Arjuna uvaacha
katham bheeshmamaham sankhye dronam cha madhusoodana |
ishubhihi prati yotsyami poojaarhaavarisoodana || 4 ||

How can I, O Madhusoodana, fight against Bheeshma and Drona with arrows? Both of them are worthy of worship, O Arisoodhana!

katham : how
bheeshmam : Bheeshma
aham : I
sankhye : in battle
dronam : Drona
cha : and
madhusoodana : O Madhusoodana
ishubhihi : with arrows
prati : with
yotsyami : fight
poojaahow : worthy of worship
ari-soodana : O Arisoodana

Shri Krishna’s words jolted Arjuna out of his panic attack and brought him to a state where he was ready to have a conversation. Since Arjuna’s arguments from the previous chapter remained unanswered, hence he continued to insist on relinquishing the war.

Arjuna uses the words “slayer of the demon Madhu” and “slayer of foes” to address Shri Krishna, hinting that it is easy to slay evil individuals but difficult to slay one’s kinsmen. The fundamental problem still remained unsolved, which is that Arjuna was still holding on to the familial and teacher-student relationships in the context of a battlefield. But on the Kaurava side, Bheeshma and Drona viewed Arjuna as an enemy and not as a student or a family member. They were not under any delusion like Arjuna was.

Can we relate this to an example from our lives? Think of a father and mother who have brought up their children, and like any responsible parents, guided them as to what was right and what was wrong. When the children grow into adults, they now possess the ability to think for themselves, and on occasion will consult their parents on decisions that they need help with.

But, similar to Arjuna’s attachment to his elders, if the parents still hold on to the relationship that existed when their children were young, the children would not consider that to be appropriate behaviour and then this could impact the relationship with their parents.

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