Shri Bhagavaan uvaacha
kutastvaa kashmalamidam vishame samupasthitam |
anaaryajusthamasvargyamakeertikaramarjuna || 2 ||

Shri Bhagavaan said:
From where has this weakness arisen, at this inconvenient time? It is not noble, nor will it get you to heaven, not will it earn you valour, O Arjuna.

kutaha : from where
tvaa : you
kashmalam : weakness, impurity
idam : this
vishame : inconvenient time
samupasthitam: arisen
anaarya : non-noble
justham : accept
asvargyam : non-heavenly
akeertikaram : non-valourous
arjuna : Arjuna

So finally we get to hear Shri Krishna speak in the Gita. But what he said was not what Arjuna expected at all.

Let’s look at the kind of words Shri Krishna used.Ā  They were not words of kindness. They were not words of sympathy or support. They were tough, provocative words meant to shake Arjuna out of his deluded state of mind. They were intended to inform Arjuna that his assessment of this situation, and his plan of exiting from the situation, were totally incorrect and invalid.

Moreover, rule number one in communication skills training is “tailor the message to the audience”. We see that here. Arjuna is a tough warrior, and tough talk is the only language he understands. An analogy would be a coach providing directions to a player in the middle of a football game. He would use tough talk, not sympathetic talk.

Shri Krishna also highlights another point here, that the timing of Arjuna’s fall into sorrow is not appropriate. If he did want to express any emotion towards his kinsmen, he had a lot of time to do so prior to the battle. Once in battle, this behaviour was unwarranted.

1. In the rest of the Gita, Shri Krishna is addressed as “Bhagavaan”. Bhagavaan means the one who is endowed with “bhagas” or divine attributes: wealth, virtue, glory, might, knowledge and dispassion.
2. The second verse is one long word composed of several shorter words. In Sanskrit, words are joined together using a system of rules called “sandhi”. It is not necessary to learn the sandhi rules since most commentaries dissect long words into their components. We are fortunate to leverage their efforts here.