yadyapyete na pashyanti lobhopahatchetasaha |
kulakshayakritam dosham mitradrohe cha paatakam || 38 ||
katham na gneyamasmaabhihi paapaadasmaannivartitum |
kulakshayakritam dosham prapashyadbhirjanaardana || 39 ||
If their greed-afflicted minds cannot see the error in annihilating society, and the sin of quarreling with their friends;
why shouldn’t we, who correctly perceive this error, refrain from committing this sin, O Janaardana?
yadyapi : if
ete : they
na pashyanti : cannot see
lobhaha-upahat-chetasaha : minds afflicted by greed
kula-kshaya-kritam : act of annihilating society
dosham : error
mitra-drohe : quarreling against friends
cha : and
paatakam : sin
katham : why
na gneyam : not know
asmaabhihi : by us
paapat : sin
asmaat : this
nivartitum : refrain
prapashyadbhihi : right understanding
janaardana : O Janardanaa
Arjuna now began a second argument in which he began enumerating the flaws of the opposing army. He wanted to point out that his moral judgement was superior relative to the opposing army’s position. This current sequence of verses is a classic example of how a seemingly logical argument is completely illogical because it has sprung from erroneous foundations. Moreover, Arjuna echoes the human tendency to point out flaws in others when the flaw lies in the pointer.
Illogical as it may be, Arjuna’s comment lets us explore a force similar to moha, that of “lobha” or the desire to accumulate something. An increase in lobha for an object, person, situation or circumstance tends to suppress our viveka, our discerning ability. A politician that has extreme greed for a ministerial position could resort to illegal and unethical means to get it. Recent events in global financial markets are a good example where bankers were willing to defraud investors by selling them subprime loans, simply due to greed.
Both moha and lobha have one thing in common, they seemingly result in pleasure. Foe example, in case of moha, extreme attachment one’s son or one’s spouse gives one pleasure. In case of lobha, the desire to accumulate wealth or power gives one pleasure. But in both cases, the pleasure that one obtains is temporary and fleeting. In addition, one tends to cling to the object gained by lobha or moha for fear of losing it.
So what attitude should we have towards people or things we care about? The Gita delves into this topic in great detail.