of this nature due to the destruction of the dynasty causes a lack of qualified family members knowledgeable enough to have them performed. When dharma or righteousness is absent then adharma unrighteousness appears apprehending the remaining dependants along with the whole family destroying the foundations of society.
There is no commentary for this verse.
Some may ponder just what sin is Arjuna describing and this is now revealed in this verse. In a dynasty it is the father that is the foundation of the family. He insures that the tradition of the members is maintained as well being the support of all the members. In times of war it is the father who goes to fight and sometimes the older sons who are the fathers of the future also go to war. If they are slain in battle it is understood that the family is effectively destroyed and righteousness along with the age- old family customs and Vedic traditions eventually cease to exist. The women and children not being properly protected, having lost the shelter of the father are thus overcome by the realities of basic survival and become victims of unrighteousness.
Katham na jneyam asmaabhih paapaad asmaan nivartitum; Kulakshayakritam dosham prapashyadbhir janaardana.
yadi api—even though; ete—they; na—not; paśhyanti—see; lobha—greed; upahata—overpowered; chetasaḥ—thoughts; kula-kṣhaya-kṛitam—in annihilating their relatives; doṣham—fault; mitra-drohe—to wreak treachery upon friends; cha—and; pātakam—sin; katham—why; na—not; jñeyam—should be known; asmābhiḥ—we; pāpāt—from sin; asmāt—these; nivartitum—to turn away; kula-kṣhaya—killing the kindered; kṛitam—done; doṣham—crime; prapaśhyadbhiḥ—who can see; janārdana—he who looks after the public, Shree Krishna