klaibyam maa sma gamah paartha naitattvayyupapadyate |
kshudram hridayadaurbalyam tyaktvotishtha parantapa || 3 ||

Don’t yield to this effeminate behaviour, O Paartha, it is not worthy of you. Cast off this petty weakness of heart and arise, O scorcher of foes!

klaibyam : effeminate
maa sma gamah : do not yield
paartha : O son of Prithaa
etat: this
tvavi : in you
na : not
upapadyate : not worthy
kshudram : petty
hridaya: heart
daurbalyam : weakness
tyaktva : cast off
uttishtha : arise
paran-tapa : O scorcher of foes

Shri Krishna, an expert motivational speaker, used a “carrot and stick” approach towards Arjuna here. Let’s first look at the stick or negative aspect, followed by the carrot or positive aspect.

One of the worst things you can call a warrior is effeminate. Even young boys playing sports will get upset when someone says ‘Hey! You throw the ball like a girl!”. So imagine how Arjuna felt when Shri Krishna called him effeminate. Moreover, using the adjective weak-hearted to describe Arjuna was another jolt to the usually courageous and lion-hearted warrior.

But Shri Krishna also appealed to Arjuna’s better qualities. By addressing him as “Paartha”, he reminded Arjuna of his esteemed and respected mother Prithaa (Kunti), and how she would feel if Arjuna shirked away from war. Shri Krishna also reminded Arjuna of his battle prowess, that he was called a “scorcher of foes”.

The final point in this shloka is the powerful Sanskrit word “utthishta”, meaning arise, which evokes Swami Vivekananda’s famous statement “Arise! Awake! and stop not till the goal is reached!’. Arjuna is instructed not just to arise physically, but also to lift his mind from the depths of delusion to a higher plane of intelligence.