nihatya dhaartaraashtraanaha ka preetihi syaajjanaardana |
paapmevaashrayedasmaan hatvaitaanaatataayinaha || 36 ||

What pleasure will we derive by killing these relatives of Dhritraashtra, O Janaardana? We will only incur sin by killing these felons.

nihatya : kill
dhaartaraashtraan : relatives of dhritaraashtra
ka : what
preetihi : pleasure
syaat : derive
janaardana : O Janaardana
paapam : sin
eva : definitely
aashrayet : incur
asmaan : us
hatvaa : by killing
aatataayinaha : felons
As Arjuna built up a case in favour of not fighting the war, he added another point – that this endeavour will incur sin.
This is a critical point in understanding the message of the Gita. Let us examine what is meant by “sin” here. Since the word “sin” has several interpretations, let us first take something that we can define more precisely, which is the word “crime”.
What is a crime? A crime is defined as an act conducted in opposition to a certain law enshrined in a country’s legal system. So then, what is a sin? A sin is also defined as an act committed in opposition to a certain law. But what is that law? Who has written that law? Is that law defined by a certain religion? or by certain societal traditions? Which law did Arjuna use to come to the conclusion that his was about to commit a sin?
If Shri Krishna agreed that Arjuna’s act was a sin, he would have said something. But as we see, Shri Krishna did not say anything even after hearing this statement.
All this boils down to a simple point: when faced with a situation in life, how should we act? As the Gita unfolds, we will get to the heart of this question.