kaarpanyadoshopahatasvabhaavaha pricchaami
tvaam dharmasammoodhachetaaha |
yachchreyaha syaannishchitam broohi tanme 
shishyasteham shaadhi maam tvaam prapannam || 7 ||

This error of cowardice has damaged my personality, and my deluded intellect cannot decide what is right or wrong. Tell me what is definitely appropriate. Guide me, I am your disciple and take refuge in you.

kaarpanya : cowardly
dosho : error
upahata : damaged
svabhaavaha : inherent nature
pricchaami : I ask
tvaam : you
dharma : right and wrong
sammoodha : deluded
cheta : intellect
yat : what
shreyaha : appropriate
syaat : may be
nishchitam : definitely
broohi : tell me
tat : that
me : for me
shishyaha : disciple
te aham : I’m your
shaadhi : guide
maam : me
tvaam : your
prapannam : refuge

This verse is a milestone in the Gita, because it reflects a change in Arjuna’s thinking.

Arjuna finally gained enough of his reasoning capacity back to realize that his mind had been thrown off balance by cowardice, which he rightly labelled as an error. In the first chapter, he could never have come to this conclusion because he was experiencing an extremely negative emotional state. He was able to put a degree of objectivity towards his thinking, some space between his thoughts and himself. And in doing so, he realized that his intellect was totally deluded.

In addition, he also realized that because of this cowardice, he was in no position to make a decision about whether to fight or not. This was a high-stakes decision, a decision that could impact the course of history. He quickly needed to find some other way of coming to a decision. The only way he could do so is to give up any pretense of knowing what was the correct thing to do, and give that decision to a trusted friend and guide, Shri Krishna.

For many of us, especially in youth, we never feel the need to look beyond the material world. All our goals and aspirations are material, and once we achieve a certain goal, we strive for a higher goal. And as long as everything goes our way, we are fine. But sooner or later, something happens in our lives that shakes things up and makes us think whether we are missing something. We all have to pass through a earth-shattering stage in life that makes us question things, and makes us revisit our assumptions and beliefs. That stage was indicated in chapter 1 of the Gita, when Arjuna saw his entire world and belief system collapse.

When this shattering happens, we have two choices. We can continue operating in the material world in the same way as we did before. We can also use this collapse to search for something higher. The choice made by a seeker is indicated by the words “Tell me what is definitely appropriate. Guide me, I am your disciple and take refuge in you” uttered by Arjuna.

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